First Time in a Focus Group

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Seth--L, Aug 4, 2003.

  1. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

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    This weekend I had the pleasure of being part of a focus group. It was an interesting experience – definitely worth doing once.

    The event was billed as a test screening for TV pilots, but they ended up asking more questions about supermarket foods, skin rashes, and side-by-side refrigerators than the actual shows.

    As for the shows, the first was a drama called “Soul Mates”, about people who meet their soul mates – there were a bunch of flash-backs from their previous lives – essentially a big pile of melodramatic crap. No one in the audience liked it.

    The other was the pilot episode of “City” from 1990, and they wanted to know if we would want to see Valerie Harper in a sitcom today. She and the show was more or less amusing, but did nothing to distinguish themselves from any other workplace situational comedy. I also think that there was someone planted in the audience to laugh, hoping to get others to join in with him.

    Interestingly, there’s a IMDB user review from 1999 saying that “City” was being re-tested then. I’m wondering if their reason for showing it – seeing if people like Harper – was B.S., and that they’re simply using the show as a method to test TV commercials (they edited commercials into the pilots and at the very end had questions about the products in them).
     
  2. Todd K

    Todd K Second Unit

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    Seth,

    I went to a focus group like that circa 1998 and they showed that Valerie Harper pilot there, too. That thing is certainly making the rounds.
     
  3. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

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    Todd K,

    I'm guessing that these focus groups have bought the rights to the pilot of "City" since its a prototypical sitcom, with a solid "cover story", so people will view the commercials as they would at home.
     
  4. Jason Merrick

    Jason Merrick Supporting Actor

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    Location:
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    Jason Merrick
    I go to focus groups whenever possible. They usually pay between $50-100 for 1-2 hours at the most. I signed up the whole family and have taken my kids several times as well. My 9-year old son was thrilled to get $50 last week for an hour discussion of He-Man.

    If you live within driving distance of Beverly Hills or Encino, check out their site.

    I've been going there for years, and they are a class place. They almost always feed you while you are there (either catered sandwiches or pizza, usually) and have even paid me when I have arrived too late to join the group. That only happened once, because of a major traffic jam, but I think they want to keep you on their good side and don't want you to feel like you drove out for nothing... $100 for not even being in the group made me pretty happy! [​IMG]
     
  5. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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  6. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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  7. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

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    Max,

    The Onion could have done better.

    Didn't one of them originaly die and focus groups convinced them to change the ending?
     

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