Those Who Can't
The Nix Bros. have been on our roster of Director's for 8 years now. Due to their hard core passion as comedic filmmakers, they were cranking out a web series called The Grawlix, which followed the stand up comedy troop consisting of Ben Roy, Adam Cayton-Holland, and Andrew Orvedahl. This was originally an online web series produced purely for fun, when an LA-based agent of one of the comedians ran it in front of the newly formed Amazon Studios.
Amazon was financing a dozen entertainment projects, from various genres, and wanted The Grawlix to produce a full length pilot episode based on the style of the web series. Representing the Nix Bros., Image Brew was asked to provide the production services and manage the funds to deliver this pilot, which would all be shot in Denver. Amazon was then planning to offer all of the 12 pilot episodes for free on Prime, and ask the viewers to vote for their favorites, which would then hopefully be green-lit for a full season. Receiving only a fraction of the funds some of the other pilot's received for this content trial, we were clearly the underdog. But, our Denver crew was stoked to be a part of it, and the comedians and Nix Bros were enthused by the opportunity to show off our Denver comedy chops.
You can find the original Grawlix web series, produced by the Nix Bros. here! And just for fun, here's the first episode below! Note: Although these are good as hell, this is the original series, not the pilot that we later produced for Amazon!
Pre-production & Planning
Working with a team of our producers, including Justin Springer from our roster, we assembled a nimble yet skilled crew to shoot the entire pilot over a seven day shoot. Lots of prep needs to go into a scripted show like this. The Directors are fine tuning a shot list and execution method with gear and lighting, while the producers are solidifying permits for locations, negotiating talent licensing, assembling a crew and making sure all required production equipment is ready to go.
We always encourage our clients to allow us to take amble prep time to ensure we're ready for anything and everything. If we prep in detail, and create a solid plan, both the production and the post production go so much smoother.
Working with a team of our producers, including Justin Springer from our roster, we assembled a nimble yet skilled crew to shoot the entire pilot over a seven day shoot. After leaving the feature film world of NYC, it felt great to be on set of a scripted television show. Besides keeping up with a hectic production schedule, one of the crews biggest challenges was avoiding cracking up on set during one of the many hilarious scenes.
Evan and Adam Nix were at home in this hectic production environment. They encouraged that we not only film the scripted scenes, but also capture plenty of improvised banter within the story framework, exactly in-line with how they shot their online web series. This creates plenty of content and selects for the editing.
The Nix Bros were also hired to be our editors. As an executive producer, this in my eyes is a huge advantage when you have very talented folks that can offer multidisciplinary skills like this. Directors spend countless hours planning the scenes in their brains, through storyboards, shot lists, and their daydreams. The editing craft allows them to do this in the somewhat physical space of a non-linear editing sequence too. Let the Director lock themselves in an edit suite for 24 hours and see what they come up with.
Lucky for all of us, although we had to have Amazon approve 22-minutes of finished content for the pilot, they listened to the creative requests of the writers and directors, and approved our piece in line with the comedic integrity we all set out to create.
We didn't have the option to deliver something not awesome. I am very proud of not only the cinematic high production value look, but the writing, casting, and execution was spot on. Even though our pilot was nationally rated by viewers as one of the Top 3 favorites amongst all the original 12 pilot's produced, Amazon later decided our show was not a good fit for their brand, and passed. TruTV eventually picked up the show, which is currently in it's 3rd season of production.
Have a project we can help with?