All of the Reality TV Network Notes Posts
Thank you guys for all of your interest in my Reality TV Network Notes. Here is the list of links for all the notes. I'll update this list with each new post. Thanks!
Thank you guys for all of your interest in my Reality TV Network Notes. Here is the list of links for all the notes. I'll update this list with each new post. Thanks!
NOTE: The following contains a lot of spoilers for the biggest murder mystery currently playing in theaters. If you won't want to be spoiled, please leave now. Also don't watch the 1974 version or the 2001 TV movie version or the book that's been around for almost 100 years. You get my point.
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Rough Cut 5 Network Notes
Hello! Thanks for addressing our last round of notes so efficiently. I do feel we are edging every closer to our ideal but we aren't there quite yet. We'd like another rough cut after this before we can move on to Fine Cut. (We know it's not in our contract but what are you going to do, hold us to what we agreed to? We're the network.) Right now, we really need a clarity pass. It's so confusing right now. It's hard to find a proper follow-through on everything as the story is slowly unfolding like this. In reality TV, we like mysterious, not actual mysteries. If we come across as too opaque, our audience will switch on over to The Voice faster than you can say "Blake Shelton - Sexiest Man Alive!" (I do think that's a good choice, though he's almost too edgy for me, you know?) You are assuming that our audience is following along too closely. Per our research, our key demo is watching our network while messing around on their iPads and clipping their nails. We have to make sure we are leading the audience along carefully, not expecting them to following every word and image we give them. This is basic cable, not THE JINX.
We really need more information about the train itself. The audience really wants some take away info. How fast does it go? How is the cuisine? How busy does it get during the winter months? Is it a desired location to be mysteriously murdered? Have an AP do some research and then let's pepper some info-graphics throughout. Let's make our audience feel smart without them having to do anything.
(Also, one of our millennial interns suggested it should be called "The Asian-American Express". What do you guys think? Maybe something we can fix in online? Let's discuss!)
A restructure is absolutely in order right now. (See our notes below) We also really, really need a bite pass. How can we tell what Hercule is thinking if we aren't checking in with him in bite as much as possible? Once we get a bite pass, a chyron pass, and a comedy pass (c'mon, all these people on a train and nothing funny happens? I find that hard to believe), then we're give our time coded notes. But only until then.
POIROT IN JERUSALEM.
Okay, do we really even need this section? A lengthy bit where some random kid we don't know is bringing eggs to a man and we don't even see his face? No, no, no. Just start with juicy Jerusalem b-roll and Hercule walking into the square with the chief of police then launch into a huge intro package. Get him to say something like "My name is Hercule Poirot. I'm considered by many to be the world's greatest detective. I have brought over 30 people to justice. And oh, I'm from Belgium. It's a country right next to France in Europe. That's why I talk this way!" (Please also include a graphic of a map of Europe; our market research has shown that about 62% of our audience thinks "Belgium" is the name of a fibromyalgia medicine.)
Okay, the mustache. He definitely comes across as an Echo Park hipster, which is great! That sort of ironic-unironic facial hair will make us seem more hip to the younger audience. Work in some bites about how he takes care of his mustache and if he can work in a couple Harry's Razors mentions, that'll do wonders for our product integration goals for the quarter.
Since we are way over time right now, make Hercule solving the mystery of who stole the artifact from the temple into a snap-in. Since we don't know the priest, rabbi or imam, then the audience won't be invested. (At least the American audience. Who cares about the Swedish audience, amirite?)
We are met with a flurry of intros of all these characters coming unto the train. Mr. Ratchett, his assistant, his butler, the Count who's a big dancer but attacks people in bars, the old lady and her German maid... this is a lot of people, you guys; I feel like I'm at a receiving line at a wedding! Let's rethink this and go way outside of the box here. Maybe a breezy montage introducing each character with a bite and a lower third? Like "Hi, I'm Princess Dragamiroff. I'm Eastern European royalty and I love train travel!" or "I'm Pilar and I'm a pious missionary. I really could use a makeover. I hope nothing awful happens while I'm on the Orient Express!" Let's discuss.
For clearance purposes, we can't mention that the Count was on Dancing With Stars. Make sure his lower third says "Professional Ball Room Dancer On Network Television."
The sweeping b-roll looks amazing, almost like it's CGI or something. Let's add to this with a map graphic showing the route of the train. Comb your interviews for a few bites about the history of the Express. The audience is craving some take-home information, so let's give it to them!
RATCHETT MAKES POIROT AN OFFER
First of all, we definitely need to give Ratchett a big intro package. Have him say something like "I'm Sam Ratchett. I work in art sales and I think someone's trying to kill me. Can you believe it?" (in his own words but saying this verbatim) Since he gets killed so quickly, we have to establish who he is and why we should care. Let's establish him first before we kill him off - that's storytelling!
RATCHETT IS FOUND DEAD
Why is everyone on a train? Oh wow, I completely forgot they were on it! Let's add a flashback of Poirot boarding the train and a bite re-establishing he's heading off to England to help out Scotland Yard. Remember, the more we spoon feed the audience, the better the show. It's storytelling!
The camera is currently outside of Ratchett's compartment when Poirot and Bouc find the body. Are there shots of them actually discovering the body? How can they say that they found the body if we don't see them finding the body? This is really poor producing, you guys. If you say it, you have to see it and if you see it, you have to say it. That's one of the first rules in our Style Guide.
Also, can we add in a bite from Poirot re: the weight of Ratchett's murder? Without this bite, it really doesn't seem like he cares that there's a dead man on the train. Have him say something like "Ratchett's murder is really bad news because murder is one of the worst crimes in the world." If we don't know how Poirot is feeling in this moment, how am I to know he thinks murder is bad? Just through centuries of law and moral teachings and mores? I think not!
ARMSTRONG CONNECTION & THE "MYSTERY"
Wait a minute, slow down, hold the phone! There's another murder that occurred years before back in the States? This is MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, not MURDER OF A KIDNAPPED GIRL IN UPSTATE NEW YORK A FEW YEARS PRIOR. If Ratchett was actually this Cassetti who kidnapped and murdered this Armstrong girl, let's have this play at the beginning. Put this first and jettison the Jerusalem section. You're expecting the audience to want to start putting the puzzle together for themselves here. For themselves?! NO no no no. Our job is isn't to put the clues out for the audience to be the detective. Our job is the lay out the story and then tell the audience exactly what is happening in the story every minute step of the way. That may work for PBS, but not here! If you expect the audience to do the work here, expect them to change the channel to This Is Us. And none of us want that.
Considering we have some shaky goPro footage of Ratchett actually being murdered, Legal wants us to add a disclaimer saying you should never kill someone, especially on a high-end train.
NOTE: The following contains spoilers for one of the most iconic films ever made. If you don't wish to be spoiled, please go back now. But do leave the Bates Motel a positive review on Yelp.
PSYCHO FINE CUT 2 NETWORK NOTES
Hello! Big thanks to your team for all of their hard work. It hasn't gone unnoticed. You guys like Sprinkles? Well, once this locks, we'll get you all some fancy cupcakes. But based on this cut, that won't happen for a while. We have a couple big problems right now. First of all, as a network that's all about adventure and going to far-off locations and quirky destinations, we spend a lot of time at the Bates Motel and we don't know anything about it! How can we feature a hotel and not talk about its amazing amenities? Is there a spa? A Michelin star chef? Sure, there's a serial killer, but is there a chocolate fountain? Let's see if we can tone down on the mass murder and play up on the fun locale! Secondly, our legal department really dropped the ball by focusing on a main character who commits fraud from her company. Maybe we do reshoots with a new customer at the Bates Motel who isn't on the run from the law? The more we keep Marion on screen, the larger disclaimer we'll need to run at the beginning of every act. If we do that, we'll come across like that Leah Remini show (except our subject matter is less scary, am I right?) Also, we desperately need a bites pass! Once that happens, we can give time coded notes. Until then, please do the following and we can discuss. Thirdly, something is wrong with the color correction. The cut was in black and white. Please address.
Great use of lower thirds saying "Phoenix, Arizona" and the time and day. We wish more shows would do that. It's a great way of letting the audience know where the show is taking place. If we confuse 'em, we lose 'em! Marion and Sam have some great chemistry, but it is just aching for a great intro package. Kick it off with a bite like "Hi, I'm Marion Crane. I work for a real estate company in Phoenix. My boyfriend Sam comes to town infrequently, and he's dealing with a lot of money problems. I wish there was some way I could help him!" [Please get this in her own words.]
When the oil tycoon gives Marion the $40,000 for his daughter's new house, please get a bite from Marion like "Wow, this is a lot of money. That could really help a lot of people, even by my boyfriend Sam!" If we don't lay the groundwork now for what Marion does with the money, the audience will be taken by surprise by what happens later. The more obvious we make things, the better it is. That's Story Telling At It's Finest. (That's also a new motto we're test marketing. Did very well in Duluth!)
Wait a minute, we never see Marion say "I'm going to steal the money, get out of town and give it to Sam?"!?! Wrong wrong WRONG. This is just so sloppy! Ugh, guys, we've been over this. We have to hear from Marion make the decision to steal the money and why she's doing it! Get a bite from here that says "I'm taking the money and running out of town so I can give it to my boyfriend Sam so we can get married and start our new lives together." If she doesn't explain it, the audience will get confused as to what's happening. And if they do that, they'll switch over to BIG BANG THEORY. And no one wants that. Get the bite and ADR it in if you have to.
Per legal, let's put in a disclaimer saying it's wrong to steal $40,000 from your boss. If we don't, we're just asking for a lawsuit.
HIGHWAY OUT OF TOWN
Can we think about doing a music pass as well? We've been hearing a lot of orchestral cues. Let's vary it up. Maybe a Dua Lipa soundalike? Or some dub step. Scour your music libraries for something that sounds like Top 40 and get creative!
As Marion is trying to trade out her car for a new one, add a cymbal scrape every time to turns to look at the cop across the street. That will help add to the tension. (That and a bite from here that says "I'm so nervous right now. Every time I look over at the cop across the street, I feel more tense!")
Whoa, I'm so confused! Marion is driving, not saying anything, but we are hearing dialogue of her boss and co-worker asking about where she is and what happened to her? Is there a problem with the cut? Oh wait! She's imagining this conversation. Ohhhhh. Yeah, that's not clear. Either cut back to her office and show her boss and co-worker talking or don't show them at all. This is just too confusing, you guys. That's a no-no.
No notes on the Dodge Motors production integration.
ARRIVING AT BATES MOTEL
27 minutes go by and we're finally at the Bates Motel? Too long, guys. Way too long. Also, where is this? Somewhere in California, I know, but a lower third would be really helpful. Also, this is the hotel we're featuring? If this is the place we are focusing on, then we should really think outside the box here: makeover! We can take this dilapidated old motel and make it something chic and fun and hipster-friendly. Considering the condition of this place, the only blonde screaming in here should be Gordon Ramsey wondering why the French Onion soup isn't rustic. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
When Marion meets Norman, we should get an intro bite from Norman. In reality television, we like to give the impression of mysterious but not actually be mysterious. And that goes the same with our main characters. Have Norman say something like "Hi, my name is Norman Bates. I run the Bates Motel out here in the middle of nowhere. Even though I'm shy, deep down I'm a people person and family means a lot to me."
Please make sure we have a material release for all of the taxidermy in Norman's office.
As Norman goes on and on about his mother, Marion seems to be getting more and more uncomfortable with the conversation. I say "seems" because unless we have a bite from here telling us how she feels, we'll never know for sure. Put in a bite from her saying how uncomfortable this conversation is making her. Otherwise, how are we to know? If we aren't telling the audience how to feel at all times, then we are falling down on the job. And no one is falling around here!
MARION IS MURDERED
Wait, why is Marion working on a math problem? Oh right, she stole $40,000 and used some of it to pay for a new car. I completely forgot. Let's throw in a flashback of her stealing the money and then buying the car and then add a bite from her explaining all of that. That way anyone who came in to the show at the commercial break will be all caught up. Sure, they don't do that in scripted but hey, we're reality - it's what we do!
Let's get a bite from Marion as she's being stabbed. We really need to know her state of mind at this critical point.
We don't need this full sequence of Norman cleaning up the bathroom after the murder. Let's cut it and make it a snap-in.
ARBOGAST LOOKS FOR MARION
Why does this Sam guy look familiar? Oh right, he's Marion's boyfriend! I completely forgot. Let's throw in a flashback from earlier to remind the audience who he is and why he's there. Don't assume that they'll remember something from 45 minutes before. This is reality TV, not GAME OF THRONES!
Arbogast does introduce himself to Sam and Lila in the hardware store so we don't need a full intro package from him. Let's definitely lower third him as well. Does he have a fun Twitter handle? If so, add that to it. If not, his Snapchat should be fine. We need to show our audience that our cast members are big on social media. Getting the right buzz on social media is murder (poor choice of words)
SAM AND LILA LOOK FOR MARION
Sam and Lila recount every plot point to the Sheriff and his wife. Excellent producing! No notes for this scene.
As Lila and Sam drive over to the Motel and Lila tells Sam of her plan that they'll pose as husband and wife, add a cymbal scrape to her sound up. That'll drive this point home. Remember, we use music and sound design to enhance and elevate scenes. Let's use both of these to tell the best story possible!
Is there an unused funny scene we can add before Lila and Sam arrive at Bates Motel?\ Things have been so tense for so long. Let's give the audience a break with something goofy and fun. Comb your footage and let's discuss!
When Lila goes up into the Bates' home, let's get a bite from her where she talks about how anxious she is to find her sister. I know she mentioned that in the previous scene with Sam, but let's hear it from her as well. The more we hear from our characters, the more we can care for them and relate to them and then our audience gives us the ratings we need!
When Norman Bates' mother is revealed, let's add the lower third so the audience knows for sure. Remember, making things very obvious is the height of storytelling.
FINAL SCENE AT THE COURTHOUSE
The psychologist over-explains what happened with Norman. It's obvious and very pedantic. We love it. Don't change a thing.
Please do these notes by 5:30EST today. Thanks!
NOTE: The following contains spoilers for the one of the popular stop-motion animation films of all-time. If you do not wish to be spoiled, please go back to Christmastown and lay down for a long winter's nap.
THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS RC3 NETWORK NOTES - 3pm EST
Hello! We appreciate all of your hard work on getting the last cut back to us in an almost-timely manner. The show is slowly taking shape, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us. The big problem we have right now is focus. We visit Halloweentown and Christmastown and yet we barely know either place! How are they connected? What are the political structures? Can our viewers go visit for some fun shopping? If Jack is the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown, why is there a Mayor? (Is there an order of succession?) There a lot of questions we have and in reality TV, we leave people in suspense, not with questions! A bite pass is absolutely necessary. Once this happens, we can send time coded notes. But not until then.
