Don't Kill the Messenger with Movie Research Expert Kevin Goetz

Will Gluck (Director/Producer/Writer) on Directing Hit Comedies & Audience Reactions.

November 01, 2023 Kevin Goetz / Will Gluck Season 2023 Episode 30
Don't Kill the Messenger with Movie Research Expert Kevin Goetz
Will Gluck (Director/Producer/Writer) on Directing Hit Comedies & Audience Reactions.
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Kevin is joined by director, writer, and producer Will Gluck to discuss crafting comedy on screen and the intricacies of the testing process.

Will Gluck has had an impressive career directing hit comedies like Easy A, Friends with Benefits, the Annie remake, and the Peter Rabbit films. He's also been behind popular TV shows such as The Michael J. Fox Show. In this candid, and often hilarious conversation, Will discusses his journey from TV writer to film director, his process on set, experiences testing movies with audiences, and thoughts on the state of romantic comedies in theaters. Will brings a valuable perspective as an audience-focused director who constantly shapes his films based on feedback. So, whether you're a film buff or just love a good laugh, this conversation with Golden Globe-nominated Will Gluck is a must-listen!

Thoughts on Comedy, Improvising, and Reworking Scenes (3:25)
Will talks about why he gravitated to comedy, his thoughts on improvising, and why he loves to rework scenes.

Catching a Break in Hollywood (8:39)
Will shares a hilarious story of how being a terrible driver for the head of a production company led to him getting his first writing job.

Transitioning to Feature Films and Involving Family in Films Like Easy A, Annie, and Peter Rabbit (16:46)
Kevin and Will discuss Gluck's filmography including Easy A, Friends with Benefits, Annie, and the Peter Rabbit films. Will explains why he chose to make the movies he did, and the important role his family played in those decisions.

Gluck's upcoming movie Anyone But You starring Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney (25:14)
The pair discuss why chemistry between leads is crucial for romantic comedies, and Will talks about casting his new film, Anyone but You.

Working with Tom Rothman and Sony (27:09)
Gluck discusses his long history working with Sony Pictures and executive Tom Rothman.

Film Focus Group Feedback and Evaluation (35:00)
Gluck asks Kevin about screen testing and evaluating audiences. Kevin discusses his commitment to neutral, unbiased test screening reports, and they talk about how even great films get some bad feedback.

Tune in for a fascinating insider's look at the world of test screenings, and Will's experiences in both film and TV. Make sure to check out Will’s upcoming romantic comedy Anyone But You, starring Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney. It offers a glimmer of hope for the struggling genre. Thanks as always to you, our listeners, for joining us on this journey exploring audience research and testing in Hollywood. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a review or connect on social media. We look forward to bringing you more revelations from behind the scenes next time on Don't Kill the Messenger!

Host: Kevin Goetz
Guest: Will Gluck
Producer:  Kari Campano
Writers:  Kevin Goetz, Darlene Hayman, and Kari Campano

For more information about Will Gluck:

For more information about Kevin Goetz:

46s Film Making
46s: Filmmakers talk origins, challenges, budgets, and profits.

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Podcast: Don't Kill the Messenger with Movie Research Expert Kevin Goetz 
 Guest:  Will Gluck (Director/Writer/Producer)
 Interview Transcript:

Announcer (00:02):

There's a little-known part of Hollywood that most people are not aware of known as the audience test preview. The recently released book, Audienceology, reveals this for the first time. Our podcast series, Don't Kill the Messenger, brings this book to life, taking a peek behind the curtain. And now, join author and entertainment research expert, Kevin Goetz.

Kevin Goetz (00:24):

How do you define funny? Well, here's the thing, being funny is hard. Writing comedy is hard. And what's funny is truly different for everyone. My guest today though is a great comedic filmmaker with his finger on the pulse of defining funny. He gets such terrific performances from the actors he's worked with, including Emma Stone, Mila Kunis, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, Kevin Hart, and James Corden. I'm talking about Will Gluck, who began his career as a writer and along the way turned to directing feature films, including hits like Easy A, Friends with Benefits, the 2014 remake of Annie, the Peter Rabbit films. He also co-created, directed, and produced The Michael J. Fox Show. And today his production company, Olive Bridge Entertainment, is currently working on several popular streaming series for Hulu, Disney, and Netflix. And he's finishing his most recent feature at Sony Pictures, Anyone but You. Will, I'm psyched to have you here today, man. Thank you. 

Will Gluck (01:33):

Thank you, and 88% of what you said was accurate, which is, which is good if we were testing this podcast, that'd be great. Top two boxes, 88%.

Kevin Goetz (01:39):

Yeah, but I don't believe in top two boxes. 

Will Gluck (01:43):

Oh, you don't?

Kevin Goetz (01:43):

No, I don't. I believe in the top box, because the top box drives your definite recommend score, which is the money score. So you have movie A that gets an 88 in your top two box, but the excellent is 10, and the very good is 78. The definite recommend is going to be all of your excellents. Half of your very goods gets your definite recommends. So half of… 78. 78 is… 39.… All right, And plus 10 is 49.

Will Gluck (02:08):

So 49.

Kevin Goetz (02:10):

And it's behind the norms. Now you have an 88 top two with a 78 excellent. And a 10% very good. And your definite recommend would be all of your excellence. 

Will Gluck (02:27):

So 83.

Kevin Goetz (02:28):

And that's potentially tens of millions of dollars in box offers, right? So I'm always saying don't go for the top two box. Go for the excellent and the definite recommend score. 

Will Gluck (02:41):

Okay, I have to go back and look at it.

Kevin Goetz (02:44):

Well, you've gotten some pretty high scores in your time, I have to say. In fact, you reach like the highest pinnacle of… we call them the theatrical targets because they're not norms, they're aspirational at that point, because your movies do really, really well. I'm so excited because I think I've mentioned before to you my husband's favorite movie is Easy A. It's one of my favorites as well, and Friends with Benefits was another one that just took me by surprise. How did you begin getting into comedy? First of all, you're not that funny.  

Will Gluck (03:17):

Well, well, well, it's well researched.

Kevin Goetz (03:20):

How did you, well, why did you gravitate towards comedy?

Will Gluck (03:25):
I guess, growing up I always liked to be funny. It's a way to get away with a lot of things. I think if you're going to psychoanalyze me. It's a way I get away with not doing things is to be funny about it. So I think when I was growing up I was always funny and then in college, writing and acting and funny, and I also I can't imagine, as I go through my career and writing or directing just plain drama scenes. Whenever I have to do plain drama scenes or action scenes, it's the most boring day for me because you can't keep trying to add different lines or different attitudes. So I find comedy much more fun for me and I don't know, most people don't think I'm funny, so you're right.

Kevin Goetz (04:05):

No, no, no, I'm just joking. I think you're very funny. You're a lot on set with throwing things. Suggestions of actors. How does that work, that repartee?

