A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this filmmaking reality show can get bitterly competitive. The contestants sometimes yell at each other and talk badly about each other to the cameras during interviews. Emotions can get very intense during wins and losses, and seeing contestants cry when their dreams are crushed can be quite sad. Other than that, some film descriptions touch on romance or violence (no details), and occasional movie clips show smoking and drinking (such as a scene from Casablanca).
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What's the story?
ON THE LOT follows aspiring filmmakers as they compete for cash and a deal with DreamWorks. They're faced with some pretty big hurdles from the start; the very first challenge finds them preparing a movie pitch for that episode's three judges. Some contestants crash and burned with delirious tears, while others perform beautifully. The cameras catch it all, with one-on-one interviews bolstering the drama.
Is it any good?
On the Lot follows the now-familiar format of other talent-based reality show competitions, from America's Next Top Model to Hell's Kitchen. The rules are generally the same: A bunch of talented people, culled for diversity and personality, undergo challenges that sometimes seem next to impossible in hopes of getting their big break. What's novel about this series is that it's produced by Steven Spielberg, and the celebrity judges are well-known experts in the field of big-budget Hollywood filmmaking: director Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman) and actress Carrie Fisher (other notable names, like director Brett Ratner, rotate in as guest judges). The aspiring filmmakers also have access to top-notch equipment from the Universal Studios lot; this, along with the expert advice, puts a lot of pressure on the motley group.
Typical reality-show personality clashes pop up, highlighting the competitive nature of the process. Some folks can be nasty, but all are clearly motivated and passionate about their work. Overall, the show is fun to watch because real talent is afoot.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this series is different than -- and similar to -- other reality competition series, from America's Next Top Model to Project Greenlight. Do you think the show offers an accurate depiction of how Hollywood works? Were you surprised to see how difficult making a movie can be? What kind of movies would you like to make? What kind do you like to watch? Why?