"THIS IS HALLOWEEN"
Halloweentown is kinda cool, in a Hot Topic sort of way. Are there any other shots of the town with more color? This is the start of the show and we need to grab the audience right from the first frame! Comb through your footage and find some drone b-roll overhead of the town during the day so the audience will fall in love with it right away. The lyric track is working pretty well, so let's go for a win with some great juicy b-roll! (Make sure it's free; we aren't paying for it.)
We are seeing A LOT of monsters as we go through the town and I can't tell them apart! Let's extend the VO to explain who these creatures are and why we should care about them. We need to spell things out for the audience as much as possible. That's storytelling!
It takes almost 4 1/2 minutes for Jack to be introduced? NO no no NO. As he's being carted in, let's do a big intro package from him like "Hi, I'm Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown. I'm in charge of making sure that the big scary holiday known as 'Halloween' is s scary as possible." (Please get this verbatim) While it can be inferred from the sound-ups of the townspeople that Jack does all this, we can't assume that the audience will pick up on that. That's for scripted. This is reality!
Per legal, please add a disclaimer that no one should set themselves on fire and dive into a dirty well to become Jack Skellington.
We just introduce Sally by her lurking in the background and then she loses an arm to get away from her abusive boyfriend. That would be great stuff... if there was a bite to go along with it! Ugh, you guys, come on. Whoever edited this should be fired and replaced. (Get someone cheaper.) Yes, it seems like Sally doesn't like her boyfriend but if she doesn't tell me in a bite that this guy is bad news, then how am I to know? HOW AM I TO KNOW? Please get her saying something like "My name is Sally. Evil Scientist made in his lab as his companion but I'd rather be out in the world and meet Jack Skellington!" (Make sure you get this in her own words)
Jack is going on and on about how he feels stuck and wants to try something else. It's beautiful and gorgeously shot. Since we're long, let's condense this to a bite and make it a podbuster.
On a side note, we've been in Halloweentown for over 10 minutes and we haven't learned a single Halloween decorating tip! People, if we are doing holidays here then we have to give the audience some take-away information! Comb through your footage and see if you can add something new. Does Jack teach a vampire how to make a great tasty punch for a Halloween party? Does Sally show the Evil Scientist how to make ghost decorations using tissue paper, a marker and some fishing line? Let's set ourselves up for success here! We can't let Food Network corner the market on all of this.
Jack is obviously intrigued by the door to Christmas Town. But I don't know why! Bites, bites, bites! Get a bite from him along the lines of "Wow, this door is very pretty. I've never seen colors like this before. I wonder where this goes." The more we explicate, the more the audience stays put!
Add a lower third that says "Christmas Town" when Jack arrives there. We can't risk any confusion.
Christmas Town is quaint and cute; it reminds me of what I imagine the Midwest looks like! Jack's enthusiasm is infectious, but after a couple minutes of him saying "What's this", we better get to an explanation pretty quickly. We can leave the audience in suspense over a commercial break, just not in a scene.
Per legal, please add a disclaimer saying we do not advocate drugging someone's food to escape capture, even if you're being help captive by an Evil Scientist. After that Gordon Ramsay debacle, we can't afford another lawsuit.
Do a chyron pass on the monsters in the town meeting. I'm having trouble telling all the ghouls apart.
Jack is being very obvious explaining the different Christmas items to the Halloween townspeople. He's over-explaining, actually. This is great. No notes on this.
Per legal, please add a disclaimer that people should not jump out of a five-story tower to escape an evil scientist, even if they are made of straw and leaves. This isn't American Ninja Warrior.
Let's get a big intro package for Lock, Shock and Barrel. Let's get into their backstory and put in some snazzy b-roll. As our resident villains, they should be totally eye-catching. Like Kenya from Real Housewives of Atlanta, but not as scary.
The montage of the townsfolk making their Christmas presents is decently cut but it needs another pass. First, let's change up the music. It's been minor key orchestral for so long. How about a different lyric track? A "Despacito" sound-alike would work wonders here. Let's discuss. Also, after each present is made, add a cymbal scrape. That way the audience will know to look up from their phones and pay attention!
SANDY CLAWS GETS KIDNAPPED
Once we arrive in Christmas Town, let's again add a "Christmas Town" lower third. Then, once we get into Santa's house, add a "Santa Claus - Jolly Old Elf" chyron. Don't assume that all of our viewers know who he is. What if they just switched over to the show at this point? How will they know what the story is? We can't let people get lost now!
Per legal, please add a disclaimer saying that no one should kidnap the patron saint of the biggest holiday of the year. (The only one who's qualified for that is Wall Street)
When Santa falls into Oogie Boogie's lair, let's give Oogie a big intro package. He's the Big Bad in here. Think of Camilla from The Challenge or Omarosa from The Apprentice, just not as scary.
JACK TRIES TO DO CHRISTMAS
As Jack is dropping off presents, let's pepper in some bites from Jack about how happy he is to be finally fulfilling his dream of doing something different. We set it up song before; we have to follow through in bite now. That's Storytelling 101!
Once Jack saves Santa Claus from Oogie Boogie, add a bite from Santa Claus about how relieved he is to be saved from certain death. (And if he can work in a mention to Target too, that would help with our production integration requirements for the quarter. Make it natural!)
Please turn around the cut with notes responses by 5pm EST. Thanks a bunch!
NOTE: The following contains spoilers for one of the most beloved musicals of all-time. If you do not wish to be spoiled, please climb every mountain you can to avoid one of the highest grossing films ever.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC FINE CUT 4 NETWORK NOTES
Hello hello hello. Thanks for addressing our previous set of notes. As per our conference call, we still have a long way to go before we have the show ready for air. The biggest problem we have right now is focus. What works for us at our network are sweet relatable shows about families with a lot of children. But we've never had one where all the kids can sing together! What a hook! We need to focus on that and dump all of the nun stuff. (All of the stuff at the beginning with Maria at the convent really feel like a different show. Maybe cut and repurpose it for something else? The Real House Nuns of Salzburg does have a great ring to it. Or maybe SuperNunny? Let's discuss) Here we have seven adorable, camera-friendly children who can sing harmony without scaring off advertisers. It's like 19 Kids and Counting without the David Koresh cult vibe. There's gold to be had here; all we have to do is mine for it!
Also the storytelling is just not strong enough. Whoever edited this should consider a career in hotel/motel management. Story is key! We are severely lacking in bites and b-roll transitions; a chyron pass is absolutely needed. (Can you tell the difference between Gretl and Marta on sight? Yeah, me neither.) You guys are making a lot of assumptions about what our audience knows. We need to make sure that this is as streamlined and easy-to-consume as possible. The less taxing the show is for the audience, the higher our ratings! Once these are addressed, we can send time coded notes. Won't happen until then.
PS. Are we married to this title? It's too generic. Let's go with "Von Trapped." It's fun and based on the focus group we did in suburban Annapolis, it'll go over very well.
THE HILLS ARE ALIVE
While we all appreciate all of the drone footage of the Austrian mountainside, we have a whole scene with Maria and no one else. What does this have to do with 7 brothers and singers who can harmonize? Every scene has to have TENSION AND STAKES AT ALL TIMES. What are the stakes of a woman with poor fashion sense twirling around in the grass? Guys, if we aren't aiming high in every scene, then the audience will lose interest and go back to YouTube. We need a stronger start; keep the b-roll, cut to Maria's arrival at the Von Trapp household with an intro bite like "My name is Maria. I'm a nun here in Salzburg, Austria and I've come to be the new governess for Captain Von Trapp and his children. I'm nervous that I won't do a good job. Hopefully I won't be fired." (Please get this verbatim)
For proper context, we really need a strong bite that sets up World War II. You can't assume that the audience will know what that is.
As previously mentioned, this whole section can be removed. We have 6 nuns we've never met (without a lower third on any of them) talking about a woman who all we saw doing was just spinning on a mountain. "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" Make it a snap-in.
MARIA ARRIVES AT THE VON TRAPP HOUSEHOLD
When the Captain catches Maria dancing in the closed-down ballroom, she seems startled and then walks out. I say "seems startled" because there isn't a bite there telling me how she feels! Guys, this is just so sloppy. Come on. Let's get a bite in there about how she felt about being caught, a bite from her beforehand to explain why she would go into the closed ballroom to begin with, an intro bite from the Captain so we know who he is, and a bite from Maria saying how intimidating the Captain is. And make sure this all flows and doesn't seem too bite-heavy.
The Captain says that Maria is the 12th governess they've had. Do we have footage of the other governesses? A montage of the former governesses trying to deal with the children could be fun and unusual way for us to meet the kids and set up the stakes. Let's think outside of the box, people!
When the Captain makes the children introduce themselves, this is a fantastic opportunity for a big juicy intro package. As each child steps forward, throw in some bio bites for each one so the audience can easily differentiate one from the other. The faster the audience can do this, the faster we can start having great hashtags all over social media. There are a lot of shows with litters of kids; we need to do what we can to stand out! Let's set their characters like this:
LIESL - The Flirt
FRIEDRICH - The Know-It-All
LOUISA - The Sarcastic One
KURT - The Goody Two-Shoes
BRIGITTA - The Bookworm
MARTA - The Cute One
GRETL - The Sweet One
Make sure that all bites and sound-ups from the kids reflect these singular character traits AT ALL TIMES. If we show some different personality quirks, the audience will easily be confused. We only have 42 minutes to convey each story; let's make every second count!
When Maria says that she's never been a governess before, let's get a couple of bites in from the kids saying how they can't wait to try to test their new governess. That way we know that they are fun and mischievous (in a relatable, family-friendly way, of course). As Maria produces the frog from her pocket, add in a cymbal scrape then a wood block. That way the audience will know that this is funny!
We have a nice scene between Liesl and Rolf with the dancing and the kissing, but since I don't have any context for it, I'm just so confused! It's really obvious, guys. Let's get a fun flirty bite from Liesl about how much she likes Rolf, how long they've known each other and why she likes him so. Oh, and let's make sure we do a proper background check on everyone Liesl may date. Otherwise it's Josh Dugger all over again.
As Maria is singing about her favorite things, let's do a montage of images to go along with what she says. We can't assume that the audience knows what she's talking about. Just because we know what brown paper packages tied up with strings are, the audience may not. The more we spell things out, the stronger our storytelling is!
THE VON TRAPPS GO AROUND SALZBURG
As the kids are learning how to sing, let's get bites from all of them as the scene progresses. Are some of them nervous before they start singing? Are they worried about what their father will think? We need some stakes and conflict there. Do Re Mi doesn't really denote tension. Let's maximize our footage the best way possible!
THE CAPTAIN RETURNS WITH MAX AND THE BARONESS
Again, again, again: BITES BITES BITES! We need bites to establish both Max and the Baroness. Does she look forward to marrying the Captain? Is the Captain looking forward to spending more time with Baroness? Why does Max need to find another music group to manage? These are obvious questions and you guys totally dropped the ball here. Get these bites in here pronto and this dull driving scene will sing!
Speaking of singing, the first time we hear the kids sing is when they are way, WAY off camera as the Captain is arguing with Maria. How is this good producing? Again, this is the problem we're having. Currently, the focus is on Maria; it needs to be on the children! Let's start with the kids singing for the Baroness ON CAMERA. And that's where the focus needs to be! Get some bites from the Baroness about the singing kids, from the Captain about why he's so touched by the kids singing and how he's sorry for his behavior towards Maria. Our rule of thumb is: when it doubt, Bite it out!
THE LONELY GOAT HERD
Is there another take without the creepy puppets? If not, we may need to issue a trigger warning.
MARIA RETURNS TO THE ABBEY
Wait, why is Maria going to the convent? Oh right, she used to live there. I completely forgot! Let's throw in a flashback of her living there so we can set this up right. We don't want the audience to be confused!
Per legal, make sure the Mother Superior says "What is it you [BLEEP] face?"
Maria's and the Captain's wedding is beautiful and lush, but I can't help but think about those fun kids. Are there any unused scenes where the kids make mischief all over the house? Any funny turns of phrase from Gretl or Marta? Any scenes with the boys goofing around? Let's comb through our footage and construct some extra scenes where the kids are front and center. Our audience wants to see a large gaggle of children wreaking adorable chaos. Let's give them what they want!
THE SINGING CONTEST
Are there any other takes of the concert without the Third Reich? Despite what our former market research told us, recent polling shows that our audience is actually turned off by Nazi groups. (We were surprised too). Let's recut the contest, show the Von Trapp's winning and then end on a big bite from the kids about their nascent musical careers. Cut out the escape into Switzerland and the family fighting for their lives; it's just too depressing and it's completely off-brand for our network. That may work on A&E, but not here!
Please finish these notes and send the cut with notes responses by 4:30pm EST today. Thanks a bunch!
NOTE: The following contains many spoilers for WONDER WOMAN. If you do not wish to be spoiled, please come back after you've seen the film, completed your training and learn that dancing is not swaying.
WONDER WOMAN ROUGH CUT 3 NETWORK NOTES.
Hello hello! First of all, big thanks to you for addressing our notes from the previous cut. There are a lot of great things going on but we are a long, long, LONG way off from where we need to be. When we were first received the sizzle reel, we were under the impression that our story was going to be about an entire island made up of attractive women who fought all the time. I guess we should have been more specific. As it stands right now, this cut is just not acceptable to us. Our audience prefers women who throw wine at at each other, not spears. We have a lot of potential here and we are doing absolutely nothing with it! We need to be bold and pro-active with our storytelling here and revamp this show. A bite pass is absolutely needed. Diana is exploring the world and how are we supposed to know how she feels about everything? By just watching her and listening to her in-scene dialogue? UNACCEPTABLE. Once this is done -- and a much needed music pass -- then we can send time-coded notes.
We first see Diana at her office in the Louvre. I mean, I know it's the Louvre, but you know who probably won't know that? Our AUDIENCE! Don't assume that they are as smart as we are. Let's throw in a lower third here saying "Louvre Museum -- Paris." When the camera finds Diana opening the package, this is a great opportunity for a bite. Let's have her say something like "My name is Diana Prince. I work in the Greek Antiquity section of the Louvre Museum in Paris. It's the most important museum in all of France and I love my job preserving and researching Greek relics." (Please have her say this verbatim.) Giving the audience information at all times is storytelling at its finest!
Please blur the Wayne Enterprises logo. There's no way we can clear that.
