Founded in 2005, the New York Television Festival (running this year from October 22-27) strives to do for the medium of TV what film festivals often do for cinema — to provide a platform for independent work and, perhaps, in this case through network deals, a way to get it seen by a larger audience.
One of the primary ways that the festival does this is through its annual Independent Pilot Competition, in which original, independent television pilots are presented for industry execs and TV fans. Winners in a variety of categories are chosen by a jury, and in addition to those awards four networks — IFC, MTV, Syfy and VH1 — have signed on to offer their own prizes, each of which consists of cash and some type of development deal.
The NYTVF is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis. The comedy show “Bunk,” which wrapped its first season on IFC last week, was discovered by the network at the 2010 festival, becoming the first comedy pilot from the festival to be greenlit to series. Another pilot from the 2010 festival, “Hard Parts: South Bronx,” was picked up by and premiered on SPEED earlier this year.
Below is a list of the 51 pilots in the 2012 official selection, which are divvied up by the festival into animated, comedy, drama and non-scripted categories.
4 Motorheads (Reality Competition)
Created by: Frank Mosca, Lenny Mitchel, and Will Vetter – City Island, NY
Four “motorheads” and best friends set out to take on unique, bizarre, and outrageous automotive events across the country.
Actors Anonymous (Comedy)
Created by: René Ashton – Studio City, CA
Actors are rehabilitated to life-after-acting with the help of a 12-step program and a load of self-restraint. Starring René Ashton, Sally Kirkland (Anna, Days of Our Lives), Lorenzo Lamas (Falcon Crest, Renegade), and Brian Krause (Charmed).
Actualized (Single-Camera Comedy)
Created by: Scott Eckert, Chris Grace, Chris O’Brien, Rich Hollman, and Nate Williams – New York, NY
John, a disgraced self-help guru, secretly hires a failed regional theater actor to be the public face of his life coaching business. Starring Dan O’Brien (Whitney), Matt Oberg (Onion News Network, Ugly Americans), Kevin Meaney (Dr. Katz) Kurt Braunohler (Bunk, Delocated), and Grace Helbig (Attack of the Show!, Daily Grace).
American Viral (Sitcom)
Created by: Shandor Garrison, AnnaRose King, and Jennifer Suhr – New York, NY
Year’s after the fame of his son’s viral video hit (“My Balls, My Balls”), a father uses any means necessary to recapture America’s heart… even if that means kidnapping his own child. Starring Michael Showalter (Stella, Wet Hot American Summer), Zandy Hartig (Childrens Hospital, Wainy Days), Griffin Newman (Political Animals), and Daniel Flaherty (Hope Springs, Skins).
Anyone’s Guess (Sketch Comedy)
Created by: Two Trick Pony – Berkeley, CA
Short films and sketch comedy combine to form the next step in the evolution of modern comedy. Scratch that: A step.
Black & White (Action Dramedy)
Created by: Gregory Storm and Maryam Storm – Burbank, CA
Half-brothers Shawn Black and Keith White work outside the law to bring positive outcomes to their clients’ bad situations.
Created by: Joe Webb – Los Angeles, CA
After their father’s death, two estranged brothers have to move back into their childhood home and find a way to pay off their dad’s debt to the mob.
Bounty Hunters (Crime Comedy)
Created by: David Spates – Los Angeles, CA
David and John are bounty hunters, tracking down the baddest of the bad and meanest of the mean…that is, if they can resist killing each other along the way.
Breaking the News (Workplace Sitcom)
Created by: Matt Evans – New York, NY
News Action News is the lowest-rated local news station in Westchester, but, with a ‘can do’ attitude and a commitment to excellence, they just might make it to second-lowest. Starring Miriam Tolan (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart), Brian Stack (Conan, 30 Rock), Dave Pasquesi (Strangers With Candy, Boss), and Christine Walters (Beavis and Butt-Head, Sesame Street).
