A First Look At Very Smart Brothas: The TV Pilot » VSB

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A First Look At Very Smart Brothas: The TV Pilot

***Assuming you all would have some questions about this trailer and the TV pilot, I took the liberty of learning telepathy so I’d be able to ask myself the most relevant questions you have in your heads. You’re welcome.***

So, when is the actual full pilot going to be released?

Great question! Unfortunately, I don’t have a full answer yet. But, I can tell you a few things.

There will be a private screening Saturday, September 21st in Burbank, California. There will also be public screenings at a yet to be determined time in both D.C. and Pittsburgh in September.

If you can’t make any of those, there’s always the New York Television Festival from October 21-26. The pilot is one of 47 selected for the Independent Pilot Competition, and it will be showcased there for fans and industry executives.

Is this really based on the lives of you, Panama, and Liz?

Kinda, sorta, but not really. The name of the TV blog and book are the same as in real life. But, while “Brandon” (the character based on me) and “Andre” (the character based on Panama) do share some similarities with us, David Hunter (“Brandon”) and Leo Breckenridge (“Andre”) did a great job of making the characters unique people instead of exact copies of people who already exist.

Also, if it was based on Liz’s life, there would be a lot more Bibles laying around. And orange juice. Bibles and orange juice.  

Who is Andrea Thornton?

Andrea is a very talented young screenwriter who also happens to be one of the executive producers. We first met a few years ago at a party while she was a grad student at Carnegie Mellon University. We stayed in touch, and after she graduated and relocated to L.A., Andrea and Earl (the founder of Solo Journey Productions) reached out to Panama and I to option Your Degrees… and turn it into a webseries. We (obviously) agreed and signed our names in blood.  Andrea and I wrote the script for eight six-minute long episodes. (Panama served as our consigliere.)

Wait. Webseries? I thought this was a TV pilot.

It is. When done with the first draft of the webseries, we decided it would be a better idea to shift focus and create a 22 minute long pilot instead. Why? Well, one of the bi products of the success of Issa Rae and Awkward Black Girl is that everyone and their step-momma has a webseries now. Since we aint like everyone else, we did something different.

Was that the guy from Heroes? How did you get him?

I have no idea.

Who are the actresses in the pilot?

Taja Simpson (“Rachel”—the one with the glasses and the, um, dress), Dominique Washington (“Chloe”—the one who “Brandon” attempts to approach), and Aerial Washington (“Chelsea”—the intern).

I know there were a couple more with speaking parts but…I don’t know their names.

Does it feel weird to see someone pretty much playing you on TV?

It didn’t…until 372 different people decided to ask me that question in the past couple months. So, now it does. Thank you.

I know this is “loosely” based on your lives, but did any of the stuff in the trailer actually happen to you?

Yes. A person did actually express to us that we write like we’re better looking than we are. I still don’t know what it means to write “handsome” (or write “ugly” for that matter), but I think it has something to do with prepositional phrases.

Anyway, those are all the questions I was able to conjure. If you have any more, please ask.

Also, let us know what you think. Did you like it? Hate it? Fall asleep during it? Want a phone number from one of the actors/actresses?

(And, regardless of what you think, like/share/tweet the f*ck out of it!)

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • alana

    Well, congratu-freaking-lations! This really is awesome!

    • The Champ


  • TheOtherJerome

    Love it!!

    I may be biased, my homegirl is in it much to my surprise!!! (gotta love LA)

    But it looks great! I’m very happy for you guys, you’re keeping the ball moving forward.

    And uh, i want to go to the screening!

    • The Champ

      who is your homegirl?

      • TheOtherJerome

        Blair of “Perhaps you should change you name to Very Smart Brothas who write that they are better looking then they actually are” fame LOL.

        She’s a great up and coming actress who is serious about her career. A lot in L.A -say- they are, but they really aren’t. Frankly she put my sometimey “non-serious actor” @ss to shame (in my defense i moved behind the camera)

        But really though, i want to go to the Burbank screening lol

  • GemmieBoo

    you know i love it!!!

    so excited for yall!! this show is gonna be a HIT and i cant wait to tell errybody i know yall (and Drea) lol.

    keep up the great work VSB!!

    • The Champ

      thanks, gemmie

    • Andi

      Thanks Professor Gem!

