This week, Rob finds similarities between an audience and the voting public. Both will disappoint or lift you up on occasion, but what they should never do is surprise you, because that means you haven’t been listening. The solution: Turn to the crew, often the best and most accurate focus group a TV writer/producer can get. “‘Is the crew laughing?’ is one of the questions writers ask all the time on a comedy shoot,” says Rob, because they’re not paid enough to pretend to enjoy something when they’re not. On that note, Rob also offers up some free advice to anyone running a media business: follow the Olive Garden strategy, where, upon a takeover, every executive was forced to work in a restaurant for a day.
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When you’re filming a movie or a television show, when it’s the last shot of the day, the first assistant director will call out, “This is the Martini Shot!” I call these stories “Martini Shots” because they’re exactly the kinds of stories we tell — and lessons we learn — after we’ve wrapped for the day. - Rob Long