Pittsburgh welcomes new show “The Chair” with an event at Point Park


Photo Credit: Natalie Szewczyk

Have you ever wondered what your favorite movie would be like if it had been directed by someone else entirely? Hollywood producer Chris Moore certainly has.  Zachary Quinto and Corey Moosa, from production company Before the Door, are joining Moore in a new television project called “The Chair”.

“The Chair” is what Moore likes to call a docuseries. It will follow two directors as they separately film a movie from one script. The show will be filmed this year in Pittsburgh and the two directors for its premiere season are Shane Dawson (of internet fame) and Anna Martemucci (who has worked with Quinto in the past).

Moore denies that “The Chair” is a reality show, stating, “I think that the term reality is that to me there is an implication that we as the producers of the show, or the series, are affecting the outcome somehow—we are creating challenges. On “Project Runway” they make you design a t-shirt in half an hour, but nobody in real life has to design a t-shirt in half an hour.” We’re not doing any of that. These guys are getting the money to go make their first movie and all we’re asking them to do is let us have access to shoot it like a documentary.”

Photo Credit: Natalie Szewczyk
Photo Credit: Natalie Szewczyk
Corey Moosa and Chris Moore speaking at Point Park

Moosa said, “Reality shows don’t depict actual reality at all. I don’t want to be associated with those shows. They do have story editors on, who are basically making things happen in a dramatic sense. Reality television is more fictionalized probably than fictional television at this point.”

According to Moore, Dawson begins filming February 10 and Martemucci starts on February 26. Both directors will receive a working budget of $850,000 for their movies and will be able to assemble their own crew. When the films are finished, they will be released theatrically and the show’s audience will be able to cast votes for their favorite film.

The producers will have no say in who the winner is. This is partly one of the reasons the producers do not see it as a reality show or competition, like shows such as “American Idol” or “America’s Next Top Model”.

Moore said, “The only thing the competition does is give the audience perspective on ‘you did it one way’ and ‘you did it the other way’. What we’re trying to say is that the documentary nature of it is different than these reality competition shows because we haven’t set up any rules. They’re making their movie however they want—they even get final cut. They get to decide how the movie is going to finish. They should be able to put up their vision for the audience to think about.”

Possibly the most interesting thing about this project is its ties to Pittsburgh’s Point Park University. Over 100 Point Park students and alumni are involved with the television series, which is why on February 3 Chris Moore and Zachary Quinto were scheduled to come speak to Point Park students.

Unfortunately, Quinto was unable to make the event, but he did send a video apology for the audience. In his stead, Corey Moosa came to speak about the project. Moore and Moosa spent roughly over an hour in the GRW Theater, which was overflowing with interested students. Some even stood outside the door to hear.

Photo Credit: Natalie Szewczyk
Photo Credit: Natalie Szewczyk
Corey Moosa and Chris Moore speaking at Point Park

The event was streamed live on Point Park’s YouTube channel and had Moore and Moosa covering the topic of producing and their work in Hollywood. Moore is well known for his 22-year career in the industry, producing films like “Good Will Hunting” and the “American Pie” franchise. He has created “Project Greenlight” and co-founded The Media Farm, as well as forming LivePlanet with Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Sean Bailey.

Moosa is a producer and actor who founded Before the Door with friends and fellow actors Quinto and Neal Dodson. Before the Door has been involved with films such as “All is Lost” and “Margin Call”. He is an alumni of Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama and, being a longtime fan of “Star Trek”, helped Quinto prepare for his recent role as Spock in the new J.J. Abrams reboot.

The last half of the event was used to answer any questions from the audience, and many students of all majors jumped at the opportunity. Eventually though, they did run out of time. However, Moore and Moosa promised to return soon (with Quinto) when they begin working on the show.

As far as expectations go, Moosa said, “I don’t want to root for anybody. One of the ideas that we were trying to get with these two people is to have such vastly different ideas of what the story is and how it can go, that hopefully, they’re almost incomparable in terms of ‘you can’t like one more than the other’. They’re just different.”

Moore said, “I know how they’ve rewritten the script, I know the crew they’ve hired, I know the look that they’re going for. I would say they have very different styles of how they want to make the movies. I think Anna is a little bit more drawn to a little more dramatic comedy. I think Shane, and if you look at his stuff online, you can get a sense that he’s a little more R-rated, he’s a little bit more over the top. With some of the comedy, he’s broader.”

“I think it will be a great experiment in the sense that I think the audience will realize that it reveals more about who you are by which kind of movie you like,” said Moore. “It’s not going to be like there’s one which is obviously better than the other. The audience will define itself more by what they like.”

Watch the discussion here!