Life On Mars. A television pilot screening on campus of my alma mater and current employer – for free! A reception with complimentary refreshments! How could I pass up such an opportunity?
Following a couple of small glitches, I successfully R.S.V.P.d for two tickets. My intended first choice to accompany me had a scheduling conflict; as did first runner up. No problemo, I went alone. The electronic university communication clearly stated a 7 p.m. start.
Things at work kept me a little beyond regular “quitting time;” so I went directly to the campus theater following the train commute to my home station. For clarity, I work on the medical campus; the screening was on the academic campus which is about two miles from where I live.
Clothes that I wear to work are slightly different from clothes I wear “out.” Had time permitted me to rush home and change, it may have been just a little less uncomfortable.
The reception on the patio outside of the theater included a lovely selection of snacks including fresh fruit and soft pretzels. Oh, and a three piece musical ensemble. Nice touches all.
Displays and take-aways representing the pilot were also generously scattered appropriately. The ever-present photo-op back drop identifing the pilot and roving photog were central to the reception. So was the hot, humid, unbearable Miami night air. Early November; no one would have thought it would be a meterological record breaker!
Following my consumption of enough fruit flavored water and lemonade to realize it was not cooling me down, I discovered the air pocket. Every time one of the “official” people opened the door leading into the air conditioned theater, a whisper cool air escaped. I planted my rapidly swelling feet in a spot close enough to benefit from the “trailer” leaving just enough distance to allow opening/closing of the door for those breezing in and out.
Finally, the doors were opened to the melting mass of media maven wannnabes – including myself in that snob mob. Ahh. While those seated around me quickly donned sweaters or shawls, I wondered if my sweat soaked hair would dry before the pilot concluded.
Now, on with the show!
The creative team. Jake Gillman and Andie Isaacs, behind the pilot met on campus as students. Andie paired up with Alexa Proz to launch Isaacs & Proz Productions, LLC. Prier to rolling the pilot, due recognition and acknowledgements were given to their professors and mentors at UM and points beyond (Andie’s father-currently a film prof at UCLA and UM alum).
Kudos to the rising production execs for entering the 15% of female dominated companies in the industry. Their futures are unfolding as they forge their way into professionally tough territory. They do have the power of hurriCANEs behind them.
Little did I know when I selected my seat in the theater that it was directly behind two of the male players. Jake, the lead and “namesake” Mars character; and Edward French who plays Michael Storch. The Storch character is type-cast as the handsome prince secondary to his distinctive British accent. The two are good friends in the hoped to be series.
David Mars is an angst ridden writer’s blocked mess living with his ailing mother. The audience is presented two perspectives; “on camera as the production of “Life On Mars” begins within the series as well as behind-the-scenes with David as he struggles to come to terms with the fact his embarrassing life is being reenacted for the world to see.” *
It may have been easier to elicit more than a Chesire grin from me had I not been stressed and over-heated waiting for the doors to open. That said…
I am cheering for the “home team” and the prospect of the series being picked up for a seasonal run. The pilot introduces potential plots/ story lines focusing on David’s stunted social/love life and writer’s block; his auditioning psychiatrists to replace his revered-now-comatose one; and the course his mother’s cancer will take.
Following the screening, an informal Q & A took place. It is clear that the up-coming talents are committed to growing their success and talents. Also apparant that they are filled with gratitude for all of their collective resources and support.
I’m not and “authorized” reviewer so I will restrain from awarding stars or thumbs-up ratings. I will however claim the right to emphasise that I sat behind David Mars and Prince Charming every opportunity I may have.
In closing, I would like to encourage the creators to rename the prospective series to; “Mars On Life.” It is a catchier title. It is a depection of David Mars’ daily travails. It sounds less like a sci-fi or planetary discussion.
* “lifted” from Life On Mars informational brochure available at the Miami Premiere Screeningt of same