[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!