April 10, 2014 10:08am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Starz Orders Filmmaking Docuseries With Shane Dawson, Zachary Quinto
Starz is taking a seat at the unscripted table.
The premium cable network has picked up its first original unscripted project, The Chair, a docuseries exploring the filmmaking process.
Emmy-nominated Project Greenlight producer Chris Moore created the 10-episode competition series that will follow two directors through the process of bringing their first feature to the screen. The series will premiere in the fall on Starz.
First-time filmmakers Shane Dawson and Anna Martemucci will separately adapt How Soon Is Now, a coming-of-age feature-length comedy that chronicles the first Thanksgiving homecoming weekend for a handful of college freshmen who are fumbling toward adulthood. The script was written by Dan Schoffer and produced by Josh Shader.
The Chair will document the creation, marketing and theatrical release of both adaptations, which will also air on Starz. Both directors will be given the same budget and both films will use locations in the same city. Through multiplatform voting, the audience will determine which director will take home $250,000. Star Trek and Heroes alum Zachary Quinto and his producing partners Corey Moosa, Neal Dodson and Sean Akers will be featured alongside Moore and Shader in the series and will serve as mentors to both Dawson and Martemucci.
Dawson is a YouTube breakout whose channel features more than 10 million subscribers and 1 billion-plus views. Martemucci is a writer, actor and filmmaker who most recently received critical recognition for her independent film Breakup at a Wedding, which she starred in and wrote.
Both directors will have creative leeway to develop their film using their own ingenuity and distinct experience. Screenplay rewrites, the casting of actors, hiring of crewmembers -- even the name of the film -- will be up to the directors and documented in the series.
The Chair is exec produced by Moore (Good Will Hunting) and Anthony B. Sacco in partnership with Starz and in association with Steel Town Entertainment Project and Point Park University in Pittsburgh; and Quinto’s production company, Before the Door Pictures. The project is also supported by Animal Inc. and Allegheny County.
"In the past decade, the Internet has changed so many aspects of the creative filmmaking process, and The Chair will give viewers the opportunity to see if the skills that enable a director to thrive in the fast-paced online video world can translate into a compelling feature-length experience," Moore says. "It's also going to be fascinating to watch as a more traditional artist finds ways to challenge an undisputed master of online promotion for attention (and votes) for her project."
For Starz, The Chair joins a roster of original scripted dramas including Black Sails and Da Vinci's Demons as well as upcoming series Power, Outlander, Flesh and Bone, The Missing and its first scripted comedy, Survivor's Remorse.