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Monday, January 12, 2009

Interpreting GOOD Notes

Rouge Waver Luzid left a very relevant and interesting comment that I thought would be best addressed here:


Something else for us to consider when receiving notes is what to make of *good* coverage. Knowing that a little padding goes into critiques to protect writers from taking too much critical flak, how does it work in cases where the coverage is favorable?

Actually, in prodco coverage, no padding is added for the writer. Ever. In my earlier post, I am primarily referring to coverage or notes that writers have paid for. Notes aimed at them, specifically. In my class, I advocate that all readers use care and respect toward the writer - whether the writer sees the notes or not. It's about intentionality and ethics.

When two or more readers (independent of each other) say things like "overall the visuals were stunning with poetic language," "very compelling premise" or "the script could attract name talent due to its overall ingenuity," what does one take away from it?

As writers, we all want to know others are responding to our work. But we also know to be careful not to just hear what we want to hear. What's the best way to analyze positive coverage to avoid getting the wrong idea?


You should feel GREAT if you get comments like that. Really great. For about 10 minutes. Then take about 25% off of that great comment and chalk it up to subjectivity and smoke blowing. That's really the best advice I can give you. If you get good feedback there's only one way to view that - as terrific, subjective and slightly inflated. But it's still very, very good overall. If I could tell you the number of times I have gotten AMAZING notes from people who later dropped the ball, walked away or otherwise then back-pedaled, you'd be amazed. Take notes like that as a good sign, be encouraged by it but don't overinflate yourself, your writing or your prospects. Take it in stride and just know that you are doing something very, very right. Then get back to work and keep producing more of what got you that nice note.

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Luzid said...

Sweet. That's pretty much what I did when receiving those notes (the quotes are from a contest that provides feedback, by the way, not a prodco).

I think reigning in the ego while still seeing such praise as a good sign is the best way to go. After all, you can't get cocky just because you blew up your first TIE Fighter while escaping the Death Star!

Désirée said...

I had once a contact at a (Swedish) production company that praised my talent in lots of nice words.

I just hate when somebody does that just to be nice.

My scripts never got any further than to her. It was just air. With a little perfume to sweeten it up.