What an amazing, gorgeous place! Diana's VO is a great way to explain about the island but we really could use even more information! How about a great fun GFX of where this island is in the Mediterranean? A list of its imports/exports? When the tourist season is and where to get a great bargain for B&B's? The audience is thirsty for take-away information so let's quench their thirst!
Diana's mother and her aunt seem like amazing, interesting women and yet, we hear so little about them! Let's do a big juicy intro package for each. When Her Majesty rolls in, have her say something like "I'm Queen Hippolyta and I am the ruler of the Amazons. We have lived in peace for years in isolation from the rest of the world. I try to protect my only daughter Diana from what her future my bring but I always try to keep her safe! (Have her say that in her own words, but as close to this as possible) Have her spell out everything right at the beginning will make sure our audience can follow along even if they are playing around on Snapchat!
We have an entire island full of attractive women and they all seem to get along? I find that HIGHLY unlikely. Our core demographic want to see good-looking women in expensive clothes have long dinners and talk about how they shouldn't invite acquaintances to parties. Here you have strong women in combat training, riding on horseback. You're giving us 300 when we ordered was The Real Housewives of Themsycira! (Keeping Up With The Amazons is also a good title. Let's keep that in mind.) Please scour your footage and let's rethink this section. Women fighting over an insult at a fundraiser is a big turn-ON for our audience; women fighting the patriarchy is a turn-OFF.
Also, all the women seem to be wearing the different versions of a fighting tunic and some sandals. That's not realistic. Let's do some reshoots with some more believable wardrobe. They speak about 100 languages and not one of them has a wrap dress? I think not. Also, while we appreciate the diversity of the women depicted on the training field, please cut around the heavy-set woman trainer. We feel she isn't quite "camera-ready."
On a side note, Themsycira is absolutely lovely. Are there any tiny homes there that non-threatening American tourists would be interested in buying on camera? If so, we smell a spin-off. Let's discuss!
THE ARRIVAL OF STEVE TREVOR
We finally get a man on the island. This should be HUGE news. And yet, when Diana watches his plane crash into the water, we don't have a single bite from her. Wrong wrong WRONG. Get a bite from her explaining how seeing this plane crash scares here but she has to do something to help because she's an Amazon (or something like that.) If she doesn't have a bite explaining how she's feeling about this, I have no idea how she feels which means I won't care! I need to care, guys. I NEED TO CARE.
Steve has big news about World War I that he gives to the Queen and her court. But he doesn't really EXPLAIN it a lot. Don't assume our audience knows which war this is. Let's put in a bit from Steve explaining World War I quickly and cleanly. Remember, the more we explain, the better our storytelling is!
Steve and Diana have a great flirting scene when Steve is getting out of the healing pool. Can we add more flirty sound-ups between the two? Try adding some cymbal scrapes; those are great to punctuate any romantic scene! (Per legal, please double check to make sure we don't have to blur any of Steve's body. I don't want a Dating Naked incident here.) Also, great Timex product integration. Is there a take where Steve says their brand by name? Please double check your footage and let you know. If not, we'll pick up a wild line.
DIANA ARRIVES IN LONDON
The introduction of Etta Candy is an utter delight. She's funny and heavy-set in a non-threatening, comedic television sort of way. (Maybe we can do a makeover with her in another episode? Let's ideate on this!) But her interactions with Diana don't really work. Yet another female relationship that's very positive? Where they support each other and look out for each other? No catty bites about each other's clothes? No bon mots about their choice of men? Again, I'm not buying it.
I do enjoy the section where Diana tries on various outfits, but the music in here really doesn't work. Orchestrations for a clothes montage? NO. Let's go with a Katy Perry soundalike. It's a fun and vibrant section; let's not sell ourselves short, people!
Can we get a Ben & Jerry's insert for the ice cream moment? If not, let's cut it.
THE GERMAN SIDE OF THE WAR
Colonel Ludendorf and Doctor Poison come across as good villains but their scenes are hard to follow due their accents and use of big words. Trim these down. (Maybe a good snap-in? Let's discuss!) Also, no one ever really explains why Doctor Poison has that partial mask on her face. Sure, we see the scarring later and it feels rather enigmatic. The problems is we don't DO enigmatic in reality TV. Find some audio of the doctor explaining the mask. Remember Rule #24 in our Style Guide: "If we can explain something in a bite, then we don't include it. "
WONDER WOMAN LIBERATING THE TOWN OF VELD
The action sequence here works pretty well. It's rather heroic to see Diana helped by Steve and his crew. When Diana is getting pinned down by the bullet fire in No Man's Land, it is screaming for a bite from her. Why doesn't she have a bite there? C'mon, guys, you are better than this! Add a bite from her talking about how she feels about being shot at repeatedly. If the scene can be followed by someone who is in another room washing dishes and feeding their cat, then we've done our jobs!
Please make sure that every soldier Diana defeated or killed has signed a release.
WONDER WOMAN'S BIG CONFRONTATION WITH ARES
This scene has sections where Ares is saying the same thing to Diana in slightly different ways over and over. It feels very repetitive and seems to retread the same small section of information for a long period of time. We think it's perfect; don't change a thing.
Please address these notes (with responses) by 5pm tonight. Thanks!
NOTE: The following containers spoilers for one of the popular movies of 2017 and one of the best horror films of the past 20 years. If you do not wish to be spoiled, please stop reading and go see the movie. If not, you will end up in the Sunken Place.
GET OUT ROUGH CUT 2 NETWORK NOTES
Hello! Thanks to your team for your quick efforts on the last cut. Some progress has been made but we are not there yet. Unfortunately, we do feel that this is far from ready. We'd like at least two more Rough Cuts before we go to Fine. (I'm not sure if that's in our contract or not but hey, are you going to stop us?) Tonally, the show is not what we requested. Remember, this is a DATING SHOW and our diverse lead is meeting his girl's family for the very first time. Right now, it's creepy when it should be romantic. It's disturbing where it should be elegant. Where are the scenes of Chris and Rose walking along a well-lit beach talking about their connection? Do they ever share about their journey as they stroll through the woods? Do they ever bond about their love while non-threatening acoustic guitar music is playing? Please comb through your footage and let's re-think this. Think more THE BACHELOR and less ROSEMARY'S BABY. Also, a bite pass is absolutely necessary. Right now, poor Chris is completely lost and we aren't hearing how he's thinking or feeling. How can we care for him if he isn't indicating every single emotion to us in interview? Remember, our audience is experiencing this show while goofing on Snapchat and live Tweeting. If we can't have them follow the show as they are using a Cocker Spaniel filter while ordering Thai Food on Postmates, then we aren't doing our jobs.
Look into doing some pick up interviews with Chris. (Does he have an outfit not covered in blood? If not, please talk to Wardrobe.) Once a full bite pass is done, then we'll send time-coded notes.
Also, is there a take where Chris doesn't brutally murder Rose? Per our research, she is an exact stand-in for our network dating show demographic; seeing her killed could alienate our core audience. Let's discuss!
ANDRE IN SUBURBIA
Is there something wrong with this cut? The show starts with a no name guy walking around the suburbs talking to a friend on the phone. No intro bite, no b-roll montage; not even a lower third! Sure, he gets kidnapped and that may help to establish the mood but I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S GOING ON. If I don't know, then our audience won't know and they'll change the channel. Let's make it a snap-in.
LEAVING FOR UPSTATE NEW YORK
Oh, finally! Young millennials in their attractive loft space in New York; it's like Girls but less smug! Chris and Rose seem to have a great life in New York. But it took me a while to find out that he's a photographer! Let's get into this sooner than later. Let's get a juicy intro package with Chris. Start with a bite along the lines of: "Hey, everyone! I'm Chris. I'm in my mid-to-late 20's and I'm a photographer living in New York City with my lovely girlfriend Rose." Then do a big montage of his photography, his relationship with Rose and don't forget their dog! Let's put our best foot forward and sell our romantic couple early and often.
Chris mentions his nerves about meeting Rose's parents and she laughs it off saying that she didn't have to tell them that he's black. This is a great opportunity to go to a bite! Have Chris say something along the lines of "I know Rose is trying to put my nerves to rest but I have to say, I'm nervous about meeting her family! I hope to make a great first impression!" (Please get this verbatim) We have to establish Chris' objective early and revisit this every few minutes. Remember, characters only have one objective in a show and it never changes at all. That's the essence of storytelling!
DRIVE TO UPSTATE NEW YORK
Chris' best friend Rod is a great character. (He is really popping with all of our millennial assistants here at the network! Possible spinoff?) He's funny and down-to-earth, like a younger Cedric The Entertainer. Let's kick him off with a great intro package! Have him talk about his time at the TSA, how long he's been friends with Chris and what he thinks about Chris' relationship with Rose. If we don't get this from him in bite, then we will never know what Rod thinks about anything. So, mine your interviews and bring us the best Rod gold possible!
The scene where Rose hits the deer is very problematic. Does the deer die? Right now, it's rather ambiguous. And we don't do ambiguous on this network (well, only on the scripted side). Is there any way that we can show that deer being alive? Or that Rose gets pulled over for maybe a broken tail light? If not, PETA is going to be so far up our ass. Please revisit your footage and come up with a creative solution. The last thing we need is more protests!
How does Chris feel about the deer? Or being profiled by the policeman? Does this tie in at all to his nerves about meeting Rose's parents? This is why a bite pass is absolutely necessary, guys! Sure, he says that he thinks his girl is amazing and all but if he doesn't say it in bite, how am I to know how he feels? HOW AM I TO KNOW?
MEETING THE PARENTS
This scene needs A LOT of work. That is a great shot of Rose's car as they pull up to her house. Is Chris anxious about this? Excited? I'd know if there was a bite here from him... but there isn't. And then when Chris finally meets the parents, you guys stay on the wide shot and we just hear them talk. WRONG WRONG WRONG. If I don't see them actually meeting for the first time on camera, how am I to know it actually happened? I don't know who edited this but they should possibly reconsider their line of work. We are building up to this moment the entire time and it's gone in a wide shot! Yes, it establishes a sense of foreboding and creeping terror but I can't see what's happening. Remember the cardinal rule of reality TV: "If it doesn't happen in a medium shot, it doesn't happen at all."
Rose's parents Dean and Missy are very accomplished and lovely. The scene work with Chris and Rose is nice but rather oft-putting, especially at dinner. It's as if they are saying one thing but meaning another. (Like their words are text and there's something... underneath them.) A bite pass here would really work wonders. Clarity is key! If Dean and Missy have some nefarious motives, they need to clue the audience in early on. Surprises only confuse people! Remember our core demographic for our romantic dating shows and try to keep their bites to 140 characters or less. A bite longer than a tweet can easily befuddle them.
The Wedgwood Ceramics trade-out with Missy's tea cup is great. No notes.
(Side Note: Is there a spinoff possibility with Missy and her hypnotism? If she can get Chris to stop smoking after one session, imagine what she can do on an hour-long for a top-tier cable network? E! would buy Hollywood Hypnotist faster than a Kardashian gets a headline in the Daily Mail. Write up a one-sheet and call me tomorrow!)
Wow, there are a lot of people arriving for this party. Please have Rose give a concise set up bite for the party. (Do we have a trade out with Lincoln Towncars? Looks like it). Also, let's do a chryon pass on this scene. All of those middle-aged white folks tend to blend together.
Please make sure we have a material release for all of the bingo cards in the auction scene.
CHRIS TRIES TO LEAVE
Wait, Rose has been working with her parents against Chris the whole time? That comes out of absolutely nowhere! It's surprising and I'm completely thrown. We really need to build up to this, guys. Yes, Chris finds the photos of her with Georgina and Walter and the others. Don't assume that the audience is as sophisticated as we are. Let's weave this in more overtly by putting in bites from Rose about what her intentions are so this is set up correctly. We always have to the tell the audience exactly what's going on at all times; it's Storytelling 101!
The Fruit Cereal & Milk trade-out works perfectly. No notes.
Per legal, please add a disclaimer saying it's not recommended for our viewers to try to add people's brains to black people so they can inhabit their bodies. If not, we're just asking for a lawsuit.
Is there a less violent end to this show? Chris ends up on a killing spree and that makes him an unideal romantic lead. Is there a take where he gives Rose's family a firm talking to? Where Rose apologizes and then they walk down a flower-strewn path as they talk wistfully about their future in a joint interview? Please comb through your footage. Let's end on a positive note!
S&P says that Rod's line should be "I"m with the T. S [BLEEP]-ing A."
Please send us the new cut by 3:30pm today (with responses). Thanks!
NOTE: The following contains a lot - and I mean, a lot - of spoilers of one of the highest-grossing Best Picture nominees of 2016. If you do not want to be spoiled, go see the movie first then come back. But, I may have told you this already...
ARRIVAL Rough Cut 2 Network Notes
Hello to you and your team! Thanks for turning around our ream of notes so quickly. Here's another one. (LOL!) We do think some progress has been made but as of this moment, this show is not ready at all. We definitely need another rough cut before we can continue. There are some major changes that need to be made. Until all of these issues are addressed to our liking, are done, no time-coded notes will be given. We absolutely need a bite pass. And a comedy pass too! Some goofy or bitchy humor can go a long way.
First of all, the structure! What are you guys thinking? It's all over the place. Whoever edited this should get out of the business. (Seriously, we want a new editor on this. Maybe a new story producer as well, to give us fresh eyes? Give me a call in the next 20 minutes. I have to go to set to another show; one of our stars has locked herself in a bathroom and refuses to a reunion show. No rest for the wicked! [You didn't hear any of this from me.]) We need to think more linearly. Just because we're all sophisticated storytellers doesn't mean that our audience is! Let's keep this in mind. Maybe we add some reset bites every 9 minutes? Some flashbacks? Let's open up our bag of tricks and shake it until it's empty, people!
Secondly, we need to refocus the story. The outline I approved focused on a fun, sexy college professor who helps to give some aliens a makeover so they can really strut themselves on Earth. Instead, we have a story where this dowdy brainy doctor tries to talk to some aliens we can barely see for 116 minutes and we spend the bulk of our time playing with giant damn flash cards! This is not witty! This is not urbane! This is not the show we ordered. You guys need to dig through the material and come up with something that feels more on brand for us. Do the aliens have a hoarding problem? Let's discuss.
Finally, our lead. Per our research, our core demographic prefer women who talk about being good at their job without us actually having to see them being good at their job. Sure, Dr. Louise is a brilliant linguist who is suffering from the loss of her child. But does she have any scene work where she's kicking back with her friends at work, complaining about her boss? Are there any takes where she's a fun expensive peasant top with oversized sunglasses? Does she have a favorite label of Pinot Grigio that she likes to throw? Please comb through your footage. Let's make Louise as relatable as possible. Sometimes we need to protect our cast from themselves.