Will Gluck (04:12):

Yes, I'm laughing because the entire time we're on set it's constantly changing. I'm right behind the camera I don't have a video village, for a lot of different reasons. It's just me behind the camera and right next to the actors, oftentimes in their eye line, much to their chagrin, which I'm yelled at about, and I always try, try this, try that, always try different things. I don't really believe in, this is probably boring, but I don't believe in straight improv.

Kevin Goetz (04:39):

Does that mean, that you don't believe in straight improv?

Will Gluck (04:41):

I don't believe in, just go ahead, try something. We'll roll the camera. Just go. I believe in stopping and figuring stuff out. Oh, if you think that's a great idea, why don't, well, if you say that, then she should say that. We'll write it really quickly. Let's do a little quick and then try.

Kevin Goetz (04:53):

You don't let 'em play on their own?

Will Gluck (04:55):

They can play on their own, but I’d rather than play within a framework Within us, kind of figuring it out Like oh, you want to try that then we'll try. So it feels much more organic.

Kevin Goetz (05:04):

And easier to cut.

Will Gluck (05:05):

But also I believe that I can tell when you see a movie or TV show when it is improving. It just feels like they're not in their character. They're much more trying to be funny. I mean, there's amazing improvers. Like Seth Rogen's the best in the world, Like he can do it crazy, but a lot of people it feels like it's forced to me, so I'd rather just figure out stop, let's figure it out and do it that way. But yes, we're constantly changing things and my ending final scripts are so different than the actual shooting script because we constantly change and rewrite.

Kevin Goetz (05:35):

Wow. Wow. So you write your movies as well?

Will Gluck (05:39):


Kevin Goetz (05:39):

You wrote Easy A? 

Will Gluck (05:41):

So Easy A, that was one Bert V. Royal wrote that one, actually. He wrote that one. We did change a lot on set but that was his, that was his idea and his script.

Kevin Goetz (05:49):

And you said you started sort of writing, you were being funny and that was your defense mechanism and it would be right and I guess, your way to get attention.

Will Gluck (05:55):

Let's go back to the psychoanalysis, probably yes. 

Kevin Goetz (06:02):

Where are you from?

Will Gluck (06:03):

New York City.

Kevin Goetz (06:04):

The city itself in Manhattan, and where in Manhattan? What part of Manhattan?

Will Gluck (06:08):

I grew up on the campus right across from Columbia University. I'm a professor brat.

Kevin Goetz (06:15):

Really, both parents?

Will Gluck (06:16):

Well, my mom's a professor at Columbia and my dad is an architect. He did lecture at Columbia, but he's an architect.

Kevin Goetz (06:22):

And what does your mom teach?

Will Gluck (06:23):

My mom is a, I doubt any listeners would've ever taken her class, but she's a Japanese intellectual history professor at Columbia.

Kevin Goetz (06:32):

Wow. Where'd you go to school?

Will Gluck (06:34):

I went to Cornell.

Kevin Goetz (06:39):

You know, a lot of people in the industry went to Cornell.

Will Gluck (06:42):

Really? I always find that there's a very few go to Cornell really, compared to the Harvards and the Yales.

Kevin Goetz (06:43):

I think Cornell, Brown, uh, Dartmouth, I sense a bunch of people there.

Will Gluck (06:43):

I think more and more so, but when I came in there was no entertainment division at all at Cornell.

Kevin Goetz (06:48):

What did you study there?

Will Gluck (06:48):

Asian studies. 

Kevin Goetz (06:50):

Asian Studies. Asian studies. Wait a minute. Because of mom? 

Will Gluck (06:54):

Because I grew up in New York and Tokyo. So, I would go every third year of my life we would go to Tokyo with my mother for her Fulbright. So, we went back and forth, back and forth, so I spoke Japanese. Japan was a big part.

Kevin Goetz (07:06):

You still speak? Yeah. Say something not too insulting.

Will Gluck (07:10):

I, I don't put me on the spot. When people always say that…

Kevin Goetz (07:13):
Ichinisanji… Ichinisanji-goro shi shi jutsu jiru.

Will Gluck (07:16):

There you go. Very good. 

Kevin Goetz (7:17):
That's all I know. Yeah. What was your break? What was your first break into the business?

Will Gluck (07:20):

I don't think I had it yet. I'm still waiting for it.

Kevin Goetz (07:26):

Okay, I'm looking Gary in the booth. He is funny, you, you're funny.

Will Gluck (07:27):

My first break was very lucky. I came out here the year after school. This is a boring story, but I drove out here, got a job in the newspaper. You remember the newspaper, remember the newspapers?

Kevin Goetz (07:40):

No. A little. You opened them up, opened it up, it was paper and you read them.

Will Gluck (07:44):

It was paper. It was an ad for a PA runner. And I answered every single ad I could finally get. And I got an ad.

Kevin Goetz (07:50):

Right on.

Will Gluck (07:51):

It was for a TV production company called Witt/Thomas. Oh. And I was a…

Kevin Goetz (07:55):

Golden Girls?

Will Gluck (07:56):

They did Golden Girls. I was after Golden Girls, but they did Golden Girls. Yeah. And so, I got a job as a PA and then the first week I was there, the Tony Thomas, who was the titular Tony Thomas of Witt/Thomas, his driver quit.

Kevin Goetz (08:10):

Son of Danny Thomas.

Will Gluck (08:12):

Son of Danny Thomas.

Kevin Goetz (08:12):

Brother Of Marlow and Terry.

Will Gluck (08:14):

Wow. You know Terry Thomas?

Kevin Goetz (08:17):

I studied with Terry back in the day.

Will Gluck (08:18):

Oh, wow. 

Kevin Goetz (08:19):

When I first got to California.

Will Gluck (08:20):

Yes, that Thomas that created St. Jude Children's.

Kevin Goetz (08:22):

Brilliant. We can have a whole session on that. God bless them all.

Will Gluck (08:25):

And anyway, I became his driver and I was terrible at it.

Kevin Goetz (08:28):

Tony's driver?

Will Gluck (08:29):

Tony's driver, he godfathered me. And I didn't know any better. So everyone said, don't talk to him. I talked to him. There's all these stories.

Kevin Goetz (08:36):

I love when people say that.

Will Gluck (08:37):

Yes. Don't talk to him. Don't talk to him.

Kevin Goetz (08:38):

Call him Mr. Thomas. 

Will Gluck (08:39):

Exactly. So I didn't know how to do anything with the driving. I was the worst. The worst. I mean, I ripped his door off his car in the CAA parking lot and he had to drive back to his office, holding the door shut. Well, he didn't say a word the entire ride back. I'm driving going, this is the end of, this is the end of my career. He gets to the office, he drops the door, it falls off into the ground, and he says, fix the fucking door and I fixed the door.

Kevin Goetz (09:01):

How soon? How quickly?

Will Gluck (09:02):

Oh, that day. 

