In this episode of Madsen's Musings, I discuss the importance of following up on feedback.
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A transcript is provided below the video.
Hey guys, so this vlog is gonna be kind of a two-fer - it's two different topics that tie together pretty closely, so I'm going to go ahead and combine them here in this vlog as concisely as I can do - but I have a tendency to talk a lot.
Ok. So this vlog is all about feedback. And I want to do this in two parts.
The first part is the importance of following up. I have a lot of people come to me and ask me for feedback on their work, or feedback on their website, on their branding. Not that I'm an expert on this, but I've been doing this for a little while, and I'm more than happy to spend my time and give some free feedback.
Now, the problem is, occasionally I have people that will say "can you give me feedback on my reel", and I'll do that, and then I'll hear nothing back. Nothing back ever again. The way I try to approach giving feedback is I try and have a combination of praises: here's what you've done really well, and things where you can grow: things that you can do better. I try and get some action items for how to in my opinion achieve that better success and make sure submissions, make your branding, make your music stronger. Again, this is all from my point of view, my opinion, and I try to stress that when I give feedback to people.
I've done this before and had people just not respond afterwards: no thank you, no acknowledgment that I spent the time, that they even read or received the feedback. Sometimes these are done by Facebook so I know that they've seen it: I can see on Facebook Messenger message has been seen in red so I don't know why that is.
But here's the little dirty secret about when you don't follow up with someone. Whether you mean to or not, it makes you come off in a very poor light, so especially when you're going out and reaching out to pros, saying "will you give me feedback, will you give me your impression of my work or my website, my branding", if someone does that after you've asked them to do that, and then you don't follow up at all then that puts a bad taste in their mouth. And you definitely don't want to do that when you're trying to start your career and trying to network and build contacts; build a reputation in this industry.
So follow up. Say thank you. Even if you disagree with the feedback, just say thank you. In my opinion it's always ok to reach out and say "hey, you made this point about X, I'm curious, could you elaborate on that?" or maybe give a qualification saying "I was trying to do this, but you had this feedback, can you explain how I could better achieve something else?" That type of deal.
Ok, so that's part one, it's real fast. Three minutes. Going pretty good here.
The second part is all about the demo derby. So GDC is right around the corner. Unfortunately this year I will not be making it - with a house purchase and everything else that we're doing it's just not feasible this year. But I've done the demo derby - this is through GANG, Game Audio Network Guild - I've done that three or four times and it's always been a very positive thing, but it's also a very nerve-wracking thing, so my advice to people when you're doing the demo derby, be it sound or music, doesn't matter which, is to be open, and be gracious in the feedback session.
I've seen people - and it never turns out well - when they start to kind of argue and debate with the panel of experts who are giving in-person public, live feedback of their submission. They'll start to debate them, or start to argue with them. They'll start to be contrarian in a way, and just avoid this. Don't do this at all. Be gracious, thank them for their time, thank them for the experience, do your best to absorb in what they say, and learn and apply it. It's a very nerve-wracking thing, even when my really good friends who's fantastic audio, who actually got a job from his demo derby, he was sitting right next to me. His name was called after mine, and I remember he stood up and went "here we go". And I was like "you got this", and it's nerve-wracking. You're putting yourself out there in front of your colleagues, in front of your peers, in front of experts, and they're critiquing your stuff in real time.
But it's very worthwhile too, it's a great learning experience.
So, that's it.
Feedback. Reach out, ask people for feedback. Be gracious. Learn what you can from it. Apply what you can from it. And follow up.