"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!