'Spot' creators launch TV, film prod'n banner

At a time when content producers are grappling with how to tackle the Web, Scott Zakarin, Troy Bolotnick and Rich Tackenberg, a trio who enjoyed early success through the Internet, are going mainstream, establishing TV and film production banner Creative Light Entertainment.

Using marketing savvy they claim was gained from their experiences creating such Web-based projects as “The Spot,” the Internet’s first episodic show, the trio now hopes to use their interactive techniques to create, package and produce film and TV projects.

Trio in a ‘Jam’

In addition to “The Spot” — which followed the daily exploits of a group of Gen X-ers in a Santa Monica beach house — the threesome also created “GrapeJam,” an interactive sitcom featuring a comedy improvisational troupe performing in front of an Internet audience in real time.

Zakarin said their experiences from these shows and the interaction with fans inspired them to develop television and film projects, which they intend to heavily market online.

“What we learned was how to design a community, to involve the audience and invite them into our world,” Zakarin told Daily Variety. “Now, looking at Hollywood as a community, we want to take what we have done in the advertising, marketing and interactive world and now do it in a world with a bigger established market.”

Projects in the works

Among the film projects they have in development are: “Road Sharks,” a romantic comedy adventure about a couple who travel cross-country, pulling assorted cons along the way; “Rent-a-Family,” another romantic comedy about a bachelor, who, in order to land his dream job, pretends to be a family man by hiring a cast of characters to make believe they are his wife and children; and “Bridal Party,” a thriller about what happens when a pair of desperate thieves holds an entire bridal party hostage.

On the TV front, Creative Light hopes to take its Internet sitcom “GrapeJam” to the other small screen. “The New News” is being developed as an interactive newscast, where the anchors are comics who bring their own lives into the reporting. “Time Squad” is a fantasy show about a group of characters who travel through time and meet up with historical figures.

Zakarin serves as chairman of Creative Light. Bolotnick is president of the film component, and Tackenberg is president of television and writer/producer/editor. They were recently partnered in America Online’s Culver City-based Entertainment Asylum, which develops interactive programs for the Internet. But after AOL announced a corporate restructuring and streamlining effort earlier this year, the trio were among 40 people laid off from the unit.

Before that they teamed for LightSpeed Media Inc., a new media company where they created and produced “GrapeJam.”

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