This is feedback?


Oh, the hell and agony I must endure so as to spare you, my loyal reader, from hopefully having to experience the same thing.

Once again, your humble author has been savaged by the sharp knives of online criticism. This time around, it was regarding the logline for my mystery-comedy.

Perhaps I’d been lulled into a sense of false security by recently receiving positive feedback on it from other sources. Feeling buoyed by those encouraging comments, I posted the logline somewhere else. Even though I like how it currently reads, that doesn’t mean it can’t still be improved.

Ever notice that a lot of online forums are usually organized with the intention/suggestion/guideline that participants “offer up helpful advice” to those seeking it? More on that in a minute.

There was one positive response, which was quickly shoved aside by one of a more…negative nature.

Among the highlights:

“…probably one of the worst concepts I’ve ever heard.” (*Ahem* PIXELS?)

“Maybe if it was written for 5-year-olds…” (because that hasn’t worked for Disney)

“That’s how hokey your entire concept comes across as. Sorry, but I think it’s truly dreadful. (sad face emoji)” (So glad they threw the emoji in or I would have totally missed their point.)

Younger-writer Me would have not taken these comments well. Present-day Me laughed my fucking head off.

You don’t like it? Fine. Makes no difference to me. But why all the hate and insults? All I’m reading are the thoughts of a bitter asshole who doesn’t understand the term “constructive criticism”.

If your overall message is simply “Your idea sucks, and now I’m going to shit all over it!” then what’s the point of even saying anything? Do you think your vitriolic rant is going to make me suddenly stop working on it?

There were so many ways I wanted to respond, and came really close to doing it several times, but instead opted to just stay silent. No matter what I said, it would probably be misconstrued and more than likely start an unnecessary battle of words. Not worth it.

Remember that little guideline for the group regarding “helpful advice”? How exactly does anything that was said do that? Anybody can say they don’t like something, but at least give a valid reason why. Another member chimed in that “you have to take the comments if you post”. I agree, but that means the comments have to be worth taking in the first place.

A friend offered up this reminder: “When someone criticizes, it needs to be specific and constructive. Otherwise, it has no value.” I’d say that’s pretty accurate, and definitely applies here.

An even more amazing aspect to this whole thing is that this is the exact same person who issued a similar diatribe over the logline for my western last year. As far as my research can tell, they are still a self-proclaimed “director, producer, screenwriter and script consultant,” although without any identifiable credits or internet presence.

The whole purpose of providing feedback is to use your knowledge to help the other person make their something better, and in a way that’s not insulting or belittling. In this case, neither happened.

This was just an angry opinion showing a total lack of knowledge, help and encouragement, and definitely could not be considered feedback in any true sense of the word.

4 thoughts on “This is feedback?

  1. It’s too bad that we have to avoid reading comments because some people use them to spit venom. The internet could be the greatest feedback platform ever (still, it is in many ways). It’s good that you don’t let the negativity of others get to you. I used to; now it’s fuel.

    Re: loglines…they get the most hate because they’re the quickest thing to read. Mine go through many iterations, over time, before they’ve reached maximum brevity. Occasionally, I spend a whole day of polish/re-write exercises, just on the loglines of my projects.

    If folks are thrown off by a logline, the least they could do is recommend concision, or point out redundancies. If grammar is an issue, that can be fixed. After a script reading, they could offer key story points that were missed and should’ve been covered.

    Complaint without criticism should be tossed in a junk folder.

    • Totally agree.

      Experience has taught me that feedback works best and is most effective when it comes from someone you know and whose abilities you trust. Seeking feedback on an online forum, where too many people use pseudonyms, and you have no idea how experienced/skilled a writer they are, is a crapshoot at best. Sometimes it works, and, as evidenced here, sometimes it doesn’t.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. See, now I need to know who this asshole is, which you don’t even remember …

    There are few safe spaces, and far too many people who substitute aggression for ability.

    • Oh, I know who it is. And I strongly suspect they’d again voice their “professional” opinions if I opt to post another logline.

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