Home » Archives » May 2006 » Taking Advantage of Your Friends
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05/27/2006: Taking Advantage of Your Friends
Had a lovely lunch at the Farmer's Market today with Friend-of-the-Blog Maggie. Then I bought exotic fruit (love the cherimoya), and a bag made out of one long zipper. Have you seen these? It looks like a long dog leash. Then you zip and zip and it keeps mostly looking like a leash and then suddenly, it's a bag! It's like writing a script. You start with the idea of an episode, but then you get involved in all the little pieces, so you work on them, and work and work…. and suddenly, like magic, the episode stands as a whole.
But what if there are flaws? You've been looking at all the little pieces for so long, you probably find your judgment a bit muddy. The whole thing still looks like a leash to you. So, before you turn in your script, it's a good idea to have a few friends read it. Smart friends with opinions you can trust.
But first, you have to be sure you want to hear their opinions. If you fight every suggestion that's given to you, if you turn the note session into a vigorous defense of your draft, you will soon notice that your friends start *loving* your work. They don't have a single note! This doesn't mean your writing got perfect. It means your friends got tired.
The other classic mistake, of course, is to scrupulously take *every* note, whether you agree with it or not. I actually think this is the worse mistake. At least the first error gets your script rejected for script problems you're actually responsible for. The second error gets it rejected for suggestions your dumb friends made.
The best way to take notes from a friend is to listen, to say, "uh-huh," ask a question or two like "do you think you'd like it better if...", and then move on to the next note. There is no need to tell Friend McFriendstein whether or not you're going to actually implement the note. Giving your opinion of their opinion extends the conversation, makes them too invested in putting their mark on the script, and it commits you mentally to changes you may later realize aren't really what you want. You should be in receive mode, not implement mode, at this point. Flip the switch back from "listen" to "do" after the conversation, and after you've had time to let it all sink in.
Lunch: tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich at the Farmer's Market