Project Greenlight

Lately, 10pm is the family bedtime but for some reason, I stayed up until midnight watching the premiere of Project Greenlight on Bravo. I am very interested in filmmaking and kinda considering going for my masters in film somewhere, so I thought it might be cool to watch this show from the start since I missed it the last 2 seasons.

This year, the studio (Dimension Films) is having a big hand in choosing which film PG will eventually produce. Mainly because they agreed to finance it. Since Dimension has had alot of success with horror films (Scream, etc.), they wanted to go in a horror direction. After a lengthy script and director entry review period, the main players were able to reduce it to 3 finalists each.

The more interesting parts were during the internal conversations leading up to which film and director would be chosen for the project. What really caught me off guard was the completely ineffective arguing made by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. I assumed they knew how to talk the talk with studio execs. They had no clue. Ben did mention how studio people like to think of films in terms of how they can market them and which will bring in the best ROI.

Unfortunately, Matt didn’t get it. He kept arguing for the “best” director and script, and in Hollywood, that doesn’t mean biggest ROI.

Directing legend Wes Craven, acting as support for the chosen director, tried to argue in terms of technical feasibility and how long it would take and how bad the result would look considering the meager budget.

This was mildly effective although I could tell that the studio execs only saw those as creative limitations that the team would simply have to deal with.

I felt bad for Matt Damon because he is passionate about his work and made that clear, but didn’t provide any kind of alternative to the studio execs in terms of marketing strategy.

The execs wanted to know what the poster would look like, not the final film. Matt had it the other way around.

Matt also made a comment about it is unfortunate that now the “worst” script had to be paired up with the best director, and he was right.

What he didn’t forsee was all the re-writes that were coming up in the next episode. DOH!