Some Memphians may have been disappointed in the national impact Craig Brewer's made-for-MTV series $5 Cover: Memphis had, but apparently MTV was satisfied.
The network's new media division is going ahead with plans to turn Brewer's $5 Cover concept — semi-fictional short films set in real places and starring real musicians — into a new franchise, with $5 Cover: Seattle set to begin shooting sometime this summer.
W&H: What are you working on next?
LS: I'm shooting "$5 Cover Seattle", a music-based web series being produced by MTV. It was the brainchild of another independent filmmaker, Craig Brewer, whose original version, "$5 Cover Memphis", can be seen on MTV.com right now. I'm very excited about the project because it's a great fit for my creative style, plus I get to work intimately a bunch of sexy rockstars..pretty much a dream come true.
"We've got the green light. We know the bands. I know that they are going to be shooting soon," Brewer said via phone from Los Angeles where he's working on the pilot episode for the prospective new F/X series Terriers.
Shelton, whose 2008 film My Effortless Brilliance screened at last year's Indie Memphis Film Festival, made a splash at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year with her new comedy Hump Day, just now making its way around the country. According to Brewer, Hump Day was shot with the same cameras used on $5 Cover.
Brewer will serve as executive producer for the series, helping find filmmakers and locations and working on story outlines. Brewer says he doesn't know yet if $5 Cover: Seattle will make the web-to-TV transition that the Memphis edition did, but says he's advised the Seattle crew to be prepared for that possibility.
"It's a small, grassroots franchise," Brewer says about the relative success of the concept so far. "A lot of what chokes new media is thinking you're falling short without getting millions of hits."
Brewer says he thinks Seattle is a perfect fit for the concept: "Like Memphis, [Seattle] has a music legacy that is both a pride and a burden for local artists. There is great support to wanting to highlight what they have now rather than what they had."
While monitoring $5 Cover: Seattle, Brewer has been scouting locations around Los Angeles and San Diego for Terriers, an hour-long detective series created by Ted Griffin (Ocean's Eleven, Matchstick Men) and produced by Shawn Ryan, with whom Brewer worked when directing an episode of the earlier FX series The Shield.
Brewer describes the show as a comedic drama about a pair of private eyes in a working-class beach community. More Rockford Files than Miami Vice.
The filmmaker says he isn't sure what his involvement will be beyond the pilot: "I'd love to stay involved, but right now I'm just trying to make the best pilot I can and define the look and attitude of the series."