New Form is targeting short-form series on platforms like Snapchat and Facebook’s Instagram through its latest wave of pilots, including new projects from TV talent including Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky, and digital influencers Eric Ochoa and Manon Mathews.
The company’s seven original pilots released in its Incubator “Gold Mine” series each has either been created by women, or features women in lead roles. The pilots were shot with vertical orientation, and include frenetic buddy comedy “@TheRealAssistant” on Instagram created in-house at New Form.
The latest pilot wave includes shorts from Is or Isn’t Entertainment’s Lisa Kudrow (“Friends,” “The Comeback”) and Dan Bucatinsky (“Scandal, “24: Legacy”); Melissa Fumero (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Gossip Girl”), Lucas Neff (“Raising Hope”); and writer-producer Megan Amram (“Silicon Valley,” “Parks and Recreation”). From the internet realm, participating creators and talent include actor-comedian Manon Mathews (pictured above), with 4.4 million followers; comedian Eric Ochoa (4.3 million); and actor and YouTube beauty vlogger Alexa Losey (2.3 million).
“People in the marketplace are often surprised by the kinds of pilots that we greenlight; the odd, the risky, the black sheep,” said New Form CEO Kathleen Grace. “But we do this because we have the audaciousness to believe in people and different kinds of stories, that’s what Incubator is all about.”
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The digital studio was formed in 2014 as a joint venture of Discovery, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and other Hollywood execs. Last December, New Form announced $18 million in second-round funding from the U.K.’s ITV and Discovery, with ITV taking a minority stake in the company.
Past Incubator pilots that have sold to series include “Oscar’s Hotel for Fantastical Creatures,” produced in association with Jim Henson Co.’s Creature Shop, Anna Akana’s “Miss 2059,” as well as YouTube Red’s “Single by 30” and CW Seed’s “I Ship It.” In addition, New Form sold animated sci-fi comedy “Final Space” to TBS for a series to premiere in 2018.
The Incubator Gold Mine pilots (click on the links in the titles to watch on YouTube):
- “Mourners Inc.”: Created by Cristina Gomez and Luke Eve, starring Melissa Fumero and Eric Ochoa. Former child star Monica is broke and barely clinging to her sobriety when her father, who abandoned her 15 years ago, dies and leaves her the Latino family business. She inherits Mourners Inc., a company that supplies mourners-for-hire for wakes and funerals. But there’s a catch: to take ownership of the biz, Monica must deliver a loving eulogy at her father’s funeral, a man she barely knew.
- “Campus Catwalk”: Executive produced by Is Or Isn’t Entertainment (Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky), created by Louise Rozett, and starring Nisalda Gonzales and Alexa Losey. Tally Lopez is a blue-state girl and undocumented immigrant who just doesn’t fit in at her red-state college. When she’s bullied online after wearing a traditional Mexican dress to a political rally, she starts an Instagram feed to champion self-expression through fashion.
- “Kate of the Damned”: Created by Nerdist’s Andrew Bowser, Ben Mekler, and Jason Nguyen, starring Megan Amram, Jim O’Heir, Shannon Woodward and Lucas Neff. When 30-year old burnout Kate is bitten on the neck by a mysterious figure, she wakes up to find that she is now a vampire. Even worse, she is now Queen of the Vampires. This new title apparently comes with an entourage of minions who expect Kate to reign over them– not to mention end a centuries old war between her kind and the werewolves. The only problem, Kate could not give less of a shit.
- “Anti-Social”: Created by Manon Mathews and Jason Zumwalt, starring Manon Mathews. Brielle (Mathews), a model famous for her Instagram feed, good looks and sexy snaps, loses her famous boyfriend and most of her followers when the world discovers she’s a high school dropout. To get back the guy (and the fame), she re-enters as a freshman at Chandler High. When she is finally forced to put down her phone, she just might learn that it’s not how the world looks at her that’s important, but how she looks at the world.
- “Boy Toys”: Created by Sunny Tripathy, starring Cody Ko. A group of attractive, charming millennial guys attempt to woo wealthy women in the hopes of changing their own misfortune. Their leader (and perpetual man-boy) Kyle is always looking for shortcuts in life and he must stay competitive in order to win the affection (and lifestyle) of L.A.’s most prominent women. But the game of playing people comes at a price. And for Kyle, that includes losing the love of his life.
- “Good Face”: Created by Lina Suh and Helen Krieger. Clara, a young Korean-American doctor’s assistant with dreams of being an artist, has a secret that would shame her strict, traditional parents: She has a white boyfriend… and she’s living with him. When one fateful night brings the different pieces of her life into conflict, she must confront her unsettled identity to have any hope of reconciling herself and her two lives.
- “@TheRealAssistant”: Created by New Form, starring Madeleine Byrne. Buddy comedy follows Christiana, an ambitious yet naive young woman who scores an assistant job to a high-profile wrecking-ball of a social media star known as “Smashley” — who subjects her to one insane request after another. (To view in the intended original vertical format, visit New Form’s Instagram account to view @TheRealAssistant for a 24-hour period.)
Pictured above: Manon Mathews in “Anti-Social”