Show and tell ...
On the set of shows we produce, I work with a bunch of young guns who are talented beyond measure, confident and humble. It is tough to find creatives who check all of these boxes and recently I have discovered that being in the mix with them might be one of the best tools in my shed.
A while back we produced a video for musician Dawie de Jager. The whole thing was organised in a heartbeat with basically no budget, very little time and logistically the concept was challenging and potentially deadly. I also felt added pressure because the song is spectacular, and Dawie is like a brother to me. I wanted to do the song justice and help out a friend at the same time.
The shoot went well, but after we had cut the first edit, I started showing it to the young filmmakers, editors, colourists, photographers with just this: “What do you think? Is something bothering you?”
I posed the same question to the musician’s audience. I asked big shots in the music industry who have been judging music videos since it killed the radio star… We got some valuable feedback from them. But somehow the input from these groups felt weak, passive and out of touch with what is currently out there. When it came to the circle of creatives I work with; the feedback felt accurate and valid. Since I had asked them to be blunt – they were! But by asking them to be, I disarmed them from hurting my feelings or questioning our creative licensing.
Technically things can be right or wrong. Your shot can be in focus or out of focus, these things are easy to spot and easy to critique but conceptually, stylistically and even emotionally the content we create becomes a grey area through which you have to navigate — always trading off one thing for another. Saying “yes” to only one thing and effectively dismissing a thousand other options.
The fact that they had nothing to gain from stating their own opinions and the fact that we had everything to gain from fearless creators shining a light on likes and dislikes makes us the winner all the way. We were able to distil a whole lot of ideas and make something that we had made, a little better. Maybe a lot? For me, that has always been the thing: TO MAKE something as best I can. A song, a message, a show, it doesn’t matter. Asking them to be brutal makes “the thing” that much better.
Maybe we should think of getting together more often and just talk about stuff we are putting out there. Somewhat like the good ole Show and Tell.
I guess Juffrou was reg…