Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Feedback on works-in-progress: advice that works for film or literature.

The passage below is quoted from an article on the filmmaking blog MENTORLESS about Quentin Tarantino's experience at the Sundance Lab in 1991 developing RESERVOIR DOGS (difficult to imagine now, since more recent developed-at-Sundance cinema tends to lean more towards middle-of-the-road ennobling and/or redemptive storytelling).  It can be easily transposed to poetry or literary workshop situations.

Link to the complete article: http://www.mentorless.com/2015/01/26/tarantinos-experience-sundance-lab-1991-can-teach-us-feedbacks?utm_content=buffer7b004&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

What to Keep in Mind When We Ask for Feedback

A lot of people are not aware of the distinction between emotional and constructive feedback and think that giving their emotional opinion is a feedback.
Maybe they don’t have the tools to verbalize or point out to specifics, and then it means that we asked the wrong person to do an impossible task. So, the first step to enhance our chances to get constructive feedback is to ask people who have a certain skill-set and/or knowledge that we think might be helpful.

What to Keep in Mind When We Receive Feedback

I believe that when we receive feedback, we need to ask ourselves what type of feedback we are actually given: are they emotional or constructive feedback?
If we are receiving constructive feedback, then whatever the note, it needs to be acknowledged and considered, even if it hurts, and/or might ultimately been ignored for the purpose of the project we make.
If it’s emotional feedback, then we need to remember that this doesn’t say anything about our ability to tell a story, our work simply didn’t connect enough with the person to ignite constructive feedback.

What to Keep in Mind When We Give Feedback

When we give feedback, we need to put aside our feelings about the piece, and try to use our skills -whatever those skills- to give constructive feedback. That can be offering solutions, that can be giving perspective, and that always imply reminding the other person that those feedback are only suggestions made to inspire and can be ignored. (In other words, it’s not about our ego)

Also, It’s Very Hard for Everybody

It is hard to be honest and give good notes to someone. It is much easier to say that you loved whatever they did, point out to three things you liked and moved on.
And it is hard to receive notes gracefully, even if you know these notes are good notes, a part of you might have hoped to hear that everything was perfect (I know I’ve felt that several times, even though I knew it was not good enough.)
I believe that our job as a community is to help each other out by trying to be generous and genuine while offering constructive feedback, and by being brave enough to share our work with people who can give constructive feedback, and take the result gracefully. It all comes back to being vulnerable.

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