Kevin Goetz (09:03):

Oh, nice. Well, that did it for you. If, if you could do it that quickly, they'll, they'll forgive.

Will Gluck (09:03):

The next year he gave me an internship for a show called John Larroquette Show as a writer.

Kevin Goetz (09:15):

As a writer?

Will Gluck (09:16):

For Mitch Hurwitz.

Kevin Goetz (09:17):

Oh, wow.

Will Gluck (09:17):

So then my first year was as an intern writer, which was very hard because I wasn't hired. Tony put me on that show for Mitch Hurwitz. These are all the old-school writers. I have all the stories about that. Boy was I a piece of shit there. And, but I worked really hard and Mitch liked me. So the next year Mitch hired me as a writer. So I was…

Kevin Goetz (09:36):

What'd you make at that time?

Will Gluck (09:38):

I was very lucky. I was 24. I went from earning $300 a week with overtime. But you didn't get paid for overtime. Sure. To the next year as a staff writer, I still remember it was $2,500 a week. And I've never felt like I had more money in my life. Oh. Because it went from not having any money.

Kevin Goetz (09:54):

Oh God. I remember getting a, uh, I was an actor and I got a Wrangler Jeans contract.

Will Gluck (09:59):


Kevin Goetz (10:00):

A three-year pay-or-play contract, which changed my life because suddenly I knew I was getting X amount of thousands of dollars a year, even if they canceled it. It was genius and to think what am I going to do with this? And it's when I put money down on my condo and it got me into the real estate market in my 20s.

Will Gluck (10:09):
Well, that's when you really feel a difference. 

Kevin Goetz (10:09):

So, man $2,500 a week.

Will Gluck (10:10):

I still remember it.

Kevin Goetz (10:25):

No, no wife at that time?

Will Gluck (10:27):

No wife at that time. I mean the other thing about being a staff writer you would always be there. Your whole life is that.

Kevin Goetz (10:34):

And how long were you there?

Will Gluck (10:35):

On that show another year and then the show got canceled. When did you get a big break? I just kind of kept doing writing and doing being a TV writer and more at different shows, different shores, different shows.

Kevin Goetz (11:31):

So, did you realize that you have to do your own stuff in order to get to that next level?

Will Gluck (11:42):

I created three shows that I ran for Fox, none of which took off, but they were, you know.

Kevin Goetz (11:43):

You were like the showrunner?

Will Gluck (11:44):

Yeah, so I created my first show at 28, 29, so I was very young and I liked all that, but I still felt like it wasn't, you know, the show wasn't, they weren't successful. They were on for one year each in a couple years. I always say that I didn't go to film school, but I cost the Fox network $50 million in failed shows, which is my film school. I think my big break was during the 2007 WGA strike when they cancelled our overall deals. So I was at Paramount and they cancelled our deal after that Force Majeure thing. Force Majeure got the letter. The studios were trying to get movies going right after that was offered. If you write the script, you can direct it and, as you know, many of your audience members know, the studios always do that old chestnut that, oh, we'll let the writer direct it. And I said no, no, no, but I really want to direct it.

Kevin Goetz (12:32):

Which I think is often a kiss of death, by the way.

Will Gluck (12:34):


Kevin Goetz (12:35):

When writers direct, because there's not that objectivity I find, and it's all very precious, but in your case not so.

Will Gluck (12:43):

Well coming from television, nothing I have is precious. Right. That's why I constantly change words.

Kevin Goetz (12:46):

You're a dream to work with as a person who is selected and lucky enough to work on your movies, doing the research on them. You listen to the audience, man. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And you

don't get precious. You're like, what works? That's not working. That's not landing. That comes from television. 

Will Gluck (13:01):

That comes from the sheer volume of stories you have to write and produce and direct in television that nothing is precious. And just because you heard it in your head a certain way, there's a big difference between a script and when you film something. And a lot of writers and a lot of executives always kind of talk about the script, even though when it's filmed already and I fully believe that once you start filming, there's no script, it's what you're seeing when you're shooting it. So if you have that mindset, I don't care if I wrote it this way or someone wrote it this way, let's see what works. And the same in the testing, even though I filmed it this way and I cut it this way. If you go to an audience, and we can talk about testing, because I'm obsessed with it, when you look in an audience and they don't react a certain way, that's the most honest they're ever going to be. I believe that the cards aren't honest. I believe that people's reactions are honest in the real time. So if they're reacting a certain way in that moment, that is the purest, most beautiful part of our business. And you're not asking how you feel, you're not prodding it, you're just judging how they're feeling, and if it doesn't go well, you have to fix it.

Kevin Goetz (14:01):

You made a comment on the way up here in the elevator. I was congratulating you on a very successful screening you had last night. I was not at the screening but you didn't take my compliment when I said and you went up like 10 points in your excellent and you definitely recommend went up like 15 points or something. And so you said, the audience, tell us, the audience played really hot, right?

Will Gluck (14:25):
Yeah, so we had a preview last night in Las Vegas, which we do just because it's not the tourists, it's people live in Las Vegas and it was an incredible screening. It felt like a rock concert. It was laughing and clapping and crying and everything. It was an incredible screening. You learned a lot. So when they weren't doing that, you know something's wrong. But if I were to walk out of that screening and predict what do you think the numbers were, my numbers that I would have predicted were substantially higher than what we actually got.

Kevin Goetz (14:54):

They couldn't get that much higher. Let's be serious. So that's where I'm just going to slap your wrist a little here.

Will Gluck (14:59):

They could've got higher. So I'm trying to as I saw you in the elevator, I'm trying to figure out why.

Kevin Goetz (15:04):

I just love you.

Will Gluck (15:06):

Did you measure?

Kevin Goetz (15:06):

Why I love you so much is because you're relentless, like you want to get to 100%. I mean, I'm not even kidding, it's so funny, like already it's in a really good place. But that really excites me as a researcher, because what can we then uncover for you that's going to allow you to even lean into something more, or whatever it may be. But often I tell a lot of filmmakers, don't be seduced by either way, an audience that is super hot, but an audience that's not, but might rate it higher. They're just a different audience composition, different psychographics, you know, behaviors and attitudes that may make them laugh at certain things or not because the scores are the scores. And that ultimately has that wonderful correlation that we are all trying to get, which is that definite recommend, which is bringing this full circle. And then ultimately that box office multiple, right, the legs. How long is that movie going to stay in theaters? When we come back, I want to talk about your switching to motion pictures from television. We'll be back in a moment, 



Get a glimpse into a secret part of Hollywood that few are aware of and that filmmakers rarely talk about in the new book Audienceology by Kevin Goetz. Each chapter is filled with never before revealed inside stories and interviews from famous studio chiefs, directors, producers, and movie stars, bringing the art and science of audienceology into focus. Audienceology, How Moviegoers Shape the Films We Love, from Tiller Press at Simon and Schuster. Available now.

