Friday, September 5, 2014

Try It Out: The Chair

For those who don't know, in addition to entertainment journalism and criticism, I also direct children's musical theatre productions. I have a lot of passion for children and the arts, and I particularly love what kids bring to the table, being innocent and wide-eyed and green. I also see a lot of theatre, from community shows to touring musicals to hits on Broadway when I'm in New York. And, although I've been taking in theatre for a few decades now, it's only been in the past few years that I'll watch a performance and unconsciously think about what I would do differently. Therefore, when I first learned about the competitive documentary series, The Chair, I was extremely intrigued.

In my own work, several directors use the same set, props, and costumes each year at various schools, but we'll approach the same play differently, and that's very similar to what's going on with The Chair, which boasts the tagline "every director has their own take." Two first-time feature filmmakers, Shane Dawson and Anna Martemucci, receive the same screenplay, location, and budget, and the series will document how each approaches the project, from creation to marketing to reception of a feature-length movie. Audiences will also be able to vote for the winner, who will receive $250,000.

Dawson's film is titled Not Cool while Martemucci's is Hollidaysburg. Based off the titles alone, I'm more sold on Dawson, but there are many more factors at play... for instance, Dawson is a self-taught internet sensation while Martemucci has more formal training and has made an independent film before. How these aspects will factor into the ways the two approach the project and find different steps easier or more challenging is a big reason to watch the program. I'm especially curious as to how they decide to balance indoor/outdoor filming because of the time of year they were in Pittsburgh!

Tune in for The Chair on Starz, where the first of ten episodes will air tomorrow, Saturday, September 6th, at 10pm ET/PT. Starz can be found DirecTV 527/528, DISH 350/351, FiOS 340/855, U-Verse 902/903, Xfinity 534, and on other carriers.
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