Everybody’s A Critic…Literally!

Everybody’s a critic, literally. I mean EVERYBODY. Anyone can be one. You don’t need a license, or any kind of credentials, all you need is an opinion. We all have them, right? Opinions? Though, it would be nice if ones opinion was based on “something” concerning what is being critiqued, right?

There is a forum that I have posted a few screenplay samples on to get some feedback and such, you know? A few weeks ago, I posted an early version of “Things People Do”. I got some cool feed back, most of it on a technical level, like formatting, which I took in stride. Some of it I didn’t agree with, but some I did, and I wound up learning a few things in the process, which is what critiquing is for after all.

Now, there was this one particular critique, if that’s what you wan tto call it, that made me laugh out loud. Seemingly from one of those people who thinks very highly of themselves, but what they had to say really made no sense to me. So you can see what I mean, here is their post:

Scrib,….Since Im the self proclaimed A.d.d….I’ll stop you at paragraph 1…Ist action scene…
Way too much description of room …Dont need to know color of carpet or type of furniture or anything else that’s useless in the first 5 to 10 pgs,…Forgive me if the furniture or carpet is part of the story, but Im sure it’s not part of the story….

Make you’re words count on giving us the 1st 5 pgs. that keeps us wanting to to turn to page 2….

The other members will most likely fill you in on you’re other imperfections…..

Bottom line make the asshole reader that matters , wanna read at least 5 pgs….

My first reaction was to laugh because, well, number 1) Calling yourself A.D.D. means nothing to me. I mean, it’s a mental condition where one can’t really focus on ANYTHING for too long. So, if you’re trying to imply that ones work must really be damn good in order to keep your interest, I don’t think that’s the way to go. So, he instantly lost points as a critic with me right there.

2) Stop me at the first paragraph? Now, I don’t claim to be the best writer, but I know I’m not that bad, lol.

3) Dude, I didn’t mention the color of the carpet, so what are you talking about?

4) He says: “Dont need to know color of carpet or type of furniture or anything else that’s useless in the first 5 to 10 pgs.”. Well, how do you know if it’s useless if you haven’t read past the first paragraph? The same paragraph in which you pointed out an error that doesn’t exist?

Obviously, he assumed that I was a newbie to this writing thing, but I’m not one to waste time arguing on internet forums about opinions.  I thought I’d explain the method to my “madness”, so I rather politely responded:

Thanks for reading the first paragraph, lol. Well, I didn’t give the color of the carpet, because it doesn’t matter to the script, but some basic elements of the rooms layout is needed for later on. So when you read that someone is thrown through the glass coffee table, you won’t say, “What glass coffee table?”

I’ve only described what’s needed either for character interaction, mood/scene setting, or to speak to someone’s character.

Thank you for the feedback.

In return, this was his response:

You’re right Scrib. and I apologize for the carpet color comment….Over all I did try to make the point of I think the first action scene dragged on a bit, but a few minutes ago I did read on and know the story moved forward nicely…

My point was to make those 1st few pgs. count, and pretend you’re dealing with IDIOTS like me who might be the readers who matter….So I just pretend Im an idiot you might run into and discourage you from not going forward….

Bottom line is because of the internet and the ability for anyone to submit a script to anyone who matters from anywhere on the globe , literary agents and scam agents now have 100’s of scripts on their computer and their ready to hit the deletion button alot quicker than they use to …So you really do need to make you’re 1st 5 pgs. matter now than a few yrs. ago where 10 pgs., was the standard…..

I wish the Best for you and all who keep on pushing the limits

Okay, a slight hint of back peddling there, but even his attempt to point something out to me was lost because it’s something I practice with everything I write. He didn’t mention anything about my script at all really. Nothing about the characters, dialog, format, nothing. So, his “critique” was really a waste of keystrokes.  Well, he did say that if moved on nicely after the first paragraph. I mean, really, dude, I don’t need you to pretend to be an “ass-hole reader” and “TRY” to discourage me. I need you to give me true and honest feedback.

I put critiques up to a test of logic. What a critic says must make sense to me in order for me to take it into consideration. Through that test of logic I discern what’s fact and opinion. If something is a fact, an industry standard, I have to conform. An opinion is preference, and preference I can chose to reject or conform to if it makes sense to me or not.

Pretty much, all I’m saying is if you’re going critique someone’s work, at least be constructive about, don’t TRY to find something wrong, just find it. That is unless you’re afraid of competition and are just out just crush someone’s dreams. Now, why would you want to take on a job like that?


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