Oh good, VO! Oh no, Louise's child dies? Wait, it's her child, right? Ugh, I'm so confused! We're starting with a death?! (Again, structure, guys!) Let's kick off with a bite like "I'm Dr. Louise Banks. I'm a college professor who specializes in linguistics and my child recently died of cancer." (Please get this in their own words but as close to my words as possible but have it be playful.)
Once the alien ships arrive, let's make sure we use a lower third that says "Alien Spacecraft" every time we see it. Just in case someone comes onto the show halfway through, I want to make sure they aren't lost.
Let's build up some intro packages for the Colonel and Ian. We get good info on them both in scene but let's really milk this for as much as possible. We should make a meal of these scenes and right now, you're just serving appetizers!
GOING INTO THE SHELL
Our first trip into the UFO should be a huge, exhilarating experience. Right now, it's slow and creepy. Wrong-wrong-wrong! It's a spaceship; therefore it's really expensive! This needs to be more flashy and aspirational. Let's play around with the editing here. Think of "Cribs" in Space. Or "Intergalactic House Hunters."
We have scene after scene of the aliens communicating and we have no idea what they're saying or what they want. This is shabby storytelling. How can we tell the best story possible if we can't tell what's happening at all times? Let's get some into bites from the aliens in here, pronto! And some subtitles wouldn't hurt either. "Honey Boo Boo" had subtitles; these aliens aren't as bizarre.
Per S&P, please make sure that there are no swear words in any of the communications from the aliens.
BACK AT THE BASE
Louise is having some memories of her daughter? All of a sudden? And she's getting overwhelmed by them? The editing here is very weird. I have no idea what's going on. Let's recut this scene and add a few bites to explain. Enigmatic may go over well in scripted but this is reality, guys! Real people explain every little thing they do! Also, we can't have a flashback for something the audience hasn't seen yet. Talk about confusing...
Who's the soldier talking to his wife on the phone? We met him before? I completely forgot. Let's add a flashback to when we first met him. Don't be afraid of chyrons, either. Let's make lower thirds are friends, not our enemies!
Whoa, is that a bomb? Why are the soldiers bringing on a bomb? Sure, there was the conversation that the soldier had where his wife was freaked out on the phone and everyone is wigged out about aliens giving the phrase "Use Weapon", but as always, clarity is key. Let's recut this scene so even if someone is washing dishes in the other room they can follow it completely. This, guys, is true storytelling!
AFTER THE EXPLOSION
Yikes, another flashback to Louise's child. Let's set up this flashback with a flashback of the previous flashback to the audience knows it's a flashback and they can be ready for possibly more flashbacks.
Also, we really need a big music pass. All of the orchestral cues get monotonous after a while. Let's throw in some hip hop cues. Maybe a Big Sean soundalike? Let's discuss.
LOUISE GOES INTO THE SHELL SOLO
Why is she going by herself? Why are we cutting in another flashback to "no zero-sum game" to her daughter after someone says it in the present? Again, the editing is just baffling. If you are having problems, I'll come to the bay tomorrow myself with one of our promo editors to help out. We love stories!
Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Her kid isn't even born yet?! And Louise is looking at the future? And she's been doing this this whole time? So we've been having flash forwards? No. NO NO NO NO NO. This is bad storytelling and highly sloppy. All this does is to confuse the audience and turn them off. This is just too much. The model for this show should be "What Not To Wear", not "Lost."
Louise has the flash forward to meeting Chiang at a conference and he says how important it is for her to call him in the past. This is a super complex idea here. And the only way to sell this to our audience is through a bite, people! Have Louise convey this in a way that can be understood in 140 characters or less. If the idea can't be easily retweeted, then it doesn't belong on this show!
Please do these notes and send us a notes response by 4pm today. Thanks a bunch!
NOTE: The following contains spoilers for the most popular movie musical to come out in the past few years. If you do not wish to be spoiled, please stop now and take a trip to your local planetarium where you could possibly see some 20-somethings float by while dancing.
LA LA LAND Fine Cut 3 Notes
Hello! First of all, big thanks to you and your team for turning around our notes so quickly. I feel like we are getting close to where we should be but we are definitely not there yet. There are a lot of great things going on here but we really need to focus on clarity, precision and high-end storytelling. Right now, we feel the cut is lacking all of these things. Also, we should really think about audience takeaway. We need to show a Los Angeles that people want to see! With the current spate of OJ-themed Los Angeles shows, we need to focus on the lighter side of LA. Is there a musical number about delicious taco trucks? A pas de deux about family-friendly museums? A rousing chorus about the upside of being on a lot of auditions? Please comb through your footage. We need to think outside the box here and come up with a show that the whole family can enjoy while they are on their phones. Also, we desperately need a bite pass. We need to set up both Sebastian and Mia strongly at the top so the audience will want them to succeed. Also, the end really needs a complete restructure. Once this all happens, then we can send time coded notes. Please read our notes below. If you have any questions, please reread our notes and think about them.
"ANOTHER DAY OF SUN"
The opening number on the freeway does a great job at setting the tone. And Kudos for the lower third saying "Winter" - that's a first step to let the audience know when we are. But we need to also establish where we are. Let's add another lower third that says "Los Angeles"; sure this is something that the audience could infer but let's not leave anything to chance here. If one person is confused then it's one viewer we could lose.
The opening is a little confusing as we introduce a lot of people and we don't know who they are. Is the first soloist an aspiring actress? Model? Actress/model? Is the second soloist a wannabe musician? I AM SO CONFUSED. How am I supposed to care about any of these people if it isn't spelled out exactly who everyone is at every moment? Let's recut this with an aggressive lower third pass. Even a GFX of "Candance - 34 - Austin, Tx - Aspiring Hand Model" would do wonders.
Please have an associate producer research how often Los Angeles has musical number-related traffic jams. This could be a great bit of audience takeaway information!
When we do see Seb and Mia, they are just random people caught up in traffic. We are missing great opportunities for intro packages. With Seb, have him say "Hi, I'm Seb. I'm 32 years old, and I'm a jazz musician and enthusiast. Jazz means everything to me and I'll explain it to anyone!" (Please get this exactly) Please get a similar intro bite from Mia after she runs lines in her car. First it looks like she's on her phone and then we put together she's actually running lines for an audition. That's crazy! Let's clarify this with a bite. "Hi, I'm Mia. I'm an aspiring actress and I work as a barista in order to pay the bills. I love classic movies and was inspired by my aunt who lived in Paris." Otherwise, it's snoozeville.
"SOMEONE IN THE CROWD"
Whoa, what's happening? We cut right into Mia's audition without a set up or anything. Slow down, guys! Let's start with an establishing shot of the office with a lower third saying "Casting", with a bite from Mia explaining why this audition is important to her. Remember, if we aren't connecting the dots for the audience at all times, then we are NOT doing our jobs. It's storytelling!
Can we get an intro package with Mia's roommates? They seem really fun and vaguely multi-cultural.
We do a swift montage and then Mia & her friends are suddenly at this big Hollywood party. Let's see more of that! The drudgery of Mia's acting career is such a downer; the glamour of fancy parties is way for interesting. Less moping, more Vivienne Westwood.
Whoa, I'm confused! We're back at the freeway? Oh, wait, we're now following Sebastian's story? Was he stuck on the freeway for days? Let's recut this to make it more linear.
Is the scene with Seb and his sister really necessary? We could cut the scene and establish Seb's backstory about his closed-down jazz club with a bite. Just cut to the restaurant where he's playing. Let's streamline wherever we can.
While it may be obvious to us that Mia really liked Seb's music, we can't assume that the audience knows this. Yet again, we need another bite (I hate typing this, guys!). Have Mia say "Wow, hearing that music from Seb just transports me. It's amazing!". (Please get the verbatim and in present tense). When he brushes past her, let's get another bite from her as well. Remember my golden rule: "When in doubt, add a bite!"
Finally, more Hollywood Glamour! Let's really make a juicy package out of this. Add more shots of girls in bikinis, fancy cars, great alcohol (Patron is a sponsor, so per the product integration agreement, we need at least 3 close-ups) and some fun music! (Don't make it cutty).
Are there any takes where the cover band does any 80's soundalikes from our music library? Our music costs are breaking the bank right now so any chances we can save some money would be great.
The Prius product integration is great. No notes on that.
SEB LOVES JAZZ
Seb does a great job explaining jazz to Mia. He makes it so accessible to Mia and also to our target demographic. We were brainstorming here at the network and we think this could be a possible spinoff. "Seb Explains Jazz!" "Seb Explains The Blues". Is he knowledgable about trap music? Let's explore every option here.
"CITY OF STARS"
Why is Seb singing on the Hermosa Pier? There are no bites for context here. Let's make it a podbuster.
Per legal, please add a disclaimer saying that only professionals should float dance at planetariums. Otherwise, we're just begging for a lawsuit.
We have a great montage of Seb and Mia dancing around Los Angeles. Here's a great opportunity to let the audience know which areas of the Southland are more prone to spontaneous dance numbers. That way they can plan their trips accordingly. Please research and add this information in with fun, concise lower thirds.
CITY OF STARS - DUET
Again, no bites for context. Make it web content.
MIA'S ONE WOMAN SHOW
So much emphasis is placed Mia writing and performing her one woman show and we never see it! Slapdash and weak, guys. We either need to see it or we don't mention it. Mia seems unhappy with the reception but if there aren't any bites telling me this, how am I supposed to know? HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW? Do a thorough bite pass here. Now. Also if she is really ready to give up on her career, we need to hear why. Man, guys, I'm really disappointed.
"AUDITION (THE FOOLSWHO DREAM)"
I do love her monologue about her aunt at the audition. However, we do need a bit more context as well. An anticipatory bite right before it would work wonders. Also, do we have any footage of her aunt jumping into the Seine? That would really help the audience follow the story.
I feel like my talk is falling on deaf ears here but we need to revisit the end. This weird fantasy sequence about how Mia's and Seb's life could have gone is just confusing and weird. No bites? No sound ups? Are there audio problems? Let's shoot a pick up scene with Seb and Mia where they talk about Mia's movie success and Seb opening his club. That way we get a clean happy ending and that's what the audience is craving. Also, we can plug Seb's club, as per our product integration agreement. It's a Win-Win-Win!
Please address these notes today by 5pm, complete with notes responses. Thanks a bunch!
[NOTE: The following contains spoilers for one of the most acclaimed and funniest American films of all times. If you do not wish to be spoiled, please stop now and get a smart friend or family member to show you this amazing movie that has still tied the record with Titanic for receiving the most Academy Award nominations in history. Got it? Good.]
ALL ABOUT EVE ROUGH CUT 2 NETWORK NOTES
Hello and thanks to you and your team for addressing our previous round of notes so quickly! We should really reward you guys soon. How do you feel about a Papa John pizza party? I'm pretty sure I can expense that.
We have some pretty big problems with the cut as it stands. A bite pass in ABSOLUTELY necessary. The material is great and the characters absolutely sparkle. They have some of the best dialogue and sound-ups we've ever had on this network. But it's not quite coalescing as well as it should. So, we think we should think big and do a massive overhaul. Think about this: we have a collection of fantastic, urbane, well-dressed women who give great one-liners. And the theater setting is new for our network. Usually we see women throwing wine at each other on boats in relativiely-expensive ports of call. But here, it's a whole new subculture we can explore and exploit (thoughtfully!). We should ditch our current concept for the show and do: The Real Housewives of Broadway. (We are currently testing this title along with The Real Housewives of New Haven and Below Deck: Back Stage.) I have some ideas for how we can recut some of the scenes, restructure the show and re-focus the characters. Let's be bold and do some big remodeling! I've also included some proposed tag lines for each of the new "housewives" that myself and my 24-year-old intern came up with. He's never worked on a TV show before, so I put a lot of stock into his instincts. (Fresh eyes!) Once we've redesigned the show, I'll send time-coded notes.
BACKSTAGE DURING THE RUN OF "AGED IN WOOD"
Wait, we're starting with an award ceremony before we learn who these people are? Guys, we can't do this. The audience will be lost in the first minute and they'll switch over to "Designated Survivor" (which will be my nickname at this network if we don't turn this show around). Sure, the VO describing the people is informative but this is not the proper way we tell a story! We should move this award ceremony to later on in the episode so we can properly build to this! Start the action on Karen going to the theater on Broadway. And again as previously requested, we need an intro package for her.
KAREN. Tag line: "I've never been on a stage but I know drama when I see it!" Karen can be rather milquetoast and quiet. Let's really really exploit that. In order for the bigger personalities to pop, they need fodder to roll over. Let Karen be that fodder. (We can let her have her due in the reunion show.)
Once Karen meets Eve waiting outside, we can meet Eve.
EVE. Tag line: "All of the world is a stage. And I feel like I'm stuck in orbit!" And here let's put together Eve's intro package about her life in Wisconsin. Her negative comments about working at a brewery could be problematic in reruns on our sister networks. Let's rethink how we introduce Eve to our audience. We need to get the audience on her side without alienating Anheiser-Busch.
MARGOT. Tag line: "Trust me, I don't have to pull focus from you, darling. It was on me the whole time." Margot is the grand dame of Broadway. She should be dramatic, vain, smart and neurotic. This combination is perfect for our target demographic. Don't lean on her being too neurotic, however. A fully three-dimensional female can scare off advertisers. Think Lisa Vanderpump crossed with a tame snow leopard.
Eve's monologue about the death of her husband is great but I think we can punch it up more. A well-time cymbal scrape solves a lot of problems!
EVE BECOMES MARGOT'S ASSISTANT
The use of VO is becoming problematic. If the audience is hearing our casts' voices without cutting to an interview, they'll get confused and think that Margot is narrating this from beyond the grave. Let's add a series of pick up bites so we can cut to seeing our great cast in the chair. (NOTE: The budget for pickups has been reduced, so please make sure we are using the finest green screens that third-tier cable can supply.)
Birdie is a great character; her one-liners and retorts are fantastic. (And her observation that Eve is studying Margot like a play is a great touch! I don't remember that in the outline; kudos to the field producer for putting that in). After the first season, let's test out a possible backdoor pilot with her. Birdie Flies The Nest? Let's put our thinking caps on and work this out!
COCKTAIL PARTY FROM HELL
The scene starts off very well with Margot's age obsession and jealousy over Eve. However, I completely forgot about how Margot is feeling! Add a flashback here to the previous scene so the audience can follow along. Sure, Margot and Bill are discussing it quite well in-scene, but a flashback will be that extra special touch that just screams People's Choice Awards, don't you think?
