A friend just asked me to check out his acting reel, and it reminded me of a common error I sometimes see from actors and writers: When seeking feedback from others on your work (reel, script, etc.), in general you should include with the request some context/a roadmap/an intro/some specific questions.
In other words, prepare me for what I’m going to see/read. Eg, for reels:
- Am I seeing one take of each scene, or multiple?
- Do you want extra attention paid to any scenes?
- Is this your general reel, or a specific one (comedy/drama/leading vs supporting, etc.)?
- Do you want to shuffle the order of scenes, or is that set? etc etc.
- Is the basic story set, or are still you working it out?
- Which draft is this? Ie, are you sending this out next week and thus have time for only tweaks?
- Are you concerned about certain characters — are they clear, sympathetic, sufficiently complex, etc.?
- Do you want me to focus on certain aspects — humor, suspense, pathos, theme, etc.?
When I ask for feedback, I tend to list 5-10 specific questions, and then ask for open-ended opinions/reactions.
If you just give/dump the info, it becomes the recipient’s job to sort and decide. Your goal is to minimize the recipient’s time and energy (so you can ask them to review your work again and again), and to maximize their knowledge/experience (which doesn’t happen if their time/energy is spent organizing and sorting)..