Building a Better Hollywood--Grind or Glamour?
July 09, 2014 --
LOS ANGELES, July 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --According to writers Lance Lee Davis and Geoffrey Plitt, they're not only stepping up their game with the release of their It! People series, they're expecting Hollywood to follow suit. Using digital technology, they've teased philanthropy out of satirical comedy.
"We wanted to make a scripted show about the kooky antics behind the movie business, something that would appeal to a broad audience but also be a wink to our friends," explains Davis. "Naturally, we looked to our filmmaking day jobs to create something in the DIY spirit of the web, but slicker than your average YouTube series. And then we asked ourselves, how could we be Big Picture relevant?"
Unlike many independent Hollywood satires available online, It! People deals less with struggling masses and more with the one percent who've lied, cheated, lucked andgod forbidworked their way to the top, as seen from the perspective of a once famous child actor, the fictional Mick McCray (played by Davis).
To take the series from script to screen, the filmmakers used a visual, tech heavy design approach. Davis, an actor who graduated to slash producer in 2008 when Warner Brothers acquired his feature film, Good Chemistry, describes their process:
"We needed a visual style that would reflect our characters, and position our audience in the center of their media ocean. We built sets first in a computer, then let our production team execute. We shot photos of Hollywoodthe hills, the West Hollywood Sunset Strip, other landmark buildings and we put this together into a kind of idealized skyline."
But the filmmakers took it one step further. Not content with building a digital rendition of Hollywood, they looked to improve it on a fundamental level.
"We'd integrated all these billboards into the visual fabric of the showthey play in the credits sequence and in numerous jokes, but something was missing. It felt to me like just another show about Hollywood, raging egos well done but empty," says Davis.
Plitt explains that thinking globally is what finally got them excited: "We decided to give free ad space to humanitarian causes, to non-profit groups who are committed to making the world a better place. We gave our digital billboards away."
The effect is subtle, sometimes nearly invisible, but when watching, there's an irony in knowing that the fictional celebrities of It! People are playing out their dramassome more petty than othersagainst a skyline populated with real world efforts to make a difference.
"I'm a relative newcomer, but I'd like to see the established TV talent that's moving into the web space do something meaningful with their tools, think a little bigger," says Davis.
Plitt echoes, "If we can aim for a greater cause, why can't they?"