Friday, June 12, 2009

The Culture Of Notes

In the television industry, probably all across the entertainment business actually, there is a culture of notes.

What that amounts to is this - busy people who barely have time to look at a project, don't read scripts, don't understand the minds of the people the show is pitched to, don't know a damn thing about the project get to tell those who do know the project, do understand the minds of the audience, devote 100% of their time to the project what to do.

That's how it works.

It gets even more fun when there are multiple people doing this and you have notes that contradict other notes.

This is the way it is done. And because this is the way it is done, those in a position to give notes feel they have to in order to justify their salary and, more importantly, boost their egos and those getting the notes are told they must then fight to get to do things the right way rather than the arseways way suggested in a set of random notes. It turns every day into a confrontation.

And, for me, that's on children's shows. Shows for very young children. Shows that should be fun.
Reduced to a half-assed courtroom drama with clowns instead of lawyers.

People should not have to fight every day not to fuck up a show. This culture of notes is rotten. It amounts to people spending their days throwing spanners into rather delicate works. It's not fun. And it's counter-productive.

I actually wrote a rant a while back about a set of notes. I never posted it. But the main thing that sent me into a rage was that the person who wrote the notes made it abundantly clear that he hadn't actually watched one episode of the show. He didn't know it. He knew nothing about it and put that down in black and white on paper for all to see (e-paper, it was an e-mail).

And then offered his time for 'brainstorming'. Like we need a co-writer. One who hasn't done the bare minimum to find out about the show.

It took several weeks to come down from that rage.

On a project that, on every other level, is an absolute joy.


Andy Latham said...

Do you think this is why we get sequels to movies we love that are just rubbish? I mean we all loved Terminator's 1 and 2, but how did they screw up 3 so badly? Is it purely down to bad direction? Or is it 'notes' from people who have never seen the first two films and know nothing of the audience?

On our project (you know the one) we get notes from people who have never seen or played the previous games. We HAVE to do things their way. Our games have always had silly humour that doesn't make sense, but they don't get that and so we have to take heaps of stuff out.

susan said...

This is the only explaination I can thin of for Michael Bay.

Same with the book industry. Ever try to get a book published if you don't know someone there, or willing to get on your knees?


Red Pill Junkie said...

Actually, I think this is a Universal problem. You have to deal with assholes that don't know dick about the way things are done, they just want all & everything to conform to their stupid whims —including the laws of Physics! Try to make an architect understand that their fucking stairway design is not going to withstand the weight of actual people climbing them!

Sorry for the tone; this has been one of those weeks... or one of those decades?