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Old December 30th, 2006, 01:02 PM   #1
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An apology to all

I was initially going to post this as a reply to only Bill's thread, but I realize it applies elsewhere, as well.

I feel I need to address the tone of my feedback thus far, it's leaps and bounds more negative than I'd ever intended it to be.

In particular, I notice William Gardner hasn't responded to anything since my oh-so-wonderful post, and whether it has anything to do with me or not, I'd like to publicly apologize for the tone. It sounds very, very mean spirited now that I read it again. I should have waited longer before saying anything. I'm not terribly concerned with what people think of me, I feel it's more important to be open and honest, but in this case I went too far. I still feel the sound design is the weak point of the film, but I could have and should have done a much better job choosing my words. It was still a great piece of work.

It was a huge misjudgment on my part and I'm sorry.

I have felt that, in the past, many of us have been far too concerned about being polite with others and worried about hurt feelings, and far too little about offering honest appraisal's of others' work. I did not join this contest for any reason other than a desire to gain experience. I want to improve on my abilities, and much as I love to receive it, I'm never going to get better with overly cheery, positive comments.

To be quite frank, it bugged me to see others seemingly ignore, gloss over, or even in some cases praise what I perceived as the aspects of each other's work that needed the most improvement. I imagine, perhaps conceitedly, this means that I can't trust comments I receive on my own work. Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know.

The point is that I feel I've been guilty of this myself. In previous competitions, as much as I've wanted to offer advice to some of you, I've held back for fear of offending, and what advice I do provide is often softened with "but that's just me", or something similar. I didn't think it was fair to try and protect people's feelings, to even suggest that they needed protection, to treat them as children who can't handle the truth. I thought I'd be able to be a bit more direct this time around without being, pardon my French, an asshole, but so much for that. Tact is not one of my strong points, as I've undoubtedly had reason to explain in the past.

I couldn't care less about winning, I couldn't care if Mike's film so much as breaks the top ten; I've been a big enough downer--to put it mildly--in my comments thus far, and an apology is only right. I'm sorry to those I've insulted, and to everyone else for the uncomfortable situation.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 04:56 PM   #2
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Robert,

I read your comments and I understand your feelings. I think we're all here to learn.

I think you're right that we should all feel comfortable constructively criticizing one another's work. This forum is the place where we help each other become better filmmakers, where we're all friends and it's only a 3min. short at stake.

I'd rather be torn apart by you than a paying client or, worse yet, a person judging some 30minute 'masterpiece' of mine (someday hopefully, not the tearing apart but the 30min film)

I think that being honest about any trouble areas in a film is the right thing to do. But we all need to remember that tone and sarcasm don't translate well through text.

It takes a good man to publicly apologize. Keep up the honesty and constructive comments, tone down the criticism.

No worries!*


*I cannot speak for William, he may at this point be planning your untimely demise!
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Old December 31st, 2006, 07:12 AM   #3
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In-so-much-as a portion of Robert's post was an apology to me, consider the apology accepted.

Happy Holidays, everybody,
Bill
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Old December 31st, 2006, 09:18 AM   #4
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There are two reasons I generally don't leave feedback for people's films. One is that I don't want to influence other people's voting with my opinions as Head Judge Duke Of New York A Number 1.
Reason 2 is that I like to give constructive criticism rather than praise, and it often gets interpreted badly on the ol' interweb.

So I say good on Robert for the constructive criticism, and for realizing it came off a little harsh (which I found it did too).
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Old December 31st, 2006, 11:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Graham
I'd rather be torn apart by you than a paying client or, worse yet, a person judging some 30minute 'masterpiece' of mine (someday hopefully, not the tearing apart but the 30min film)
Same here! Robert I don't think you should hold back the critique. I want solid feedback from people. The only way I'll learn is if someone tells me when I'm screwing up.

I'll put this out there for anyone. If you have a comment or critique that you fear will make you look nasty or mean PLEASE PRIVATE MESSAGE ME. I'm here to learn and get better. If you can't take criticism from your peers how in the hell do you think you'll deal when it comes to taking criticism (and not always constructive) from people in business?
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Old December 31st, 2006, 02:23 PM   #6
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Hey Robert

Well put.

I really don't mind constructive criticism at all. As mentioned previously in another thread, I appreciate your comments and welcome your thoughts.

May agree with some thoughts and disagree with others but in the end, I think it's good to get a "fresh set of eyes" on the work. Robert, you certainly bring that.

