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977's Pitch #7: "Committed"

This pitch is going to be a little different than usual in that this time I'm not pitching a movie, but rather a television series. What's more, a reality series. What's even more, a SyFy original reality series. 

I think, given the network's continuing success in this market - from "Ghost Hunters" and its various incarnations, up through "Destination Truth," "Beast Legends" and, most recently, "Hollywood Treasure" - and given the network's ongoing relationship with a certain independent film studio, that it would make perfect sense, to me at least, for SyFy to commission an original documentary series centered around the fine folks at The Asylum. And what should be the name you this series, you might be asking? What else?


The gist is this: each season of "Committed" contains ten, one-hour episodes, and focuses on the complete development and release of one Asylum film. Each step of the process is covered, from concept to script to production crew to casting to shooting to editing to marketing, allowing loyal viewers an inside look at The Asylum's unique, efficient and economic filmmaking style. Shows would air on Saturday nights at 8 p.m., and each season's finale would be immediately followed by the world premiere of the film that season focused on at 9 p.m., this being, of course, the standard time-slot for SyFy Originals.

As the shrewdest, most-talked-about little studio since AIP, the folks over at The Asylum have a unique perspective on the Hollywood system and subverting it that I think would absolutely appeal to the creative, nonconformist types glued to SyFy on a Saturday night. And just imagine: what if there had been a camera crew following around Arkoff, Nicholson and Corman in the early years of AIP, giving us a first-hand glance at the tricks of the trade that made them one of the most successful and beloved independents in American film history? Imagine watching the likes of Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Bogdanovich, Martin Scorsese, Johnathan Demme, James Cameron, et cetera as they learned and honed the skills that would one day make them legends? It would be a cinematic artifact of immeasurable worth. And it would be pretty fucking awesome, too. 

This is exactly where we are, I believe, in the development of The Asylum: almost fifteen years under their belt and production has taken over distribution, at least as far as public consciousness is concerned, and now "Asylum-film" is quickly becoming a genre in and of itself. The ripple of awareness is expanding beyond this one, small, niche pond, and the time to make a bigger splash is now. Everyone watching SyFy knows who The Asylum is, and at least 80% of them are curious, one way or another, to see just how these flicks are hatched. I might be estimating those numbers, and I'm certainly no expert, but it just seems to me that a show like this on a network like that at a time like this couldn't help but succeed for at least a few seasons.

I mean, really, who doesn't want to watch Jaleel White screentest? Or Eric Forsberg explain to Paul Logan where and how to kick the yet-to-be-added Mega Piranha? Or exactly what goes down at an Asylum staff meeting? 

Bottom line, people love movies, and more and more as technology is becoming more and more available, the die hard fans want to know how movies are made, perhaps looking to inform their own endeavors. SyFy fans in particular, I would wager, engage in creative projects of their own - from writing to art to filmmaking or animation - more than most other network fanbases. This makes them, in my mind, the perfect audience for a series showcasing the inner workings of a low-budget genre filmmaking juggernaut and Hollywood outsiders on the brink of exploding into cultural consciousness in a major, lasting way. I, for one, would be glued to my set.

And if producers should want to introduce the company to viewers through a new employee that comes on in episode one, a "Dr. Carter," if you will, through whose energetic, enthusiastic eyes we see the magic and marvel of filmmaking unfurl, I might know a guy willing to quit his day job and force his wife southward from Oregon. I might.

I'm just sayin'.

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