Dr. Phil

Dr. Phil Production Reel • Directed and Produced by Jason Goodman

I started working on Dr. Phil a few weeks after it went on the air in September, 2002 – and during the three years I worked on the show, directed more than 150 field segments. My job was to Direct the 2-3 minute field pieces that introduce you to every guest before they begin speaking with Dr. Phil.

The job was one of the hardest I ever had. First, the guests were all virgins – people who had never been on TV before. Most had written an email late at night when their problems seemed insurmountable – and if they fit a category the show was looking for, they were contacted the next morning. The first thing the show had to do was make sure they were visually appealing enough for the show – and if they passed that test they were on their way to California within a week – the thinking being that if you give people time to ask their friends and family if its a good idea to go on national television and talk about their problems, more than a few would change their mind. So often I found myself in the guest’s living room, with a full camera crew, three or four days after they’d first written in.

My job was, in the course of a 10 hour day, to do formal sit-down interviews with all relevant parties, as well as film all necessary b-roll to create a complete introductory segment, as well as to be an ambassador for the show – to calm the guests fears and give them some insight as to what they were about to experience. I often found myself in the middle between conflicted parties, and how to win over all sides to create a complete and honest view of the situation on tape. But the creative challenge was nothing compared to the travel. For three years, I had to have a bag packed at all times, and be ready to leave on as little as an hour’s notice. And usually once I was on the road, I stayed there – leapfrogging around the eastern half of the US and Canada. It was grueling, but also rewarding. Several times I got emails from the guests telling me that their favorite part of their Dr. Phil experience was the time they spent with me.

Here are a few of the pieces I directed for Dr. Phil:

Afraid of my Child                 Mad At Dunkin’ Donuts                     Cheating Wife

Non-Consumated Marriage                 Sexy Too Soon                       Overscheduled Mom

Nagging Wife                             Too Much PDA                     Dude On The Corner

Brother & Sister Reunion                     Adult Bullies                   I’m In Love With Tim McGraw