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Quality of Feedback - how do you feel?

Printed From: NYC Midnight : Creative Writing & Screenwriting
Category: GENERAL DISCUSSION
Forum Name: Screenwriting Bar & Lounge
Forum Description: Discuss NYC Midnight Screenwriting Competitions or Screenwriting in general.
URL: https://forums.nycmidnight.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=21256
Printed Date: 24 Oct 2019 at 12:31am
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Topic: Quality of Feedback - how do you feel?
Posted By: Tim G
Subject: Quality of Feedback - how do you feel?
Date Posted: 12 Jun 2019 at 7:50am
There's always a thread, and I thought this year I'd start it - because I have to say I was really happy with the volume and quality of my feedback this year. All three had clearly read it, and gave me decent feedback which was clear and actionable. Shout out especially to judge 1883 for giving me insight into how important loglines are and clearly has experience reading for production.

So... I'm happy and my faith in the judging quality of this process is restored for now... how are you all feeling?

TG


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Short Screenplay Round 1: https://bit.ly/2OONrZz" rel="nofollow - Lookout Lily Grills the Suspects (Mystery)
Flash Round 2: https://bit.ly/2kEyrAR" rel="nofollow - Last Stop (Horror)



Replies:
Posted By: Joni
Date Posted: 12 Jun 2019 at 7:57am
I'm feeling the same. And that's completely opposite how I felt after the last round of short screenplay. It's not even because I made it through, which I'm still baffled by, lol. But the feedback made it clear the parts they liked and didn't like, and it was obvious everyone read it and understood it, which is always important. (The compliments they gave me didn't hurt either, lol.)

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SSC R3 - https://bit.ly/2RzIar7" rel="nofollow - Double Dog Dare


Posted By: fioOxf
Date Posted: 12 Jun 2019 at 8:26am
Mine's the opposite of yours, Tim. The two I got in Short Screenplay last year led me to believe that the feedback on this side of the road was MUCH more useful than the short story/flash side. But not this time. There's very little useful stuff in mine - they rave about the stuff they liked then say things like 'info dump' without suggesting where (I'll have to go back over it, as wasn't aware of any) or 'I didn't like the flashbacks', and of course there's the one judge who read too quickly ("Why do they all help her at the end, if she can only save one more soul? I don't understand this part." to which my answer would be "Read the dialogue".)

Ho hum. Flash soon. (That's not in the imperative, don't worry.) 


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SSC19 Gr2 Ch1 https://tinyurl.com/yyvwam23" rel="nofollow - Love and Stuff
Micro19 Gr14 R1 https://tinyurl.com/y2n7z33d" rel="nofollow - A Tale of Milk & Toes


Posted By: alexdsut
Date Posted: 12 Jun 2019 at 10:29am
I was generally happy with mine. 2 out of 3 of the judges' feedback was fair. But an excerpt from judge {1597} - "At the end, make sure to write FADE OUT or THE END so that readers will know it is over." I couldn't believe someone who is supposed to be a judge would write something like that -- "so that readers will know it is over" is genuinely laughable. :D And indeed, it made me laugh more than anything. But the stark reality of the quality of some of the judges soon followed, and that casts a shadow over the humour of it all. 

Not to mention the very same judge's "positive" section merely being: {1597} "I liked the historical setting for your screenplay. I liked that one of the first incidents was the slaughter of old men. I liked Felix as a character and enjoyed watching him." - and that was literally all of it!

... I mean... come on!! 

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SS CH1 G3 (HisFic) http://bit.ly/2IUhScM" rel="nofollow - Strangers at War
Screenplay Final Round http://bit.ly/2GthK2R" rel="nofollow - Nula


Posted By: fioOxf
Date Posted: 12 Jun 2019 at 11:10am
Originally posted by alexdsut alexdsut wrote:

I was generally happy with mine. 2 out of 3 of the judges' feedback was fair. But an excerpt from judge {1597} - "At the end, make sure to write FADE OUT or THE END so that readers will know it is over." I couldn't believe someone who is supposed to be a judge would write something like that -- "so that readers will know it is over" is genuinely laughable. :D And indeed, it made me laugh more than anything. But the stark reality of the quality of some of the judges soon followed, and that casts a shadow over the humour of it all. 

