The Significance of Revision and Feedback in Film and TV Development

Posted on: Mar 05, 2024

Photo Credit: Ground Picture // Shutterstock

By Jessica Mathis

While the enthusiasm to create can often lead filmmakers to skip the process of gathering feedback or undergoing revisions, it is important to recognize that a great idea and a great finished product are not synonymous. By embracing revisions and feedback, filmmakers can refine their work, address any shortcomings and ultimately enhance the quality of their film or television projects to captivate audiences effectively.

Why We Rush

  • To Satisfy Creative Impulse: It’s common for creators to rush from script to screen to feel the high of satisfying their muse and to earn gratification from others. Giving in to impulses without careful consideration can lead to a lack of cohesion and clarity in the final product.
  • To Prove Ourselves: This industry rests on “who you are” and “what you’ve done.” The desire to prove oneself in the competitive world of filmmaking can lead to hasty decisions that fail to fulfill that goal.
  • Fear of Missing Out: Sometimes a creator is worried they will miss an opportunity, but filmmakers should be prepared to negotiate the time and development a project really deserves.

The Harm of Total Control

  • No Feedback: Total control without external influence may provide momentary satisfaction, but being the sole authority in one’s creative universe can really do us a disservice. If your creation can’t be questioned, your creation might be questionable.
  • Failure to Improve: We learn by doing but should still strive for the best we can do. Denying external input means denying professional and personal growth. Greater lessons can be learned with guidance, and many projects, relationships and reputations could be saved with just a little more development.
  • Making Collaborators Feel Undervalued: Rejecting feedback from experienced collaborators can cause them to feel sidelined or unappreciated, hindering a synergistic creative process.

Controlling Impulses

  • Recognize and Control Your Impulses: The initial step to overcome feelings of rushing or rejecting feedback is reflection. It is essential to recognize your behavior and understand the underlying reasons behind it. By giving good ideas mindful development and refinement, you’ll appreciate the value of taking the time do so.
  • Have a Support Group: A supportive feedback ecosystem can be created by building a network of trusted peers and identifying mentors creates a supportive feedback ecosystem. You can find them trough personal networking or support groups.

Gathering Feedback

  • Vetting Feedback Requests: You may receive a range of feedback from productive to awful, but vetting your sources helps make the most of your time. Be clear on the type of feedback you need from whom. Successful industry peers can offer feedback on story clarity, structure and general elements, but you also need individuals with appropriate life experience for character and story feedback.
  • Follow Up on Rejections: When professionals decline working with you or submissions are rejected, try following up with gratitude and ask if there is anything that could be improved. No one owes you feedback, but it doesn’t hurt to follow up. Thank those who take the time.
  • Balance Feedback and Your Voice: Look for the most common notes from various sources to identify what is most in need of revision and work to apply it in your own way. Your project must reflect your own voice. Feedback should focus on how to better achieve your intended goals instead of how you should alter the story to match what someone else thinks it should be.

Tips for Self-Editing

  • Identify Needs: First drafts are a huge accomplishment, but we have to revise carefully and intentionally. Be sure to ask yourself if it tells a clear story and has appropriate pacing, character motives and resolution.
  • Dedicate Time to Helping Others: Taking the time to revise work by others will help you develop the ability to identify issues in your own work.
  • Kill Your Darlings: We all need to accept when they need to go. I find it softens the blow to cut and paste those beautiful scenes or characters into a hoard file for future projects and move along.

I’m often reminded of this story about the author Mark Twain. When he realized he had crammed too many characters and stories into one book, he fought the edit by keeping all his characters but killing them off one by one. This was done with a conveniently placed ground water well in the story. When he realized the well was full to the brim of dead people and could hold no more, Twain decided he needed to concede to the revision.

By embracing feedback and committing to revision, we give our ideas the attention and excellence they deserve. The process of refinement and enhancement enables us to bring a fresh perspective to the table, challenge our preconceptions and deliver better films and TV shows. Embracing feedback and revisions is excellent for personal growth, essential for success and a significant factor in creating timeless stories.

Jessica Mathis (AKA Divinity Rose) is an award winning screenwriter/performer/producer from Louisville, Kentucky. She is the CEO of She Dreams Content Development and Production, which focuses on female forward projects in comedy, docustyle and genre entertainment.

Browse thousands of jobs and find your next gig! Sign up or log in to Staff Me Up and get on set today!

You may also like:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *