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Feedback on Work


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When you’re working for a client, how many rounds of feedback do you allow them? Or unlimited within reason?

 

Before you send an edit to a client, how many people review your edit (either internally or colleagues)? Your grade? Your comp? Your sound mix? Do you review with an audience?

 

Whose notes do you find most useful? Friends? More distant acquaintances? Experts? Online notes? Anonymous people online? Colleagues? Competitors?

 

When working on a short film (personal project), do you ask for notes? From whom? Has anyone tried posting a rough cut on YouTube to shape a project's development? I feel like that would turn out too impersonal and generic, there is an interesting Weezer songwriting experiment that turns out this way but not badly. Very interesting. 

 

I think a big advantage of working for an agency and/or going to film school is the feedback you get, the normalizing influence. Ideally not diluting your vision, but making sure it comes across to others. The internet seems like a great place for feedback in concept, but I suppose ultimately it's more your audience, not your creative group, online.

 

How much feedback do you get on work before sending it to its audience? How many rounds of notes do you tolerate/expect from clients?

 

What about on personal projects?

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Working for a client, I think that going through the idea building and script stage to be the hardest.

I mean, at first they will smile and nod at the ideas you are passing to them, then you get an okay to write a script, but after some thought, and you have written the short... they hate it.

I've been through a couple of them, where not only did I write up a script... some of those scripts are still stored away to be used later.

During the filming and editing stage, normally the client is more than happy with how the vision is playing out. Usually I get anyone involved to participate in my filming and editing phase... so they are happy with the end result.

Normally, from product development point of view... any project.... not just video, but software, home renovation, prototype creation, etc.

If you get the client deeply involved from the start, they will love the end result no matter what.... because they have invested so much time and effort in it.... its their baby.

The only problem with personal projects, and in the end, many projects end up being personal projects.... is that you take a lot longer to complete it, because you have no deadline...

So, unlimited feedback, until you get annoyed??? lol.

 

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1 hour ago, mkabi said:

Working for a client, I think that going through the idea building and script stage to be the hardest.

I mean, at first they will smile and nod at the ideas you are passing to them, then you get an okay to write a script, but after some thought, and you have written the short... they hate it.

I've been through a couple of them, where not only did I write up a script... some of those scripts are still stored away to be used later.

During the filming and editing stage, normally the client is more than happy with how the vision is playing out. Usually I get anyone involved to participate in my filming and editing phase... so they are happy with the end result.

Normally, from product development point of view... any project.... not just video, but software, home renovation, prototype creation, etc.

If you get the client deeply involved from the start, they will love the end result no matter what.... because they have invested so much time and effort in it.... its their baby.

The only problem with personal projects, and in the end, many projects end up being personal projects.... is that you take a lot longer to complete it, because you have no deadline...

So, unlimited feedback, until you get annoyed??? lol.

 

I don't produce my own videos, although I might some day. Keeping your client on board throughout is a really smart tactic, and I hadn't considered how it works that way. What I'd always figured was never reveal your hand too early, but that makes sense as the flip side, in terms of managing expectations and keeping the vision consistent.

For personal projects do you screen them for friends? If it's a spec ad or something I would, but what about a family video or short film you wanted to show to other people at work or something? I wouldn't dare post a rough cut on YouTube, I figure the comments would be negative for something that's not meant for that audience. But I also figure if I'm going to show it to people outside those who worked on it, I should consider what they have in mind.

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13 minutes ago, Policar said:

I don't produce my own videos, although I might some day. Keeping your client on board throughout is a really smart tactic, and I hadn't considered how it works that way. What I'd always figured was never reveal your hand too early, but that makes sense as the flip side, in terms of managing expectations and keeping the vision consistent.

For personal projects do you screen them for friends? If it's a spec ad or something I would, but what about a family video or short film you wanted to show to other people at work or something? I wouldn't dare post a rough cut on YouTube, I figure the comments would be negative for something that's not meant for that audience. But I also figure if I'm going to show it to people outside those who worked on it, I should consider what they have in mind.

Yeah, I usually start with my wife, and she can be really rough with the so called "constructive" criticism... move to sister and other family, then eventually friends.

You can privatize your youtube videos and disable comments, if that will make a difference.

 

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With a client I make sure to specify in the contract how many rounds of notes there will be. Two is typical, some may ask for three. And for lower-budget projects we'll get it in writing that there will only be one round. It helps to make sure that when the client is giving you notes they actually have something to say, or that there's someone on the client side responsible for making sure that everyone who's supposed to weigh in does weigh in, and that person collates the notes more effectively. It is also good leverage to have it specified in a contract so that, for instance, each additional round of notes costs X, or each day of work on additional rounds costs X amount. Without having that break, some clients will go overboard asking for "little" changes again and again. You want to make sure that with notes they're really serious or their willing to pay to go over. It doesn't have to feel draconian. Sometimes a gentle reminder in the process can help prod the client to be focused, "we only have one more round of notes specified in the contract, so please make sure everyone has seen or weighed in." Specifying the number of rounds of notes also helps you bid, budget, and schedule jobs more effectively.

