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!)