Novice filmmakers sell “Dot” dot com
mockumentary to Showtime

Following months of negotiations, the Chicago-made dot-com mockumentary “Dot” has its television premiere Sunday, Nov. 2 on the Showtime Network.

The film, by Sneaky Kings Productions, follows the meteoric rise and fall of a fictional Internet startup, culminating in the historic Nasdaq crash that officially ended the Internet bubble.

Dot-com veterans Brett Singer and Simeon Schnapper co-directed the digital video comedy over 13 days in 2001, setting up improvised scenes based closely on their own Internet startup experiences.

“We would place the actors in time, we gave them the historical context, we would relate to them the actual scene we went through in our lives,” Singer said. “Then they ran with it, the relationships came out of that, and that’s what’s really funny.”

The co-directors were both relative novices before making “Dot.” Schnapper had been through training at Second City and Singer had worked as a creative director for Oprah and various commercial clients. “This was my film school,” Singer said. “I surrounded myself with talented people and tried not to get in the way.” DP was Darryl Miller. AD, Anwar Khouri. Sound, Alex Riordan. Schnapper and Singer edited.

Schnapper and Singer raised the $100,000 budget from many of the same investors who had backed their Internet ventures ( and, respectively).

Sneaky Kings conceived of “Dot” in 2000 to take advantage of the then-fledgling DV revolution. “We asked ourselves what kind of film would benefit from being shot that way,” Singer said. “Then we came up with the idea for this small company started by 3 friends ? you’d have no idea what the company actually did. We got to use all the dot-com rhetoric without having to say what they were really selling.” The fictional company is called ? “your solution for e-tomorrow.”

Although “Dot” is fictionalized, Singer argues that it’s more authentic to the on-the-ground dot-com culture than prominent documentaries on the subject like “” “They’re chronicling giant dot-coms that raised millions of dollars,” he said. “We’re really more true to life.” Sneaky Kings bill the film as “the most accurate satire of its kind.”

“Dot” played the festival circuit in 2002, garnering awards at Dances With Films and Slamdunk. Vanguard Cinema released the film on DVD in March.

“Dot” premieres Nov. 2 at 12:30 p.m. on Showtime’s Sho Next channel, and is scheduled to play eight times in November. Play dates on the Showtime flagship channel are planned for 2004. For a complete schedule see by Ed M. Koziarski,