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Fox's 'On the Lot' eliminates Sam Friedlander, reveals Top 3 finalists


By Christopher Rocchio, 08/15/2007 

Sam Friedlander was revealed to be the fifteenth finalist eliminated from On the Lot during last night's live penultimate broadcast of the Fox reality filmmaking competition series.

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Although home viewers didn't learn of his elimination until last night's broadcast, Sam, a 27-year-old web producer from Santa Monica, CA, had learned of his ousting from On the Lot host Adrianna Costa last Wednesday -- less than a day after last week's screening of the "a man wakes up and finds himself in a dress but can't remember what happened the night before"-themed films the show's Top 4 finalists had directed.

During last Tuesday night's broadcast, Sam screened his film Dress For Success, a strange Nine to Five/Saw hybrid about a sexist male boss that was abducted and forced to walk a mile in his female co-workers' shoes.  On the Lot judge Carrie Fisher thought the film lacked originality due to its similarities to Nine to Five and Saw.

"I felt like you started off strong visually," said last week's guest judge, The Italian Job director F. Gary Gray.  "But I agree [with Carrie], totally it felt like two different movies.  You look at Saw, you look at Nine to Five.   It's two different genres, two different tones.  It's tough to blend the tones, and that was your challenge... It was a tough challenge.  Maybe next time if you manage the tone a little better, you'll have success."

"The pace could have been a little faster pace," said On the Lot judge Garry Marshall.  "I thought in general that the competition is so hot now, that we all know you.  You're like a family to us.  We're rooting for all of you.  But I think this could have been a drop higher."

Prior to Adrianna's elimination announcement, Sam sounded like he was buckling a bit under the competition's pressure.

"To be on the verge of being in the final three for the finale, it's definitely nerve-wracking," said Sam.

However Sam did come-up just short of making the finale after what Adrianna described as "the biggest public vote yet" following last Tuesday night's broadcast.

"I didn't make it to the end, but I made it pretty far," said Sam after Adrianna revealed his elimination.  "Directing is about doing it, and getting to do this every week has been invaluable.  Being in this competition has made me realize how much I love directing and how much I want to do this for the rest of my life."

After revealing the voting results from last week, On the Lot's live broadcast resumed and the Top 3 finalists -- Jason Epperson, a 30-year-old film production company owner from Winchester, KY; Will Bigham, a 31-year-old film editor from Glendale, CA; and Adam Stein, a 29-year-old freelance film editor from Los Angeles, CA -- each screened two of the films they previously directed during the competition that they felt "best represent" their work.

Jason screened Eternal Waters, which was about a woman who is saved from a home intruder by her recently deceased son, and Sweet, which was about a young guy who remembers his wedding anniversary at the last minute; Will screened Glass Eye, which was produced by his wife, starred his dog, and followed a man who sees the world differently, as well as The Yes Men, a film about a tyrannical office boss that woke up in a dress but seemed oblivious to the development; while Adam screened Army Guy, a film about an amnesiac toy soldier that woke up wearing a tutu in a dollhouse full of Barbie-like dolls, and Dough: The Musical, a musical about a bread baker and his search for love.

After the three aspiring directors screened their films, Carrie and Garry gave their final opinions on who should win the competition's $1 million DreamWorks development deal and the opportunity to be "personally welcomed" to the industry during next week's finale by director and On the Lot creator Steven Spielberg.

"This is a really tough decision," said Carrie.  "Adam, I love your stuff and Jason... But I would have to go with Will for his originality."

"I think show business needs a Kentucky sensibility... I think Jason," said Garry.

Home viewers voted for their favorite Top 3 finalist immediately following last night's broadcast, with the winner to be revealed during next week's live On the Lot finale on Tuesday, August 21 at 8PM ET (PT tape-delayed) on Fox.

(Photo credit Fox)


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