Captain Cornelius Cartoon’s Cartoon Lagoon (Animated Puppet Comedy)
Created by: Manny Galán – New York, NY
Join Captain Cornelius Cartoon, Wet Willy Jones, and Axel Rodd McGee on their undersea quest aboard the Manta Ray as it plumbs the depths of Cartoon Lagoon in search of the best and the worst cartoons ever made. Starring Chris Phillips (Team Umizoomi) and the puppeteer work of Noel MacNeal (Bear in the Big Blue House), Michael Schupbach (Sesame Street), and Frankie Cordero (The Daily).
Control (Sci-fi Drama)
Created by: Josh Bernhard and Bracey Smith – Astoria, NY
Control explores political, social, and interpersonal challenges in the pressure-filled mission control center of a manned space mission.
The Dangerous Wanderings of C. Philip Montgomery (Animated Comedy)
Created by: Ash Louis and Evan Morgenstern – New York, NY
In the early 1900’s, a crew of dysfunctional, entitled, alcoholic explorers led by C. Philip Montgomery race around the world to show up a rival Canadian exploration crew.
Darla (Dark Comedy)
Created by: Kelly May – Santa Monica, CA
This sunny, California-set, wicked comedy follows absent-minded trivia aficionado Darla as she spends her days exterminating local girls who have failed to live up to her “standards of social order.”
The Dody Show (White Trash Mockumentary Web Series)
Created by: Carrie Preston – New York, NY
Dody (a strong, sexy, trashy chick) and her brother Willie have to deal with the fallout when an X-Tube video of her husband and best friend goes viral. Created by and starring Carrie Preston (True Blood, The Good Wife).
From Adam (Comedy)
Created by: Stephen Soroka and Will Bozarth – New York, NY
When Adam has no choice but to return to his hometown after his seemingly perfect, “big city” life crumbles around him, he’s forced to answer questions that he’s struggled with his entire life. Starring Leslie Collins (VH1’s Best Night Ever), Henry Zebrowski (Girls, Michael and Michael Have Issues), and Kurt Braunohler (Bunk, Delocated).
Funemployment (Comedy Web Series)
Created by: Kevin Burke – Los Angeles, CA
Three 20-something friends deal with day-to-day adventures in a world where being young and jobless is the norm.
Galaxy Comics (Musical Workplace Comedy)
Created by: Jacey Heldrich – New York, NY
At a small, struggling comic book shop, fans and employees turn nerd culture into a heartfelt, musical adventure.
Gary Teaches Guitar (Sci-fi Comedy)
Created by: Tony Zaret, Stephen Levinson, Andrew Lin, Dave Croatto and Ed Mundy – Brooklyn, NY
Gary and (alien) Grizmore only care about making their guitar tutorial web series, even when they’re surrounded by government conspiracies, alien invasions, and murderous clone soldiers.
Guitar God (Webcam-based Sitcom)
Created by: Matt Kenchington – Brooklyn, NY
Guitar God is trying to live out his (perhaps delusional) guitar fantasies all while egregiously disregarding his real-world responsibilities. Will he be able to make enough money to stay in his brother’s attic, or will he be relegated to the garage?
Gymratz (Workplace Comedy)
Created by: Hunter Phillips and JD Arnott – Los Angeles, CA
Self-generated chaos and idiocy is the norm at a suburban Chicago gym, where the trainers and staff are just as crazy as the clients. Starring Mindy Sterling (Austin Powers, iCarly), Ryan McCann (Visioneers), Jill Alexander (The Middle.), and Cathy Shim (Reno: 911, MADtv).
Created by: Damian Lanigan – Brooklyn, NY
A failed English documentarian’s bourgeois Brooklyn self-delusions are shattered when he connects with his Iowan brother-in-law. Starring Damian Lanigan (BBC Three’s Massive) and Anna Martemucci (East of Eden short).
Happy Darling (Sketch Comedy)
Created by: Roderick Fransham – Wellington, NZ
This shorts-based comedy series combines scripted sketches, music, and dance in a way that is both high energy and subtle.
