May 22, 2007 11:23 PM by Joe Blackmon
For the On The Lot premiere, fifty of the world’s most talented yet
undiscovered directors started by taking the Universal Studios backlot
tour. After the tour, the fifty contestants gathered at the Biltmore
Hotel, where they were introduced to the competition’s judges: Carrie
Fisher, Garry Marshall, and Brett Ratner.
For their first challenge, each contestant was given one of five random story ideas and then had to pitch a film to the three judges based on the idea. During the first pitch, Mark McLain lost his place and asked to go get his notes. Judge Brett Ratner told Mark that his pitch felt like he was making it up as he went along. Amazingly, the pitches got worse from there.
The initial cut was reminiscent of the early rounds of American Idol auditions as it focused more on the worst pitches. In the end, thirty six directors made it on to the next round. For their second challenge, the contestants divided into teams of three in order to shoot a two and a half minute short movie based on the logline “out of time.” The catch was that they only had twenty-four hours to shoot the short. The premiere episode ended with conflicts erupting as the teams struggled to complete their movies.