Kevin Goetz (16:46):

We're back with Will Gluck, the funny Will Gluck. I'm really curious about something. So Easy A, Friends with Benefits, Annie, but then you go to Peter Rabbit. I was really curious. I remember when I was given that testing assignment, why you chose to do that movie, because it is not in the wheelhouse that at least you set up prior to that.

Will Gluck (17:11):

That's interesting about why, going back to your other question, to me, it's so obvious and I think why I'm not in the club I don't define myself as people know me, as my career. I define myself as my family. So, if you look at my body of work, it's all the stages of my kids and my family. So the first movie I did I mean in television, the kids very young, they were babies. And then the first movie I did, it was just the first movie I could do, because you get your first gig whatever you do. And then from then on it became okay, so Easy A is about high school, Friends with Benefits was R-rated, which is what I like romantic comedy. My kids are now sentient.

Kevin Goetz (17:56):

How old are your kids?

Will Gluck (17:57):

So now they're 18 and 20. So at that moment, if you follow my career, it's like I want to do everything with my kids. So my kids are in every one of my movies as extras. It's not a nepo baby. They absolutely hate it. They're never going to go in this business, but it's a way of being. 

Kevin Goetz (18:10):

No, they're going to Asian studies.

Will Gluck (18:11):

Asian studies, home movies. It's very expensive home movies. So, Annie, my kids were all over, so all the songs we did with my kids, and then the next one, well, they got a little bit older, so Peter Rabbit, and they're now leaving. I'm back to our R-rated romantic comedies.

Kevin Goetz (18:28):

That's really fascinating and it makes absolute and utter sense when I think about it. So you never did things for your agent saying we need you to do this. We would strongly encourage you to do that.

Will Gluck (18:37):

No, I want to do things that I can come home and talk to my family about and have them be participating in, and bring them on set and have them help, and do like this. And now the movie I'm making right now, Anyone but You, is an R-rated romantic comedy, but my daughters are squarely in the demographic, so I listen to them more than, much to the chagrin of the studio and my editor, is much more than anything else, because there's no more honest person than your children.

Kevin Goetz (19:04):

Can I say I believe you. I believe when you say that, because I know how honest kids can be and they don't have anything except the question at hand. They don't need to like you more or gain your favor or whatever it is that other people always have some kind of agenda. What about Annie?

Will Gluck (19:25):

Annie was interesting. Annie was, again, the family moved to New York so that was fun. That was probably my most challenging movie. Every movie I make, I have so much fun on the set. I have a lot of directors, friends of mine who are always miserable and they say it was terrible. I said, I, how can this be miserable? This is the most fun thing in the world. And I'm lucky to be in this situation that I don't want people over my back for better or for worse. Most people will say for worse. I have control issues. So I do everything myself. So it's the most fun business in the world and you get paid for it. Annie was a little bit, there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen. I came on kind of late to the process. I always thought of Annie as my superhero movie. So that was kind of way I looked at it.

Kevin Goetz (20:03):

How, how do you mean by, what do you mean by that?

Will Gluck (20:05):

I never, much to my agent’s chagrin, I'm not, I don't really love superhero movies that much. So during that time I was offered that kind of stuff and I couldn't get my head around it, but I did want to do a big movie that kind of felt that way. And Annie has the music and the IP built in. 

Kevin Goetz (20:20):

Had you seen the musical when you were a kid?

Will Gluck (20:22):

Oh, for sure. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. At the Alvin Ailey.

Kevin Goetz (20:24):

Alvin Ailey Theater.

Will Gluck (20:25):

It came back a couple of times, too.

Kevin Goetz (20:27):

I saw the original.

Will Gluck (20:28):

Andrew McCardle.

Kevin Goetz (20:29):

Yeah. Right. Oh yeah.

Will Gluck (20:32):

Then Sarah Jessica Parker did it.

Kevin Goetz (20:32):

Yeah. I love that movie that they did, that Anne Rankin was in and Carol Burnett.

Will Gluck (20:40):

Oh, the original one? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Kevin Goetz (20:41):

Did you use those songs by the way that were in the…

Will Gluck (20:44):

So we redid all the songs with Sia. It was a great time because Jay-Z produced it with Will Smith and Sia did the music for it. So we changed all the songs. I think we changed it too much and if we're really going to get into this, that was the first time that it was not well received for a lot of reasons, a lot of which were very disheartening.

Kevin Goetz (21:02):

You mean racist?

Will Gluck (21:03):

Yeah. Yeah.

Kevin Goetz (21:04):

I know we had the same recent backlash, I think, on Little Mermaid and I was appalled and embarrassed for the world and truly applauded Disney for doing that, but yet it's just like ridiculous that we are having these conversations in 2023.

Will Gluck (21:24):

It's not even the bravery, we’re just making a movie, and that movie in particular, because my oldest daughter at that moment was Annie's age and she looks like Annie and her hair for the actress playing Annie, Quvenzhané Wallis, her wig was based on my daughter's hair, so every time I saw her in the back as my daughter, that was a tricky beast. That movie, it was really fun and I love all the other things.

Kevin Goetz (21:44):

I was going to say, did you ultimately have fun on the set?

Will Gluck (21:45):

Yeah. And it was in New York City, the streets of New York City. Oh my God, it was really singing and dancing. It was fun.

Kevin Goetz (21:50):

Did you ever pinch yourself and go, yeah, I'm at the helm here.

Will Gluck (21:53):

I’ll tell you when, in that movie, I decided to film it all in my neighborhood where I grew up. So that was all filmed, a lot of it was filmed right where I grew up. And so you, you're filming with this gigantic camera crew and you're on the street you walked home from school every day.

Kevin Goetz (22:05):

Up by Columbia, right? At Columbia, 100 16th Street or something?

Will Gluck (22:07):

That's where I grew up, 100 16th. So we shot a lot of it there. And that was kind of cool. 

Kevin Goetz (22:13):

That is just, what a great story.

Will Gluck (22:13):

It's great. Yeah.

Kevin Goetz (22:15):

Easy A was really well received and it did extremely well. What was that new success like for you?

Will Gluck (22:25):

The fun part about that was that I was going through with Emma at the same time. We both kind of kept looking at each other in all the different press screenings and the reward shows, can you believe this is happening? So that was kind of fun to have it going through with someone, but it was strange. But I'm also as you maybe can guess I'm very cynical. So when someone says they like something or congratulations, I just throw that away.

Kevin Goetz (22:43):

You're a New Yorker.

Will Gluck (22:44):

I literally throw that away. I mean even when I see your... This morning I was going through all the cards which we get at the end of test screenings, the questionnaires from the screening the questionnaires, and I never look at the positives. I throw them in the garbage. I never look at them. I'll tell you why. It's not helpful when someone says to you this is good, that's not helpful whatsoever. What's only helpful is what didn't you like. Because someone tells you, hey, I like, that, I don't care.