How to Get Lost (Adventure Travel)
Created by: Alec Pinkston – Chicago, IL
This youth-targeted format puts a new spin on traditional travel shows, educating viewers on how to see the most, spend the least, and find the heart of a city through the lens of its people.
Hunters (Animated Workplace Comedy)
Created by: Nathan Floody – New York, NY
Young executive recruiters must contend with a crazy boss and even crazier potential candidates.
In Session with Jonathan Pessin (Single-Camera Comedy)
Created by: Jonathan Pessin – Los Angeles, CA
Jonathan is searching for the perfect therapist to fix him, the perfect girl to complete him, and the perfect vintage object to fill the void in his life. Starring Jonathan Pessin and featuring Willie Garson (White Collar, Sex and the City), Alex Désert (Becker), Jon Lajoie (The League), and Dee Wallace (E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial).
Jersey Ice (Sports Reality)
Created by: Maestro Film Productions – Wayne, NJ
The New Jersey Outlaws, a professional minor league hockey team under the leadership of Coach Chris Firriolo, hit the ice in their inaugural season in the new Federal Hockey League (FHL).
The King of URLs (Single-Camera Comedy)
Created by: Daniel Klein – Chicago, IL
Step inside the world of Alexander GiMetti, the world’s greatest pitchman of internet domains, a self-proclaimed web superstar, and a divorced father of one.
King Temp (Workplace Sitcom Web Series)
Created by: Jason Saenz and Nick Turner – New York, NY
Nick has never had a real job in his life, and he takes advantage of the perks of temporary employment and never returning to the same office twice.
Life Sucks (Comedy)
Created by: Allyson Condrath, Max Fox, Jake Mann, Kyle Miller, and Ian Wexler – Brooklyn, NY
Struggling through their painfully awkward yet hilarious lives, Jake, Max, and Ally are exiled from their respective cliques and cast into the social jungle that is Middle School.
The Louder, The Better (Satirical Drama)
Created by: Michael A. Toscano – New York, NY
Max Cotton, a Conservative Radio show host, is surprised to discover the influence his voice has had on one violently disturbed listener.
Love’s a Bitch (Breakup Sitcom)
Created by: Eric Ian Goldberg, Matt Kazman, Timothy Moran, and Anu Valia – Brooklyn, NY
Allison is bored. Wes is tired. And now they’re breaking up. Love’s a Bitch is a comedy series about moving on – one dysfunctional stage of grief at a time.
Lovin’ Lakin (Comedy Web Series)
Created by: Christine Lakin and Dave Mahanes – Los Angeles, CA
90s child actor Christine Lakin tries to regain fame and make it in Hollywood, despite her showbiz incompetence. Starring Christine Lakin (Step by Step, Valentine) with guest appearances from Seth MacFarlane (Ted, Family Guy), Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies), Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Ross Patterson (Accepted), and Jamie Lee Curtis (Freaky Friday).
Newton’s Law (Non-scripted Action)
Created by: Sean O’Riordan – London, UK
People volunteer to withstand their greatest fears so that a loved one has the chance to win their dream prize. Is their partner’s dream worth enduring the brutal punishments?
Offscreen (Spoof Comedy)
Created by: Tal Goldberg and Gal Zelezniak – Tel Aviv, Israel
Follow two friends through a series of misadventures as they work to create their own television show.
Osiris (Sci-fi Thriller)
Created by: Donnie Leapheart – Atlanta, GA
A charismatic immortal is tasked by the FBI to track down a missing witness in a murder trial, and he may find clues to the true nature of his eternal life along the way. Starring Brad James (Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse), Nicky Buggs (Army Wives), and Charmin Lee (Girlfriends, Diagnosis Murder).
Pam and Sue (Sketch Comedy)
Created by: Pam Murphy and Sue Galloway – New York, NY
Pam and Sue transform everyday situations into absurdly awkward and ridiculously funny sketch comedy. Starring Sue Galloway (30 Rock), Pam Murphy (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon), and the voice of John Lutz (30 Rock).
