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Old January 9th, 2010, 11:33 AM   #1
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Who To Shoot For

I recently finished a project and brought the project to a group of my peers. Now the more experienced members critiqued the piece to death. We went back and forth and around in circles for over an hour on 1 scene! I am not as technically savvy as they are, but I do have a gift to vision what I want and make it happen. The arguments that were stemming from the piece were artistic differences in my opinion. One member said they didn't a wall in the background. Other members said they didn't like the pacing, other members didn't like the special effects, etc. We have several new members to the group some experienced some not. Every new member loved the piece. The understood and felt everything I wanted them to feel. Meanwhile the arguments still were going round and around.

My question to my DV Info brothers and sisters is who should we be shooting for. The purpose of the project was to get into film festivals and sell a script. Should we be shooting/editing for the technophobes and professionals who can tell the make and model of the lens you use by the footage, or should we be shooting for the audience who really doesn't care about the color of a t-shirt, but loves the movie and doesn't know why, they just do.
"Get Er Done!!!"
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Old January 10th, 2010, 11:46 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by G. Lee Gordon View Post
My question to my DV Info brothers and sisters is who should we be shooting for. The purpose of the project was to get into film festivals and sell a script..
You have already answered your question!
David W. Jones
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Old January 10th, 2010, 12:43 PM   #3
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But let me go a bit farther.

The single hardest challenge to overcome in the creative arts is to put your work out for the examination and critique of others. Fear of criticism is what keeps most people who write in private, closet writers. It keeps most dabblers in art, dabblers. Same with musicians. Poets, sculptors, etc.

The act of exposing yourself to criticism is also the single largest NECESSARY leap in order to move from amateur to professional.

The next step is learning to handle criticism. In my experience, you can do it one of two ways. You can let the work speak for itself and ignore all external opinions. Or you can listen to the critique knowing that much of it will be necessarily misplaced.

Now let me explain what I mean by misplaced.

It's fundamentally not important if the audience fully gets your vision. It IS critical that YOU do. So if you can articulate the reasons for the artistic choices you make to yourself, and you feel they are valid - then your art is congruent with your intent and you'll be fine.

Then critique becomes a tool for self-analysis and growth. And if the critique doesn't understand what you were trying to do - then their critique doesn't need to carry much weight. But it's still useful.

It sounds like the tough part of your audience was trying to tell you that while your vision and concept were strong, some of the technical areas of the craft could stand improving. That's valuable information. LISTEN to it. Particularly if your goal is the festival circuit because that arena is ruthlessly competitive and poor technical quality can be a stopper that gets your work rejected so quickly the judges NEVER get to see the creative stuff.

Learning to deal with criticism, is a golden opportunity to get your mind off what you were thinking and realize that the audience saw something differently than you intended. They are giving you the gift of explaining how your work affected something that mattered more to them than it did to you. That can help you grow. Or it can be a trap as you endlessly try to make an endlessly varied audience ALL love the work.

I have a personal standard in my work. As long as I can articulate a reason I made the artistic choices I did - and didn't just do them because it was the easiest way to get the job done. Then critique rolls off my back.

Only when critique points out my personal laziness, do I get stung. And that's healthy because it motivates me not to be as lazy next time.

So just keep going. Articulate your choices to yourself to build confidence that what you do you do for a reason. Even if you don't always succeed. And even if your choices don't make other people happy.

Art shouldn't, always.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 12:53 PM   #4
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Post a clip here for us, we'd love to see it.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 01:18 PM   #5
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Bill's points are really well-taken. They point out the eternal struggle in any artistic endeavor. On one hand, it's important to solicit and listen to valuable feedback from your target audience. But at the same time, if you listen to everything that everyone says, you'll be left with nothing. One person says it's too black, another says it's too white, another says it's too grey, another says there's too much color and yet another says there's not enough. Eventually you just go crazy trying to please everyone and you have nothing left.

On the flip side, if your goal is to sell tickets you'd be foolish not to listen to your audience. Test screenings are a vital part of the Hollywood process, but they can only make your movie more popular, not necessarily any better.

Probably the worst thing you can do is listen to other artistic types, whose only real wish is for you to fail. Certainly they may have really good and valuable technical criticisms, but your vision must be your own, and you must be willing to live or die by it.
"It can only be attributable to human error... This sort of thing has cropped up before, and it has always been due to human error."
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Old January 10th, 2010, 01:20 PM   #6
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Artistic and technical aspects of video should be viewed in light of complimenting each other, not as oppositional forces to contend with. Constructive criticism from both artistic and technical perspectives is vital to achieving better and better overall finished works. I sometimes think it's a bit of an excuse for sloppiness to say that somebody who knows what they are doing can make a good film with any camera. While that may indeed be true, it does sort of ignore the reality that a good film shot with a crappy camera would look better if shot with a good camera (otherwise we might as well just all shoot VHS).
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Old January 10th, 2010, 05:08 PM   #7
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Good evening,

What a great thread. I agree with virtually everything said.

We can learn from everyone, even if it is not what to do!!! and that goes for criticising too.

If one is to critique then I believe it is fundemental to also add how the thing can actually be improved!!! an opinion is of no value if it has no support. That is why one needs to be able to be honest with ones self, avoid camera blindness, and accept the concepts and ideas that you fell will benifit your pursuit what ever it happens to be.

YES give us a link to the work at vimeo or such!!!! I second that JEff!

also one should always beware of those who attempt to escalate themselves by degrading others efforts.

We are all on the same train, just in different places along the track, eh?
Dale W. Guthormsen
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