Critiques

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  • Critiques

    A thread in "Script Pages" has gotten derailed by a heated discussion about critiques, especially those on DD. Let's continue it here and not in the poor writer's thread....

    "We're all immigrants now, man."
    - Zia (Patrick Fugit), "Wristcutters: A Love Story"

  • #2
    Re: Critiques

    I have both been critiqued and given critiques on DD. I've also pitched and been critiqued in person. It's scary to put your writing and your ideas out there for the world to do with as it will.

    Critiques are hard to take sometimes, even when it's said in a nice, supportive way. It comes down to the fact that it's not what you wanted (or expected) to hear. CE critiqued my first logline. I wanted to cry. Dpat, I believe, critiqued the last pages I posted on here earlier this year. It was incredibly in-depth and helpful but not what wanted to hear. But I took it really well! I'd gladly give Derek my stuff to read any day.

    You have to learn to do that and I learned that immediately. I hate it when new writers show up here looking to have their egos stroked and argue or defend against everything everyone says. If you don't want to be critiqued, don't post your pages! If you're looking for validation, you've come to the wrong place. Don't expect it. If you're talented and your stuff is really good, someone will say something to that effect.

    And not everyone will agree and that's okay. The writer may not agree and that's okay, too. Just don't get defensive and argumentative, because then what happened in the other thread will happen again. New writers will not stick around (and hopefully learn a thing or two) and the pros and non-pro writers who are actually really good will go the way of previous ones.

    I came to DD almost 5 years ago because I was looking for validation about the first script I wrote. Now, I come here to learn from writers who know more than me and to help writers who know less than me. Why do you come here? Is it to put down others because you can or bicker over stupid stuff? Why? Don't you have better things to do? Like...uh...writing a screenplay?

    I don't comment on pages a lot because most of the time the pages are uninteresting or just unreadable, just IMO. Sometimes there's an interesting idea with lousy execution. Sometimes there's writing that's...almost...there. And sometimes there's writing that will floor you (in a good way).

    These critiques are not (or at least should not) be personal, but obviously some people are carrying some bitterness and anger (almost like vendettas) from past critiques. We're all human. We all have emotions. Let's try to keep them in our script pages. Let's try not to let personal emotions bog down a really good forum for constructive criticism.
    Last edited by velysai; 12-07-2007, 11:32 AM.

    "We're all immigrants now, man."
    - Zia (Patrick Fugit), "Wristcutters: A Love Story"

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    • #3
      Re: Critiques

      Here's my take:

      When I ask people for feedback, I want their gut reactions. I don't want them to dance around what they thought was wrong (or right); I want them to say, "I was really into Jethro's struggle until he killed that innocent guy. What the hell was that all about? It came out of nowhere and totally ruined the character for me. It also changed the entire tone of the story. From that point forward, I was reading just to finish the script, not because I wanted to. And I was actually rooting AGAINST Jethro."

      At least that gives me something to ponder.

      Of course, if you think my script is twenty kinds of awesome, I don't mind if you mention that somewhere in your critique.
      Ralphy's Fvcking Blog

      "
      Ever notice how 'monogamy' rhymes with 'monotony'?" -- Christian Troy

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      • #4
        Re: Critiques

        Originally posted by Tony R View Post
        Here's my take:

        When I ask people for feedback, I want their gut reactions. I don't want them to dance around what they thought was wrong (or right); I want them to say, "I was really into Jethro's struggle until he killed that innocent guy. What the hell was that all about? It came out of nowhere and totally ruined the character for me. It also changed the entire tone of the story. From that point forward, I was reading just to finish the script, not because I wanted to. And I was actually rooting AGAINST Jethro."

        At least that gives me something to ponder.


        Me too. Unfortunately that kind of feedback is hard to get.

        Sometimes even your reps dance around. There's an art to a good, constructive critique.

        What I find with online critiques offered by other writers is the tendency to advise changes that are actually a request for the author to "write like me, don't write like you."

        When I critique pages I try hard not to suggest changes that are simply a reflection of my personal taste but rather get into the writer's world and let him/her know my reaction.

        Did it move me to the point I forgot I was reading words on a page?

        Did I have an emotional reaction -- fear, joy, sadness?

        Was there a total lack of emotional involvement?

        Did anything make my mind hop out of the story and go, 'Huh? Where did that come from?"

        Another thing I try to do is tell the writer which scene was a home run -- guide them to parts where they did everything RIGHT.

        Then show them the parts where they missed the mark.

        If I can show them what scenes were a home run then they can hopefully duplicate their success and fix the scenes where they struck out badly.