Not to mention the very same judge's "positive" section merely being: {1597} "I liked the historical setting for your screenplay. I liked that one of the first incidents was the slaughter of old men. I liked Felix as a character and enjoyed watching him." - and that was literally all of it!

... I mean... come on!! 

I wonder if NYCM move the order of the feedback around, so that the third one is the 'questionable' judge. My third judge says something like "I didn't enjoy reading the first part until I found out what was going on." My first judge is glowing - so the good news is first.


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SSC19 Gr2 Ch1 https://tinyurl.com/yyvwam23" rel="nofollow - Love and Stuff
Micro19 Gr14 R1 https://tinyurl.com/y2n7z33d" rel="nofollow - A Tale of Milk & Toes


Posted By: MissKeister
Date Posted: 12 Jun 2019 at 11:16am
I was mostly happy with mine, but a couple comments... irked me, I guess?

--  {1836}  There is a little too much levity at times.  A man is dead after all.  (I... don't know where the levity is other than the body thumping down the stairs, but maybe I'm forgetting stuffs)

-- {1909}  The scene in which John and William divvy out Oscar's things is strong, but be sure to keep in mind that if you only describe dialogue in the action lines, viewers can't actually see it onscreen. So instead of writing that, "nobody want his too-big clothes," take the time to actually write that exchange of dialogue out between William and John. 
(I didn't want dialogue there, I wanted the actors to hold up the giant pants like a Subway commercial)

Other than that... not tooooo bad!


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SSC R1 G24 - https://bit.ly/2VOxx2x" rel="nofollow - Chopsticks & Chopin


Posted By: ChristiLB
Date Posted: 12 Jun 2019 at 2:05pm
Since this is my first competition I don't have any previous experience to compare my judges' comments to, but I did feel that they were pretty average lol. They really focused entirely on the story itself and little glitches in logic, which of course is very important, but as someone interested in screenwriting I was hoping for a bit more on structure. I'm most interested in things like, did my inciting incident work? Did I have enough turning points? Did the climax come at the right moment? Was there enough conflict? Could you clearly distinguish the first, second, and third act, etc..? So, while I appreciate the judge who said they were confused between the use of a babysitter and a nanny, I would have also appreciated more technical comments as well LOL

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FF '19 RD2 H113 https://bit.ly/2lUEscX" rel="nofollow - A Grandmother's Love


Posted By: wes_i_guess
Date Posted: 12 Jun 2019 at 2:08pm
1836 is garbage. I had them as well. I got a one sentence positive feedback and a paragraph about formatting issues the other judges did not share.

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SC 2019 R1: https://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic21037_post273971.html#273971" rel="nofollow - Fair


Posted By: manifestlynot
Date Posted: 12 Jun 2019 at 2:17pm
My feedback was great - probably some of the most thorough and thoughtful feedback yet. They liked my tone and structure (one said formatting was “on point” and “pacing was perfect” which is my favorite kind of feedback). They recommended more backstory and clarity for the mythology, which was a glaring weakness of the story and an apt comment. But I’ve been really lucky in that I’ve never really had issues with feedback.

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Microfiction Ch1: http://bit.ly/2AXsQtC" rel="nofollow - Harvest Moon
Short Screenplay R1: http://bit.ly/2oPniPv" rel="nofollow - The Farmer's Fortune


Posted By: EricLThompson
Date Posted: 12 Jun 2019 at 3:28pm
From a general stand point the feedback was a bit lackluster. There was a lot more subjective taste from judge to judge put in there, rather than critical feedback as to the quality of the writing/story. As well as some questions that clearly suggest one judge simply didn't pay attention, as those moments were clear to the other readers. Overall, I'd say the feedback is useful for this competition specifically. If you read other writers feedback that's been posted on the forum there seems to be some trends of what the judges are looking at most closely. Very different type of feedback here than I've seen in other competitions like AFF or Sundance. All the same, it's helpful and always interesting to hear how an individual reads your work.