When Margot tells Eve "Remind me to tell you about the time I looked into the heart of an artichoke", let's add a fun lower third giving a couple fun facts about that misunderstood vegetable. If we can give our audience some drama AND some information, then we are truly excelling at our jobs!
Margot's "Fasten your seatbelt; it's going to be a bumpy night" is a great sound-up! Our promo department is already going to put it into every commercial. In order to sell it in scene, let's punch up the sound design around it. A drumroll to the line and then a big sting afterwards will really drive it home!
When Addison brings in Miss Caswell, it's a great time to do on intro package on her. We definitely could use a dim bulb and Miss Caswell's light is pretty dim. And she's gorgeous. Miss Caswell. Tag line: "I'm happy to be here. I'm just not sure where here is!"
Boy, Margot is drinking a lot in this scene. Let's add three to four scenes of the other women in different combinations talking about Margot's drinking where it can culminate in a confrontation/intervention where they can partially resolve it and leave the remainder to be discussed at the reunion. That way, this issue can be dealt with responsibly!
EVE BECOMES MARGOT'S UNDERSTUDY
Another scene with a lot of great drama that is completely dry. In order to punctuate the scene and hold the audience's interest, we need some music here! (Maybe a Drake soundalike?) If we aren't telling everyone how to feel at all times, we aren't story telling!
MARGOT'S CAR BREAKS DOWN
In order to sell the immediacy of this scene, we need to add in stakes. It's storytelling 101; if our characters are not in peril, then the audience won't care. Remember, we need TENSION and STAKES in every scene. So, let's milk this scene for what it's worth. Add in a ticking clock showing how much time is being eaten up.
Also, remove Addison's voice over. He's not pivotal to our show. (See below) Also, do we have footage of Eve going on for Margot in the play? We have Addison telling us Eve goes on for Margo but we don't have the visual. I know we don't have the rights to it and it would just be b-roll over some music, but the visual of Eve mouthing some words would be really helpful. Right now, I am just CONFUSED.
Eve's sudden turn from naive farm girl to back-stabbing villain comes a little too subtly. Let's weave in some bites throughout the show to lay the groundwork for her turn. Otherwise, the audience will be confused and a confused audience will not tweet.
OPENING IN NEW HAVEN
Addison's confrontation with Eve in her hotel room is problematic on a few levels. First of all, the revelation of Eve's background (her real name, that she's never been married, etc.) should not be done in this setting. The best way to do this is at a big dinner where all of the women will be there and one of the women should come forward with all the juicy information. That way, we can maximize the drama and luxury. (Really, a confrontation in a shabby hotel in New Haven? Not a good move, guys). Let's reshoot the scene and make sure the women are carefully produced. Remember, it's reality!
Secondly, we love our LGBT supporting characters and Addison is one of them. The rapier wit, the excellent shoes, the hipster-love of a cigarette holder -- he's great! However, we find it best that our gay characters on our network take a back seat to the straight women. Indeed, Addison has too much agency. He's too strong, he's too smart for our purposes. He should be more fun sidekick and less sharp player. Think serving drinks on "Watch What Happens: Live", not as one of the guests.
We have a lot of work ahead of us. Please do this recut and get it back to us by end of the day tomorrow. Thanks for all your hard work!
NOTE: The following gives some spoilers to THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS. If you don't want to be spoiled, please skip this until you've seen the film. And also after you've spayed and neutered your little darlings.
THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS ROUGH CUT 3 NETWORK NOTES
Hello to you and your team. We appreciate getting this cut in such a timely manner. While we have a lot of things going for us with the show, we here at the network feel that we have such a long way to go in such a short time. Right now, the humor is just too intellectual for our target demographic. We need to make things a lot clearer for our audience. You are just assuming too much at this point. A bite pass is absolutely necessary. Also, we desperately need some lower thirds too.
To compete with the other animal shows on the air right now, we need to give the audience takeaway information. If we can watch Cesar Milan manhandle a malamute and learn a thing or two, we definitely can do that with two dogs going from Manhattan to Brooklyn and back. (More on that later). We need to think BIGGER, guys. Let's go for it! Once we get these big overall changes done, then we'll give you time-coded notes. Below are some ideas. If you have any questions, please contact my assistant; she's been out of college for 6 months and she gave half the notes!
You guys did a great job with introducing Max. His VO is on point and gives a great thorough execution. However, let's make sure to add people saying his name more as the scenes go along. Our research shows that our viewers treat our channel as secondary viewing. That is, we have to make sure that a 40 year old mom of 3 in Kansas City can follow along as she's doing the dishes. So, if we keep having the other people say "MAX!" in all of the scenes he's in, this happy homemaker can easily follow along. Got it?
While Max gets a great intro, the rest of his squad could use a more thorough bite pass. Yes, Chloe is an snooty cat who thinks she's above it all; the question is WHY. If it's just because she's a cat, then that borders on being feline-ist and we are not about any sort of discrimination at this network. Please dig through your bites and add a good, juicy, easy-to-follow, short, thorough, to the point but colorful bite explaining who she is.
When Duke is brought back into Katie's apartment, it is very confusing. Who is Duke? Why is he there? Sure, I could just watch the scene and figure that out but at this network, that is a no-no! Let's give Duke the big fun intro bite he deserves! Something like "Hey there! I'm Duke! I'm a big mutt that was found at the pound. I got out of the yard one day and I couldn't find my way back home. I'm really sad but I'm also fun and approachable and I'm the life of the party!" (Please pattern this bite one of the guys from "The Bachelorette"; our research shows women who buy cheap pinot grigio also watch our network)
Max's and Duke's first couple days together are super intense. Their fighting over the doggie bed, Max manipulating Duke into being his slave -- reminds me of when Bethenny and the Countess squared off in the Hamptons! (With less fur, of course). We have great content here: it flows very well, full of tension and humor. The one thing missing? About 5 interview bites to give us context! Let's wring as much drama from this section as possible. If we aren't telling the audience how to feel at all times, then we storytellers are just being lazy! And who wants to be like that?
MAX AND DUKE GET LOST
The dog walker takes Max, Duke, Mel, Buddy and other puppies to Central Park to play. This is a great opportunity to get some of that takeaway information I was talking about. How many dogs are brought to this park in a year? How many dog parks are there in Manhattan? How many tons of dog poop are picked up in a year? These are great bits of info that our audience would love to use at their company lunches and dinner parties... and we are letting this opportunity pass us by! Let's set ourselves up for success!
Max and Duke are confronted by a bunch of feral cats -- I'm not feeling anything because the music is not helping here. Let's add a cymbal scrape every time a cat appears. That'll really let the audience know that something important is happening!
SNOWBALL AND THE FLUSHED PETS
Max and Duke head into the sewers and encounters The Flushed Pets, led by their leader Snowball. He says he was a magician's pet -- any footage of this? Adding a flashback here would be a great addition and really sell this. Also, a more detailed bite from Snowball would be great. How long was he a magician's assistant? Does he like living in the sewers? Would he want to live in a Tiny House there? (If so, we could jump on this trend and strike some ratings gold!)
GIDGET GOES TO GET MAX
Please lower third this entire section.
Make sure that every animal in Pop's party has signed a release.
Also, let's change out the music in Pops' party. A lyric track soundalike to Pitbull would be great. (Get it? Get it? - It's Molly, Bob's assistant. Oh, I just love Pitbull. He's so street!)
MAX AND DUKE GO TO BROOKLYN
This scene is another missed opportunity. Yes, Duke gets to go to his home and he learns his owner has died. But here we are in the hottest borough in the country and we are not taking advantage of this. Yes, the dogs go to a sausage factory, but is it a local, artisanal one? Is it attached to an organic microbrew that our audience can go to on their next visit to the Big Apple? In addition to the story, we're also selling the location. Again, take away info. Let's think bigger, people!
The end is quite satisfying and yet we could really use some bites here. Max and Duke have come to like each other and now consider each other friends, but if they don't say that clearly in a bite, how are we all to know? Let's s-p-e-l-l it out so we can s-u-c-c-e-e-d! (Molly again! Hope you liked my notes! Oh, and can we get the next cut tomorrow morning by 11am with your responses? kthaxbai!)
"UP" ROUGH CUT 3 NETWORK NOTES
Hello! Thank you so much for turning around our previous round of notes so quickly. While we appreciate all the time and effort your team made, we unfortunately are a long way off from being ready with this cut. The show currently lacks focus. Where was the bite pass we asked for? We desperately need to guide the audience through the show and the only way we can do that is with bites, especially with Act One. With a thorough bite pass, we can then guide our audience through the dense rainforest that is our story. Right now, I feel as lost as that old man! (BTW he looks genuinely old instead of TV old; any way we can young him up in Color Correction?) Once we get this bite pass done, then we'll give you time coded notes.
Also, we are going to South America and we aren't really getting a lot of information about it. Let's get creative about adding some take-away information about this continent to our audience so that (1) they can feel smart and (2) we can then count this show as part of our "educational programming".
YOUNG CARL MEETS YOUNG ELLIE
Ugh, do we have to start with the black-and-white newsreel of the explorer Muntz? I can just hear all of the young men 18-35 changing the channel. Yes, I know it sets up all the information for later about Paradise Falls, Carl's love of adventure and how it eventually leads to the love of his life. But this is BORING. Let's do this all with a bite of Carl along the lines of "Hi, I'm Carl. I'm 8 years old. I get to see movies on my own because this is the 1940's and I don't have a helicopter mom. I'm really into adventure and one day I hope to go to Paradise Falls, just like my canine-loving hero, explorer Carl Muntz!" (Please get this verbatim) Without this bite, I have exactly zero context and I have no idea what I'm watching.
Carl meeting Ellie in the abandoned house is all great and all but without any bites in this scene, I have no background on Ellie at all. Who is she? Why does she love adventuring? Why is she missing a front tooth? Lost baby tooth? Street fight? Crystal Meth? I don't know because SHE DOESN'T HAVE AN INTRO BITE. Man, this is just so sloppy, you guys. In scene, one can tell that she's a tomboy risk taker who has a zest for life, but how am I supposed to know that? Just by observing her behavior and listening to her dialogue?! What is this, PBS?!? (Add a damn intro bite from here. Now.)
Ellie shows Carl her Adventure Book and how she wants to fill it with her adventures and she's wants to live on Paradise Falls -- this is a good moment. What would make a GREAT moment would be a bite from Carl saying how impressed he is by this and he too has a similar goal. Please comb through your interviews and add some insight from Carl here.
When Ellie tells Carl that South America is "like America... but South!", let's throw in a graphic to get this point home. Our research indicates that our audience won't know this information.
CARL & ELLIE'S MARRIED LIFE
This is basically just a montage of Carl's and Ellie's entire marriage; I wouldn't really call it a scene. Since there aren't any bites in here at all, I have no idea how I'm supposed to feel. Unless we tell the audience how to think and feel at all times, we as storytellers are not doing our jobs! Is Carl sad that Ellie didn't get a chance to go to Paradise Falls? How did Carl feel about being a balloon salesman for 40+ years? Let's dive into our materials and get the best bites in here possible. We need to set ourselves up for success!
Do we have footage of any other Wilderness Explorer besides Russell? His portly size doesn't make him terrible aspirational. We want to make him a role model that kids can look up to, not just around. If he's the only one, then during color correct let's digitally squeeze him to make him thinner. If it can work for Punky Brewster, Joan Lunden and Raven Symone, it can work here.
After Carl loses his temper and hits the man with his cane, let's add a bite from him expressing his regret. We at the network have a no-tolerance policy when it comes to violence. (Well, real violence. The awful, gruesome violence on our scripted shows that depict rape, murder, assaults and maiming are a-okay).
CARL GOES UP
Whoa, this whole thing where Carl attaches all of these balloons to his house and then flies to South America completely comes out of nowhere! There's no set-up for this, therefore I'm COMPLETELY thrown off. Let's add a couple pick-up scenes where we show Carl setting up all the balloons and starts hatching his plan. That way, once he takes off, I can totally root for him. Right now, I'm just confused!
Can we add a funny bite from Russell about how it feels to be trapped on a floating house? A little levity right now would work wonders.
ARRIVAL IN SOUTH AMERICA
Let's add some fun, digestible information for our audience about Paradise Falls. Where is it? What is the climate like? Where can one find colorful and affordable shopping? By adding this -- even in a lower third -- can give the audience some takeaway information that can drive water cooler talk and Twitter traffic. Imagine how great a #ParadiseFallsBandBs hashtag would be!
KEVIN AND DOUG
Meeting Kevin is an absolutely adorable scene. Any warm bites from the bird about meeting the humans? Something like "SQAUWK squawk squawk SQUAWK squawk." (Get this verbatim.)
When Doug the Dog says "Squirrel", please cut to a close up of a squirrel. Otherwise, this sound-up has no context and I'm confused.
We're in the jungle with Carl and Russell for a couple days now and I think we can amp up the drama some. Since our target demographic loves survival shows, do they eat any bugs? Hunt small woodland creatures? Make loincloths out of leaves? Let's comb through the footage for the most outrageous footage possible. Our ratings will definitely go up if Carl and Russell are both naked AND afraid.
Oh, the older man that Carl and Russell meet is Charles Muntz from before? Wow, I'd completely forgotten about him. Let's add a flashback of Carl watching Russell from the newsreel. (Anyway to add an effect to make it look like a flashback but not and old-timey flashback? Be creative)
Please add a pick up scene with the dogs to explain their sociological disgust for specific shapes. Otherwise, the cone of shame scene comes out of nowhere. Remember, spelling things out for the audience is our primary goal as storytellers!
CARL CHANGES HIS MIND
It's a rather affecting moment when Carl is looking through Ellie's adventure book and sees their joined life together. What would really get me choked up during this would be flashbacks to their life together plus a very heartfelt bite about how he realizes that her big adventure was with him and that he now needs to follow her example and have his own adventure. We're also doing a trade out with Capitol One Credit Cards, so if he can work that into this emotional bite, we'd really appreciate it.
CARL GOES TO SAVE KEVIN AND RUSSELL
Carl is dumping a lot of stuff out of his house in order to make it light enough to fly away. Is he a hoarder? If so, let's see if we can cobble some footage together and make a "Hoarding: Not UP But DOWN." Please be thorough.
We're spending a lot of time on Muntz's dirigible. Any fun facts about it? How many bedrooms? Bathrooms? With tiny houses being played out now on HGTV, maybe FLOATING HOUSES can be the wave of the future? Dive into your footage and put together a sizzle reel. I smell Emmy!
