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marketing Feedback of short trailer and distribution advises

Hello,

Ready for a cooking theme? Made two pilots of a cooking series which portraits amateur chefs and their favourite dish. After spending much time with the project I got blind and it is hard for me to tell what is in front of me. I really would appreciate some honest feedback. The trailer is just ~3 minutes short and summaries two pilots each 22 minutes long.

Trailer:

Now I also sent the trailer in cold call manner to a small selection of European TV channels and few of their submission rounds in the hope to get the chance to make more episodes. As I expected there was not much interest in it. I am new into filming and therefore I am wondering which other options I have? How can I improve my project? I have heard few people visit festivals, but I have no clue if that qualifies and if so, which festival that would be?
 
My first thought is that there are hundreds if not thousands of "cooking segments" in TV shows worldwide, with every gimmick and angle that you can think of. Most are high budget. Many have celebrities. Some are shot in foreign exotic locations. Others are contests with huge prizes. A few even specialize in cooking things that we would normally step on in the yard... Personally, I would abandon a cooking show and move on to something that has a better chance of being successful.
 
As Ray mentioned, there's are heaps of these and a huge majority of them fail. This concept could be good but the executition isn't. I believe, at a dead minimum, it needs to have professional level production value.

I was an editor on a high budget, celebrity cooking and health show in exotic locations and it crashed and burned. It never got past the pilot as they didn't invest a big enough budget to market it into existance.

If you want a brutal piece of feedback. The quality is aweful. The sound is worse. You see better stuff for free on youtube. I don't see why would any TV station broadcast this? Maybe Europe has lower standards?
 
With PBS you are not pitching it to the "network", you are pitching it to national sponsors.(just like the early days of TV). We used to produce "NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT" in Miami, but it was syndicated to every PBS station in the U.S. with national sponsors. We also did a national segment called "STAR GAZER" about astronomy. A group funded the cooking show in hopes of going national with it...just like the Julia Child cooking show of years past. We were constantly shooting pilots at the PBS facility in Miami...some for PBS, others for outside companies. I was a staff cameraman there. I retired several years ago.
 
What's the hook? What's the unique perspective here? Leaving aside the general marketability problem referred to by the posters above, I find the trailer to be as messy as most of those kitchens! I live in a country where people talk obsessively about what's on their plate, so I'm well used to the kind of discussion going on in this montage ... but that's about the limit of it: I can't see anything special about any aspect - the lighting and camerawork is ordinary, the people are ordinary, the kitchens are ordinary (albeit mostly on the small size), the food appears to be ordinary, and the stories ... well, there's nothing to lead me to believe they'll be extraordinary.

Cookery broadcasts are not really my thing, but I follow Liziqi on YouTube because her videos (apart from being beautifully shot and edited) make the story about each individual ingredient, from the moment it's planted as a seed to the moment it's picked up and eaten. Your trailer hints at a connection between the food and some story in each participant's background, which might indeed make for a really interesting video - but you'll need to really work on presenting that story, not a fly-on-the-wall view of some random person cooking some random dish.

It looks as if you've already invested quite a bit of time and energy into making this, and it's difficult to be so negative about it - especially if your participants are expecting some kind of recognition - but it really looks and sounds like you've jumped into the deep end of the industry without a good enough understanding of the basics. Hold off on your festival ambitions for now and, as an exercise, see if you can pull one really captivating story (and storyteller) out of the mix, then come back with a storyboard to discuss what works, what's missing, what'd move it from meh to magic.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
What do you find exactly worse on the sound considering it's a run and gun doc (and not show) ?
For one, the narration was a lot louder than the live sound. That's a mix issue. Try listening with the volume set low. You will understand. Also when you already know what the people are about to say, you often can't detect the unintelligible lines like we can.
 
Thanks for the feedback and insights. I appreciate it. @Sweetie What do you find exactly worse on the sound considering it's a run and gun doc (and not show) ?

People don't care whether it's a run and gun or not. You can have shakey camera work and people may consider it a stylistic choice. If you have crappy sound, you come across as amateur or incompetent. Dodgy audio is dodgy. It makes the audience work considerably harder to watch your show. You have a lot of competition. When you're in as competitive market, the last thing you want to do is show how much better your competition is than you are?

I know it sounds harsh, but if you are trying to make a professional product, you need to deliver a professional product.
 
Sorry for the bluntness, but this is an absolutely terrible trailer and the end product doesn't look much better. The trailer needs to be at LEAST half the length that it currently is. There needs to be some music behind it. You start out with a shot where we cant see who's speaking and then the people who enter immediately clock and look into the camera. The lady with the dumplings is acting extremely awkward and is not natural on camera. The lighting looks bad and very forced/un-natural when people are sat on a table.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
The premise seems half baked (excuse the pun). It needs more. Just watching home cooks is not interesting unless it's an elimination game show.

Of course we know home cooking is the best. Comfort food, Heartwarming. But it is not technical. Most of it breaks the rules and classically trained chefs would cringe. I think THAT is your show. The pro chef is your host. The host is invited into the home of a home cook and they learn from each other. The stories are told at the table to the chef. The chef is the audience (as are we). So when the home cook is "doing whatever" breaking a culinary rule, and the pro chef is making a face... tastes it, and says it is pure bliss, when he thought it would be shite. That, with the personal stories, that is a show. It has conflict, like a good movie. Pre-screen the food to make sure it is awesome even though they have unconventional methods. Hire an engaging host. Make sure the stories hold interest. I would watch that. Home cooks outsmarting pro chefs, in a way. But they are humble enough to take away a new trick.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Similar stuff has been done but either in the game show setting, or trekking through villages and third world countries. This would bring that idea to to dinner table. Just brainstorming, but you need something here.
 
Well well, after seeing the multitude of replies to this I can say that this server is sooo brutally affective at honest criticism lol. 😂 The level of harshness is over 9000. But make no mistake, I agree with everyone else. Even though what we have said is very savage, try your best to take it in my friend as the truth. For one persons advice is an opinion, but multiple? (Us) Is a shared majority, and we only want to help.

In whatever you do next, wether cooking shows or whatever other filmmaking. I’d suggest just gaining more experience in what I formerly mentioned-filmmaking. Audio, lighting. There is plenty of learning material out there, I mean you have the basics, but keep improving.

Hope your going well. Don’t be off put in filmmaking by our up front feedback. Keep it up :)

Asher over and out.
 
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indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Take Gordon Ramsay... his signature dish, beef wellington. Imagine he is on the way to a home cook's house, explaining that they boil the wellington. Imagine the disdain and tension lol. The story told explains why, the end result is amazing. This would not be a hard premise since most home cooks are not trained. Grandmas recipe says to blah blah blah but the French Culinary Institute says "never!" Tired of seeing pro chefs tell you how to do something? Want to see how else to do it, or do you just want validation for the way you do it? Could be a show.
 
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