If you hate feedback (talkback) sessions, try this

Some People Really Hate Feedback Sessions

I’ve been part of a discussion on feedback (talkback) sessions on LinkedIn. I’m astonished and dismayed at how much some people hate feedback sessions.

I can’t help thinking that people hate them because they haven’t been part of one that’s run really well.

What People Say about Why They Hate Feedback Sessions

The feedback is useless.

There are too few gems among the dross.

Playwrights take every suggestion they’re given, no matter how idiotic.

Theaters have feedback sessions because their grant requires them to, and they don’t put any thought into them.

Audiences tell you how you should write your play.

If You Hate Feedback Sessions, Try This

Promise yourself a reward

Before your next reading, decide on something you’re going to do afterwards that you know makes you feel good, that refreshes your soul. For example, plan to go out with a friend for a drink and bitch about feedback sessions, go for a run, or eat some of your favorite dark chocolate. Whatever it is.

Set a time limit

Agree with the facilitator that you don’t have to go any longer than 10 minutes.

Ask just a few questions

After the reading, ask just a few questions.

  1. Is there a main character? (If you don’t want your play to have a main character, and everyone says it doesn’t have one, then you can skip #2 and go on to #3.)
  2. What does the main character want? Does he or she get it? Why or why not?
  3. If you were to describe this play in one or two sentences, or even one or two words, what would you say?

End it gracefully

After 10 minutes, the facilitator says, thank you everyone for coming.

Reward yourself

Go do the thing you promised yourself you would do, go out with a friend for a drink, or whatever.

Why This Will Get You Good Feedback

The audience will be focused on answering your questions. If they’re telling you their take on one of the main character gets what he or she wants, or how they would describe your play, they’re acting like a mirror, reflecting your play. They’re giving you feedback you can use.

They don’t have time to say “you shouldn’t have that character do such-and-such,” or “that one part doesn’t work,” or “you need to change the title,” or useless stuff like that.

Also, from those three questions, you can learn a lot about your play.

Try This, And Let Me Know How It Goes

Try this! Let me know how it goes.

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About playwrightsmuse

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