Kevin Goetz (23:07):

But on that note, you know what I tend to tell filmmakers and I've said this for those of you who are listening and have been through a test screening with me know that I ask and encourage you to read the very good cards, not the excellence, the very good and the goods, but I also tell you not to really read the fairs and the poors. Sometimes I'll say the fairs, but almost always in my experience the fairs are, and certainly the poors are not convertible. So the value you get is in letting the goods and the very goods wash over you, because the idea is that the next screening you're gonna boost those up, which is, in turn, again that this is the theme of this, which is you want to get that definite recommend score, which means you want to move everything up towards your excellent, and that is super important.

Will Gluck (23:53):

I agree. We're basically saying the same thing. It's how are we getting…

Kevin Goetz (23:57):

Yeah, you're just harder on yourself.

Will Gluck (23:58):

Yeah. Well, <laugh>, what can you do with positivity? How does that help anything?

Kevin Goetz (24:03):

Well, I guess not much would be the answer.

Kevin Goetz (24:08):

Friends with Benefits was fun. Huh? 

Will Gluck (24:11):

Really fun. That was a blast.

Kevin Goetz (24:12):

I loved that movie. And she shocked me as being so like cool and just great.

Will Gluck (24:16):

They're both the best and that was one of the first movies that was just us three making the movie and they continue to be the best and I saw it the other day because I was trying to find something you could see how much fun they're having on the screen.

Kevin Goetz (24:31):

You mean like a music cue or something?

Will Gluck (24:32):

An ADR cue how I did the ADR thing. I have the same editor on almost all my movies and she did that one too, so we're looking at it. But you could tell like Friends with Benefits, like the movie we just made. You could tell how much fun they had making the movie. The first thing you said to me, the last preview is how was the chemistry? And I said it's there because they love being with each other. You know, playing, acting with each other on screen. Everybody, everybody relax, everybody relax and it shows. I don't believe that anyone can fake that kind of movie.

Kevin Goetz (24:57):

I completely agree with you. And I did bring that up to you because having worked on everything from Pretty Woman to When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, and so many of those great romantic comedies, if you don't have that at the center of your romantic comedy, you're effed. Right? Right. You're just screwed. 

Will Gluck (25:14):

And that was Yesterday, you know, the chemistry and everyone, all the, well, the pillars are big.

Kevin Goetz (25:18):

I want to say you're really good at that, man.

Will Gluck (25:20):

Well, I just like that…

Kevin Goetz (25:21):

You're going to hear something good, whether you like it or not, <laugh>, and you're going to like it.

Will Gluck (25:24):

Well, if you, if you spend all your time with the studio executives, which I do, they think you’re a piece of….  

Kevin Goetz (25:25):

It is really hard to be a studio executive right now because there are so many unknowns and there's so much clutter and noise out there.

Will Gluck (25:32):


Kevin Goetz (25:33):

Every decision is like, becomes so much more important than just taking a flyer.

Will Gluck (25:38):

I would absolutely agree. And I've been with the same studio for 14 years. I've been at Sony 14 years. So some of this…

Kevin Goetz (25:46):

That means you have a deal.

Will Gluck (25:47):

I have an overall deal at Sony, my company's there, and I've made eight movies for Sony. Every movie I ever made has only been Sony. 

Kevin Goetz (25:52):

What's Olive Bridge, by the way?

Will Gluck (25:53):

That's the small town in upstate New York where we got married.

Kevin Goetz (25:57):

Oh, sweet. Okay.

Will Gluck (25:58):

It's my little bit of whimsy as my friend said. Will has a little bit of whimsy.

Kevin Goetz (26:00):

Yeah, I like that. So anyway.

Will Gluck (26:02):

So, everyone's been there for many, many years. And the thing I like about Sony is when you're making a movie for them, what you just said is that they're nervous, but you can work together with them to try to get the best. I never felt like they have a different agenda except for one thing, which I'm going to bring up to you in a second. I never thought they had a different agenda than making the movie successful. I never felt like, oh, they're going to screw up my movie, they don't want to do this because I know that all they want to do is succeed as well. So once I kind of understood that, and I really liked the people there, the dialogue opens up. So when you go have a screening yesterday, and we're coming back on the, on the, whichever way we got back from Vegas to LA yesterday.

Kevin Goetz (26:39):

What do you mean? Whichever way, what did you go by? By pigeon? What do you mean, a private jet?

Will Gluck (26:45):

You don't, you don't want to say that on a podcast. We're just trying to make a living.

Kevin Goetz (26:48):

Oh my God.

Will Gluck (26:48):

We're just Joe lunch pail.

Kevin Goetz (26:49):

The way I say it is a private jet is much more efficient for a lot of very well-paid people's time. You don't want to spend time going on a commercial fee.

Will Gluck (26:58):

If someone said to me, I'll write you a check for $1,800 if you drive home, I will take the check and drive home. Anyway, the point is, you're going back in there and it really is.

Kevin Goetz (27:07):

And once you go private, you don't want to ever go any other way. I’m sorry.

Will Gluck (27:09):

Kevin. You are…

Kevin Goetz (27:11):

I’m sorry.

Will Gluck (27:12):

You're fancy building with the elevator. Anyway, even though they kind of, they all want to make a good movie together, they all want to make it successful. So you can have a push and pull. And what I like about them is you could they say something to you and you say, well, that's the wrong diagnosis, what's the? That's the wrong prescription, what's the diagnosis? Yes, and because they kind of trust me at this moment, it's really fun. I never feel nervous at a test because most people that go to the test, they're testing for one reason. Does the studio marketing care about this movie? I never felt that way.

Kevin Goetz (27:38):

That's amazing.

Will Gluck (27:39):

Even if…

Kevin Goetz (27:40):

I gotta say, truly, they're my pals and I've been working with them so closely for so long. And Tom Rothman, let's face it, he's one of a kind. He's so to me authentic and tells you what he feels, tells you what he you know means, means what he says, and has great conviction but a great respect for the audience, like he gets it. He knows what is theatrical and Sanford and Josh and they really understand that and Ange, they have a passion for that. 

Will Gluck (28:13):

Yeah, they do. And the thing about Tom is that we have arguments all the time about script phase. Like I said to you earlier, I don't like this, I don't like this. Oh my God, it's terrible. And then you go to the, you go to the screening and it works. He goes, all right, it works. He'll never, he never stands on ceremony. He just wants you to succeed.

Kevin Goetz (28:27):

Do you know how many stories I can tell you over the years that that has happened? I remember Bobby O’Shea and Wedding Crashers back in the day saying, oh, I don't think this is going to work. And, and it was such a hit. And, and he, I heard him saying, you know, I was wrong.

Will Gluck (28:42):

Yeah. Right, right. But they don't say I was.

Kevin Goetz (28:43):

And that's a cool executive, by the way.

Will Gluck (28:44):

That's a cool executive.

Kevin Goetz (28:45):

That that's someone who's saying, you know, I acknowledge what I said.

