dealing with feedback after a script reading

17, July 2010

So Wednesday was the last Script Tank meeting for this term (they resume in Sept) and also the reading of my 60 min comedy/drama pilot that I have been preparing for the Red Planet Prize.

As I outlined in my previous post about sounding boards, a script reading should be a safe environment where you can test out new work in front of your peers.

But what do you do if you are confronted by the feedback you get?

Here’s the thing, script readings can be deceiving. In my case the read went great. The actors dug it and I got lots of laughs and reactions from the audience. Sounds likes everyone’s in agreement right?

Well they also all agreed that there was some core issues to be addressed within the story and central character to make it work as a 60 min TV drama. Entertaining in a room full of supportive peers doesn’t automatically mean it will hold together once it’s on screen in front of an uncaring audience with one finger on the remote. A good script reading isn’t just about the reading, it’s about the feedback afterwards as well.

What can also be confronting is individual feedback. I got a lot of mixed responses, which was hard to collate initially but after some thought here is what I have come up as some guidelines:

  1. People’s initial reactions are often off the cuff and so naturally coloured by their agendas, prejudices or personal tastes – they are just human after all. So listen closely in the moment and think deeply afterwards to extrapolate the core problem they are trying to identify rather than get caught up in your own knee-jerk reaction to their reaction
  2. Don’t waste time trying to please everyone. At the end of the day it’s still your script and your creative voice. Work out how the feedback helps you hone both.  This goes equally for people you hold in high esteem as well as your harshest critics, trying to please either is a trap that is more about your insecurity than your work
  3. Don’t forget your own opinion in the process. Give yourself time to mull over the feedback and your thoughts before making any decisions
  4. Have follow up chats with people who’s opinion you trust to help sift through the feedback and to delve deeper into the problem areas you are wrestling with
  5. And remember that you asked for feedback, so take it all on board graciously and say thank you

Initially I felt quite battered by my feedback but upon reflection and by applying the above approach I was able to figure it out and move forward.

Hopefully this advice can help you too.

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