There are those who make films for validation and those who seek a mastered craft. The Validationers want constant praise- The Master Craftsmans wants constant feedback- either to disregard or apply. Out here in Seattle- I have found that most are Validationers- which means playing the mute is the best card you can play to avoid getting steamrolled by a validation community. I am constantly surprised at the rejection of constructive criticism in this town- it’s epidemic. Although, I get the feeling it isn’t just Seattle.
It sure isn’t just in Seattle, Joriah. You can most definitely add LA to the list…
It’s probably even more vicious down there eh? City of Lost Dreams. Tension + Dreams= air polliution.
Tension + Dreams = A LOT MORE than air pollution!!! :( Serioulsy, which is why I’m probably out of here in the next few years…..
I think you’d do best in Portland- they seem to be more creative and laid back down there.
Yes, my wife and I have planted the Portland seed!
I’d love to colloborate with you when you get out there- it’s about 4-5 hrs from me- and judging by the direction I am heading- I’ll be on the border in 5 years- just a bought a condo- so I figure I’m stuck for at least a few out here.
That would be sweet, Joriah. But why wait? Maybe you can play a role in post on my current feature. I’ll send you a message..
Whew! Be truthful and loving. You want your friend to succeed (constructive criticism) right? Why harpoon them out of the water. B’lieve me…there will be others who will do that.
You just have to be truthful. If they can’t handle it then they can ask someone else for their opinion until they find someone who likes it. My favourite response is, “Sure I liked it, but I really didn’t like it.”
I mean if he/she is my friend they’ll realize I’m being lovingly sarcastic … but also honest. What’re friends for?
@David Lincoln Brooks
Aw, David, it’s so sweet that you wouldn’t want to hurt your friend’s feelings or embarrass her. You must really care about her to LIE to her. Did it ever occur to you, seeing as she’s such a bright woman and all, that she might appreciate the truth more than platitudes? Really, you don’t have to treat women as quivering fawns unable to separate something they produced from their own self worth. No one would ever make art (or children!) if that were the case. Personally, I would be insulted and hurt if a friend treated me like that. By your thinly veiled hostility, my guess is that the stereotypes hit a little close to home. Sorry about that. That might constitute either a grave sin or a lapse of judgment on her part, but still, a healthy discussion might have made the both of you feel better and repaired what has probably become a very awkward relationship. You two should talk. Honesty is integrity.
“Really, you don’t have to treat women as quivering fawns unable to separate something they produced from their own self worth.”
Correction: Really, you don’t have to treat all people as quivering fawns unable to separate something they produced from their own self worth. A few are capable of receiving constructive criticism.
Point well taken. I appreciate your constructive criticism. ;)
I’m a little sensitive to sexism masquerading as chivalry.
See? It’s not so hard!
I am glad you got my joke too… ;)
Just don’t be a douchebag when you talk about their film. I’ve been on Mubi (The Auteurs) long enough to know that many user’s idea of “brutal honesty” is downsizing a film to make it seem completely worthless. You can be honest without being a complete dick about it, which is the way I would go. I WOULD indeed ask them “Do you REALLY want to hear everything, the good AND the bad?” so that they are alerted that all of your feedback may not be so great. But DO try to find something that you at least KIND of liked and encourage that further.
Example: “I liked what you did with the lighting in that bedroom scene, it captured the mood you were going for very well. I think you should try to go in that direction more. The lighting in the outdoor scenes, however, was too dark and made it hard to see. I would try to light that better next time”
That’s a lot better than “Jesus Christ, your lighting in the outdoor scenes at night was atrocious and made me want to turn off the film right away. It looked like a 6th grader shot it with his daddy’s camcorder, there’s no way a movie studio would ever pick up your film with amateurish mistakes like that”
See the difference?
I’m honest out of respect. This just happened with a friend of mine on this site who showed me his latest short which didn’t work for me. I loved the previous ones, so I was honest and asked him to share his goals to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.
But to just blow sunshine is misguided and disrespectful to the artist, even though it may seem “nice.”
Too much sun brings forth the cancer; constant rain is a heavy set of shoes. Give em just enough sun for dry shoes- and they’ll prepare for the walk.
Most artists I know are their own harshest critics. I do find it awkward trying to reassure them their work isn’t “horrible” (as they insist) while STILL offering up constructive ideas. A very fine line, indeed, to walk.
Anyone familiar with the CBC radio show Wiretap with Jonathan Goldstein? Here’s a funny episode about criticizing art.
We can criticize the episode later. :)
Just tell them the truth about how you feel about the film. Don’t wait to tell us how much our film sucks in front of a reviewer. If you’re going to be harsh do it in private. Filmmakers need a thick skin. If we don’t hear it from you, we’ll hear it later in a possibly more embarrassing situation. Not everyone is going to like every film. But a viewers reaction combined with thoughtful analysis of that viewers taste, ideology, exposure to films etc can inform a filmmaker greatly about how others might react. Plus, we can take it or leave it.
Like Laura Hammer said, be yourself, be honest. How do you want him to improve or evolve if he doesn’t get criticized… Sometimes it’s hard, just be objective… explain what is the problem and why, how do you feel about the film… and give him some advice. I think everytime I make a film, some like it some don’t, it’s a question of balance. Everyone likes to have good feedback about their work, especially when it comes from your friend, but it’s essential to learn and to be open-minded.
The main reason people end up in positions like this, honestly, is because most people that “make movies” aren’t ready for it yet. No matter how much better you are than your classmates, a “High School movie” is just that (for example). If it’s really that bad (and if the problem isn’t production values or acting which have nothing to do with the “writer/ director”) just tell him/ her to get back to the basics: actually watching movies. Instead of eating popcorn, look at the technical side. Try to figure out how things work (segways, transitions, clever cinematography…). Any further advice would only be “polish the film as much as possible before putting it on YouTube and getting railed” (because we all know YouTube comments are the worst out there).