        Lastly, I personally like to get reads for my scripts from non-writers to get their emotional feedback. Because -- if my script ever makes it to the screen, it's the non-writers, the non-industry people, who will affect BO.
        Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

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        • #5
          Re: Critiques

          maralyn decided to ignore my suggestion for moving this to a proper avenue, and posted this:

          Originally Posted by maralyn http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/...s/viewpost.gif
          Velysai somehow felt qualified to tell ghostwriter he/she shouldn't even consider themselves a writer.

          Excuuuuuse me? I did what??? Are you f***ing kidding me? When did I say that?

          I said that the writer didn't have humility. How on Earth does that get translated into me SAYING that "he/she shouldn't even consider themselves a writer"?

          "We're all immigrants now, man."
          - Zia (Patrick Fugit), "Wristcutters: A Love Story"

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          • #6
            Re: Critiques

            velysai

            I know -- it's a distortion of what you said.

            I started ignoring Maralyn's posts -- even though she posts everywhere prolifically. (I post a lot too but her daily posts average has me beat 2 to 1).

            She's also making broad statements about D-pat insulting people when he critiques pages in that same thread. I responded there to defend him.
            Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Critiques

              Originally posted by sc111 View Post
              velysai

              I know -- it's a distortion of what you said.

              I started ignoring Maralyn's posts -- even though she posts everywhere prolifically. (I post a lot too but her daily posts average has me beat 2 to 1).

              She's also making broad statements about D-pat insulting people when he critiques pages in that same thread. I responded there to defend him.
              So I saw. Thanks, sc111.

              "We're all immigrants now, man."
              - Zia (Patrick Fugit), "Wristcutters: A Love Story"

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Critiques

                Originally posted by sc111 View Post
                Lastly, I personally like to get reads for my scripts from non-writers to get their emotional feedback. Because -- if my script ever makes it to the screen, it's the non-writers, the non-industry people, who will affect BO.
                That's the way I like to look at it, too. Unfortunately, there's a big gap between the non-writers who enjoy my scripts and the non-writers who decide what actually gets made.

                I'm one of the people who does not take criticism well, and I think I'm like most people in that respect, talented or not. Here's what I've learned about criticism:

                Get it from several people and give it some time to sink in.

                If I've heard it only once, I take it with a grain of salt.

                If I hear it more than once, maybe I should change my ways.
                "THIMK." - Amomynous

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                • #9
                  Re: Critiques

                  Here's the thing: you write screenplays because you want them to be made in to movies so that people can watch them. If the movie goes through, the people reviewing it won't be just writers or critics, every body and their mother will be giving a review of it every day, maybe not to the writer, but to their friends.

                  I give my writings to not only other writers, but people who aren't writers at all because I want feedback from all sides. If you create something, you have to know how all people are going to take it, and if it's not their thing, it's not their thing, which is totally cool. Not many people, however, know how to differentiate critiquing the story vs the storytelling and both are equally important to receive when looking for feedback.

                  Ultimately, if you can't handle the heat, yadda yadda. People who can't take criticism need to either learn or will walk away from writing or doing something else creative. If you're creating something via an instruction manual, that's one thing, because you can see where you go wrong. When you create something from your imagination, there's no direct path, so you have to be able to take criticism both of your work and of yourself, because you are so intimately linked to your work.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Critiques

                    So far - without sounding like an arse lick. I've appreciated the fact that anyone's even bothered to look at my writing. Good or bad feedback is at least feedback. So thnaks again to everyone who's taken the time out from their own writing to read my pages.

                    Cheers
                    @TerranceMulloy

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                    • #11
                      Re: Critiques

                      I value heartfelt criticism, and value those who can and aren't afraid to offer it.

                      How a critique about writing can be twisted into a personality attack ... reveals the weakness and flaws of the attacker.

                      But I also believe this: any critique that is OF ANY WORTH can and should be offered as CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, or else it's not of much value.

                      'Opinions are like a**holes -- everyone's got one' and they're both easy (and unpleasant) to force upon the unwilling.

                      I value those who can ANALYZE what the problem is too. (hee hee. 'analyze') That's helpful.

                      Attacking the PERSON only reveals the shallowness of the critic's grasp of anything meaningful. (And yes, on the other thread, I got fed up with the nonsense and let myself throw back some of the hog mud that was flying. I remind myself that even tho hog mud is 'real life' yes (let's write an Ode to Reality and Bad Behaviour both) ... some prefer not to track it into the house and onto the Persian carpets ... and others live in it 24/7 as if there's not something better to aspire to)

                      Offering a Critique CAN be both HONEST and CONSTRUCTIVELY POSITIVE ... even if sharing negative analysis.