The Patrol (Military Comedy)
Created by: Daniel Redmond and James Bonadio – Los Angeles, CA
For the men of Security Team Omega, every day is a challenge…to not be total idiots.
Pockets Universe (Sci-fi Animated Comedy)
Created by: Edmond Melnychuk – Richmond, BC, Canada
A trucker named Pocket and a band of misfit castaways gain the ability to time travel. History is about to be re-written… in crayon.
Punderdome (Non-scripted Comedy)
Created by: Jeremy Redleaf – New York, NY
An aspiring comedian finally finds an idea to attract national press and sold-out venues, but there’s a catch: she runs that show with her father, a man with a large personality and a fascination with Rodney Dangerfield.
Ride Along (Dark Dramedy)
Created by: Ari Hyman – Los Angeles, CA
The surprising, sweet story of an alcoholic cop and a forgotten orphan who meet after a long day that has left each one wishing he had something more.
The Shadow Cabal (Fantasy Action Adventure)
Created by: Jason Faller and Kynan Griffin – Provo, UT
Featuring hard-hitting action, visual effects, and a vibrant universe, The Shadow Cabal is a fantasy epic with a Wild West twist.
Shrink (Crisis Comedy w/ Improvised Therapy)
Created by: Ted Tremper – Chicago, IL
After failing to obtain a residency, Dr. David Tracy has 6 months to perform 1750 hours of therapy out of his garage to save his career and avoid succumbing to a life of failure. Featuring Greg Hollimon (Strangers With Candy).
Space Girl (Sci-fi Comedy)
Created by: Tom Small – New York, NY
Sexy, intrepid Space Girl fights for justice in a universe of weird aliens, giant robots, neurotic computers and dangerous planets. Starring Lauren Francesca (Barely Political, Louie).
Tails in the City (Non-scripted Comedy)
Created by: Terri Lee Ryan, Bruce Haas, and Phillip Emigh – Chicago, IL
Phillip and Bruce, partners in life and their luxury pet boutique business, have assembled some of their most doting and dog-obsessed clients from Chicago’s elite Gold Coast neighborhood.
Tiffany: Death on the Runway (Animated Comedy)
Created by: Bill Plympton – New York, NY
Young and earnest Tiffany makes her fashion debut in an attempt to be the most unlikely of super models and reconnect with her beloved, Conrad. Created by Academy Award nominee Bill Plympton.
Time Trials (Sci-fi Drama)
Created by: Clay Lapari and Lee Jordan – Los Angeles, CA
A team of university researchers builds a time machine with the sole purpose of preventing Man from tampering with time.
The Untitled Web Series That Morgan Evans is Doing (Comedy Web Series)
Created by: Morgan Evans – Astoria, NY
Morgan Evans is a guy living in New York trying to deal with a bunch of people from Paramount Pictures…please don’t sue him. Starring Morgan Evans (The Onion News Network) and Ilana Glazer (Broad City).
Werewolf in a Girls’ Sorority (B-Horror Movie Spoof)
Created by: Andy Mogren – Glendale, CA
In this episode of a satirical TV show that tackles a new genre every episode, a werewolf ruins all the fun at a sorority party in a bloody way.
West Side Stories (Twenty-Something Comedy)
Created by: Greg Lisi – Los Angeles, CA
Lifelong platonic friends, Ben and Syd, grapple with awkward sex, society, and living in LA. Guest Starring Claire Titelman (Veronica Mars).
When I Grow Up (Sitcom)
Created by: Tanisha Long – New York, NY
Three post-grad lady friends take on the pitfalls of adult life, whether they’re ready to or not.
Your Dad’s Friends (Comedy)
Created by: Aaron Eisenberg, Alex Forstenhausler, and Austin Breslow – New York, NY
Ben is hell-bent on scoring a job in the entertainment industry, but his only connections are ‘friends’ of his father…his dentist father. Guest-starring Richard Kind (Spin City).