Please get these notes turned around (with responses) by 5pm today. Thanks!
BEYONCE "FORMATION" ROUGH CUT 2 NETWORK NOTES
Hello to you and your team for sending us this cut so promptly. That hasn't gone unnoticed. We have definitely made some progress but we do have a lot of work ahead of us. Right now, the cut is pretty jumbled and tonally not the right fit for our network. Does it have to be so angry? Can Beyonce call all the woman to join a happy formation? Let's go through the footage and do a clarity pass to make sure we are telling the sharpest and warmest story possible. There are a lot of controversial images currently in the cut. While we do want a lot of people to talk about it on Twitter, we don't want to upset the apple cart TOO much. We have some issues with the Red Lobster product integration (see below) and we are in desperate need for a chyron pass. Maybe a comedy pass too? Let's discuss.
Timecoded notes below.
00:01-00:04 While we appreciate the explicit lyrics warning at the top of the cut, Standards and Practices does not feel that is enough due to all of the salty language that follows. Can we use this time instead to put in an establishing shot with a short bite from Beyonce along the lines of "Hi, I'm international pop superstar Beyonce and I'm going to celebrate my Southern heritage with a great fun song. Hope you like it!" Please get this bite verbatim.
00:08 The VO asks "What happened after New Orleans." Do we have an answer for the question? She never answers the question, therefore this is really sloppy storytelling, guys. We are much, MUCH better than this. Also, legal wants a disclaimer saying that standing on a New Orleans cop car in a flood zone is dangerous and should only be done by professionals.
00:15 The VO continues with "Bitch, I'm back... by popular demand." Where was he before? Can we add a flashback as to where this person was before all this? This line needs the proper set up; right now it has no context and is therefore confusing to our demographic. Please recut this.
00:23 Let's add an infographic explaining what the Illuminati is. Audiences love some take home information!
00:33 Please make sure you have the proper material release for the Givenchy dress.
00:40 When Beyonce mentions that her parents are from Alabama and Louisiana, let's add a GFX map of the country highlighting where these states are. That way (1) our viewers in the South will feel some pride and (2) our viewers in the rest of the country will know where these states are.
00:59 You guys, our storytelling has to be on point. If she says "I have hot sauce in my bag" we need a shot of it. If I don't see it, how am I to know that she actually has it in her bag? HOW AM I TO KNOW? Please double check your footage and add this shot. Remember, reminding the audience of pertinent information is the height of storytelling!
01:10 Big Freedia's VO "I did not come to play with you hoes." Is she specific about the hoes she's referring? Have we met these hoes already? If so, let's explain that. Maybe a flashback? Let's get creative!
01:17 We hear Big Freedia say "I like cornbread and collard greens, bitch", but we don't actually SEE any cornbread OR collard greens. Can we add some b-roll of these delicious regional delights? Also, I think we're missing out on a great opportunity. If Beyonce really likes these dishes, how about we do a cooking show spinoff? A Southern-centric cooking show called Beautiful Fryer? All The Yummy Dishes? Countdown (To Lunch)? Celebrities hosting cooking shows are becoming very popular. If Valerie Bertinelli can host a Food Network show, why not Beyonce? If she does, that'll take some of the stink Paula Deen left around here.
01:32 Please double check to make sure that all of the dancers in the creepy empty swimming pool have signed a release.
02:11 Let's add a lower third for all of the places we go to in the cut. Right now, Beyonce and her dancers are in what looks like to be a dilapidated mansion. Is it hers? A relative's? I'm confused. Please clarify.
02:30 Did something happen to the camera? It looks like this scene was shot on a VHS camcorder back in the 90's. Sure, the dancing is nice and it's pretty creative but the weird film stock has no context and now I am no longer into this. Can we add a bite explaining this? Otherwise, we are going to have to do A LOT of work in color correction and I can tell you right now, my boss will not okay any cost overruns for this.
02:58 This whole section about Red Lobster is completely problematic. First of all, S&P is wondering if there's a take where she says "If he LOVES me good, I'll take MY LOVE to Red Lobster". Also, does she have to put up two middle fingers? If she likes Red Lobster so much, why is she making that gesture? I understand that they are very happy with this section of the song, we are not comfortable with it. We may want to change this. Is there a take where Beyonce has a rhyme for Applebee's?
03:44 Can we get a set up bite why the child is dancing (krumping?) in front of the line of police officers? It's coming across as more confrontational than life-affirming. Also, can we find a different b-roll shot at 4:24 instead of the "Stop Shooting Us" graffiti? This might make our target demographic rather uncomfortable. How about the kid does a happy dance and high-five the police officers? Instead of "Stop Shooting Us", how about "Believe in Love"? That's more on brand for our network. Let's see if we can make that happen with the footage we have.
Please send us a new cut tonight with notes responses. Thanks!
NOTE: The following contains lots of spoilers for one of the buzziest current Oscar nominees. If you do not wish to be spoiled, please go see this movie and then come back. Either way, avoid getting a sub-prime loan. Seriously.
THE BIG SHORT RC4 NETWORK NOTES
Hello! Big thanks to you and your team for all of your hard work on the cuts so far. Unfortunately, we are too far off from being on the right track. The clever illustrations of the different investment vehicles is part of the out of the box thinking we really need, but the show right now is too dark and depressing for our brand. Can we recut this to show the banks in a better light? By focusing so much on how the banks screwed over the American people denies us the opportunity to tell a layered story. Do we have any interviews with anyone who liked what Lehman Brothers did? Let's dig through our footage to find more positive bites about the financial industry. Otherwise we're doing ourselves and especially the audience a disservice by not telling the richest story possible (pun not intended). We were envisioning the show to be more Undercover Boss than Frontline. Are there any heartwarming hugs at the end between the CEO's of the banks and the guy whose family is now homeless? Take a look.
Also, you guys are giving us a lot of information. Mortgage back securities, CBO's, strippers with five homes... that's a LOT for our target demographic to digest. Remember, the bulk of our audience watches our network as a secondary viewer. If we can't give them all of the story beats in small soundbites that they can process while doing the dishes and not looking at the screen, then we aren't doing our jobs. Let's do a clarity pass through the whole show to make sure we are telling the cleanest story possible.
We will need another rough cut before we can go on. Once this is done -- with a VERY NECESSARY bite pass -- then we can give time coded notes.
COLD OPEN - THE 70S
The narration is great and the 70's reenactment scenes are well done, but we really need a bite in here explaining what a mortgage backed security is. Sure, the large guy in the glasses tells the other people in scene what it is but we need to hammer this home with a good solid -- funny? -- bite. Remember: repetition is storytelling!
Let's replace a good chunk of Dr. Burry's backstory with the following bite: "Hi! I'm Dr. Burry. I'm an MD who is brilliant at math and investing. I lost my eye to a childhood illness and now wear a glass one. I'm rather skeptical of the mortgage market and I'm going to investigate it further." Please get this verbatim. Let's think less of a scene where people interact and more of a fun intro package.
Like with the Dr. Burry section, let's make an intro package out of Baum's introduction. Give him a solid intro bite, his background and a hint about his brother's suicide. Sure, the scene we have right now greatly establishes his character by him crashing into a group therapy session and unknowingly hijacking it but we can't assume the audience is as clever as we are. Remember, spelling things out equals S-U-C-C-E-S-S!
Make the Mark rabbi flashback a web extra.
MARGOT ROBBIE EXPLAINING SUB-PRIME LOANS
Having a hot famous woman in a bubble bath is a highly creative way of explaining an esoteric topic like sub-prime mortgages. Is it possible to use this as a permanent interview location for all of our shows? Also, can we add some some GFX to help explain this? It would really help our numbers.
Per legal, make sure that all the instances of "Shit" and "Fuck" are bleeped. Are there any other takes where she doesn't swear?
DR. BURRY BUYING THE SWAPS
Dr. Burry explains to the bankers at Goldman Sachs about buying the mortgage swaps and I am lost. Can we add in a flashback here where he explains this again? That would really help the scene a lot. Also, after Dr. Burry leaves, let's cut out before we see the bankers laughing at him. I don't think Goldman Sachs would appreciate their trade out being used in this way. Besides, it's just too mean. Remember, our network motto is "Wow-Wow with a smile!"
Can we get a Ludacris sound-alike for the buying montage? Maybe use someone more family friendly? Let's take a look.
JARED'S MEETING WITH FRONT POINT
We are meeting Baum's team at Front Point way too quickly. Let's give each of them an intro bite AND lower thirds as well. In fact, every time we see them in a scene from this point forward, let's add a lower third to them. There are a lot of moderately-good looking white men in dark suits in this show and I want to make sure the audience can tell them all apart.
Jared says a lot of bad things about Deustche Bank. Are there any other takes where he says nice things about the bank? Right now this is coming across as more "blood-boiling" and not as "heart-warming" as we would like.
Using Anthony Bourdain in interview to explain CDO's is very clever. Does he explain anything else? Our research shows that our audience really responds to famous people making food. Double check your footage: if he can explain golden parachutes while making orange chicken, that would make a great web extra.
DANNY AND PORTER AND THE MIAMI HOUSING DEVELOPMENT
This scene with Danny and Porter checking out the mostly-empty housing development is rather effective. However, we should add a set up from the guys saying what they are looking for at the development and then a closing bite from them about how they desolate the place was. If they aren't telling us how they are feeling at all times, how can I know how they are feeling? HOW CAN I KNOW?
MARK MEETS WITH THE MORTGAGE BROKERS
Man, those mortgage brokers are such douche bags! Any possible way we can play this scene for more comedy? Play around with the audio design. I think adding a record scratch after one of them says he sells to strippers would be hilarious! Be creative.
MARK AT STANDARDS & POORS
There is a lot of information and numbers floating all around this scene. You can't expect our audience to all have done so well in math; we aren't PBS! If you are assuming that the audience is paying attention, then yes they can follow the math pretty easily, especially this is is the crux of the fraud that helped bring down the entire US economy. But you can't assume that; this is reality, not scripted! If you insist on keeping this scene were the woman from Standards & Poors admits to falsely increasing the ratings on sub-prime mortgages and bonds, then you need to add a lot of bites in order to explain it. Do that and add an amazing comedy pass. If not, then we'll make it a snap-in. People in Australia may be able to follow this; I know that working moms in Kansas City won't.
Please make sure that each of the attendees of the convention have signed a release.
When Mark interrupts the presentation, can we get some bites and reaction OTFs from some of the audience members? That would help add context to Mark's worries about the sub-prime mortgages.
Selena Gomez explaining a synthetic CDO is pretty great, but she doesn't sing and I find that distracting. Does she sing at all? Our audience will expect her to sing. Let's do a pick up of her singing an Adele sound-alike. My boss and his kids would love that!
MARK TALKING TO HIS WIFE ABOUT HIS BROTHER'S SUICIDE
Oh dear Lord, who edited this scene, a drunk 18 year old on crack? It's so jumpy and disjointed. There are no bites at all. How can you have such an emotional scene without a pick up bite? Yes, the jumbled editing style represents Mark's frayed emotional state talking about his brother but that is just way too artsy for us. Please completely reedit this scene and make it more straight forward. We are leading the audience through the story by the hand; if we aren't pulling them through a fast pace, they become bored and will change the channel. And we definitely don't want that!
Per legal, make sure that Jared says "I'm jacked to the [BLEEP]."
During the Barry/Mark debate about Bear Stearns, please add a continuing graphic showing Bear Stearns' stock price going down. Make it really fun and playful; if the audience thinks too much about this, it will depress them. If the GFX is bright and colorful, they'll smile. Maybe we can make a happy Bear graphic and then a sad Bear graphic? Let's play around with this. Remember, we're storytellers!
Do we have a material release from Red Bull for the giant tower of cans that are in Lehman Brothers' empty office? If not, please blur all the logos.
I suggest we end the show before Jared's VO goes into how no one of consequence was put in jail for tanking the US economy. Man, that's just too depressing! Let's end on more of an upbeat note. Get creative and call me with some ideas. I can't wait to see what you come up with!
Please get me a new cut by the end of the day with notes responses. Thanks!
NOTE: The following contains spoilers for one of the most beloved action films of all time. If you don't want to be spoiled, please stop now. If reading network notes make you jittery, please have a martini.
INDIANA JONES 101 "Raiders of the Lost Ark" FC1 NETWORK NOTES
Hello, team! Great job turning our notes around so quickly. While we are definitely making progress, the ship hasn't been completely righted just yet. We really need to bear down and focus on our strengths. Right now, Dr. Jones is not as compelling as he should be. He has a history with Marion, but it isn't fully explained. If we cannot be explicit about their relationship, how can our audience fall in love with them and tweet about them incessantly? Remember, if we tell the audience everything, they'll be on our side! A bite pass is absolutely necessary. Also, the audience needs more take-away information from all of these places Indiana is visiting. Right now, all we know of Nepal is one dive bar that gets destroyed; is there anything else to his mountainous country that our unsophisticated demographic could easily digest? (In Episode 102, we at least learn that some people in India eat monkey brains.) Let's wring out as much drama and information for our audience to enjoy. Once this happens, then we can give time-coded notes.
While the location looks beautiful, we have a long section where we don't even see Indiana Jones' face, much less hear from him at all. When the flunky tries to shoot Dr. Jones and gets unarmed by Indy's whip, this is a great opportunity for a great big intro package. Let's kick it off with a bite like "Hi, I'm Dr. Indiana Jones. You can call me Indy. I'm a college professor and a lover of antiquities. I'm currently in South America looking for my next big discovery." Let's cover this with home movies, photos of him as a child, etc. If we don't completely spell out who are main character is in the first 30 seconds of air, the audience will feel confused and worried. That could lead them to change the channel and that is NOT what we want!
Why does Indy fill a bag with sand? He doesn't explain this; add a bite please.
Wow, so many booby traps in this tomb! I feel like I'm watching Wipe Out (but better)! Why are there so many booby traps here? This would be a great opportunity for a lower third infographic about how many ancient tribes loved trying to kill people who tried to steal their treasure. We need to inform the audience without overwhelming them with information. We can't get too brainy; that's what PBS is for!
Oh, THAT'S why he filled up the bag with sand. I completely forgot! Let's add a flashback of Indy filling up the bag. Constantly reminding the audience what is happening is what we do best as storytellers!
Who's Belloq? Why is he stealing the idol from Indy? Again, we need another intro bite about him. If this is our big villain, let's set up with with a big bite so the audience knows who to hate. Even though it's extremely obvious that Belloq is not a good person, we can't assume that the audience will pick this up. Add a bite and it will help immensely.
Please make sure that the girl who wrote "LOVE YOU" on her eyelids has signed a release.
Great scene with Indiana and Marcus explaining the Ark of the Covenant to the federal agents. We need more scenes like this where the story exposition is done seamlessly with sound ups. (I reserve the right to maybe add a couple of bites to further explain things, but let's hold off for right now.)
Love the graphic of the red line flying on the map to all these foreign locations. But why is Indy flying to Nepal if the ark is in Egypt? I'm so confused. I did a quick Google search: turns out Nepal is nowhere NEAR Egypt? Why is Indy going there? We need a bite from Indy here, pronto!
Marion has a fun introduction but again, bites bites bites! We need an intro bite from her; why is she in Nepal? How long has she owned the bar? With all of those shots she's downed, does she consider herself a functioning alcoholic? I have a lots of questions and as of right now, there are no bites to answer them. Sloppy, guys; really sloppy.
Need an intro bite for the creepy German guy. Do we need so many close-ups of him? To say he's not camera ready is an understatement.
Besides the monkey, we aren't really getting a lot of local color during Indy's stay in Cairo. Outside of poisonous dates, does Indy enjoy any of the local food? Besides Marion possibly being killed while by the shops, is there any fun shopping? Here we are spending a good chunk of our budget going to these exotic locales and we aren't giving the audience any great takeaway information. Let's throw in a bunch of info graphics so the audience can feel like Anthony Bourdain for once.
Why is Indy afraid of snakes? Again, a bite from him would work wonders.
Can we change up the music here? It's been one orchestral music cue after another. Let's vary it up with some hip hop or ska. Let's think outside the box here, guys.
Once Sallah and Indy get the ark, let's throw in a Sallah bite about what this means to him. If we aren't constantly resetting the stakes with the audience, they won't realize how important all of this is.
CHASE AFTER THE ARK THROUGH THE DESERT
Indy's pursuit of the Ark through the desert is very well shot and edited. However, it definitely needs more context. At the beginning of the chase, throw in a flashback of Marcus explaining how the Ark can level mountains and armies. Then put in a bite from Indy along the lines of "I have to get the Ark back from the Nazis. If they bring it to Hitler in Berlin, there could be no stopping him and he could take over the world!" Sure, that could totally be inferred from the proceedings, but let's not take that risk.
Please add a cymbal scrape every time a Nazi gets flung off of a truck during the chase. This will add to the drama!
Add a relieved bite from Indy once he's taken the Ark into his possession. How can we know if he's happy to finally have the ark if he doesn't tell us?
Per legal, please put up a disclaimer that we do NOT recommend opening up a powerful mystical relic without supervision.
Do we have any night vision footage of the ghosts emerging from the Ark? We can't have the full ghost hunter experience without it.
With the Ark and other items that Indy has collected over the years, we feel that we are missing out on a great spinoff opportunity. How about "MYSTICAL ANTIQUITY ROADSHOW". If PBS can be nominated for Emmys, so can we! Write up an outline and send it over to us.
Please address these notes by noon tomorrow. Thanks!
THE MUPPET MOVIE Network Rough Cut 2 Notes Pass
Hello! Thanks for addressing our notes on the earlier cut. Progress has definitely been made but we are still a long way's off from getting this right. Unfortunately, clarity is still a really big issue. Many scenes are pretty chaotic and therefore not funny. Remember: scenes are only funny when we carefully explain everything to the audience. Also, the characters' motivations are rather murky. Why is Kermit going to Hollywood? Why would Fozzie join him? What is Janice doing? A very strong and deliberate bite pass is in order; let's get into the head of every frog, pig, drummer, human and 70's comedy star we have. Once this bite pass happens, then we can give you some time coded notes. Please see below.
The start of the film has two older people saying arriving at a movie studio saying they are going to see THE MUPPET MOVIE? This self-referential stuff is rather confusing. Do we have any intro bites with Statler and Waldorf? Why are they going to a screening of a movie if they don't seem too happy about it?If we are setting them up to be a Wendy Pepper/Johnny Bananas/Richard Hatch-type of villain, that's fine. If not, then they are already coming across as unlikable. In reality, characters are either big villains or extremely likable; they can't be anywhere in the middle. (Except on competition shows that get nominated for Emmys)
We start with Kermit singing but the video is just a big wide shot of the swamp. How do we know if it's Kermit singing unless we actually see him? Let's recut this to show b-roll of the swamp, then a shot of Kermit singing on the log. Man, Kermit is singing and singing and we don't have a SINGLE bite from him. No no no. Let's build an intro package with a bite like "Hi, I'm Kermit the Frog. I live in a big swamp and I love playing the banjo!" (Doesn't have to be exact)
Let's get some more information about the swamp. Where is it? What it's like? Is there a pawn shop full of colorful-yet-completely non-threatening people? Dig through your footage and let us know.
When the agent gives his card to Kermit, we really need to hear a bite from Kermit about how his offer about the audition at World Wide Studios is quite enticing. Sure, we can get the idea of this based on Kermit's sound ups and reactions, but we really need to sell this. If it's not completely obvious to us, it won't be to our viewers!
By the way, do we ever hear the answer about why there ARE so many songs about rainbows? If we don't, let's cut it; too confusing.
KERMIT ON THE BICYCLE
Any bites from Kermit when he sees the Doc Hopper Frog Legs signs? If he's not happy about it, we definitely need to hear about it. Since Doc is the villain, he needs a much stronger, more pungent set up. A big montage of him frying frog's legs? Bites from him about how much he doesn't like frogs? Bites from Kermit about Doc's reputation? Let's mine the interviews and b-roll and think outside the box here, guys.
Good Schwinn bicycle product integration.
EL SLEAZO CAFE
Fozzie Bear needs a better introduction. He comes out with a bunch of props; is Carrot Top a big influence? Let's do a big intro of him, his love of comedy, etc. Let's discuss!
When Doc Hopper plays his fast food frog leg commercial for our hero, Kermit is completely revolted. What's his motivation? It's either the fact that he doesn't like the idea of him shilling a restaurant that would be genocide for his people or that he wants to focus on going to Hollywood. Now, in scripted, characters can have multiple motivations. In reality, however, a character has ONE motivation per episode and that's it. Any more confuses us and the audience. Let's pick one and be consistent.
The car accident that brings Gonzo and Kermit together lacks the proper impact because we don't know who Gonzo is. Let's do a full intro package with him; where he's from, how long he and Camilla The Chicken have been together, how long he's been a plumbing artiste, etc. Also, is there another take where they meet? Right now it just seems a little too convenient that they run into each other and they all want to be movie stars. Let's flesh the scene out first with some header, some fluff and then go into the story stuff. Right now, the scene is just rather fakey and unfunny.
MEETING MISS PIGGY
Miss Piggy is really popping on camera. She has a definite Nene Leaks appeal, so let's set her up for success. Give her a big intro package with as much sassy bites as possible. Is she on Twitter? I bet she's hilarious.
Piggy's intro scene is a beauty pageant; any fun backstage moments? OTF's with the other contestants? Let's see what other people have to say about our porcine powerhouse.
KERMIT & PIGGY'S DATE
Why are they out on a date again? Let's restate the intent of this scene right from the top. Why is Piggy on this date? And then she leaves; what does Kermit think about this? Let's get his feelings out on the table with a good choice bite. Otherwise, we're left to just observing Kermit looking sad and depressed and that's just not enough.
Any good bites from Steve Martin the waiter? He has some great comedic potential.
Let's add an earlier pick up scene where Piggy practices martial arts; otherwise her use of karate to save Kermit from his kidnappers comes out of the blue and is therefore not funny. Humor comes from very predictable behavior, NOT from random chaotic moments.
Everyone is stranded in the desert and I've completely forgotten what's going on. Let's restate Kermit's why for his trek. Sure, he talks to himself and says everything in scene, but a great bite from him would work wonders.
Any fun tidbits about the ghost town Kermit ends up in? How about some backstory from Dr. Bunsen Honeydew? More context here would really help. When Floyd asks about the Insta-Grow pills, Beaker says "Mee mee MEE mee mee." Does he have a take where he says "Mee mee mee MEE MEE?" Please double check your footage.
WORLD WIDE STUDIOS
When Lou's secretary has an allergy attack from all of the animal dander, this could be a great opportunity for a Claritin product integration. Let's look into that.
Any bites on what a Standard Rich & Famous Contract is? Clarity here would be very helpful.
Please finish these tonight with notes responses. Thanks!
NOTE: The following contains plot and character details for INSIDE OUT. If you do not wish to be spoiled, please leave now. If reading fictional network television notes makes you break out in hives, please take an antihistamine.
INSIDE OUT ROUGH CUT 4 NOTES
Hello! Thanks for turning our notes around so quickly. As it stands, the show is really making some progress but it's really not there yet. What you've given is so immensely creative and thrilling, which is great... and is also a huge concern. The problem is we kept getting lost in what's going on. A clarity pass is absolutely necessary. Bites, bites, bites! If we're going to ask for the audience to take the leap to go into someone's mind, we need to spell things out for them very clearly so they don't get nervous. Once you do this with a very thorough bite pass, then we'll give time coded notes. Please address the following (and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call my assistant to set up a time for a call.).
We really do like that Joy is our main character here. Her introduction is great and all, but with the arrival of each emotion into Riley's brain, it starts getting confusing. Yes, none of them look or sound alike at all and they each have a very distinctive personality, but we can't assume that the audience can suss out who is who right off the bat. So, let's do a chyron pass and an intro package on each emotion. Sure, Anger says he's anger, but if we throw in a lower third that says "Anger" when he's on the screen, then the audience will know for sure!
RILEY'S MOVE TO SAN FRANCISCO
There is some great scene work when Riley and her family arrive in San Francisco. Still, once they are actually in their house, I forgot which town they were in! Can we throw up another lower third to remind us where we are? We started in Minnesota and then they switched locations; man, that's a lot to swallow!
Disgust has a great sound-up once they see the dead mouse in Riley's room; does she have a bite about it? I would love to get inside the head of the beings inside Riley's head.
MEMORY STORAGE/ISLANDS OF PERSONALITY
So, the different emotions run Riley at different times depending on the situation. I know we established that at the very beginning but on Riley's first day of school, I think we should really throw in a flashback to this to remind the audience exactly why the emotions are there at the control panel in the first place. Sure, it just happened 10 minutes before and it's in all the promotional materials and is the very concept of the show to begin with, but it couldn't help to remind the audience of this. Remember, always reiterating what is going is what we storytellers do best!
Memories come in as big marbles and then go into long-term storage. Some memories are core memories that create the different islands that form Riley's personality - wow, that is a LOT of information for our audience to remember! Let's construct a very tight flashback that we can use every 4-5 minutes to jog the audience's memory of this. It's hard to remember how Riley remembers so we need to remember to remind the audience of this so they can remember it all. Got it?
Please add a pick up scene where Disgust goes over Riley's first day of school outfit. We think this could really go over well with our audience and serve as a possible makeover show backdoor pilot called "Ughh, You're Not Going To Wear THAT, Are You?" Advertisers love shows where we shame women on their fashion choices Throw the scene in and let's make it work!
When Riley has her breakdown during her first day of class, do we have any bites from the cool girls in school? We get the idea from Disgust and Fear what Riley's stakes are, but if we can get a few from that clique of mean girls, it can really hammer home what Riley is really risking. And also the funnier the better!
JOY AND SADNESS TRY TO GET BACK TO HEADQUARTERS
When Joy and Sadness meet Bing Bong, let's give him a really big intro package. I know he introduces himself in scene, but let's throw in a bite along the lines of "Hi, I'm Bing Bong. I'm Riley's imaginary friend. I'm part elephant, part cotton candy and an all-around great guy and since I've been wandering around Riley's long-term memory, I really know my way around." Please get this verbatim.
Please double check our trade out agreement with Triple Dent gum. I really don't think they want us to have some much scene work of our people groaning every time their jingle is heard.
The section where Joy, Sadness and Bing Bong get caught in the Abstract Thought section can be cut. I am really not clear on what Abstract Thought is, so let's just make it a web extra.
Does Rainbow Unicorn have any bites regarding Riley's dream going haywire? We're paying an arm and a leg for her appearance fee, so let's get the most for our money.
I know Joy says that the Subconscious is where Riley stores all of the big things that frighten her, but can she explain in in a bite? Or maybe Sadness can? We haven't heard from her in a while, let's see what she has to say.
We've been in Riley's head for so long; is there any more scene work that we can cut to? Maybe with the parents or the cool girls at school? This is starting to feel a bit claustrophobic.
Please make sure the killer birthday party clown has signed a release.
When the personality islands start breaking apart, can we add in a bite from Sadness or Joy about what this means? We have to always remind the audience about the stakes. What would happen if Riley loses every portion of her personality? What would happen to her? Does this mean she would end up working in insurance? Let's spell this out.
JOY AND SADNESS MAKE IT TO HEADQUARTERS
When Joy and Bing Bong are trying to get out of the Memory Dump using his wagon, let's throw in a flashback of him and younger Riley playing on it and saying that it's powered by song. They start singing to power it and I'm completely lost! (Also, the Bing Bong song is cleared, right? Our music budget has been eaten up with the Triple Dent trade out).
Please add a bite from Joy when she realizes that Bing Bong is no longer there. Even though we see she's crying, how am I to know if she really misses him or not without a bite exactly saying that?
Now that we see that the memories are now coming in with multiple colors instead of just one, let's add in a bite from Joy about how important it is for Riley's development that all of her emotions be validated. We can't assume the audience will pick up on this; it's only obvious to us since we're professionals at this but remember, the audience isn't!
Please have these done with a notes response by 11am tomorrow morning. Thanks!
NOTE: The following contains plot elements for one of the beloved comedies of all time. If you really don't want to be spoiled, please go elsewhere.
THE BLUES BROTHERS ROUGH CUT 3 NETWORK NOTES
Hello! Thanks for addressing the previous round of notes so quickly. We really appreciate it. The show is coming along but we are still far off from where we need to be. We feel the brothers Blues' antics can be toned down to be more network friendly. We want PG "Jackass", not rated R "Jackass." Also, we need more clarification all around. Bites, bites, bites! Once a comprehensive bites pass is done, we'll give time-coded notes. Maybe another comedy pass? Let's discuss.
Jake does a very long exit from prison. He doesn't say anything! Let's use this section to do a strong intro package. Let's kick off with a bite like "Hi! I'm Jake. I'm a musician and I'm finally getting out of prison after holding up a gas station to pay the salaries of the guys in my band. I can't wait to meet up with my brother Elwood who is also in the band with me and we like to dress alike." (Please get this bite exactly). If we don't hear from him within the first ten seconds of the show, how are supposed to form an opinion about him? Just by observing his behavior? Too confusing. Please upgrade.
