Pilot Spotlight: Inside ‘Hysteria’

image

A group of teens in a small Texas town suffer from unexplained seizures, which begin to spread to the wider population.  A neurologist (played by Mena Suvari) returns home to investigate the medical mystery, only to suspect that the affliction is being spread through social media.  

If it sounds far-fetched, even Mashable warns that the pilot “will make you incredibly paranoid.”  

In this behind-the-scenes video, show creator Shaun Cassidy (Invasion) and Suvari explain what inspired them to make Hysteria, a drama that “combines the contagion thriller with the Internet paranoia thriller,” according to the New York Times.

Will it make you step away from Facebook?  See for yourself by watching the pilot.

Pilot Spotlight: The Making of ‘Red Oaks’

image The only thing better than a dream summer job could be making a pilot about a dream summer job – especially if it takes place at a Jersey country club in the 80s.  

If you’re nostalgic for the comedies of yesteryear, you might like the Steven Soderbergh-produced pilot for Red Oaks. As the New York Times describes it, “It’s as if the spirits of John Hughes, Harold Ramis and the young Richard Linklater had all gotten together to consult.” 

Get a look behind-the-scenes of this coming-of-age comedy and see how director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) went about “rebelling against the expectations of TV” and capturing characters “at the eccentric, awkward points in their lives.”

Then don’t forget to watch, rate and review the Red Oaks pilot here.

And stay tuned to Hollywonk as we offer up an inside look at each of the Amazon Original pilots over the next three weeks. 

Watch the Shows - Call the Shots

image

We’re excited to unveil five highly-anticipated new pilots from some of the most talented and renowned writers, filmmakers and actors. For the next four weeks, it’s up to you to watch, rate and review them – helping to determine which ones get the greenlight to a full series.

You’ll be treated to a wide range of stories and voices: Whit Stillman’s romantic comedy The Cosmopolitans, about the glamorous life of expats in Paris, starring Adam Brody and Chloë Sevigny. The Steven Soderbergh-produced comedy Red Oaks, about the upstairs/downstairs life of a college student at a 1980s Jersey country club, starring Craig Roberts, Paul Reiser and Jennifer Grey. The mysterious and complex vigilante drama Hand of God from Ben Watkins, directed World War Z filmmaker Marc Forster, starring Ron Perlman and Dana Delany. The psychological thriller Hysteria, about an epidemic spread through social media, from Shaun Cassidy and starring Mena Suvari. And Jay Chandrasekhar’s comedic treatise on marriage, Really, about a group of couples clinging to their youth, starring Sarah Chalke and Selma Blair.

Check out the sizzle reel for all five pilots, then start watching and weighing in today — all free at AmazonOriginals.com.

And check back here, as Hollywonk will be spotlighting each pilot and going behind the scenes in the weeks ahead.

'Transparent' Premieres Sept. 26th - Watch the Just-Released Trailer

image

It was the groundbreaking pilot that scored passionate reviews from viewers and critics alike back in February, earning a pickup to full series.  Just seven months later, all 10 episodes of the wry, dark comedy Transparent will debut September 26th on Prime Instant Video. For a sneak peek, check out the just-released trailer on YouTube.

Created by Sundance Directing Award winner Jill Soloway, the series stars Jeffrey Tambor as Maura, who has spent her life as Mort — the Pfefferman family patriarch.  When Maura reintroduces herself to her family, everyone spins in a different direction as they begin to figure out who they are.  This includes ex-wife Shelly (Judith Light) and their children — meandering Ali (Gaby Hoffman from Girls), music producer Josh (Jay Duplass), and sexually conflicted Sarah (Amy Landecker from Louie).

If you missed the pilot or want to see it again, you can get a head start and watch the first episode here.  And in the coming weeks, Hollywonk will be featuring insights from creator Jill Soloway about how she got her start, the issues her series raises, and her advice to other writers. 

Amazon Greenlights Five New Kids’ Series Pilots

A preschool whodunit. A hilarious friendship between dirty trucks.  An epic quest to defeat darkness.  An ousted crowd who navigates middle school cafeteria dynamics. And a trio who discover the power of magic.

