Wednesday, June 24, 2009

On shoes and other feet

I know what it's like to have some idiot tear through your project and give you a blow by blow account on why it's utter crap.

It's not fun.

The big problem with it is that it is so difficult to know what to take on board and what not to. People often say that you have to listen to criticism. I agree. But it's a mistake to take it on board without being absolutely damn sure you know what you are doing.

I have killed projects in the past by taking on suggestions simply because I felt I had to.

And yet the one success story I have is one where I was told time and time again that it wouldn't work. And I stuck my two fingers up to those people and went ahead and did it anyway. Turned out I was right and they were wrong.

But to arrogantly barge ahead without challenging your views, without really examining criticisms could be a recipe for failure.

So what happens when I have to be that pain in the ass guy to tear through a project? Well, honestly, I think I either like something or I don't. And if I really don't like something, I'm the wrong person to try to make it better because I'd be advising to turn it into something else and that's just not cool.

Rather than force a project I hate into something else, better I find a project I like and try to make it great.

That becomes much harder when a project has a great core concept but the execution is absolutely awful. How do you go to a creator with that?

I think perhaps a visual demonstration is required. I can hold their proposal in my hand, look into their eyes and smile, repeat in a soothing voice, "I love the idea, I love the idea," while setting fire to the proposal and watching it burn.

Somehow, knowing what it's like on the other side, I don't think that will quite do the trick.


Brian Sibley said...

I think to find yourself giving judgment on the other side of the fence you really need to be greener. Or more ruthless...

Benjamin Wigmore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Red Pill Junkie said...

I guess it would be also a matter of trying to discern what kind of person the creator is. Is he old and experienced enough to take the criticism maturely, or is he so experienced he will think you are dumbass?

It's like that Simon Colwell fellow with his programs. He admits he's screwed up when he has criticized the kiddies competing as if they were adults; so what he advises is actually intelligent, but the manner in which he did the advising was wrong. Something like that could scar a young promising talent, and that is dangerous.

Maybe the idea is, like you said, try to show some empathy with the creator, since you're both artists and know the business, and take it from there. But don't go like "The Critic" and simply utter "It stinks!".