Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I Learned Everything I Know About Critique From Reality Shows

My entry for this week's Single Frame Stories Challenge. The topic is "critique." 
If you ever wonder whether people can have a grossly distorted perception of their own talent, try watching a few audition episodes of the X Factor. You'll see contestants who can't carry a tune be devastated to hear criticism from the judges. But you'll also see tremendously gifted singers surprised by effusive praise. Unfortunately, the critique on that program is more about drama and cleverness than providing useful feedback. But some reality talent shows do a better job.

So You Think You Can Dance is a great place to see how positive critique and coaching can help push creatives to higher levels of artistry and performance. Being able too see a group of gifted dancers evolve and transform over the course of a couple of months is inspiring. Outside of the obvious love for dance and desire to nurture talent, the feedback is useful because it includes concrete direction from people who are both knowledgeable and accomplished.

Unfortunately, critique via internet comments is usually closer to X Factor than SYTYCD. There's a lot of mean spirited and thoughtless criticism. And a fair amount of gushy praise. But there's a dearth of insightful and actionable critique from people with the knowledge and experience to offer useful input.

I think we do a pretty good job as a creative avatar-identified community in supporting each other's work through positive comments. What I'd love to see is more constructive critique. I'm going to try to be more thoughtful in my praise and more concrete in offering specific suggestions or concerns. Like, "Botgirl, what's up with the faux scratches on this image?"


Whiskey Monday said...

Okay, sounds good. Just not at my blog, m'kay? I just want There, Theres and Nice Jobs.

But I'll happily and freely critique you.


Botgirl Questi said...