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‘The Chair’ Producer Zachary Quinto Talks ‘Skepticism’ About Unscripted TV

TCA 2014: ”Star Trek“ star says that new Starz series steers clear of manipulation

Zachary Quinto admitted Friday that he wasn’t sure about getting involved in the upcoming Starz series “The Chair,” an unscripted competition series about two filmmakers vying for a $250,000 prize as they make two separate movies adapted from the same script.

Speaking to reporters at the Television Critics Association at the Beverly Hilton hotel on Friday, “Star Trek” star Quinto — who serves as co-executive producer on the series — noted that he was wary that the series would be manipulated to hype up the drama.

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“I had a certain level of skepticism about involving myself in a documentary series. But I think the thing that I recognized is that this show was made with a certain level of creative integrity and that it truly is about documentation rather than manipulation,” Quinto said of the series, which premieres Sept. 6. “I think Anna and Shane would attest to that as the filmmakers. We stayed out of the way we captured stuff and we tell the story of the show based on what actually happened rather than trying to make things happen.”

“The Chair,” created by “Project Greenlight” alum Chris Moore, chronicles the efforts of Shane Dawson and Anna Martemucci to make their films on a relatively paltry budget of $950,000, only $600,000 of which was available as discretionary budget to the directors. The winner will be determined by viewers via a multiplatform voting process.

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While Dawson, who boasts more than 10 million subscribers, would seem to have a competitive edge in the voting process, Moore emphasized that — so far, at least — there are scant examples of YouTube filmmakers transitioning into mainstream filmmaking success.

“To be perfectly honest, if it were as simple as whomever has 10 million fans on YouTube is going to turn into a massive filmmaker and all those people are going to go out and buy tickets and buy DVDs, the world would be a totally different place,” Moore said.

Besides, both Dawson and Martemucci emphasized, while the quarter-million dollars would be nice, participating in the show itself has already provided its own rewards.

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“The fact that we’re both making a movie that we don’t have to break our own bank for, which we’ve been doing since we started, we have final cut, we get distribution, we’re on the show, we have this platform … I mean, the fact that there is a prize is unnecessary, in my opinion,” Dawson said.

“It’s almost secondary,” Martemucci added. “I don’t think [the prize] would change my life as much as this experience has already changed my life … I wanna win; I just recognize that I’ve been given something more valuable already.”

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