Will Gluck (28:50):

Yes, but what I have brought up with Tom many times is like, Tom, I wish you would just say you were wrong with a little bit of the same intensity of the 10,000 notes going up to it. You have to match a little bit of the intensity. I want you to say you were wrong 5,000 times, just half as many times as we're. But he's, yeah, he just wants to make and even if he doesn't understand something, if the audience understands it, he gets it. I just love working with him.

Kevin Goetz (29:13):
Not to be too fawning over Mr. Rothman, but there have been times when he will acquiesce 100% if you can make a good case, but don't try to bring bullshit in and expect it to be bought, Like, if I have data and I have a reason to stand up for something, I'll stand up for it and he will listen and ultimately do what's right by the person that has the numbers or the experience or whatever it is. I find him always to be that guy and just I love him.

Will Gluck (29:43):

But I would also say he's so many times to my chagrin he's right about something that I said he's out of his mind. Oh, I know. I hate that and he makes me shoot on this movie, on this movie, there's one moment there that he wants me to shoot it a different way and I said no, no, no, no, no, I'm not gonna do it. And so we get to the set and I'm like all right, I mean for the actors, like this is for Rothman, let's shoot this stupid, shoot the scene this way. No one's just shoot it. One take, we don't give a shit. I even said in the camera this is for you, Tom, shoot it, throw in the garbage, cut it. Preview screening, screening, screening. And then something didn't work and I was like, oh, I know why this doesn't work. Because it should have been done that way. And they went back to the cutting room, did the one, take one, which is the opening of our movie. And I called Tom and said, God damnit, oh yes, he made me do this thing and is right about it. And that's a story thing that I was yelling at him and I'm glad I did it.

Kevin Goetz (30:37):

Well, a note to your agents, I just believe you've re-upped your Sony deal for the next three years. 

Will Gluck (30:42):

<laugh> Tom's smarter than that. He doesn't give a shit about this <laugh>. 

Kevin Goetz (30:45):

I know, I know. Oh, so any particular thing you can share with us about Anyone but You, like the casting on it? How you got to do that movie is your next project?

Will Gluck (30:54):

Yeah. I mean that’s… you know, no one's going to see romantic comedies in theaters period. No one's going to theaters period. That's a whole different discussion. But that movie came together. It's with Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell, Sydney Sweeney's from…

Kevin Goetz (31:08):

Are There two any more sexy people right now on the planet? 

Will Gluck (31:13):

That I would say no. And together that even, it's exponential. It doesn't get lower. And they're great. And they're also great people.

Kevin Goetz (31:18):

I mean, Glen Powell is a star, star.

Will Gluck (31:20):

And wait till this movie he just made, Hitman.

Kevin Goetz (31:23):

He is so terrific. Yeah. When I saw him in Maverick, I was like, holy cow.

Will Gluck (31:28):


Kevin Goetz (31:29):

Like, he just has it. 

Will Gluck (31:31):

He's the best. He's the best. Sydney's the best. So we decided like, where to put it? And a lot of other people wanted it, streamers wanted it, but I said, I want to take a shot. I convinced everyone, too. Sony wanted it. They want to take a shot at it. So I said, told everyone in this cast and the crew, like, this might be the last romantic comedy ever in theaters, guys, so.

Kevin Goetz (31:48):

Well, until one really breaks out and then suddenly they can really work again. Right. I mean, that's what it takes is that one. But I agree with you right now, it's a very challenging genre. I think it's because so many of them either don't have that special sauce because there are not a lot of movie stars anymore. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And you actually put together a pretty dynamic couple at the moment. They're kind of right in that.

Will Gluck (32:13):


Kevin Goetz (32:14):

But also in fairness, as of this interview, we are in a strike. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> WGA and SAG strike. And it's scary because actors can't promote the movies.

Will Gluck (32:24):


Kevin Goetz (32:24):

And now I think it's scheduled for December. We shall see if that holds, we're hoping, right?

Will Gluck (32:29):

Yeah. And also when I was, I'm also a director and a writer. So once the writer strike ended…

Kevin Goetz (32:34):

Oh, you were a director and writer <laugh>. I’m joking.

Will Gluck (32:36):

But my point is, I couldn't do any writing on the movie after it locked. So, when we wrapped the strike went a week later and that was it. So now we can't do any, now the SAG works, we can't do any ADR so it's hard making a movie when you can't write or do ADR.

Kevin Goetz (32:50):

Please solve this.

Will Gluck (32:51):


Kevin Goetz (32:51):

We all want it. We want resolution.

Will Gluck (32:54):

All this stuff we really want do, but we can't do anything.

Kevin Goetz (32:56):

I know. I know.

Will Gluck (32:58):

But the reason why this movie's going to work in theaters, I believe is because everyone wants to go have fun and with people again. All the movies they've always watched and romantic comedies have been streamers. They're all at-home, streamers, streamers, streamers, streamers. So we tried everything to make this a big event. And hopefully, if this strikes ever over, we can do it. 

Kevin Goetz (33:13):

Well, from your mouth to God's ears. What would you say is your superpower?

Will Gluck (33:19):

The most fun I have in this business and what I believe not superpower, but I guess a semi-power, a micro-power is when we're actually filming and the cameras are on is changing lines and changing attitudes and changing scenes on the fly, in real time.

Kevin Goetz (33:36):

And being able to direct that.

Will Gluck (33:38):

That is the one thing that immediately, immediately and saying let's try this way, this way. And a lot of stuff in the movie is because of the stuff. Like I said earlier, there's a page and it's the shooting, and when you're on a scene in your middle of the Blue Mountains in Australia filming something, there's no way that it could have been what you planned on the script. So you have to see what you're filming, see what's going on, see what the attitudes, see what they're wearing and pivot, and that to me is what feels the most realistic and that's the most fun for me. Say, well, I know we wrote the scene this way. Let's stop, let's write the scene really quickly. You put it over here and redo it and that's my superpower, that's what not superpower, my micro power, and that's what I love doing. And much chagrin to the studio. I get calls all the time saying where's this scene in the movie? This wasn't in the script, but it was daily as we saw it. I said oh yeah, I know, but we just, we thought about it last night.

Kevin Goetz (34:23):

Are you a hard get? For people that want you to direct their stuff?

Will Gluck (34:28):

I'm not in the club, Kevin, I'm not a hard get, I'm just happy to be working. That is so just happy to be working.

Kevin Goetz (34:33):

All your, all your humility, false, false humility.

Will Gluck (34:35):

All your guests, those guests you've had are, they're all in the club. They all know each other. They all help. They're all in the club. I'm not in the club. 

Kevin Goetz (34:41):

Well, I think you're in the club. And the reason I say that is because everybody knows you. And that right there gets you in the club and also respect you. And you're really a fine writer and director.

Will Gluck (34:56):

Well, let me ask you a question about testing. 

Kevin Goetz (34:59):

Oh lord. Okay, shoot.