    • panamajackson

      Thanks homey.

  • keisha brown

    as a financial supporter of the thing..im so amped about this!!!
    now to get cheekie her project greenlit again and im good!

    • Cheekie Mae

      Awww, I wuv yew. :)

    • *thinks of a project I can have Keisha lemme hold something on*

      • keisha brown


    • The Champ

      thanks, kb

  • Val

    First, very high production values, guys! Really, that looked great. Second, the acting was great too. I’m really excited! Great job! Go, VSB!

    • Sahel

      Ep.8,Sahel and Val will make a cameo..And P.A will cameo in Ep.9 as dirty DJ. Whoop

      • Val

        Sounds like a plan. Of course they will have to shoot you in shadowy profile, since you’re in the witness protection program and all.

        • Sahel

          Am sure alot more people will be checking out for you than for me,lol

          • Oshun

            most definitely. I’ll be checking for her brows.

            • Val

              Hiya, AM!


              • Oshun

                *waving*!! :))))

      • Kema

        I want in on the strip club scene… and not as a dancer. I’m classy. *twerks*

        • Sahel

          Well,come sit on this couch and show me your classy attributes.

      • Define “dirty DJ”, Sahel.
        I’ll have you know I’m a conscious man!

    • 321mena123

      Agreed on the production. I hate when something looks bootleg.

      • Val

        Yeah, like all those str8 to dvd movies.

        • 321mena123

          Yes. This reminded me a little of modern family or louis CK. I don’t actually know why. I like a relaxed feel in my tv shows and this had that.

          • Had a black New Girl vibe to me

            • 321mena123

              I love that show!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! Yes, those are the shows i adore because they are just relaxed. Nothing seems forced.

          • WIP

            i wonder if it will be like a traditional sitcom or a the documentary style sitcom? then they can work in some Jim-like glances to the camera.

            • 321mena123

              I prefer the documentary style. The last traditional sitcom i watched was Friends. I haven’t found anything good since that.

          • The Champ

            That’s the feel I had in mind, with a little Scrubs mixed in as well.

            • 321mena123

              Stay away from Scrubs. That is the show that would never die!!

              Yall should shoot for FX. I think you would find an audience there. They have Louie, Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and some nice dramas. You can do more on this network as well. I can’t see this being on ABC, CBS, or NBC but i can definitely see you guys finding a good spot on FX since most of their shows are kinda niche yet very successful and award earning.

    • The Champ

      thank you. and, well, you can thank vsbnation for that too. much of the money raised through the indiegogo campaign went towards that

  • Felicia Woseley

    Message me as I am putting together 3 separate web series/short film screenings in NYC/Brooklyn this fall. Love to have this on our lineup!!

  • Congratulations VSB! I love to see people on their hustle…can’t wait to see more!

    • The Champ


  • Tx10inch

    I DEMAND a cameo as gigolo #2. Make this happen.

    • There should def be cameos of the regulars round here, they make VSB what it is just as much as PJ Champ and Liz

      **puts in first request to see a Kema lookalike randomly twerking in the background of a scene**

      • Kozy

        *seconds request*

      • SuperStrings

        Like the dude randomly doing the robot in many of Dave Chapelle’s skits.

        • Aly

          Haha! That’s exactly what I thought of when I read that comment. Great minds and whatnot…

        • ‘ZACKLY!!!

        • Aly
          • Aly, buy me his outfit and I’ll robot all throughout your life lol

            • Aly

              I think EVERYONE should have a random robot guy/girl in their lives.

      • Kema

        Lol! Doesnt have to be my lookalike but there should be twerkers… no miley

    • The Champ

      considering your rather large contribution to the project, we might even name a character Texas.

  • Yoles

    oh.. i’m so happy for and proud of you all commenters included!!!!! congratulations… i know this is going to be great… i’m gonna be low key salty if someone, somewhere, somehow doesn’t show up like me… i make a great out of type character!!!! on tenterhooks waiting to see the whole thing!!!!!

    • The Champ

      lol, thanks

  • Kozy

    This looked good. I’m sure the screening will rock people’s socks off. I hope you guys got to put a little of your personal humor into it.

    • The Champ

      thanks, man.

      • Kozy

        no problem. you’re welcome.

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