Congratulations to everyone who submitted whether or not you advanced. To those who did, I'll see you in the next heat. Beer


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SC2019 R1 https://bit.ly/2X7FVxp" rel="nofollow - Gossamer


Posted By: obicraig
Date Posted: 12 Jun 2019 at 5:15pm
I'm not quite sure what to make of mine. I felt like they didn't read it with any attention. I say that because the judges advice contradict each other and they asked questions that are easily answered by reading it. 
For example, one judge said the ending was unsatisfying. Fair enough, we have individual tastes and maybe it wasn't, except for the fact they gave the reason as the main character doesn't have any new friends at the end. Yet that is the exact end! The final scene is my two characters walking away, deciding to become friends. 
Another judge said that one of the characters hasn't given enough "information". Are they asking for exposition? Shouldn't I be avoiding that?

Can anyone answer me this, can the judges respond to feedback? I have asked one a question because they gave some advice I'd like clarification on. I'm new to the game and didn't quite get what they meant by 'transitions between settings could use more explanation.'




Posted By: stephenmatlock
Date Posted: 13 Jun 2019 at 1:25am
I'm satisfied with the judges, and I would like to see the comments (and scripts) of the five that won in my group.


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SSP2019 C1 G20 | http://bit.ly/2MjG0rE" rel="nofollow - Doesn't Have the Range


Posted By: stephenmatlock
Date Posted: 13 Jun 2019 at 1:31am
Originally posted by obicraig obicraig wrote:

I'm not quite sure what to make of mine. I felt like they didn't read it with any attention. I say that because the judges advice contradict each other and they asked questions that are easily answered by reading it.

For example, one judge said the ending was unsatisfying. Fair enough, we have individual tastes and maybe it wasn't, except for the fact they gave the reason as the main character doesn't have any new friends at the end. Yet that is the exact end! The final scene is my two characters walking away, deciding to become friends. 

Another judge said that one of the characters hasn't given enough "information". Are they asking for exposition? Shouldn't I be avoiding that?

Can anyone answer me this, can the judges respond to feedback? I have asked one a question because they gave some advice I'd like clarification on. I'm new to the game and didn't quite get what they meant by 'transitions between settings could use more explanation.'


Judges are people with human peculiarities and tastes. They don't produce consistent results, but the hope is, I think, that with three or four judges a consensus is reached.

If a judge misses a point that would take someone with time and commitment to see, then that judge, IMO, is not doing their job. It might seem like a lot of work to judge 40 scripts, but that is what they signed up to do and are paid for. You can give feedback on the judges, and I'd include that. You paid the same amount of money to join (more or less) as everyone else, and you should get the same level of attention as everyone else.

As far as info, be careful into over-reading into it. The judge might be saying "fit more information into this script by cutting other things," but the real statement might be "this story is too big for 12 pages, and you had cut things out for space that are necessary for story development." That kills me almost every time. A 12 page script has to be small enough to fit 12 pages.

I'd guess the same thing for the transitions. Maybe the scene jumps don't feel connected--which can happen in the early stages of a script, but should feel connected by the end, because you make them fit together logically. Or maybe the day/time jumps feel jarring, or the even the location switches (Int/Ext, for example).

This is a craft and an art, and it just takes time, IMO, to get all the pieces to work together.


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SSP2019 C1 G20 | http://bit.ly/2MjG0rE" rel="nofollow - Doesn't Have the Range


Posted By: NilesPerry
Date Posted: 13 Jun 2019 at 2:25am
No complaints here. Even my negative feedback was good. Probably in the Top 3 of best feedback ever for me.

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https://drive.google.com/file/d/127sV4SQW9IEKX7zmt9CxZSp7top0DFWm/view?usp=drivesdk" rel="nofollow - SSC CH1 GR 12


Posted By: northernwriter
Date Posted: 13 Jun 2019 at 2:50am
Feedback was great. The positives were VERY positive and the critiques were fair and actually matched several things reviewers pointed out. I felt like there were very specific things I could work on, as pointed out by reviewers and judges alike.

