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Fox execs sport shorts

Network retreat brings out inner filmmaker

Move over, Spielberg and Burnett: 20th Century Fox TV conducted its own “On the Lot”-style competish last week, asking its execs to write, star, direct and produce short films of their own.

Execs — from development toppers to number crunchers — were divided into groups of five and given a week to come up with a script for a 90-second comedy short.

Then, at the studio’s retreat last week, the teams were handed a digital video camera and told they had 90 minutes to shoot, followed by 45 minutes to edit, their piece.

“People brought costumes and props and really went for it,” said 20th Century Fox TV prexy Gary Newman, who administered the contest with fellow topper Dana Walden. “We ended up with five shorts that are remarkably good. Who knew we had so much acting and directing talent among our business affairs execs?”

Brett Ratner, who has a deal at the studio (and helmed the “Prison Break” pilot), judged the contest. Winning team, headed by comedy VP Nicky Weinstock, produced a “Prison Break” parody concerning what the 100-year-old silent film prequel might have looked like.

The exercise was meant to demonstrate the importance of prep time and editing to the creative process, Newman said. Expect a few of the shorts to find their way to YouTube.

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