The most lucrative and fast spreading business in getting your story out there is through the world of Television and Film. Although it is one of the largest industries, it is also the toughest to get into. Rarely, if ever could you just open up the newspaper and go to the ‘Jobs’ section and see a advertisement that reads “Now hiring directors” or “Now hiring producers” these jobs are usually offered through the company or by recruiting done through networking. Not only is this a tough industry, but is even tougher for people of color, especially when they are just starting to break in and do not have that professional reel that will “Wow” big film companies away.
Last night, I had the pleasure of being invited to a private screening of a pilot for a sitcom called, “The New Rules”. This short pilot was produced under a new Los Angeles based program called The Brave New World Program. The Brave New World project’s mission is to empower minority youth between the ages of 18 to 25 by giving them access to current film technology and teaching them the art of television. The program was started by David Merritt of King David Films in June 2013. He partnered with Sony DMPC system specialist, Dhanendra Patel, and together they give these students the chance of a lifetime to create professional, ready for film and TV based projects using top of the line Sony equipment and film sets. Through the program they used Sony F55 4K cameras and participants worked at Sony’s Digital Motion Picture Center (DMPC) located at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver, City, California.
The screening that I attended was the aftermath of the year’s end program which focused on the art of the sitcom, offering students the chance to work together to create, write, direct, produce and edit their own sitcom presentation. The students had roughly six weeks, between November 21 and January 17 to write, cast, and produce their projects. They also received expertise from several industry experts who came through to speak, which included well-known filmmaker Keenan Ivory Wayans. Each student also received IMDB credit and a Blue-ray or DVD copy of their film to add to their portfolio.
The two pilots that were shown last night were “Now What?” and “The New Rules”. Both were comedies produced by the students of this year’s program.
“Now What” followed the story of two college students who were in lieu of finding a new roommate and while searching for one, one of the guy’s estranged uncle pops in their new roommate on a surprise set up the mother. The pilot was directed by Sierra Monet, produced by Kingsley Oguejiofor, and written by Ariale Montgomery.
“The New Rules” followed the misadventures of Marley, a twenty something navigating through relationships in a digital age and soon discovers the new rules of life, dating, and everything in between in her quest for the perfect guy. This pilot was co-written by Jai Joseph and Jerrica Long, directed by Jai Joesph, and produced by Mana Zhou.