Director: Lance Khazei (NAMCAR NIGHT RACE)

Director Biography – Lance Khazei

Lanceprofile

Lance Khazei is an Emmy nominated writer, award winning producer and festival festooned director with produced credits in television, feature film and new media. A prolific writer and creator, Lance has developed and written television comedy for Fox, ABC, MTV, Dreamworks, Disney Animation, Klasky Csupo, Jim Henson Productions, Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, and NBC Studios. He has written late night and sketch comedy for the Emmy Award winning “Politically Incorrect” with Bill Maher, the Emmy nominated “House of Buggin’ with John Leguizamo,” as well as ABC’s Emmy nominated animated shorts series “Great Minds” with Robin Williams. Lance made a splash in feature film when he sold his first two original screenplays. Khazei sold “Romantic Comedy,” the first screenplay he ever penned, to MGM. The scribe set up his second original screenplay “Baby Formula” at New Line. While Khazei did not participate in the production rewrites, “Baby Formula” was redeveloped as the theatrical release “Son of the Mask.” Lance has written additional feature films for New Line, Warner Brothers and Columbia Pictures, working primarily in the comedy and action genres. Lance sold his action comedy graphic novel “Dionysus” to Archie Comics Entertainment. Lance produced HuffPost Live for its run in Los Angeles. The show was named Mashable’s Best Media Innovation of 2012 and earned a Webby Award in 2013. Lance was named a producer to watch in 2015 by Indie’s UNITE! Lance Khazei is breaking through as a director of ascending comedy talent. Fox Digital hired Lance to write and direct the sports competition comedy “BRA League” featuring Rob Delaney (Amazon’s “Catastrophe”) and Brittany Furlan (the Queen of Vine). “NAMCAR Night Race”, an independent television comedy Lance wrote, directed and executive produced has screened to 25 wins and honors on the festival circuit worldwide. The show features Theo Von (Netflix’s “Theo Von: No Offense”), Scout Durwood (MTV’s “Mary + Jane”), Whitney Rice (Amazon’s “The Last Tycoon”), Ian Abramson (Comedy Central’s “Seven Minutes in Purgatory”) and James Morosini (FX’s “American Horror Story”). Lance is the son of an Iranian-American surgeon and an Italian-American nurse who met in the operating room in Pittsburgh. Lance was born in Boston and raised in Bedford, New Hampshire. Before his work in the entertainment industry, Lance graduated from Harvard with honors and worked for City Year, a domestic Peace Corps.

 

Director Statement

NAMCAR NIGHT RACE 
Writer Director’s Statement

Saturday Night Live’s “Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer.” Tim and Eric Awesome Show’s “Original Child Clown Outlet.” David Letterman’s Alka Selzer suit. These irreverent, odd and absurdist bits of late night comedy amuse me, and I’ve always wanted to create a show that elicits laughs by flouting convention and serving up inspired moments of ludicrous nonsense. That’s the comedic sensibility beneath NAMCAR Night Race, a mock reality competition show depicting a league of adults who take racing toy cars so seriously their heads will explode. After all, reality programming has been with us now, and seemingly omnipresent, for more than two decades. Isn’t it time we take the piss out of the genre in the same way that “Spinal Tap” and “Best in Show” define landmark mockumentary comedies? Don’t expect meaty, independent drama, or even a traditional narrative. Instead, I am shooting for satire, a funny sports entertainment league, and relentlessly fresh sketch and bit comedy. And while NAMCAR is a postmodern, dadaistic comedy, the aesthetic of model car racing is rooted in yesterday’s charm.

Growing up in the 80s, it seemed every red-blooded kid in America dreamed of being a race car driver and the toy of choice for a child’s birthday was an electric race car set. Like many children, I recall lying down at eye level with the track and watching the cars rush by as I gunned my controller. The daydream and escapism was intense. And it was surreal because one was living out the fantasy in miniature. Killing the lights and watching tiny toy car headlights streak around the track was mesmerizing. Smelling the burn of those tiny engines, even today, gives one an enthusiast’s high and a whiff of nostalgia.

Today, those children of NASCAR, Indy Racing and Formula One are adults and many worldwide are throwing fun money at the hobby and competing in garages, basements and slot car clubs, some on incredibly detailed modeled tracks through miniature racing worlds. It is both a testament to how powerful the dream remains and also amusing to see adults take the toy experience so seriously. My fascination with the hobby inspired a feature film comedy which I’ve written and hope to direct. And the slot car racing subculture led me to this project, a comedy about a league of adults who compete tooth and nail, after hours, in a fictional model car racing league.

In NAMCAR Night Race, drivers push the limits of their slot cars, friendships and bitter rivalries as they brave extremely fake conditions and the last frontier in racing, a frontier of plaster, plastic and diecast metal. A “NASCAR on acid,” the show introduces itself as a mock sports league, but slowly devolves into more and more bits of surrealistic comedy, inspired by the mind bending nature of this hobby’s small scale and the fact that we’re watching adults engrossed in child’s play.

While I wanted to create a comedy that was character driven and rooted in a simple racing competition plot, my intention is to also be humorously disorienting with the form. As such, NAMCAR Night Race is a show which can take unannounced left turns into unexpected terrain. It’s a show in which comedic takes on entertainment tropes blend one into another and in which anything might be a head trip. That postmodern sensibility and the challenge of making a miniature car race both amusing and adrenaline pumping implied a fresh show stylistically and excited me as a filmmaker.

This is the first time I’ve directed an extended piece, and I’m hoping it not only launches a NAMCAR Night Race series, but that it also lays the groundwork for my feature film inspired by model car racing. My other motivation in attempting this project was to escape the constraints of the studio system. As a professional comedy writer, I’ve had the pleasure of writing for television and feature film and some extraordinarily talented actors and comedians. But like many writers, especially in feature film, I’ve been frustrated by the sausage making factory. If you have ever written an original screenplay, only to watch it become a studio sequel to a pre-existing franchise, a Frankenstein monster of what you originally intended, then you can relate. That experience created a desire to attempt a piece from start to finish I could call my own, infused with a fresh cast of comedic talent and an original brand of comedy. That’s NAMCAR Night Race.

thank you for your consideration,
Lance Khazei
writer, director, producer

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