Gleeps! Where has Jeez John been all the life of this TVWriter™ minion? This dude’s been around. Not only does he know about the shit we all have to go through when writing US broadcast network TV, he’s able to be funny as hell while he out-bitches the bitches!
by Jeez Jon
“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!