NYTVF: NBC Comedy Short Cuts
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The "30 Rockers" were on hand not only to create a photo-op for NBC and the NYTVF, but to introduce eight independent short comedy films made by culturally diverse production teams and casts. NBC Universal produces this showcase in order to uncover diverse talent suitable for future development deals.
I didn't know quite what to expect from this event and I admit that before it all began, I was scoping out a quick escape route just in case the shorts were dreadful. Luckily, there was no need to flee the theater early. Most of the shorts were amusing and unique. They not only kept my interest -- they kept me laughing. So, I genuinely enjoyed this event. Unfortunately, I liked it so much that I stuck around until the end and missed the early train home to New Jersey.However, while I loved the films, I wasn't that crazy about the event overall. My biggest complaint (besides the way they hyped the stars of 30 Rock who didn't even show up being disappointed about those 30 Rockers who couldn't attend the event) was that they didn't allow us to meet the filmmakers. Strangely, they didn't even give out a program or press release or even a sheet of paper that identified the films by name. The films were verbally introduced by the "30 Rockers" but I was too busy snapping photos to listen. Instead, I had to scribble down the films' names in the pitch dark as they appeared on screen. I guess I'm just disappointed that they didn't allow us to connect a face with the films. These shorts were obviously made by some unique and talented voices. It would have been nice if those unique voices were give a chance to speak live to their appreciative audience. It just seems odd that the showcase is designed to promote new talent and yet it kept that talent somewhat anonymous.
A list of films follows. I've included a brief description which may not be entirely accurate as I'm relying on memory. Once again, it would have been nice if press had been provided with a logline, synopsis, and list of credits for each film. I've provided links to the Internet Movie Database where possible.
BITCH -- A crazy anti-social vigilante Bitch meets her match in an anti-social shoplifting F*cker. This twisted love story was my favorite of the night. It's not often a crowd cheers when a man is having his face pummeled by a girl.
COLOR ME BLIND -- A college diversity group called "Color Me Blind" gets its first non-white member, but things don't go quite as planned at their Diversity Rally. The fact that these lily-white do-gooders mean well, but are clueless about real diversity issues, is pretty darn funny.
AFTER SCHOOL MIDNIGHT - An animated film about an anatomic model of the human body that comes to life and is bothered by pesky spiders. The model takes himself apart, and plays golf with his eye (or something like that). I didn't really get it, but the animation was cool.
PC and MAC SPOOF - The MAC guy stands for "Mistreated After Columbus" and is a young Native American. The PC guy ("Post Columbus") is a middle-aged white guy. A cute parody of those now iconic commercials, but nothing brilliant.
EL CHISME (THE GOSSIP) - A town of gossips feed malicious misinformation to a naive young man about the woman he plans to marry. She's a tramp! She's pregnant! He needs to find someone more his speed (possibly with a big nose)! Only they get it all wrong. Sweet and funny. Probably my second favorite film.
A FAT GIRL'S GUIDE TO YOGA - A larger woman shares her comical struggles with Yoga. Anyone who has ever taken Yoga (big or small) will definitely relate. My third favorite film.
AQUARIUM - A kid drowns his dog and then plays with fish. A bit of a downer, with fleeting moments of fun. Not sure what I thought of this one.
THE SUNDAY MAN - A whimsical tale about a boy born to the town "Hugger" (a.k.a Hooker) who grows up and declares that he's God. Narrated by Peter Coyote. This one was a bit TOO slick and professionally produced for my taste. And it was sort of weird that Annie Potts (as the town "Hugger") looked about 20 years younger than she did on Designing Women.
Back to NBC and diversity initiatives, a representative announced the "NBC Create Your Own Heroes, 30 Rock, or The Office Diversity Promos" Challenge. The "challenge" ends September 17, 2007 and the rules and regulations are posted online.
In a final note about those MIA "30 Rockers," Joel tells me that he caught a glimpse of Scott Adsit coming up the stairs from the E train at the 50th St. station sometime after the New Amsterdam premiere. So what happened to Scott? Did he get lost? Get the times wrong? Is he just one of the people who is always two hours late? Or was it just a coicidence that he was in the area at all? We may never know.UPDATE: I'VE BEEN INFORMED THAT THE MIA 30 ROCKERS TAKE THEIR APPEARANCES VERY SERIOUSLY AND WOULD NEVER JUST BLOW-OFF SUCH AN EVENT. UNFORTUNATELY, THEY WEREN'T ABLE TO ATTEND THURSDAY'S COMEDY SHORTS EVENT BECAUSE OF LAST MINUTE SCHEDULING CHANGES. THE CAST WAS PREPARING TO FLY OUT TO L.A. FOR THE EMMYS, AND HAD TO WORK OVERTIME TO SHOOT TWO WEEKS WORTH OF WORK IN JUST ONE WEEK. AS DISAPPOINTING AS THIS MAY BE FOR THOSE IN ATTENDANCE AT THE EVENT, IT COULDN'T BE HELPED.
This all just confirms my belief that the NYTVF might not be scheduled at the best time of year. I understand that they want to tie it into the Fall Pilot Season, but it's such a busy time for the television industry that I think this works against them. It might be easier to attract industry insiders and the press at a time that doesn't fall within their busiest season.