Nancy Kirhoffer is a distinguished post-production specialist with over 150 films to her name, bringing critically acclaimed and award-winning films like Booksmart, Being the Ricardos, The Trial of the Chicago Seven, and the soon-to-be-released Scream VI to completion. In this episode, Nancy shares her insights on the intricacies of post-production, the challenges and rewards of audience test screenings, and the secrets to delivering a successful final product. Whether you’re a film buff interested in what goes on behind the scenes, an aspiring filmmaker, or just someone who appreciates the art of filmmaking, this podcast is a must-listen!

The role of a post-production supervisor/producer

Kevin and Nancy discuss the role of a post-production producer and the difference between a post-production producer and a post-production supervisor. Nancy talks about how the industry and the role of the post-production supervisor have changed. Nancy recounts getting her start in Hollywood, crashing film classes, and how she went from a PA to working as an assistant with one of her idols, Mary Lambert.

Guiding first-time filmmakers through the screening process

Nancy has done a lot of work with independent filmmakers and first-time directors. Kevin asks Nancy what it is like walking a first-time director through the screening process in post-production. Nancy discusses the importance of getting out of the editing room and into a theater to see how the movie plays on the big screen, and in front of an audience.

Nancy on the first screening:

An audience is going to tell you the truth, and there are a lot of first-time filmmakers who are super afraid of losing that control because they had so much control to this point. It’s the first time that they’re now at the mercy of somebody else. So, for me, I begin early on talking about what a gift it is. This is the really important part.

Screening surprises with Neighbors 2 and reassuring Olivia Wilde on Booksmart

Kevin asks Nancy about the biggest surprise she has seen at an audience test screening. Nancy talks about the screening for Neighbors 2 and the changes that had to be made to improve the testing scores. Nancy shares a story about the first audience screening for the movie Booksmart and walking first-time director Olivia Wilde through the screening process.

Working with Screen Engine/ASI and what sets them apart

Nancy talks about working with Kevin’s company, Screen Engine/ASI, and how the moderators at Screen Engine have a real and genuine love of movies. The pair discuss some of the intricacies of audience screen testing, and how the moderator’s enthusiasm for movies can add authenticity to the screening process.

Nancy on working with Screen Engine/ASI:

The one thing that I truly love about your company and Screen Engine is that your moderators are spot on and there’s already a love for filmmaking. They already love movies. You’ve seen everything and there’s a general enthusiasm that you have.

The most important questions asked at a screen test

Kevin asks Nancy about her favorite moderator questions during a focus group. Kevin and Nancy both share the questions that they find to be the most useful to the filmmakers. They also discuss focus group questions that aren’t helpful.

Kevin on his favorite focus group question:

My favorite question is, if you didn’t rate the movie excellent, you gave it a very good, which is still a good rating, or you gave it a good and you didn’t give it even a very good, why not? What’s holding you back? And sometimes the gold comes out of that.

Advice for anyone wanting to go into the field of post-production

Nancy discusses the role of post-production, and the skill set required to be a good post-production supervisor. She talks about money and time and being able to manage both while keeping a project on track.

When you go to the front end, you understand the process, you understand what’s important, what’s important to capture when you’re in production, what’s important to the finishing of your movie, to the delivery of your movie, to the selling of your movie. Which is ultimately what everyone wants to do, is they want the movie to be in a theater for people to enjoy.

–Nancy Kirhoffer

Join Kevin and his guest Nancy Kirhoffer as they discuss Nancy’s prolific career as a post-production specialist, what goes in behind the scenes to get that final product, and the importance of audience test screening during the post-production process. Check out the fascinating discussion, and enjoy some insider stories on Kevin’s podcast, Don’t Kill the Messenger!

Don’t Kill the Messenger, hosted by movie and entertainment research expert Kevin Goetz, brings his book Audienceology to life. This bi-monthly podcast takes a peek behind the filmmaking curtain as Kevin talks with famous filmmakers, studio executives, stars, and other creatives about movies, filmmaking, audience test screenings, and much more.

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