With feedback on creative projects it is crucial to cultivate a group of people and/or collaborators whose taste you trust. Online, you never know what some bozo is going to say, especially if they have no connection to you or the project. Online feedback tends to be more negative, and people rarely balance positive feedback with negative as people who know you will tend to do. That said, you also don't want to only share the work with friends who will only tell you good things. That kind of echo chamber can be equally limiting.

You should have specific points in the process where you're looking for feedback. After a polished first draft of a script, say, after a few more drafts. After a rough cut, etc. Sometimes, especially with personal projects, you're not always at a stage when feedback is necessary or useful. Be sure that you're confident that you're not wasting your (or the other person's) time when soliciting feedback. Like, you really just wanted someone to tell you that it's awesome and weren't really looking for notes. Sometime's it's even helpful to have a questionnaire: what did you think of this character? is the turkey joke working? what did you think of the end?, etc. so that you're targeting the feedback to areas of the project you're worried about or looking to improve.

Again, I think the key is to cultivate a group of people with differing viewpoints, whose taste (and work) you trust to give feedback. It might not always be the same group for each project. Or for whatever stage you are in the project. But getting the right kind of feedback, at the right points in the process is essential to honing your ideas.

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1 hour ago, Raafi Rivero said:

With a client I make sure to specify in the contract how many rounds of notes there will be. Two is typical, some may ask for three. And for lower-budget projects we'll get it in writing that there will only be one round. It helps to make sure that when the client is giving you notes they actually have something to say, or that there's someone on the client side responsible for making sure that everyone who's supposed to weigh in does weigh in, and that person collates the notes more effectively. It is also good leverage to have it specified in a contract so that, for instance, each additional round of notes costs X, or each day of work on additional rounds costs X amount. Without having that break, some clients will go overboard asking for "little" changes again and again. You want to make sure that with notes they're really serious or their willing to pay to go over. It doesn't have to feel draconian. Sometimes a gentle reminder in the process can help prod the client to be focused, "we only have one more round of notes specified in the contract, so please make sure everyone has seen or weighed in." Specifying the number of rounds of notes also helps you bid, budget, and schedule jobs more effectively.

With feedback on creative projects it is crucial to cultivate a group of people and/or collaborators whose taste you trust. Online, you never know what some bozo is going to say, especially if they have no connection to you or the project. Online feedback tends to be more negative, and people rarely balance positive feedback with negative as people who know you will tend to do. That said, you also don't want to only share the work with friends who will only tell you good things. That kind of echo chamber can be equally limiting.

You should have specific points in the process where you're looking for feedback. After a polished first draft of a script, say, after a few more drafts. After a rough cut, etc. Sometimes, especially with personal projects, you're not always at a stage when feedback is necessary or useful. Be sure that you're confident that you're not wasting your (or the other person's) time when soliciting feedback. Like, you really just wanted someone to tell you that it's awesome and weren't really looking for notes. Sometime's it's even helpful to have a questionnaire: what did you think of this character? is the turkey joke working? what did you think of the end?, etc. so that you're targeting the feedback to areas of the project you're worried about or looking to improve.

Again, I think the key is to cultivate a group of people with differing viewpoints, whose taste (and work) you trust to give feedback. It might not always be the same group for each project. Or for whatever stage you are in the project. But getting the right kind of feedback, at the right points in the process is essential to honing your ideas.

Makes a lot of sense. The last part you wrote is totally true, figuring out how to achieve that, though, seems harder.

37 minutes ago, Zach Goodwin said:

However, you still can not beat the excellence of dramatic storytelling other than the new short film I formally directed... It won so many awards you would not believe it and it even made it to the news.

This sums up my feelings on your short:

http://www.shanesnow.com/blog/2014/9/6/why-its-hard-to-recognize-genius

 

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10 hours ago, Policar said:

figuring out how to achieve that, though, seems harder.

Agreed. You can start with one or two people, though. Friends you shoot with, or who do similar stuff. The people you talk about movies with, etc. Over time you'll find more. The screening room in this forum might be the type of place you're talking about but it's definitely a lot less active than the parts of the forum where people are talking about gear.

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Its tricky when you post stuff on forums for advice/feedback - but if you do want it, then state that when you post.

On this forum, you normally get some comments if you ask, but it isn't always forthcoming - people either use the "like button" or they just move on. I've had some useful feedback on here, but it has normally been the obvious stuff that I can't always do anything about because of the client or other circumstances.

I've posted some stuff on other forums & some of the comments were just plan...I don't know...stupid, e.g.

"There was a crackling popping sound in the audio track at 1.30min, you need to fix that"

"You mean like the static from a record player?"

"Oh, that's what that is! Take it out it sounds really bad & unprofessional".

"I can't as its part of the band's song!"

I'm lucky, i've got a couple of friends that teach/study/write about films & they really pick out everything (sound, cutting, scene structure, camera angles, narrative etc..), but not in a horrible way. And then we discuss, either how to change things or use what I've got. I'm from the same background as them, so am used to that sort of analysis. I also use other people who know shit about films etc..., just because they'll give you a straight simple answer (the average, everyman view) e.g. "The acting was shit" or "The sounds too low" or "I didn't get the story...so the man's in love with his cat, but really wants to marry the neighbour's dog for the money! Why?"

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