by Troy DeVolld
When someone dies, medical professionals sometimes perform a post-mortem (autopsy) on the corpse in order to gain understanding of what went wrong and to evaluate any disease or trauma that might be present. Post-mortems often lead to academic discovery and become useful in the future treatment of illnesses and injuries.
While there’s a great deal of difference between the medical field and producing a reality television program, I hate to dash out the door at the end of my run on a show without looking back and asking what we might have been able to do better for our “patient,” the series.
When completing a season, I strongly urge producers at the Supervising Producer level and above to write up a simple one or two page post-mortem detailing practices that they feel worked or did not work in all areas of the production. Sometimes the company or showrunner won’t be interested in them, but even if they’re done just for your own understanding, they’ll help you to avoid missteps and enable you to repeat or improve upon what worked when you’re hired back on either the next season or your next project.