Feedback on scripts, edits and overall running of a show can be a sensitive affair. Egos are riled. Tones are misunderstood. Resentment builds. The project becomes the sacrificial lamb. What can we do to keep the delicate balance intact?
Let’s begin with those at the receiving end of feedback.
A creator needs funds to make the project and the client is in a position to transform this dream into reality. This, right here, is the underpinning for a predictable power dynamic.
A creator comes up with an idea and pitches it to the client. At that point, it is fair to say that the creator has a fair idea of how they envision the project. The client, on the other hand, weighs the uniqueness, marketability and economic potential of the idea before deciding to invest money and commission it. The subtle shift in dynamic begins when the pitch takes place. It is an anxious play out of, ‘Will they? Won’t they?’ for the creator.
The next stage is an approval from the platform on the idea and a willingness to move forward. Details are requested for and supplied. As with any investor, the client seeks reassurance that the team is equipped to take on the responsibility of creating the show and will deliver quality. A long dance ensues before the terms are agreed on and finally the attention shifts to the process of actual creation.
The creator gets into the throes of giving birth but at every stage of the creation there is ‘feedback’ to contend with. When a creator sits with the attitude of being at the ‘receiving end of wisdom’ or ‘gyaan‘ there is an immediate resistance to any input or idea placed before them. This is where the tension begins and where it can be somewhat circumnavigated.
Tips for the Creator :
- Remember, you are risking the client’s money and credibility. It becomes your responsibility to build a space of trust and commitment. It will help your client to reciprocate that faith in your capability.
- Don’t fall into the trap of surrendering your personal vision in deference to that of the client, for the sake of an easy ride.
- Don’t be seen as a ‘vendor’ or ‘work for hire’. A large number of creators fall into this bracket because they don’t want the headache of fighting for their vision. These creators are rapidly compartmentalised as great line producers. Nothing wrong with it, if that’s your area of efficiency and expertise.
- Know who you are – a creator or a line producer.
- Stand by your idea. A client doesn’t want to think for you. They have enough on their plate. They would much rather work with creators who can defend their vision, take initiative and walk the talk.
- Choose your battles. Good ideas can come from anyone and anywhere. Be open. Stay focused on making a good show.
- Engage in discussion and debate so that ideas get honed. There may be a perspective that takes the idea to the next level. That perspective is more likely to come from a neutral and less involved party.
- Build an environment of excellence, passion and play. That is where creativity thrives.
- In spite of the best intentions, sometimes the wave lengths just don’t align. Know when to cut your losses rather than compromising and diluting the original idea. Specially, if you believe in it. This is often a tough choice because it means paying the client to buy back the rights to a show you had conceived in the first place. It is unfair and this is where the issue of IP comes into play but that’s for another blog.
Making a show should be joyous, fun, creative and inspiring. What it cannot be, is a chore. It cannot be filled with resentment and irritation. To that extent, the creator’s responsibility is to take the first step to build a bridge.
Coming Up : The Dreaded Word – The other side of the table