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Requesting Feedback

Aaron Hudson Aug '13
I've had a number of people in the last few months ask me for feedback on a show that they are working on. While I actually love doing this, there are some things that I think need to be restated when it comes to requesting feedback from another member.

As the text says when you start a new topic in the Design Help forum, don't simply say "tell me what you think" or "could you take a look at my WIP?". Both of these things are extremely general and ultimately will get you comments that, while accurate, aren't helpful. Every pageantry arts show ever could be slapped with the same "general" comments. This is art, it's a matter of opinion in many cases, so without some direction as to what you want help with or looked at, a judge or fellow member is going to have a hard time giving you useful feedback.

So, with that being said, I've listed a few questions below that you might ask yourself before requesting critique. Do you have to write a thesis on drill design? No, but you should have a good idea about your show before you submit it for feedback.

1. Why are you writing this show? (It seems self explanatory, but people often overlook it. If you're writing it for fun, say so. If you're trying to transition from MML to real world writing, say so.)

2. What is the theme of the show? (Bringing out the theme in a show is really important. If you watched Carolina Crown's "Rach Star" and saw the ever popular social networking logos paired with pop music, you would question the title and the theme.)

3. Is this a sync? (This is important because sync'd shows often use real world pacing to match different music tempos and styles. If you don't state that, it's hard for a viewer to discern that by themselves.)

4. What kind of emotions are you trying to portray? (Again, this seems self explanatory. However, from a design aspect, everything should be centered around the same set of details. Using fast moving, Cavaliers-esque drill in a death show probably isn't the best choice of design.)

5. How long have you been writing drill? (For those of us who have been on the site a while, we can immediately tell how long someone has been on the site based on their skill level. Telling someone your skill level isn't designed to demean you or establish some MML hierarchy, but to allow us to give you better suggestions that are more appropriate to your level.)

If you've already figured out most of the above, the further below questions are more targeted.

6. What section needs the most work? (If you feel like 85% of your show is solid and is ready for the queue, great! However, that means that 15% isn't. Figure out what needs work and share that information too.)

7. Do your colors (if you have premium) and "extras" (flag design, props, etc.) make your show better? (Premium is a wonderful tool for those who like to put more into the theme department, but I see a lot of members who overuse or abuse the features so much that they detract from their show.)

8. Have you used ripples, tosses, and other animations in a "classy" way? (Again, many people overuse these features, especially tosses. Make sure that you use them in effective, well thought out places, so that it doesn't turn into "would you like some drill with your flag tosses?")

I went a little more in depth than most of you do when you design shows, but this is how a design team would go about it. Ultimately, there is a lot of thought put into each aspect of the show so that the final product is a great one. Addressing just a few of these questions while you write will help not only you, but someone who is trying to help you.

Enjoy, and happy writing.

Jennifer Gordon captainAug '13
I stickied this because I think we all need this reminder once in a while. Well said, Aaron!

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