The New York Television Festival is the one week a year we can come together and watch amateurs make television. It’s raw, absolutely untouched by the grinding network note machines, or professional sound mixers. But it is a wonderful festival that not only fosters independent television but gives these ingenues avenues to mix with the pros and a venue to show their work.
Here’s what I was able to screen on Wednesday and Thursday’s screenings of the independent pilot competition.
So funny. So punny! As you can tell from the name it’s a take on Noir films. This black and white animated mystery takes it’s book right from the genre but manages to make it relevant, funny and quick. The pacing and the story were wonderful, I really enjoyed it. Plus, puns.
Such an interesting visual and a dark, weird story. Very interesting, hope it develops.
Group of misfits help the government cover up incidences with pop culture distractions. Well done and well conceived. Funny.
I didn’t like the message or the execution but admire that they learned animation to do it.
Assassins in Love – I wish this was online. It was so good! Well developed, well done and so cute. It could be the next Glee!
And their kickstarter for a cute behind the scenes: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/potatopix/assassins-in-love
Gary Saves the Graveyard
UCB brings another great one to NYTVF. Gary Saves the Graveyard is funny, touching and kind of sweet for a graveyard comedy. The open is especially great.
Youtube playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvMZxK22whIvr_Jqxt_T-ofu4J50AhByI
This series of short-shorts was funny the first couple of times but screening like 30 in a row was too much. They didn’t take out the stamp ever so it was just stamp, stamp, stamp. Good for a web commercial though, if anyone’s looking for one!
Funny, cute and nicely done for an amateur production. This is what I like to see at NYTVF. The pilots that have talented writers and limited resources. It may never see the light of a TV but it’s a great idea that I really enjoyed seeing portrayed. Great story, sweet intentions and nice characters that I generally liked.
I wish I could find the whole thing on youtube but I am not searching through the thousands of “Larper” videos you get in search results right now.
I really hated this one but the theme song was so catchy it was stuck in my head for four days. In Q&A they answered a question about “happy accidents” and said the policemen’s magic powers came from racing against the sun – this was the only funny/redeeming moment in the pilot for me. Won best editing for the festival.
This was one of my favorites. Another great from UCB, it made me absolutely belly laugh when the idiot character blows his nose as his opening sequence moment.
You can see them LIVE in Los Angeles! http://losangeles.ucbtheatre.com/shows/view/3998
Despite the title it was a pretty conventional tale of a comic book convention center. Nerds that quip and not that great to women. I wish I could like it more but that’s a sticking point for me. The sound quality was not great, apparently they kept telling the DP not to order for more boom? My high point was the really funny sight gag with the zombies at the door.
DRAMA & DRAMEDY*
*Is this going to be an emmy category at some point?
CW, are you there? You should take a look at this! Really well done, interesting “view” (webcam-based drama) and compelling teenage tale of a girl that finds herself in a predicament she never anticipated. I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to this one because it seemed too on-the-nose but it really won me over. Touching, funny and fun to watch.
I saw this one last year, but was glad it got in again. It was really good, very creepy! It definitely stuck with me and I would’ve seen it again if time allowed.
Called to Serve
Ah, this one was really good. In fact the premise made me schedule the block. This coming of age tale about a man sent to his assigned mission is not so sure he wants to be there. It could use some polishing but again I like when the pilots are a little rough. And it had good music if I recall correctly.
Wow. This was clearly part of a larger work (in Q&A the producers said there’s a feature and this is one of like 8 episodes meant to explore the side characters). Compelling storytelling! It’s spooky and interesting and well produced. There was a lot of low-frequency sound to bring the feeling of alienness and it was really dark, which I like in a lot of series.
I liked the premise and most of it was good but the comeuppance of the former boss was completely ridiculous to me. Come on, he gets told off and just hangs his head down? Whatever.
This pilot was to me the most relatable and fun. I have to admit seeing a soap star (General Hospital’s Ignacio Serricchio who played Diego… RIP Diego Alcazar) definitely added a whole new layer of excitement! The opening scene which has our hero lying on a couch confessing her life’s uncertainties only to pull out to a student listening in the chair asking for a hall pass was so funny. And those credits made me feel like I was instantly 13! This is a special property that I hope gets developed somewhere that will make the value appreciate.
Oh my god, Carrie Preston was there and she was standing four feet from me.
John Glover, Malcom McDowell – need I say more? (Ok, Lex Luthor’s dad from Smallville & Clockwork Orange. Also, Robert Englund who I am told plays Freddy Krueger. I don’t watch scary movies so I wouldn’t know.) This pilot was really interesting, dark and plays well as a psychological thriller. I thought it was not seamless but still incredibly well done.
Mad Rocket got the logo at the end of this really amazing pilot. It was also one of my favorites. It’s the story of a young hollywood starlet that really isn’t very happy. It’s really funny and fun to watch. I’d really like to see more – and it won “Best Writing” at the festival so hopefully I can at some point!
If they make the opening sequence exactly like LOST, I’m going to start to be a little suspicious. This would be a perfect fit for a competitor of “The Dome.” It was really well done and I’d be interested to learn more about the story. I guess they did their job! But I have no idea how they produced that kind of production quality. I would like to learn that as well.