Creating 8 for Vegas: The Web Series

One of my fondest memories of my dad is the two of us at a restaurant, somewhere near Brant Lake, NY. A pizza place, if I recall correctly. Booths, a long counter, and a pool table. My dad wanted to shoot a few games while we waited for our order, but one of the locals was playing. My dad said "I'll play you for the table." I think I was 12 or so. I watched as he handily beat the guy, shook his hand, and then racked them so we could play.

I started playing in the NYC APA league in 1996, or thereabouts. I've met hundreds of pool players, made a slew of friends, some of them even best friends, and have relished in all aspects of league play.

After 16 years, I have come to the conclusion that my favorite part of league is the people. In a city as large as New York you're bound to meet a wide spectrum of characters. Your opponents, your teammates, they can be funny, serious, angry, sexy, just plain crazy, or all three.

Five. All five. They're the reason I wish more bars in NYC served popcorn. Sometimes the show is better than the pool.

As a writer, it didn't take long until a lot of these people started making their way into a story or two.

In 2001 I ended up writing a screenplay about a New York City pool team that wins the City Championship and travels to Las Vegas to play in the national tournament. It was cleverly titled Pool League, and I know what you're thinking. It's a wonder no one snapped it up straight away.

The characters were based on friends, with each having a good reason to need their share of the $50,000 prize money. It was a fun first foray into comedic writing but, in the end, it was shelved. Until October 2010.
At that time I had shot three episodes of a video blog for a friend, and was itching to shoot something simple, fun, and inexpensive to produce. I wracked my brain for original ideas, and came up with a concept based on my Pool League script.

A mockumentary.

Now, mockumentaries have been around for many years, This is Spinal Tap probably being the most famous. Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Borat… all very funny. But the one that's continually inspired me is a little seen film released in 1993, And God Spoke. I saw this movie in the theaters at the 2nd Avenue Village East Cinema (yes, I remember where), and it's a film I watch at least once a year. Well, that October I popped it into my dvd player and was inspired.

I started writing straight away. The entire plot and all of the characters were changed from the original script… I was basically starting from scratch. I even changed the title. 

8 for Vegas.

The basic gist: A documentary crew follows a pool team around for their entire Summer season.

I got my producer friend and teammate, Julie Sisson, involved, and started sending her episodes as soon as they were completed. I had very specific people in mind for each role. Some are league players, some are actors, all are talented people who I knew would bring their distinctive comedy to the series.

In May of 2011, after all of the episodes were written and the cast was in place, I shot a 5-minute teaser for a fundraising campaign. 

My mom watched it.

I think.

We didn't receive much funding, but I was undeterred. I knew we had great scripts and a fantastic cast. We were able to move forward with the help of friends and family. Blood drives…

Two months later we shot episode 1, and continued for the next two months. Every Sunday we would show up at Society Billiards in NYC, who were kind enough to allow Show Your Balls, the team, a place to call home.

We released the first episode on October 11th and got a great response. We released an episode a week, with the finale out on Christmas Eve. That episode didn't have the exact response we were looking for. I think people were busy, or something.

All in all it was a fantastic experience. I learned a lot about filmmaking and have since gone on to shoot two short films, both of which will be making the festival circuit this year. 

We're now starting pre-production and fundraising for Season 2 of 8 for Vegas. We have some characters coming back, some new ones, and some special surprises we're sure you'll love.

Pool leagues are made up of all different kinds of people. Teammates are friends, significant others, spouses… they're respectful and trustworthy, helpful and supportive. Opponents can be the same, or they could be mortal enemies. Or nemeses. God, that's a weird looking word.

Whoever they are, they're the reason I show up every Tuesday. 

I did my best to capture that dynamic in a fun and entertaining web series. Come visit us at and check out our first season!