Will Gluck (35:00):

Have you ever been told by a studio to kind of shift the results a certain way to let the filmmaker be aware of what they want?

Kevin Goetz (35:13):

I would be lying to say that people didn't try to move me in a certain direction. But the reason that I've been doing this for three and a half decades is, I think, as Tom actually said this, true north. I really believe that I have to stay like Switzerland, neutral, and take that noise, which I find it to be noise in, know that I have the information. So, if the probe might come naturally I would work it in. But I'm not going to manipulate any results ever in favor of a studio or a filmmaker, otherwise I would lose my... 

Will Gluck (35:53):

I don't mean results, I mean like in the focus group.

Kevin Goetz (35:55):

Yeah, even in the probing, I mean again, you get it's what you feel, it's what you're gut when you're watching it. No, it's honestly, and I don't want to sound corny, it's the audience, it's what you felt, the audience. I have an agenda to go in and ask a battery of questions. If you notice, not one of my focus groups looks like the other focus group, except for some basic initial questions. How did you rate it overall? What are your thoughts and feelings? Give me a word or phrase that describes it. What are your favorite scenes and parts, characters? But then I let them, and a word they bring up will move me into that and move me into that, and then I'll steer it back to if you didn't rate the movie higher, why not? And I typically will talk about pace, ending, and confusions, which are the three major areas that everyone wants to know.

Will Gluck (36:34):

Isn't that the name of your next book? Pacing, Ending, and Confusion?

Kevin Goetz (36:34):

That's not a bad idea. No. It's actually called ready for this, How to Score in Hollywood.

Will Gluck (36:46):

Oh, that's a good one.

Kevin Goetz (36:47):

So that's a funny thing. 

Will Gluck (36:48):

That's a good one. That's a good one. Yeah.

Kevin Goetz (36:50):

So, in any event, the answer is people have tried to influence that, but I absolutely cannot let that happen.

Will Gluck (36:56):

Now let me ask you this. With the focus group…

Kevin Goetz (36:58):

Does that give you any feeling of security or…

Will Gluck (36:59):

Yes it does.

Kevin Goetz (37:00):

I mean seriously.

Will Gluck (37:01):

Yes, I believe the focus groups, tell me if I'm wrong, but the beginning questions that you ask are not to just getting people warmed up?

Kevin Goetz (37:04):

Well, they're designed to be positive. We start with the positives.

Will Gluck (37:11):

Right. Right.

Kevin Goetz (37:11):

We want to get them not ragging on anything.

Will Gluck (37:13):

Right. Right.

Kevin Goetz (37:14):

Because every single movie does have a superpower. And every single movie does have really good things about it. And I want to uncover those.

Will Gluck (37:21):


Kevin Goetz (37:21):

So part of I think why you're sitting here and we're buddies is because there's this trust that I'm not going to bury you because I want to help you.

Will Gluck (37:30):

Yeah. Right.

Kevin Goetz (37:31):

I want to mine anything I can. So, you know this as an actor or working with actors as well, the last thing I say is, my super objective in this focus group is to get the most information I possibly can mine from this group. It's the last thing I say to myself before I go on every single night and I’ve done over 5,000 titles, is how can, and if I don't get that, I have failed.

Will Gluck (37:55):


Kevin Goetz (37:56):

And I fail every now and again. There's just, it's a lousy group. 

Will Gluck (37:59):


Kevin Goetz (37:59):

They can't really articulate it. Maybe I'm off, but by and large, that is my objective. So, I need to tease that out. I need to ask it relentlessly, maybe any way I can to try to get it.

Will Gluck (38:11):

Have you ever, and even a movie that's an Oscar-winning masterpiece, you still at the end of the focus group get some bad things.

Kevin Goetz (38:18):


Will Gluck (38:19):


Kevin Goetz (38:20):

There's something.

Will Gluck (38:20):


Kevin Goetz (38:21):

If you ask someone…

Will Gluck (38:22):

You're going to get something.

Kevin Goetz (38:23):

It's like asking a lawyer to look over a document.

Will Gluck (38:25):


Kevin Goetz (38:26):

That another lawyer has done. They're always going to add additional red lines to that because that's what they do.

Will Gluck (38:30):

Right. Right.

Kevin Goetz (38:31):

You know what I mean? It's just part of the whole thing. The thing is, if there's not commonalities, you know, you can usually toss those comments aside. They're kind of noise. I look for commonalities, I look for themes. Right. I look for directional things. And that's, I think, the way that filmmakers can best come to terms with the data by putting their own fixes on what they're hearing. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, every now and then, they'll say, what do you mean? And by example I'll say, well, in another movie we did, I know they did this or this or this. Or, my suggestion would be to contemplate this. Or maybe do a character pass because they don't seem to be getting the full arc of the protagonist. They may say to me, can you give us an example of that? And I go, not really. It's just throughout the movie.

Will Gluck (39:17):


Kevin Goetz (39:17):

You guys solve it. You know? Yeah. I'm not, I don't say that either, but that's the implication.

Will Gluck (39:21):

Yeah. That's the one thing I think a filmmaker's superpower, a lot of them are, and used to be mine until I got older, is explaining away testing. You should see in the cutting room and in the studio and other directors, you can say, well, this is because of that and this is because of that. And this is, they didn't know this is a blind test. And you have to admit, some of it can be explained away, but most of it, there's a reason for it. So, the hard emotional part they’re going like, they don't like this guy, they don't like this guy. And then you say, oh, well 'cause he's the villain. They're not supposed to like this guy. Well, no. If they like, they like the bad villains because…

Kevin Goetz (39:29):

Listen, when Forest played Idi Amin. Yeah. It was one of the highest testing characters we've ever tested. Exactly. And he's, I mean, and he's Idi Amin. Right. So, that's all I have to say about that.

Will Gluck (39:57):

Right. Right.

Kevin Goetz (39:59):

No, they should like, meaning they, the characters, they like the way the bad guy is bad.

Will Gluck (40:02):


Kevin Goetz (40:06):

They like the way the good guy is a hero and investing, or the woman who's just a badass or whatever it is. Uh, those are important.

Will Gluck (40:14):

Right. But it, it is, and it's hard to kind of push that aside the next day when you talk about everything and actually go, what is the root? And also, as you well know, the, as I said earlier, the diagnosis is usually accurate. Almost always accurate. The prescription is almost always inaccurate. And even when I have my friends come to, I do a round table before I'm about to shoot with all my friends just, just to care about my movie they're not getting paid. They just get, I say to 'em, I help them in their movie. I say to 'em, just so you guys know, we're going to pitch on this movie. Not one thing you guys pitch is going to be in the movie. It never is. But it starts to help us to think about what it is. And what's the problem.

