Mind Your Business: The Truth Hurts
Moms, you're not going to like this. We love you, but you're not good for us.
Let me explain: Moms who coddle us and make us feel good about anything we do, even if it sucks, are not good for us. In fact, anyone who is a people-pleaser is not good for someone looking for honest feedback in order to improve.
While honest feedback can sometimes hurt, the real pain comes from, however well-meaning, misplaced praise which usually leads to lost opportunities and a waste of tens of thousands of dollars.
The only way to improve is to be told when something is not good. In the case of a poorly produced concept and someone tells you, "Oh, that's great honey. You are so talented," it may feel great but it won't help you.
I remember the art teachers who coddled me and made me feel great for the moment, but I'm forever appreciative and better off because of those who kicked my ass and pushed me to be a better artist.
I review the portfolios and TV concepts of a lot of creative people. When I review TV concepts in what we call one on one breakthrough sessions (consult), clients are paying for my time and my expertise. They deserve my honesty, even if it stings.
I had a consult yesterday with a client I'll call Mr. M. (I have changed his name to protect the bleeding). He asked me to review his TV series concept. I don't need to get into all the details here, but let's just say his concept lacked defined characters, plots, relationships, designs and proper pitch materials. In other words, he didn't have anything resembling a show.
I did not hold back in any of my comments or suggestions. At one point he asked me a question, "Mark, do you study martial arts?" I answered "yes" and wondered why he asked. "Because you're fearless in your comments and you hit me right in the solar plexus."
Mr. M. was smart enough to get professional advice on his project before he wasted tens of thousands on a pilot, pitch package and trips to pitch his show.
We've had a number of creators come to us after they had already spent everything they had on a concept that wasn't ready and ended up with an empty bank account and a project they can't show to anyone.
I've also seen far too many people who pitch projects that weren't ready. Besides being a waste of time and money, you seldom get a second chance at a network if your project is ill-prepared and your pitch is poor. A poor pitch closes future doors.
You know those friends and family members of yours who don't really care what you think of them and will be brutally honest with you? (You know, the ones you sometimes call an asshole.) Those are the people you want to review your work if you truly want honest feedback to get better and succeed.