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!