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Big Time in Hollywood, FL Creators Talk About Teaming With Ben Stiller and "the Perfect Publix"

Five years ago, Dan Schimpf and Alex Anfanger were fresh out of New York University, living in Brooklyn, trying to break into film. They wrote a script -- a television show about two guys trying to make it as filmmakers -- but no one read it. So they started making YouTube videos to garner attention.

Fast-forward. Big Time in Hollywood, FL, their new show for Comedy Central, will premiere in March. It centers around two half-wits making short films to post on YouTube with the goal of making it huge.

"We wrote the pilot for this show in 2010, 2011," Schimpf said last week during a three-way phone interview with both writers. "We were sending it out and found that nobody read it and nobody cared. That spurred on the idea that we should make something to put online in the hope people could find us."

The duo created the web series Next Time on Lonny, five-minute videos that purport to be previews for the next episode of a show called Lonny. The series got some attention -- notably, from someone at Ben Stiller's production company, Red Hour, who passed it on to Stiller, who loved it.

See also: Ben Stiller Is Making a TV Show About Hollywood, Florida

"We were so fortunate that people had seen Lonny and liked it," Anfanger said, adding that Stiller immediately got involved -- both behind the scenes and in front of the camera.

The first season of Lonny had been produced entirely by Schimpf and Anfanger "guerrilla-style," but Red Hour funded the second and final season of the cringingly hysterical web series. Working with Red Hour and gave the team the ability to do a full production show, with lots of guidance along the way.

When shooting was over, the company asked if they had anything else. So they handed over the script for the pilot episode of Big Time.

The two characters at the center of the show, Jack and Ben, want nothing more than to make it in the movie business "but had no chance of actually getting into it," Schimpf said. "They're just sort of talentless but with really huge egos and big dreams."

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Stephen Feller

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