Synopsis by Josh Ralske
HBO's Project Greenlight is a reality TV series that documents the results of a screenwriting contest. The winner was supposed to get one million dollars from Miramax to produce a film. The first episode begins with executive producers Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Chris Moore (Good Will Hunting, American Pie) explaining how the contest works, and what inspired them to create it. "It's something that we wish was around when we were trying to sell our script [for Good Will Hunting]," says Damon. The process through which over 10,000 scripts were pared down to only ten is detailed. Moore is shown calling these ten writers to tell them that they'll each be sent equipment to shoot one scene from their script. These contestants send in their scenes and are flown to L.A. for a screening where the three finalists will be announced. The judges, including Affleck, Damon, Moore, and four Miramax executives, are shown discussing the relative merits of the contestants as screenwriters and directors. The contestants arrive at the screening in their limos, and are swarmed by the press. At the end of the event, Affleck and Damon hem and haw nervously before announcing the finalists, while the ten contestants agonize over each second. The finalists -- Pete Jones, Brendan Murphy, and the team of Evan Katz and Barron Ebenstein -- then have to answer questions from the jury about potential problems with their scripts. The jury deliberates for hours. Damon argues passionately for Murphy's challenging script, but Moore thinks Jones tells a better story. Still unable to decide, they call Jones and Murphy back for one more interview. Jones makes his case more passionately and is declared the winner. He makes a staged "surprise" appearance on The Tonight Show with Affleck to announce it to the world.