I am in complete agreement with your own assesment about the "tone" of delivery and believe it is a very simple matter of being a bit more diplomatic in your approach. If one isn't feeling to diplomatic on a particular day, I'm with Alex, please feel free to send a private e-mail and let 'er rip.

Thank you for the public apology Robert. You're a good man.

Best wishes~
Bradley
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Old December 31st, 2006, 02:36 PM   #7
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I figure if someone put up a feedback thread, they are looking for constructive criticism. From whatever my limited experience may help, I give my opinion, primarily looking at issues that bother me about a particular film. I look at the films from a consumer standpoint-- ie., a person coming from the outside looking at the film, knowing only what the theme is.

To the extent I have made comments, they should also be taken in that spirit. And certainly my comments are subjective.

There is no perfect film, and from my stand point I want to know what others with technical expertise have to say about the shortcomings of the film I produce.
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Old December 31st, 2006, 03:14 PM   #8
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It was mentioned quite a while back (I think Dick said it) that the one thing about the DV Challenge that people like is the fact that we don’t rip each other to shreds—that criticism is couched in as supportive a way as possible. I agree with that. The Challenge should be a safe place to enter work—serious work or just for the fun of it.

From its conception, I was under the impression that Dylan’s vision was to keep this thing pretty lighthearted and easy-going. For this old girl, if it goes too far towards a “serious filmmaker” contest, I’m out. It won’t be fun anymore.

It doesn’t take much scrutinizing, in my opinion, to see who’s in it for what reasons, and if you're not sure, take it easy with the critical remarks. More so, think hard about how it's going to affect ALL the readers before you post.

One more thing: For the record, I ignore some problems in films because, number one--what credentials do I have? and two, I give the person credit for already knowing about them. And if I say something positive, by golly, it’s because I believe it.
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Last edited by Lorinda Norton; December 31st, 2006 at 04:10 PM. Reason: left out apostrophe and other things...
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Old December 31st, 2006, 05:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorinda Norton
One more thing: For the record, I ignore some problems in films because, number one--what credentials do I have? and two, I give the person credit for already knowing about them. And if I say something positive, by golly, it’s because I believe it.
Well, for starters, there are the seven movies you've made for this contest...:)

In all seriousness, I don't think we need any "credentials" to know what feels right and what doesn't. We watch the movie, we don't like something, we raise the issue. If the creator disagrees, well, all right, but at least we said something.

As for giving them the benefit of the doubt, well, we can say "they probably already know about this", "they didn't have a Hollywood-size budget", and "they only had a week" for every single film entered in every single contest. If we're going to do that, then why bother having feedback threads? Why even have a contest? Just announce a theme every couple of months, we'll go make films, learn from our mistakes, and shelve them. Why waste the server space, monthly transfer, and money hosting our films if we don't want honest appraisals from all comers?

I am of the mindset that we shouldn't be disclaiming our work before we post it. I used to do that a lot, and no one liked it. It was aggravating at first, hearing people bring up issues that I already know about, but I've gotten used to it, and even like it now. I assume most of us would like to eventually make films that are shown to larger audiences than you get on the internet, in all sorts of venues, and we won't always have time to offer notes before each screening. It's important to me to see how my work plays for real; I don't want to draw the viewers' attention TO a problem they may never notice (something that has happened to me on both movies I've done so far--people are too concerned about other things to notice what I thought were huge, glaring errors during production), and I don't want to take away their need, their very ability to comment. Brings a new perspective to an old problem, something I may mistakenly think I already know how to fix. New eyes provide new potential solutions.

It was a pretty big assumption on my part, I suppose, to believe that most others learn the same way I do, with negative reinforcement. Yes, I was aware of most of the mentioned problems with my DVC 5 and 6 entries, but that in and of itself isn't enough for me. Even everyone's thoughts, useful as they were, had to be amped up in my head to really be effective, which is part of the reason why I'm always so "hard" on myself (or so I'm told I am). "Well, you might benefit from acting lessons, but hey, you're not an actor, you did a great job for a beginner!" doesn't really drive the point home until my mind turns it into "Your acting was wooden and stale, and you speak too quickly and too softly".

