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The Anonymous Collaborator

The Anonymous Collaborator
I just finished reading the latest post on John August’s blog, “Test Screening The Movie.” It gave me pause to see that such and accomplished and prolific storyteller has the same stresses, anxieties, and problems my collaborators and I are facing on my latest project.Viewing your film with friends, family, and colleagues is great, and it will help you to make your story better. It’ll get you, and I’ll be generous, maybe 60, 70% there, but as he mentions, whether they believe it or not, they are biased. They are your friends, your family, and your colleagues. They WANT to like what you’ve done. They think you’re talented, and have hopes and aspirations for your story or they wouldn’t take the time to watch. So with that bias, how can you ever truly get an honest response? You can’t. That’s why you need, as John August puts it, the trustworthy stranger. This person has no bias. No agenda. Nothing but (hopefully) a purely visceral and honest response to the story and imagery you put before him/her. They become your anonymous collaborator, and they will make your story better.

Sharing your story and your passion with complete strangers, when it’s a work-in-progress is a scary thing and a risky proposition if you’re trying to break new ground, but it can also be the key that makes a good story great. As digital storytellers, how can we get these un-biased screenings? How can we put our work out there for constructive criticism without it being what people perceive to be a completed project? You can’t viably use a service like

YouTube, as you can’t control who sees it and how they are judging it. But you can use internet forums like DVInfo.net, or DVXuser.com. You can explain that what you’re posting is a work in progress and you need honest feedback. You’ll probably get more than you bargained for. I’d love to hear any other trailblazing solutions people might have. Be my new collaborator and help me find a test screening solution.

Paul

Filmmaker. Themed Entertainment Designer.

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