These are the five kids’ stories Amazon Studios has ordered to pilot, officially announced today.  Early next year, all five will showcase their first episodes for viewer feedback on Amazon Instant Video. 

During the last kids’ pilot season, one of the highest-rated pilots was Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, which was created by pre-school teacher David Anaxagoras, a first-time writer who was discovered through Amazon Studios’ open-door submission process.  In November, Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street will launch as a full series on Amazon Prime.

In a few months, viewers will have the chance to discover the next hit kids show.  “We’re very excited to be working with such talented creative minds to bring these five new pilots to life,” said Tara Sorensen, Head of Kids Programming at Amazon Studios.  “At Amazon, we’re focused on great characters and storytelling to create engaging programming for children.” 

So here they are, the five new pilot premises and the people behind them:

Buddy: Tech Detective (for preschool-aged children)
An interactive preschool whodunit that follows super-sleuth Buddy, his incredibly organized best friend Trudy, the funny furry ferret Ferdo and you, the smarty-pants viewer! Using a myriad of interactive technologies, Buddy and his team gather evidence, follow cues and crack the case. Written by Jennifer Hamburg (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Super Why, Henry Hugglemonster), produced by The Foundation, a part of Zodiak Kids, and animated by Jellyfish Pictures.

image

The Stinky & Dirty Show (for preschool-aged children)

The adventures and mishaps faced by best friends and unlikely heroes: Stinky the garbage truck and Dirty the backhoe loader. Whether it’s rescuing their pal Mighty the tugboat, or moving a giant boulder blocking the highway in their town of Go City, Stinky & Dirty are a dynamic duo of resourcefulness who make plenty of mistakes along the way. For them, hilariously failing turns out to be the most fun path to success.  The Stinky & Dirty Show is based on the “I Stink!” book series by Kate and Jim McMullan,and is written by Guy Toubes (The Adventures of Chuck & Friends, Littlest Pet Shop, Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi) and animated by Brown Bag Films (Peter Rabbit, Octonauts, Doc McStuffins).

image

Niko and the Sword of Light (for children ages 6-11)

The epic story of a 10-year-old named Niko who is the last of his kind in a strange, fantastical world. He must embark on a quest to defeat the darkness and bring the light back to his land. Armed with his magic sword, brave Niko journeys to the Cursed Volcano while making new friends and powerful foes along the way, all while revealing secrets about his mysterious past.  Based on the motion graphic comic by Imaginism Studios, the studio behind character and concept designs for Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and Men in Black 3.The pilot was written by Rob Hoegee (Generator Rex, League of Super Evil, Storm Hawks, Teen Titans) and animated by Titmouse (Motor City, Metalocalpyse, Turbo FAST, Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja).

image

Table 58 (for children ages 6-11)
The live-action story of a group of kids who are not part of the popular crowd, and not part of the geek crowd.  The only thing they’re a part of is Table 58: the odd table in the lunchroom, made up of kids from all different cliques who have been ousted from the table where they seemingly belong. When new kid Logan moves to town, he rallies the group of six mismatched middle schoolers to form a tenuous partnership in order to help each other get back to their rightful place in the cafeteria. Written by May Chan (Phineas & Ferb, Bucket & Skinner’s Epic Adventures), Table 58 is a single-camera live-action pilot directed by Gil Junger (10 Things I Hate About You,Greek).

image

Just Add Magic (for children ages 6-11)
The live-action story about Kelly Quinn and her two BFF’s, Darbie and Hannah, who stumble upon her grandmother’s mysterious cookbook in the attic and discover it has some interesting recipes. The Shut’em Up Shortcake actually silences Kelly’s pesky little brother, and when the Healing Hazelnut Tart quickly heals Darbie’s ankle, the girls discover they have the power of magic. Based on Cindy Callaghan’s young adult book of the same name and adapted by Joanna Lewis & Kristine Songco (Sullivan & Son, Fairly Odd Parents, My Little Pony) and Nancy Cohen (Sabrina, The Thundermans), directed by Joe Nussbaum (George Lucas in Love, Awkward). 

image

Stay tuned for more details from behind-the-scenes as these pilots get cast and come to life.