This, naturally, is more my own personal "DVC philosophy" than anything else, and is no excuse for treating Bill, or anyone else, the way I did. Honesty does not have to be disrespectful.
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Old December 31st, 2006, 06:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Martens
As for giving them the benefit of the doubt, well, we can say "they probably already know about this", "they didn't have a Hollywood-size budget", and "they only had a week" for every single film entered in every single contest. If we're going to do that, then why bother having feedback threads? Why even have a contest? Just announce a theme every couple of months, we'll go make films, learn from our mistakes, and shelve them. Why waste the server space, monthly transfer, and money hosting our films if we don't want honest appraisals from all comers?
Talk about painting an extreme scenario... If you'll re-read what I said, I was not suggesting that no one should ever point out problems. There's always a balance in there somewhere.
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Old December 31st, 2006, 06:44 PM   #11
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Great, now I've got somebody else cheesed off. Some track record, eh?

Consider it a "Devil's Advocate" stance. I don't plan on being so extreme in the future, I just had to get it all out of my head. I argue with myself about all of the opinions I stated day in and day out, it helps to tell others.

Sorry to jump to conclusions, Lorinda, I didn't mean to discount your point of view.
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Old December 31st, 2006, 07:43 PM   #12
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i know this was intended as an apology, but it's a good topic, actually, especially after 7 contests.

my thoughts:

the DV Challenge, for better and worse, is a community as much as its a contest. after completing one or two of these, you're in it. who do you want to be in that community? who do you want to be in *any* community? (cheaper than film school. also cheaper than therapy....)

i think if you want edgier criticism, you should request edgier criticism. nothing is stopping you from putting a note on your feedback thread asking viewers to let it rip so that you can learn by negative reinforcement. but to adopt that stance on someone else's feedback thread without an apparent motive or apparent intention is another thing entirely.

the internet is a place where the sincerity behind the construed negativity is not always apparent, and that's why it pays to be supportive in your community.
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Old December 31st, 2006, 08:08 PM   #13
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It is apparent that I am having trouble turning my thoughts into words, I don't seem to be making myself clear, and I'm only confusing the issue by trying to explain my intentions, so forget about trying to discuss this, I'll make it as simple as possible:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meryem Ersoz
i think if you want edgier criticism, you should request edgier criticism. nothing is stopping you from putting a note on your feedback thread asking viewers to let it rip so that you can learn by negative reinforcement. but to adopt that stance on someone else's feedback thread without an apparent motive or apparent intention is another thing entirely.
I did not mean to do this. I made a mistake, I acknowledge that mistake, and I apologize for it. I did not intend to "let it rip" the way I did when criticizing Tanks for the Memories. I went too far. That is fact, and there is no debate from anyone, least of all me, on this point.
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Old December 31st, 2006, 11:42 PM   #14
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The problem can be, and is, that we are not just sitting at some kitchen table bull sh**ing with each other. We can't look into each others eyes and read them, and we can't hear tonal inflections. We can't say but, but wait!

We also can't post a movie with 20mb that will do justice to what we have shot and edited on our cameras and computers that cost thousands of bucks! We all have access to different codec’s and programs and formats, and some just suck!

Now, if we were all shooting 35mm with DOP's and full companies, then by all means cut my throat if is sucks! Hell, we are all capable of a "Water World," or an "Istar!'

We all want to make that stunningly beautiful short that looks so great, but in reality, I'll settle for a good story and a good effort of portraying it. We are working with non-professional actors, if we have any at all.

It may be wrong, but I really don't look for cinematography in these films. It just can't be displayed on my computer screen in a little 3x4 box! You have to grab them with your story and editing etc.....

Again, there are those on this board who could use my old camera phone and beat us all, just thank god they do not enter!

Straight, constructive criticism is great, but I still think this is a place where content should truly be the king.

Mike
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Old January 1st, 2007, 06:41 AM   #15
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I'm new here so take this for what you will.

I've made some criticisms towards some people during the DVC 7 challenge. I think they came off well and didn't show any disrespect. I've also received a few... which I am grateful for. Some just didn't agree with my ending, some were related directly to filming, not my vision. Remember everyone, it is your vision that matters.

Technical criticism is what I value most, I'm not changing what I want to show people because the masses demand it. ;)

Robert, I found some of your comments towards others to be "mostly" negative, and a few... overly harsh. Not much in the way of positive comments at all.

You apologized for that, and I accepted that.

Then you start to argue with those who defend their vision of what the DVC is all about. If you had nothing nice to say... that would have been the time to bite your lip.

I'm new here... I'm probably missing something. Also, I'm not judging anyone based on a handful of posts during a stressful time of year.

Cheers, and Happy New Year!

Mike
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