Kevin Goetz (40:41):

Yeah. I actually, I have a very funny feeling about directors giving other directors notes. I just, I've never found it all that helpful. I don't think innately there's an honesty. I think that it's just, um, they all know the pain. They all know the, the feeling of what it is. Like that they're exposing their babies. And I just think there's a camaraderie, a sisterhood, a brotherhood, whatever it is. And I think that is like not the best barometer. That's true. Yeah. And so that's just my experience. And I don't love family and friend screenings as a result of that. I like always recruited audience screenings, small ones. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, you know, I think a filmmaker should have the ability to just have like a really tight 50 person, a hundred person screening just to work out the kinks before you show it to the studio. 

Will Gluck (41:39):

Oh yeah. I mean, I've screened my movies 5, 6, 7 times before we preview.

Kevin Goetz (41:39):

I love that. I love that. 

Will Gluck (41:41):

But here's one question for you too, which I've learned. When I do those 100 people 99-seat theater screenings, I never tell them that we're going to be talking to them afterwards or they are filling out a card. And I've done a couple of control groups. One time we did tell that and the time that we didn't tell that when we started talking to them, it was much more honest. And the time that we told them you're going to be talking about it, their hand shot, it became a gender studies class. They were ready to talk about this. Because if you know you're going to evaluate something at the end of a meal, if you're going to review it, you're reviewing it differently than just like, hey, how'd you like that meal on the way out. That's why I believe, I always tell the studio I believe post-track is the most pure version of you mean exit polls. Yes, when you walk out, you paid for a service, you want to feel good about yourself, but it's just hey, you like it, yes or no, you like it one to five. That is much pure. So I, right before I always like a movie. I do a post-track, I show the movie and I walk out what I do, because that, to me, is going to how it's legs. And it's not asking you to talk about gender studies, it's just asking you if you like it or not.

Kevin Goetz (42:39):

Well, that may be true. It may not be. But I will tell you this because we do every movie the same way.

Will Gluck (42:45):


Kevin Goetz (42:46):

All the normative data works in service of that methodology.

Will Gluck (42:51):

Yes. True.

Kevin Goetz (42:51):

So that you are fine by doing it that way. You see what I mean? But if you were inconsistent here and did it here and that's why I like to keep as many of the variables the same. Right. Because it's all about the norms. In other words, you could have a completely skewed sample of just the same thousand people that you for every single movie.

Will Gluck (43:09):


Kevin Goetz (43:10):

And as long as they put it in the sync, you know? Right. And they're representative, let's say of the US pop, you can probably get as useful as information if you are dealing with the norms based on that particular sample set. 

Will Gluck (43:23):

Right. I just wish it wasn't called testing.

Kevin Goetz (43:25):

I know, a laboratory maybe. Yeah. I like to say you have your laboratory.

Will Gluck (43:29):

Feedback. I mean, it's the same way at Sony, I always yell at them. They, after you have a preview, before you finish a preview, they, they schedule what's called a postmortem.

Kevin Goetz (43:38):

I know.

Will Gluck (43:39):

And I said, guys, we've got to do, you know what postmortem means?

Kevin Goetz (43:41):

First of all, I love that you said that.

Will Gluck (43:43):

Where did that term come to be?

Kevin Goetz (43:46):

Stop calling it a postmortem.

Will Gluck (43:46):

We haven't even done it yet. It's probably going to die, but let's just try it first.

Kevin Goetz (43:50):

Really, if you look postmortem is, that's associated with death.

Will Gluck (43:51):

Of course, not associated with death, that's what it means.

Kevin Goetz (43:55):

All I can think of is I'm praying and hoping that I didn't come up with that years ago.

Will Gluck (43:59):

I think it's many.

Kevin Goetz (44:00):

I think it, it's, oh, it has to be way before 50s.

Will Gluck (44:01):

It feels like. 

Kevin Goetz (44:03):

Oh great. I mean 'cause I, I hate to be responsible for that.

Will Gluck (44:07):

They still call it that. 

Kevin Goetz (44:08):

I still call it that as well. I'm going to stop calling It that. I know I'm going to, I'm going to leave today.

Will Gluck (44:10):

Post-screening feedback.

Kevin Goetz (44:12):

Post-screening feedback is a mouthful. Can we get it down to two words? Feedback? No, that doesn't work. We're going to have a feedback call post-screening. A post-screening call. Yeah. Post-screening. There we are. Yeah. You heard it here folks. Fascinating. Riveting. Just incredible.

Will Gluck (44:28):

Pull your car off the side of the road.

Kevin Goetz (44:30):

Will, we can go on for hours. You are such a great guy. I am so honored to know you and privileged to work on your movies. And I think I've worked in nearly all of them. Yes. And Annie I did not do.


Will Gluck

Why didn't you do Annie?


Kevin Goetz

I don't know. It was just wherever the studio was at the time. I didn't do it. My company.


Will Gluck

Your company, yeah, you, definitely your company


Kevin Goetz

But usually, I try to be at all your screenings 'cause you always just light the room up and I really do appreciate you, so thank you so much.


Will Gluck

Well, thank you for doing this and I like your podcast and I want your guests to be more honest.


Kevin Goetz

Well, who's my next guest?


Will Gluck

I want you to challenge every one of your guests that says, oh, he's a great friend of mine, or she's a great friend of mine. Ask the follow-up question.

Kevin Goetz (45:12):

What does that mean?


Will Gluck

Just probe them a little bit.


Kevin Goetz

Can I tell you one thing? My connective tissue on this podcast, I realized it took me six months to really find what it was, is I have to know you.


Will Gluck

Yeah. Oh, for sure.


Kevin Goetz

If I don't know you. Yeah. And so everyone is a friend. They may not be the one that I share my deepest, darkest secrets with, but everyone's a friend.


Will Gluck

No, no. A friend of yours. What I'm saying is when they're bringing up people, if you were to listen to this podcast, oh, you would think that everyone in Hollywood is the best friend and it has everyone else's best interest in mind.


Kevin Goetz

That's nice, love. We're promoting love.


Will Gluck

It's all bullshit. <laugh>.


Kevin Goetz

Will Gluck, thank you. To our listeners, I hope you enjoyed our interview. I encourage you to check out Will Gluck's Hulu, and Disney Plus shows, and to see his upcoming new film, as we just mentioned, Anyone but You, later this year. For other stories like this one, please check out my book, Audienceology, at Amazon, or through my website at You can also follow me on my social media at KevinGoetz360. Next time on Don't Kill the Messenger, I'll welcome entertainment marketing veteran and former CBS Films Chief, Terry Press. Until then, I'm Kevin Goetz, and to you, our listeners, I appreciate you being part of the movie-making process. Your opinions matter.


Host: Kevin Goetz
 Guest: Will Gluck
 Producer:  Kari Campano
 Writers: Kevin Goetz, Darlene Hayman, Kari Campano
 Audio Engineer & Editor: Gary Forbes
 Produced at: DG Entertainment, Los Angeles

(Cont.) Will Gluck (Director/Producer/Writer) on Directing Hit Comedies & Audience Reactions.