TV Insights, Observations and Obsessions from the NYTVF
Check out our Q&A series with Fest Founder Terence Gray (and others), designed to provide submitting artists and TV fans with insight to the current development landscape. If you're thinking about submitting to the NYTVF, this is for you.
Fresh off the announcement of No Tomorrow being added to the fall lineup of The CW, the NYTVF sat down with series writers and multi-year NYTVF Alums Tory Stanton and Scott McCabe. Collectively known as Two Trick Pony Productions, Stanton and McCabe talked about their new series, the development process, and the best ways to stand out.
We were really excited to see your new series, No Tomorrow, added to The CW’s fall lineup! How did the series develop, and when did you enter into the process?
The show was originally developed by another writer and producer, Corinne Brinkerhoff. Electus, the production company on the pilot, owned the rights to the Brazilian format and were looking to develop it here in the states. Corinne worked up the pitch and sold the show to The CW – only to hear days later that another show she had sold was being picked up directly to series. That’s where we came in. Corinne asked us to help her write the pilot, and then we stayed on as producers when the pilot was greenlit for production. So it’s been kind of a crazy, kismet process.
The CW released a trailer with the Upfronts announcement, but can you tell people a little bit about the show?
We like to think of the show as a romantic comedy with the ultimate ticking clock. Our protagonist, Evie, is a risk-averse quality-control assessor. Whenever she’s making a list, “make a list” is both the first thing on it and the first thing crossed off. When she meets the charming, free-spirited Xavier, the attraction is immediate and electric. He brings a jolt of joyful, rollicking romance into her life. Xavier encourages Evie to carpe that diem, because it’s more fun that way and because the apocalypse is, you know, nigh. He believes humankind has only eight months and twelve days until a runaway asteroid smacks us all into stardust. So Evie must decide whether Xavier is certifiable and whether that even matters, if being with him means living her life more fully.
You mentioned that the series is based on a Brazilian series (How to Enjoy the End of the World). We’ve seen so many shows originating from foreign markets, with great successes like Ugly Betty, The Office, and Jane the Virgin. When you were writing this pilot, how much did you use the original series as a guide, and how does No Tomorrow diverge?
All of those shows you mentioned were developed by the same team, Ben Silverman and Electus Pictures, as is our show. The original Brazilian series is actually very different from where we ended up. That show was made in 2012 to coincide with the end of the Mayan calendar. That element obviously was no longer available to us, so we diverged pretty much right away, focusing more on the spirit of the show rather than any particular detail. (In fact, there’s only one small joke from the original series that we kept.) We decided, as a team, that we wanted to flop the genders from the original show and center it around Evie and make it about her journey. That felt more interesting to us and also flipped the paradigm of the quirky girl rescuing the straight-laced man on its head. Also, the original show was a half hour, where ours is an hour-long comedy, which we love and which is a corner The CW has really staked out.
The pilot (and perhaps the series) brings up the idea of Evie and Xavier’s “Apocalysts” – basically a bucket list of things to do before the end of the world. Will the series be using this list as a framing device going forward, and what are some items on your own personal Apocalysts?
We don’t feel beholden to the device, but it will certainly offer some fertile territory to mine for the show. And working on the show has definitely gotten us thinking about our own apocalysts. So far the only thing on both our lists is understanding and mastering the art of butter sculpting.
A noble endeavor. You’ve also been working with truTV with Hope & Randy. Can you tell us a little bit about that web series and your relationship with the network and Rachel Dratch’s Late Night Snack?
Absolutely, yeah, we love truTV and actually have two shows that we’ve written and directed for Late Night Snack: “Hope & Randy” and “Cocktales with Little Esther,” a chat show about sex and dating hosted by the comedian Esther Povitsky. We originally developed that one with Above Average, and the first series of episodes are live on their site. “Hope & Randy” is another romantic comedy about two twenty-somethings in their first serious relationship, tackling weighty topics like the first time you fart in front of your partner.
You’ve been creating interesting and flat-out hilarious comedy for as long as we’ve known you, and we constantly hear execs talk about looking for fresh and unique voices. How did you work to hone your voice, and what advice do you have for indie creators in making sure their point of view comes across in their work?
Just to trust your gut. Make something -- make lots of somethings -- that you find funny and interesting. And if you keep doing that your voice should take care of itself. And if it doesn’t, green tea and honey is great for the vocal cords.
Check out previous downloads here:
FLOWERS Creator Will Sharpe | Comedy Central Insights - 5/6/16 | 2016 TV Town Halls Advice | 2016 Bento Box Interview | 2016 truTV - Marissa Ronca | NYTVF Best Comedy Animals Heads to HBO | Q&A with the Jamz | Alumni Q&A (Richard Keith and Erin Cardillo) - 5/29/15 | Alumni Q&A (Damian Lanigan) - 5/29/15 | Chicago Comedy Panel - 5/18/15 | Big Laughs at Just For Laughs - 5/5/15 | Alumni Q&A (Whatever Linda) - 3/27/15 | Insights from the intern bullpen - 8/27/14 | Insights from the intern bullpen - 8/19/14 | Insights from the intern bullpen - 8/6/14 | Insights from the intern bullpen - 7/30/14 | Insights from the intern bullpen - 7/24/14 | Rory Covey of My Damn Channel's Honchos - 4/10/14 | Drama advice from Siobhan Byrne O'Connor - 4/3/14 | NYTVF Alum Danny Abrahms - 3/21/14 | Drama Advice - 3/13/14 | Advice from Chicago - 3/10/14 | Unscripted LA Panel - 2/25/14 | Drama Development - 2/20/14 | MSN Development - 2/12/14 | Casting - 2/5/14 | The Network Development Process - 1/29/14 | History Development - 1/15/14 | Comedy Formats - 3/18/13 | A&E Pipeline - 4/3/13| Fox Script Contest - 4/10/13 | From Film to TV - 5/17/13 | Lifetime Unscripted - 9/4/13