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Short Screenplay R1 puthere" rel="nofollow - Little Miss 4th of July
Microfiction R1 https://tinyurl.com/y3kxhlmz" rel="nofollow - The Piano Tuner


Posted By: JeffreyHowe
Date Posted: 13 Jun 2019 at 10:35am
To paraphrase stephenmatlock:
this story is too big
is almost always behind any feedback that isn't self-evident. The combination of limited pages and limited time makes it almost inevitable, especially for the 5-page iterations.

I usually do a re-write of what I submit to see what the "natural" length of the story as I conceived it really is--this time around it ended up close to 16 pages--so about 25% compressed. That's higher than I like it to be, and I feel fortunate to have advanced.

I've had rounds with decent feedback and rounds with...well, you know. When the judges reiterate the good and bad points people make here, as they did this time, I generally have no complaints. 




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R1 Tramps
R2 https://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic21273.html" rel="nofollow - Memories and Eggplant
R3 https://forums.nycmidnight.com/topic22884.html" rel="nofollow - Babi Cuts Loose


Posted By: Suave
Date Posted: 13 Jun 2019 at 10:43am
The feedback is way better than I have seen in years past.  But there is always one judge that wants to change the story to what they would like to see.  This was a 12 page drama that said exactly what i wanted it to say.



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https://tiny.cc/0dxmez" rel="nofollow - SSP R1 Harbinger's War
https://bit.ly/2m1BzH0" rel="nofollow - FFC R2 HAUNTED
https://bit.ly/32r9dq9 MF A Knock at the Door


Posted By: lisafox10800
Date Posted: 13 Jun 2019 at 10:57am
I'm good with my feedback. I knew where my script's holes were and folks here, in particular, gave me some great suggestions on how to fill them. I felt that the judges were fair and balanced. And detailed. Nothing worse than a one-liner.

My worst judge experience, ever, was in my first Screenplay comp a few years ago. The theme was Road Rage, and one judge questioned why my MC didn't just get a dashcam? (Because doesn't everyone have one?) 

Um. Yeah. 

That was probably the worst I've ever received. For the most part, across the NYCMs I've done, I've always been able to find something useful in a judge's comments. Even if I didn't want to accept it at the time - time and distance sometimes give you that aha of "oh, that's what they meant."  And agree 100% with Jeffrey Howe, the vast majority of time in a comp like this you'll get feedback on what to do or change if you expand the piece since, let's face it, most stories don't necessarily fit neatly in the word/page counts we're given.

Oh, and never try to match your feedback with your placement. You'll drive yourself mad. Some of my most scathing feedback has been on my best-scoring work, and some of my most glowing when I didn't make next round. Feedback does not equal placement.


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https://bit.ly/2nQIiFf" rel="nofollow - Short Screenplay Challenge 1...So Romantic! Swoon!
https://bit.ly/32jvVAo" rel="nofollow - Flash Fiction Challenge 2... The Suspense is Killing Me!


Posted By: manifestlynot
Date Posted: 13 Jun 2019 at 1:18pm
Originally posted by lisafox10800 lisafox10800 wrote:

Oh, and never try to match your feedback with your placement. You'll drive yourself mad. Some of my most scathing feedback has been on my best-scoring work, and some of my most glowing when I didn't make next round. Feedback does not equal placement.

Agree. The most critical feedback I ever got was when I scored 4th in last year’s Screenplay finals, and my most glowing feedback has been for HMs.

Honestly, as long as my grammar, story structure, and format is solid, I don’t care what they say about my story. Stories come and go; I don’t get attached. Format is what I focus on (which is probably why I prefer the screenplay contests to prose!) and if it’s recognized in the feedback, I’m happy.


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Microfiction Ch1: http://bit.ly/2AXsQtC" rel="nofollow - Harvest Moon
Short Screenplay R1: http://bit.ly/2oPniPv" rel="nofollow - The Farmer's Fortune


Posted By: sgspeed
Date Posted: 13 Jun 2019 at 3:03pm
My feedback was varied and some helpful, some confusing, some contradictory.  Pretty much what I've learned to receive.  My only gripe was that the biggest chunk of it would be really, really helpful if I was writing a longer script. Sometime I feel like they forget the format when they suggest detailed story development that exceeds what can be crammed in to the page length.  HOWEVER, that may just be my own inexperience and maybe I need to learn to put more in less, so I take it all in.

