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”)

Deuces, 2012

Coming soon…

So, since this will be the last VSB post of 2012—I know, I know, I know. It’s tragic. Please try not to cry too much—we’d like to end the year with a couple updates about what’s going on with us now and what to look forward to in 2013.

***When you come back in January, there will be some very noticeable changes with the site. Won’t go into detail about what exactly that’ll entail, but yeah. Things will just be…different.

***The filming and editing process with our TV Pilot is almost complete. Although the site won’t be active for the next couple of weeks, our Twitter and Facebook pages will still be updated.

***We’re also going to start distributing the gifts promised to those who contributed. Those should be coming in the next few weeks.

***Book #2 is in the works. Won’t give away too much about that yet, but will say that it has, um, something to do with this. 

***If you find yourself missing words written by VSB over the next couple of weeks, you can always find me at Ebony.com and Madame Noire and Panama at Guyspeak

That’s about it, folks. We hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday experience, and if the world doesn’t end in the next couple of days, we’ll see you all in 2013!

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) 

Five Dollar Friday

Hello VSB Nation. Because I haven’t finished the hour long wall slide I usually do after the Steelers lose, I’m going to keep it short tonight.

On behalf of everyone involved with our TV pilot project, I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed so far. Due to your collective efforts and a very generous donation ($5,000!!!) from VSB vet Derek Bellard — won’t reveal his screename, but trust me when I say that each VSB regular would recognize it if I did — we’re up to $7,500. We’re aware that all donations, even the smaller ones, come from people’s hard earned money, and we greatly appreciate the fact that you all have enough faith in us to support the project.

With that being said, we’re still quite a ways from our goal. We have less than two weeks to raise over $12,000. But, although this may seem like a daunting task, we think we may actually be able to make a substantial dent in that number today.

How? Well, we are asking everyone — yes. everyone — who visits here today to go to our Indiegogo page and donate $5. Not $10. Not $20. Not $100. Just five bucks. That’s it.

With our usual daily traffic, we’d make a pretty nice dent if we received $5 from even 5% of the people who will visit the site today. I think we can do a little better than 5% percent, though.

Also, if you know anyone who may not be aware of VSB but would be interested in seeing a project like ours make it to the screen — and has five bucks to spare — please share Five Dollar Friday with them. Facebook, Twitter (with the #fivedollarfriday hashtag), email, word of mouth, and pigeons all work.

And, as a special perk, everyone who takes part in Five Dollar Friday today and today only will receive a PDF version of “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night.” If you’ve already read the book and don’t need another copy, I’m sure you might know someone who would, so regift it to them and tell them you bought it. They won’t know the difference.

Thank you, and happy Five Dollar Friday!

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Also, a special thanks to the following people who’ve supported the project.

Patrick Charles
Courtney Bethel
Canaan McCaslin
Ajamu Matthews
Mona Al Jneibi
Kimberly Johnson
Kalimah Vereen
Joe Edwards
LaToryria Matthews
Angela Dugan
Sebastian White
Marissa Joy
Shawn Morrow
Jason Lemon
Joel Penigar
John Porche
Marcus Williams
Adrean Mabry
Chandra Hampton
Yvonne Kennedy

Around The VSB World

As some of you may already be aware of, I’ve been working for Ebony.com for eight months now. My official title there is “contributing editor,” a job that consists of, well, editing and contributing. The contributing consists of me writing two to four original pieces there per week. My latest — “The Curious Case of The Man-Less “Meet Market” — looks at why men never seem to show up at these ubiquitous dating/relationship panels and events.

As a person who has been both a panelist and a moderator at many of these types of events, I can tell you that hypothetical woman’s rhetorical question is not hyperbole. Whether I was sitting on a panel in New York City or D.C. or moderating a discussion in Pittsburgh, every time I’ve been on stage and looked at the audience, I’ve noticed a mass of women’s faces with a couple guys sprinkled in here and there, specks of pepper in a bowl of salt. (At one show, the numbers seemed so skewed that I actually started counting people in the rows in front of me to see if the actual number reflected what I was seeing. By the time I reached 100, I had counted 86 women and 14 men.)

You can see the rest at Ebony.com 

I’m also continuing to do my weekly live chats at Madame Noire. Last week presented a change of pace, though, as one of the editors there wanted me to give my thoughts about how Kim Kardashian is able to consistently pull so many “high-status” men despite her public sexual past. I obliged.

As far as Panama, he’s still doing his thing as the “Girl’s BFF” at Guyspeak. Check out his advice to a woman who’s man won’t divorce his wife. (Yes, you read that correctly)

I really think the answer to this comes down to being a man versus being a woman. Like, I understand your argument. I truly do. I just think that its asking a lot for a man to part with his life’s work just to show you that he loves you. Now, from a business standpoint, he knows the rules, you get a divorce, if you live in a community property state, things get split down the middle. At some point, a divorce will happen. However, his wife isn’t interested in a divorce? That is odd to me

Also, if you haven’t listened to his segment on THE BLAQOUT SHOW every Wednesday at 8pm, what the hell are you doing with your life?

No one on Earth is exactly sure what Liz is doing, but we do know that it involves Moguldom Media, the church, and atomic bombs.

Very Smart Singles seems to be humming along and shit. Remember, if you are interested in us posting your profile, please email us at contact@verysmartbrothas.com with your name, location, a short bio, and a high-resolution picture.

Lastly, we have two major projects going on right now, one of which we’ll definitely shed more light on next week. Both should be pretty entertaining, and both will need your help to succeed. I know that’s cryptic as hell, but it’s Friday and, well, it’s Friday.

Anyway, people of VSB.com, what’s going on in your worlds right now?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)