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!