What I wish for is more Forum feedback on my script.  I was not able to read much of anything, so I did not get much at all. I have to say, I also feel like I'm not a big enough player in the forum to warrant as much attention, but imagonna try and change that!  

I also never seem to get it together enough to take advantage of beta readers.  This time I literally finish the script sitting on the sidelines of my daughter's soccer game, had my husband proof it at the Sedona Starbucks for the wifi (the Vortex must have worked as I am moving on) and submitted it as they were closing the store. For this round I will be on a Arizona to Michigan coast to coast red eye Sat. night.  I love living on the edge I guess. 


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FF1 https://tinyurl.com/y2ptzj7y" rel="nofollow - Mae and Herb Have An Adventure
Rd. 2 https://forums.nycmidnight.com/ch-2-group-57-just-a-girl_topic23328.html" rel="nofollow - Just A Girl




Posted By: fioOxf
Date Posted: 13 Jun 2019 at 3:16pm
Originally posted by sgspeed sgspeed wrote:

 
What I wish for is more Forum feedback on my script.  I was not able to read much of anything, so I did not get much at all. I have to say, I also feel like I'm not a big enough player in the forum to warrant as much attention, but imagonna try and change that!  


Hi there, sg,

I'll beta you, this weekend, if you like. I'm in the UK, so could probably beta while you sleep, or something. DM/PM me if you want my email :) It's definitely worth trying betas - makes it all feel less lonely, apart from anything else. It also makes you more visible in the forums, as your betas will probably pop in and read your final draft. 

Just whistle if you need me.


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SSC19 Gr2 Ch1 https://tinyurl.com/yyvwam23" rel="nofollow - Love and Stuff
Micro19 Gr14 R1 https://tinyurl.com/y2n7z33d" rel="nofollow - A Tale of Milk & Toes


Posted By: obicraig
Date Posted: 14 Jun 2019 at 12:48am
Originally posted by stephenmatlock stephenmatlock wrote:

Originally posted by obicraig obicraig wrote:

I'm not quite sure what to make of mine. I felt like they didn't read it with any attention. I say that because the judges advice contradict each other and they asked questions that are easily answered by reading it.

For example, one judge said the ending was unsatisfying. Fair enough, we have individual tastes and maybe it wasn't, except for the fact they gave the reason as the main character doesn't have any new friends at the end. Yet that is the exact end! The final scene is my two characters walking away, deciding to become friends. 

Another judge said that one of the characters hasn't given enough "information". Are they asking for exposition? Shouldn't I be avoiding that?

Can anyone answer me this, can the judges respond to feedback? I have asked one a question because they gave some advice I'd like clarification on. I'm new to the game and didn't quite get what they meant by 'transitions between settings could use more explanation.'


Judges are people with human peculiarities and tastes. They don't produce consistent results, but the hope is, I think, that with three or four judges a consensus is reached.

If a judge misses a point that would take someone with time and commitment to see, then that judge, IMO, is not doing their job. It might seem like a lot of work to judge 40 scripts, but that is what they signed up to do and are paid for. You can give feedback on the judges, and I'd include that. You paid the same amount of money to join (more or less) as everyone else, and you should get the same level of attention as everyone else.

As far as info, be careful into over-reading into it. The judge might be saying "fit more information into this script by cutting other things," but the real statement might be "this story is too big for 12 pages, and you had cut things out for space that are necessary for story development." That kills me almost every time. A 12 page script has to be small enough to fit 12 pages.

I'd guess the same thing for the transitions. Maybe the scene jumps don't feel connected--which can happen in the early stages of a script, but should feel connected by the end, because you make them fit together logically. Or maybe the day/time jumps feel jarring, or the even the location switches (Int/Ext, for example).

This is a craft and an art, and it just takes time, IMO, to get all the pieces to work together.


Cheers, Stephen. I appreciate you taking the time to give such an answer.
I hope you go well in the next round.



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