GADZOOK FILMS Producing independent film in Seattle, Los Angeles and beyond.


Peer Review

I put it out there, and I mean it: if you'd like some peer review or advice I'm more than happy to help. But I stress that if your project sucks I'm not gonna sugar coat my response to placate your fragile feelings. So yeah, I put it out there but rarely does anyone take me up on it. Until now.

The Monday Knights is a new webseries created by Prescott Harvey and shot in Portland, OR. I was messaged via their Twitter (@MondayKnights) and invited to give some feedback on their show. So I did.

I watched the first three episodes to get a feel for the show and see if my initial reaction to episode 1 was gonna hold up. There were issues to be sure, but there was also some great stuff. I won't get too deep into the nitty-gritty of each issue but suffice to say there were problems (of varying degrees) in each major department: script, acting, camera, sound, editing.

I hemmed and hawed before sending my response. To be honest I don't like pointing out flaws, but I do think it's invaluable. With my own stuff I'm usually painfully aware of what's wrong before anyone else. I usually can't fix it, but once it's finished it's nice to hear who notices what I did and who didn't - or who picked up something entirely new from it. When I finally hit send on my email I had watched each episode at least three times. I consulted my books and other blogs to make sure I wasn't talking out of my ass. I did my due diligence.

I fretted about the response. But Prescott couldn't have been more receptive. Like many filmmakers he's passionate about his work, but he clearly wasn't wearing rose-colored glasses. He agreed with my points and sought clarification and advice for how to fix things in the future. In the end, it was painless. I'm really looking forward to his show growing because it has a good deal of potential. Plus Prescott allowed me to, if I so chose, go into that nitty-gritty in order to help other webseries producers in the future. Maybe I'll take him up on that. Set up a master class of some sort.

It's important to grow as filmmakers - especially in this emerging new media market. Even so it's not always great to hear what's wrong with the show you've spent months working on. You want it to be a homerun. But with a simple e-mail to a source you trust, it's easy to get feedback in a constructive, unintimidating way.

For added pleasure, ask me (or whomever you want to give you feedback) before you post to the world, if possible. You may not have enough time or resources to make the fixes, but it may better prepare you for the audience response. Audiences, in general, are pretty forgiving for most things - if the story is good enough.

Now if I ask you for a critique of my show, I hope you'll oblige.

Posted by Dom

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