                      Nice to have a civil thread to say that in ...
                      sigpic
                      "As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world -
                      that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake ourselves."
                      -Mahatma Gandhi.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Critiques

                        In my opinion, the biggest problem with critiques on the internet aside from the internet being an anonymous, faceless media is this:

                        Some posters insist what they post is the definitive "right" answer/point of view/approach/method of doing something and are unwilling to allow any opposing points of view. Not only that, but they go out of their way every chance they get to make sure everyone knows they are "right" and that no one should dare question their "wisdom" -- Effectively negating the very purpose for an open, public forum.

                        You've all witnessed this at one time or another. Here and on other forums.

                        There is often a lot of anger and bitterness in their posts which is partly because they feel no one is listening to them... But it is because they have become so belligerent and nasty they have driven everyone around them away (probably in real life too). However, they can't see this. This is a tragic Catch-22 if there ever was one.

                        Also, what we post often reveals more about ourselves than we want to admit.

                        Let me be clear: I am not advocating playing Dr. Freud, based on what someone posts on the internet.

                        ...But often times if someone's posts are generally angry, insist on "spamming" their opinion ad nausea (not letting things go) there is a more than average chance they are in some kind of emotional turmoil in real life. And they might not even realize it.

                        The reality is they are most likely angry about something. They are disappointed with how something did, or didn't turn out. Deep down they are afraid. They are insecure. And a lot of times they just don't know what they are angry about. Or what they are afraid of, or disappointed in, etc. And they act out on the internet because it is the only place with no boundaries to stop them.

                        However, it is not our job to try and help them. It is not. But at the same time we also have the right to not be subjected to their vitriol either when we come to a forum/site like DD. This is the Moderators job to regulate and provide boundaries for these posters and why they exist on forums like this.

                        Then again, some people are perfectly healthy (emotion-wise) and are just trolls who get a kick out of stirring up a hornets nest -- Posting something they know will tick a majority of people off and sitting back and watching the drama unfold.

                        I don't know which is worse...
                        Positive outcomes. Only.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Critiques

                          Originally posted by WritersBlock2010 View Post
                          Some posters insist what they post is the definitive "right" answer/point of view/approach/method of doing something and are unwilling to allow any opposing points of view. Not only that, but they go out of their way every chance they get to make sure everyone knows they are "right" and that no one should dare question their "wisdom" -- Effectively negating the very purpose for an open, public forum.

                          You've all witnessed this at one time or another. Here and on other forums.
                          Actually I'm not sure I have... can you point to a couple of examples?

                          ...But often times if someone's posts are generally angry, insist on "spamming" their opinion ad nausea (not letting things go) there is a more than average chance they are in some kind of emotional turmoil in real life. And they might not even realize it.

                          The reality is they are most likely angry about something. They are disappointed with how something did, or didn't turn out. Deep down they are afraid. They are insecure. And a lot of times they just don't know what they are angry about. Or what they are afraid of, or disappointed in, etc. And they act out on the internet because it is the only place with no boundaries to stop them.
                          You're playing armchair psychiatrist while insisting that's not something we should do. And, cue irony, the above could as easily apply to your own posts as anyone else's.

                          I don't think the problem, if there is one, goes that deep. Everyone has their own opinions and the internet allows such opinions -- whether right, wrong or totally insane* -- to be freely expressed without any of the constraints you'd find in a face-to-face situation. The only solution is far heavier moderation, and who wants that? And to what purpose? Who is being protected, and why? It's a message board, if someone types something you don't like, you don't have to engage them. Not replying is also an option.

                          * when judged so by the majority, not another individual.

                          -Derek

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                          • #14
                            Re: Critiques

                            I think this forum and community is far tamer than some of the previous forums I've leeched around. It's quite rare to see any of us bicker, but you know...sometimes ya take care of trolls.

                            To be honest, I don't understand why people are so shocked? and it's funny - as soon as some flaming or arguments show up, certain people arc up and start claiming they're morally higher then the rest of us.

                            At the end of the day we're basically all here for the same reason. Plus, I can honestly say I like everyone on here, minus one or two people I seem to have beef with.

                            So...can't we just love one another?
                            Terrance Mulloy
                            Member
                            Last edited by Terrance Mulloy; 12-07-2007, 11:46 PM.
                            @TerranceMulloy

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                            • #15
                              Re: Critiques

                              Screw you, Mulloy!

                              KIDDING!

                              I felt obliged to edit lest I cause offense.

                              -Derek

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