I was incredibly fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time (Fox FM, 2001) when a young Melbourne comedy team came into our offices for the first time.
I was the assistant content director at the Fox and involved in most of the very early air checks sessions with Hamish and Andy. What I remember clearly was the attitude the boys had in these meetings.
For most performers, getting feedback, regardless of how it’s delivered and how positive the message might be, is an incredibly uncomfortable process.
Consider this from Sam Cavanagh – Executive Producer of Hamish and Andy.
“I think what’s interesting about performers is that what they do makes them incredibly vulnerable. They are either loved or hated. Judged or ignored. Being confident is not the same as being bullet-proof. Great performers are often full of self doubt, but they know how to back themselves in and be confident in their ability when it matters most.”
Hamish and Andy approached feedback differently to any other show I’ve worked on. For the first couple of years the boys would bring a note pad to every review session. I never saw the notes from these meetings, (although I’m pretty sure Hamish does a wonderful dick and balls) but regardless of what they wrote down, the intent was clear from the start – We are building this together and we trust that you’re here to help us.
Over the years the feedback from SCA programmers became less specific around radio technique and moved towards objective, bigger picture feedback as we played a more supportive role in helping the boys achieve their goals.
The attitude of Hamish and Andy has always been the same, regardless of their success, they’ve always been interested in how they can improve and are completely open to anyone who can help in that process.
If you’re a content director the message is clear-if you’ve found a show who is open to learning and sees the process of continual improvement as a 2-way relationship then you have the foundation for something special.
As Seth Godin once wrote
Good advice… is priceless. Not what you want to hear, but what you need to hear. Not imaginary, but practical. Not based on fear, but on possibility. Not designed to make you feel better, designed to make you better. Seek it out and embrace the true friends that care enough to risk sharing it. I’m not sure what takes more guts — giving it or getting it.
And if you’re a young performer on a new show, understand that no one will care about your career as you will.
So bring a note pad, lean in and start learning.