From Applause Break To Axing - My Time On THE FOOTY SHOW
Last night I left Docklands Studios knowing I can tell my grandkids I was the last writer (of three) on The AFL Footy Show.
We were handed a show with 25 years of history and encouraged to take a different direction, with a new cast and new creative team.
It was a challenge, a huge challenge but one I couldn't wait to jump at.
We built an environment that was unbelievably positive, hardworking and encouraged each other creatively as well as helped skills/passions flourish. Each day was a pleasure regardless of ratings pressure.
Live TV is a crazy beast. You walk in on Monday with no show and go live to air on Wednesday or Thursday with a show.
Embryo ideas turn into deliverables in days or sometimes even hours with multiple people, who are amazing at what they do, banding together for a common cause.
This breakneck speed was invaluable experience that I am so grateful to be a part of and opened my eyes to possibilities in the future. When a team of talented people align on an agreed direction the output can be incredible.
Last night's show was a ripper, I am so proud of it. We had sharp humour, good chemistry, good change of speed with serious topics/footy and a hilarious game with Daisy Thomas, Jaidyn Stephenson and Jaidyn's Mum! In the words of Alan Partridge, "This is great banter!"
The battle I found with friends, families and general punters was incredibly similar. I would say "I'm working on The Footy Show" and the response would be "I don't like the show". I follow up with "When did you last watch it?" 9/10 the heartbreaking final answer was "Oh, I haven't watched it for years."
Not sure if it was a moment, a change in taste, a hunt for something different or something else but it's hard to have the opportunity when so many people had checked out of the iconic show years before the new squad entered the building.
I'm glad we weren't told until after the last show. We were able to concentrate on our segments landing plus brief guests and talent in between commercial breaks. We were present in the moment and were able to do our jobs with clarity and full of joy.
We were all asked to go upstairs once we finished by the executives, in hindsight they had the hardest job of the night. Letting the new crew and cast know that was the last ep was met with expected sadness but not a complete shock as rumours were spiralling for weeks.
I played out a few times in my head this moment so I had rehearsed my reaction. We began the self deprecating jokes to cope with the bad news. The laughs halted as I saw some crew that had been on the show for ALL 25 years getting told the news and bursting into tears.
That was incredibly sobering. 25 years doing anything and for it to end against your will is hard to imagine. That broke my heart and couldn't help feel guilty, could I have written sharper jokes? Could I have written better segment ideas? Why didn't I bring back an audience?
You can't help feeling like you failed and it hurts. The team behind the camera - Anthony Watt, Jay Mueller, Mitch Finlayson, Michael Chamberlin, Will Ralston, Graham Watson, Elspeth Iredale, Jade McMillan, Emma Klapste, Luca Urso, Stuart Ackerly, Luke Jackson, Finn Blake and Marcus - these beautiful humans made each day feel like were a bunch of mates catching up. We'd work hard and never let each other down. Patient in what is meant to be stressful situations and worked like a well oiled machine. I'll count myself lucky if I ever get the opportunity to work with any one of these people again.
The cast - Lehmo, Neroli, Dylan, Fev, Lloydy, Browny and Crawf - are all incredibly great to work with. They were so receptive to ideas, direction and thoughts we had. They were trusting enough to deliver what we thought would work. That takes trust and respect, something I didn't undervalue for a second.
The Docklands Crew - I knew very few by name but they were always there to make the ideas/segments work as best it could and their attention to detail while having fun was mesmerizing.
And the big dogs at JAM TV - Tunners, Cos and Eddie - They backed us in and went all in. I hope we did you somewhat proud and thank you so much for the opportunity, I'm forever grateful.
I feel so lucky.
Max Price x