RUNNING THE NEW BLUES MOBILE OVER THE BRIDGE
Jake and his brother don't seem terribly happy to see each other. Are they more taciturn in nature? If so, let's add a bite from Elwood along the lines of "I'm Elwood, and I'm so glad that my brother is out of prison. We don't really show a ton of affection in our family, so we do a lot of banter in order to prove our love." If Elwood doesn't say this, how will we know he's happy to see his brother? I can't tell!
Elwood giving the stats on the new Blues Mobile is great in a "Top Gear" sort of way (maybe a spinoff?). And how they zoomed over the rising bridge is impressive. It's a good example of the family-friendly stunts we should be going for here. Per legal, please add a disclaimer at the beginning of the show saying that kids should not do this at home.
Is there another take where Jake isn't smoking? I hope there aren't more cigarettes in this episode
VISITING THE PENGUIN
Who is this Penguin they keep referring to? Why are they there? Did they used to be orphans? We're going into a scene without knowing every possible bit of information there is to know and I am nervous! Again, we need another set up bite. If there's a chance for surprise, there's a chance our audience will change the channel.
Oh, the person the Blues Brothers is meeting is not an actual Penguin. Please do a clarity pass on this scene. I got confused.
In the "shit's creek" discussion, please bleep the following:
Wait, why is Jake and Elwood in a bad mood at the church? Oh right, in the previous two scenes Jake and Elwood found out that the only home they've ever known is going to be sold. I completely forgot about it! Please start the scene with a flashback reminding us of this. We need to restate the stakes in every scene; it's called 'Storytelling!'
Have all of the dancing, singing church-goers signed a release? Please double check.
Jake's religious epiphany is great and all: the glow around him, the backflips, the sunbeam coming through the window. But we need to really hammer this home with a bite from Jake. Why did he change his mind? Why is getting the band back together a good idea? Why does he like to dance like that? Please look over your interviews.
FLEEING THE POLICE STOP
Is there another take where Elwood doesn't speed away from the police when they pull him over? Legal is worried that we could inspire copycat incidents. Ever since Teresa Guidice flipped a table, they've been extra jumpy. Please check your footage and get back to us.
Is there a bite from Elwood where he explains why his license was suspended? That would be helpful.
Please add a chyron saying that the producers do not recommend driving through the mall, especially when the police are following you.
Blur the JC Penny's logo when the Blues Mobile bursts forth from their display window.
Please add a bite to explain the woman using the rocket launcher against the Blues Brothers. Right now this comes out of nowhere, cutting against the comedy. Explaining why she's there in every detail will give the audience context and therefore will be absolutely hilarious! (Maybe add a record scratch? Think it over)
When Jake asks the man at the next table "How much for the little girl? How much for your women?", can we add a bite from Jake saying that he's making a joke? Otherwise it seems like he's into human trafficking and S&P won't clear that.
Add a pick up scene early on where Elwood says he's not a fan of Adolph Hitler. Otherwise his comment of "I hate Illinois Nazis" comes out of nowhere.
GIG AT THE PALACE HOTEL
When Jake and Elwood are stranded at the gas station, can we add a bite from them about how stressed out they are about possibly missing the gig? While we are getting that from their in-scene sound-ups and from cutting back to the band anxiously waiting at the ballroom, we really need to hear it from them too. Remember: stakes, stakes, stakes! If we don't keep hitting this point over and over, the audience won't know it's important!
Good Orange Whip product integration.
When the Blues Brothers finally make it to the stage, please add a big cymbal scrape and big sweeping cue. This is the most important moment of the episode so far and let's treat it like such! If it's important to us, it's important to the audience!
CAR CHASE INTO THE CITY
Why are they speeding so much into the city? Oh, right, they're getting the $5000 to the tax assessor's office to make sure the orphanage isn't closed down. I completely forgot. We really need to add a flashback here to remind the audience. Maybe two more flashbacks should be added to previous scenes? This isn't scripted; we can't assume the audience will remember plot points from one scene to the next!
We need to think of the audience takeaway during the whole episode. During the car chase, let's add some factoids into the lower thirds about how fast a Winnebago can go, the air velocity of a car full of Nazi's going of of an overpass, etc. This will give the audience bits of information that they can use to impress their friends at dinner parties.
Once Jake and Elwood are in prison, we just see them play a song for the inmates. Are they happy they saved the orphanage? Are they glad they got the band back together? Please do a big bite pass on this scene. If they don't tell me all these things, how am I supposed to know? HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW?
Please finish these notes by 4pm today. Looking forward to your responses!
JURASSIC PARK 101 FINE CUT 1 NOTES
Thanks for getting our previous notes turned around so quickly. However, we do feel that the cut is still too far off from where it needs to be. So, we'll give time-coded notes after this cut. There is so much emphasis on what is going wrong at the park that I don't want to go there. Remember, guys, this is a travel show; we have to make the viewer want to travel! If they feel that this place is a prehistorical murder zone, no one will want to go there!
If we are going to salvage what we have and tell this story, then we really have to be open and forthcoming with the audience as possible. Just because we know what a scary thing it is to have a dinosaur try to kill us, we can't assume that the audience does. We really need a thorough and complete bite pass. Maybe a comedy pass too?
The workers at Isla Nublar are installing a creature into a new pen, but I really can't make it out. Is there a clearer shot of it? Right now, it's just a bunch of quick cuts as it is killing one of the workers. Let's get a clear shot of the creature so we know what it is (and then we can blur it).
AMBER MINE SECTION & DR. GRANT SECTION
We need to put focus on the park itself. Let's establish Dr. Grant and Dr. Settler in an opening package when they arrive at the park, so let's lose these two sections. If we include these scenes that are not in Costa Rica, the audience will be confused. The title says "Jurassic Park"; why are we in Montana?
NEDRY AND SECRET AGENT
I'm not sure Barbasol would appreciate their trade-out involving them with corporate espionage. Do we have any other scene work with Nedry? If not, let's add a bite from him along the lines of "Jurassic Park is so interesting I'm willing to break the law to get the word out!" Maybe this scene comes later?
ARRIVING AT THE PARK
This is how we should start the show. Start with big sweeping shots of the island and a bite telling everyone that this is a park that has a massive amount of genetically engineered dinosaurs. We have to grab the audience right away. If we leave time for our audience to discover new things, they'll get bored and change the channel! We need shots of the big dinosaurs within the first 30 seconds! (That way we can get #hugedinosaurs trending right away!) Then cut to the helicopter ride over, let's do an intro package so we get to know our scientists/hosts. Let's add some bites like "I'm Dr. Grant, I'm an archeologist and I love my job!" Here we can add shots of him and Dr. Sattler working on the dig in Montana. Make the Dr. Malcolm package short; any lengthy discussion of mathematics and chaos theory will turn off our key demographic. Have him talk about how he likes his leather jacket; women (per our research) like that!
We are supposed to see a tour but I feel like we don't know the park at all right now. Where is the fun shopping? Where can I get one-of-a-kind collectables? Where is the great fine dining? All we're seeing is just boring science and gloom-and-doom. It's an amusement park and I am not amused. Please recut this with a strong comedy pass.
I can tell from the scene that Hammond is excited to see his grandkids, but we isn't saying it exactly. Let's get a bite from him saying "I am excited to see my grandkids!" and have him elaborate on that. The only way I can tell if someone loves their grandchildren is by hearing them say it explicitly.
I am impressed with the access we've gotten here at the park, but the only behind the scenes stuff we're getting is just depressing. Let's get a bit more process-y here and have Hammond talk about how the paddocks work, where to get a churro, etc. Here we can put in a ton of graphics and lots of sexy dinosaur shots. The audience won't be impressed unless we tell them to be!
NEDRY STEALING THE EMBRYOS
It's been a while since we've heard what Nedry is trying to do; let's throw in a flashback of him meeting with the corporate espionage agent. Constantly reminding the audience about a person's intentions will really help amp the tension! (Also, we can work in more shots of the Barbasol for our trade-out deal.)
TYRANNOSAURUS REX ATTACK
Just because the kids are screaming while the Rex is attacking, we can't assume that the audience will know that it's scary. Add some scared bites from them so we really know how they are feeling at every moment. Also, add a flashback of Dr. Grant saying that the T-Rex's vision is based on vision. The audience may pay attention to these sort of things on a scripted show, but for a reality show, we can't take that chance!
(Thinking out loud here: can we add a bite from the T-Rex saying how she usually doesn't eat lamb but sometimes she'll make an exception? Could be funny!)
Dr. Grant discovering the eggs is good and all, and his explanation about how the all-female dinosaur population could possibly lay eggs is great but it really needs some previous set up. So, during the tour, let's add a bite from Dr. Grant or Settler along the lines of "If you use frog DNA that could possibly lead to the dinosaurs changing genders." Since we aren't being obvious, the audience could be lost. Let's guide them the entire time by telling everything that they should know and feel. It's called Story Telling!
We haven't heard from Malcolm in a while. Any fun scene work with him recuperating from his wounds? Let's change things up a bunch!
Let's add a flashback about how smart the raptors are. Otherwise Bob Peck's line "Clever girl" doesn't have the proper context.
At the end when the T-Rex kills the raptor, let's add a bite from one of the kids thanking the T-Rex for saving them. That way, the audience can know that they are relieved!
Thanks for addressing these notes in a timely manner. Please have them and your responses by 5pm today. Thanks!
NOTE: The following contains plot elements for the first HUNGER GAMES film. If you do not wish to be spoiled, please don't read further. If network notes make you angry, have a shot of bourbon.
THE HUNGER GAMES FINE CUT 1 NOTES
Hello! Thanks for getting us this cut in a timely manner. We really feel that there's a great show in here, but unfortunately, there are just too many disparate elements in the cut right now. Remember, guys, THE HUNGER GAMES is a competition show; we need to emphasize the competition! "Tension and stakes" need to be our mantra! If we don't repeatedly drive home how important these games are to the contestants, the audience will be bored. Right now, we are putting sooooo much emphasis on Katniss, it's pretty obvious that she wins. Let's throw in some red herrings here and make sure our story telling is on point. Until this is done, we cannot give time coded notes. Let's do a comprehensive bite pass so we can really feel for the contestants. Further music and comedy passes would also help out a lot.
This whole entire opening section with Katniss and her family and then hunting with Gale is just off the mark. As this is a competition show, we need to start with them getting ready for the competition. Please remove this entire section and let's start at the Reaping. If the audience doesn't know right off the bat that this is an intense competition show, they will be confused and not watch any further!
Once Katniss volunteers to take the place of her sister, then add in a strong Katniss intro package. Who she is, what she likes about District 12, her hobbies, what her favorite Capitol fashions are, etc. This is where we can show footage of her hunting and using her bow and arrow. Make sure to add a bite along the lines of "Even though I'm a girl, I really do like to hunt. I'm hoping my archery skills would be really helpful in games!" That way, when she uses the bow and arrow later, the audience won't be confused.
Let's also add in a Peeta intro package as well. In his package, make sure to add that he's single and a romantic; otherwise him falling in love with Katniss later won't have any context.
TRAIN RIDE TO CAPITOL
I'm leaning towards killing this whole sequence. It's lessening the tension of the show. Haymitch is just too sad. Remember: we like fun drunks, not morose drunks. Yes, I understand that he drinks in order to lessen the guilt he feels for killing 23 other adolescents when we won the games years ago, but man, this is just depressing! If we do end up keeping this section, put in some bites from both Katniss and Peeta saying how badly they want to win and how important it is to them. Remember, this is a competition! If the stakes are not vitals to us, they won't be vital to the audience.
Here is a great opportunity to put in some bio bites from the other contestants. Which districts are they from? What music do they like to listen to? What is their favorite way to kill someone? These bits of information will really help establish these players into the minds of our viewers so they can root for someone. If the audience doesn't know how a 10-year-old from District 5 likes to garrote people with fishing line, how can they get invested in the competition?
The big, booming triumphant music here works very well. Please continue using these types of cues as it lets the audience know when something crucial happens. Remember, bombastic music = important!
This whole section can be cut down as a montage. This is too slow.
GAMEMAKERS EVALUATE THE TRIBUTES
This whole section can be removed. Let's make this a web extra.
TRIBUTES INTERVIEW WITH CESAR
This whole section should be removed. Maybe a snap-in?
Ugh, finally! It's taking waaaaay too long to get to this portion. When all the tributes are in place, let's throw in big stakes bites. If they are fighting for their lives, we have to hear it from them! We want to get the audience off of swiping right on Tinder and on their iPads tweeting like crazy!
When the games start and the blood bath begins, the camera work right now is just too shaky. Let's go for some wides and medium shots to show which child is killing which. If I can't see who's winning, I can't be invested.
As Katniss gets up into the tree, let's get into her head. Is she happy that Peeta is still alive? Is she worried about the careers? Is she wondering about her sister? Right now, I'm feeling for her about 96%; having her open up in a bite will have me up to 100%.
Can we vary up the music here some? Dub-step is testing well with our younger audiences -- find a place to put some in.
TRACKER JACKER SECTION
When Katniss sees Peeta allied with the Career Tributes, this is really jarring. She's disappointed in him but so are we. Let's get a bite from him where he lets us know that he's really on Katniss' side but planning on possibly double-crossing the careers. That will add some depth to his character and let us know that he's a good guy. If he doesn't tell us he's a good person, how do we know that that's true?
Great bite from Cesar explaining what a Tracker Jacker is. This is a great example of the bites we should be having throughout the whole episode.
Katniss' scene work with Rue is nice, but it again would benefit from a bite pass. Why are they aligned together? How will this benefit them in the competition? And when Rue gets eliminated, these bites will really help the audience feel for her passing. If we aren't telling the audience how to feel at all times then we are not doing our jobs.
Please make sure all the District 11 rioters have signed a release.
IN THE CAVE
Katniss & Peeta kissing is great and all, but the music under it is not matching the scene! Let's go for the romance full throttle here. Strings, etc. Maybe throw in some candle effects? If we can't go full "Bachelor" on this scene, let's do at least an "Average Joe."
FIGHT WITH CATO
Cato does work well as a bad guy but he needs more set up. Let's add some flashbacks of Cato killing some of the other tributes to this fight to really show how strong a competitor he is. When he gets eliminated, let's add a few final bites to underline how his killer instinct got the best of him. The audience can only appreciate irony if we spell it out for them.
Thanks again. Please have these done with notes responses by 11am tomorrow. Thanks!