Giving and receiving creative feedback is an important component of how we do things here at The Phelps Group. Before I talk a bit about how you can make your creative feedback work harder and be more effective, I’ll begin with a little story:
Early one morning, many, many years ago, a group of Hollywood executives were sitting around a conference table. The air was a bit tense to say the least. The meeting had been called by the Executive Producer of a movie that had recently started production. Apparently, the Executive Producer had some important notes and feedback he wanted to share with everyone regarding the dailies from the first shooting day.
“There’s nothing going on between the main actors…There’s no chemistry…The guy has no sex-appeal and she has zero talent… They’re bad! But, if we move fast enough, we can recast. We can easily replace the Swedish girl with that girl with the long legs… what’s her name?…Yes, Ann Sheridan… And we could cast Ronald Reagan in the lead. And while we are at it, let’s change the movie title too.”
Well, if it wasn’t for a brave soul in that meeting that stood up to the executive producer, the famous movie “Casablanca” could have probably been called “The Things That Happen at Rick’s Café,” or something like that; that actress with zero talent named Ingrid Bergman wouldn’t have played Elsa; Ronald Reagan would have played Rick instead of Humphrey Bogart; and most likely, we wouldn’t have had such a Hollywood classic as “Casablanca.”
Besides its anecdotical values, this story illustrates some key points to consider when giving feedback:
· Think twice about what you are going to say before saying it out loud since your words could change the course of history
· Understand that a comment may be right but it may also be wrong
· Be able to discern when it is better to make no comment at all
· Know what you are talking about
Ideally, our feedback, the notes we share about the work, should come from our own fields of expertise. If we do so, we’ll be creating ADDED VALUE for our end product.
It’s simple and obvious enough, right? But, it’s not that easy to apply on a day-to-day basis. In order to create ADDED VALUE when giving feedback, keep these points in mind:
· Always start from your area of expertise or knowledge
· Remember, you are a part of the creative team
· If you need to, ask more questions
· When giving feedback, try to be as to the point as possible
· If you don’t have anything to add, that’s fine
And, since I don’t have anything to add to this subject, I’m outta here!
Francisco Letelier | VP Creative