Response to AND ANOTHER THING, my new book on the TV network notes process, has been mostly sunny now that everyone’s figured out I’m not bashing anyone. Boy, are we touchy about the notes process!
Here’s a brief excerpt from the book, which is downloadable for free at Amazon.com through Saturday.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD NOTE?
When you are writing or reviewing notes, keep the following five things in mind:
Is it necessary? Think about what the note buys you. If you are adding something, is it worth the time that will have to be lost elsewhere in the show? Will you sleep that much better knowing that this change has been made?
Is it in service of the story? So you remember a clever thing that happened on set or (for reality) in the notes that doesn’t relate to the story. Does it need to be in the show? Can it live as a web extra instead of being crammed into a scene, getting a laugh but letting the air out of the story you’re supposedly moving forward?
Is it worth the financial cost to address? (Reality example, but universal in terms of reshoots) You could really use a pickup scene where A talks to B about what happened last Thursday, but the show’s wrapped. You’ll have to hire three people and fly them to Wisconsin to get the pickup. Is there another way to solve the problem, like a simple VO from the cast member from the scene who lives in town? (If it’s worth it and within budget, ask away)
Is it worth your relationship with the team? In the event that the note is contentious or controversial, ask yourself why you’re not willing to let the content pass as is. Again, if you feel strongly about it, give the note.
Is this an issue that can actually be solved? Don’t waste your time and others’ by tilting at windmills.