The Hollywood Notes Process: also known as “collaboration” to some and “notes hell” to others. Today, on episode 87 of Producing Unscripted we’re thrilled to be joined by Troy DeVolld, TV Producer extraordinaire and best-selling author. His new book is about the notes process in Hollywood. Today he gives you incredible free advice on surviving and thriving when you’re faced with an avalanche of notes. Getting notes might be confusing, helpful, or soul-sucking. Regardless, the notes process is something you’ll deal with on every project you ever make…from YouTube videos to network TV series. So spend a little time with Troy today and learn…to rock the notes process!
Hollywood’s Notes Process – And What It Means For You
What is the notes process?
For the uninitiated, when a network orders a TV series, a movie studio funds a film, or any client hires any artist for anything — there will be a “feedback” process. Those clients will give you one – or several – or many – “rounds of notes.”
These notes can be very helpful and detailed. They can also be vague and destructive. Usually, they lie somewhere in-between. They are almost always well intentioned, and that’s important.
See, the notes process CAN and SHOULD be extremely helpful. At best, the process of getting feedback from your client can elevate your project. At worst, the process can destroy it. Ultimately it’s up to you to make sure the notes you receive improve the project, or, at the very least, don’t make it worse.
That’s why we’re so thrilled to sit down with the guy who LITERALLY wrote the book on dealing with the notes process, whether for scripted or unscripted projects.
Enter Troy DeVolld – Your Cure For the Notes Blues
Troy DeVolld is not only a best-selling author. He’s also a prolific TV producer, and has helped guide some of the biggest unscripted TV shows in history (The Bachelor, Dancing with the Stars, Basketball Wives, and The Surreal Life just to name a few.)
His first book, Reality TV: TV’s Hottest Market is simply a must-read for anyone who wants to work in unscripted television.
But recently, he’s released a new book all about the Hollywood notes process: And Another Thing…A Beginners Guide to the Television Notes Process.
And today, Troy is giving away amazing tips from the book, plus other priceless information on “the biz” – just for you.
Just some of what we cover today:
- Learn to use notes to make your project better and not worse
- When to push back on notes you disagree with…and when not to
- The importance of timecode, and how it can trip you up with “grenade accuracy”
- The pitfall you’ll likely face on a pilot or season one of a new TV show
- Global notes: what they are, and why you may fear them
- Understanding how an exec’s past experience can color notes
- Using postmortems effectively
- 3 kinds of execs who give notes (plus one extra bonus!)
- Knowing how pressures executives face affect the notes process
- The real danger of “rage loops”
- The political nature of handling notes
- 5 questions anyone should ask themselves before writing a note
- And…what do dinosaurs and cheeseburgers have to do with any of this?
Whatever artistic endeavor you undertake in life, you’ll face this simple truth: someone, somewhere, will give you notes. Hit that giant “play” button above and learn to let those notes improve your project, instead of letting them drive you insane!
Transcript Coming Soon!
Helpful and Related Links
- Check out Troy’s blog here
- Troy’s book on notes – he suggests you pick it up at Amazon: And Another Thing…A Beginners Guide to the Television Notes Process
- Troy’s original book, also at Amazon: Reality TV: TV’s Hottest Market 2nd Edition
- Dealing with Network Notes – consider this your required follow-up to today’s podcast. Lots more in-depth info specifically tailored to dealing with TV networks
- Follow Troy on Twitter: @StoryTroy and on Facebook here.
- Follow us on Twitter: @JokeAndBiagio – we hang out there often and try to respond to most tweets.
Let’s Make Some TV Together
Trying to break into unscripted television, reality TV, documentary series, or true crime? Want to pitch to our company? Here’s how:
Read our in-depth page about how to pitch us a show. It also talks about what it’s really like to work in our business, the unscripted TV and film industry.