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killkillakillyo

killkillakillyo's guide to taking a crit

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ok some of you guys come on this board asking for a crit and don't know the proper etiquette.

 

so those of you who went to a top tier art school or are currently working in the industry, please feel free to chime in. but for you newbs out there who think you're hot shit please read the following before you post your work for review.

 

 

1. post your work.

2. take the crit with a coke and a smile.*

3. ask followup questions but don't berate the critiquer. if we start talking about your mother, then feel free to release the dogs. but anything short of that, shut up and take it. if anything, you'll learn something or at least thicken your skin, which in this field is something money can't buy.

4. if you're going to cry, do it in your room not on this board. and for god's sake don't pull out the "well let me see your work if you're such a rockstar" bullshit. you posted your work, your critique dumbass.

5. learn that all of this is for your own good. trust me when i say that the worst critique on this board pales in comparison to standing in front of a bunch of angry clients, put on the spot, who want nothing less than to embarrass you and make you feel worthless.

 

*edited

Edited by killkillakillyo

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Having gone to a design school I learned quickly how to take a critique: Just smile, nod, and say thank you.

 

While I agree mostly with what you are saying killkillakillyo, I think that you are taking it a little too far. I gladly accept critique of my work from anyone and everyone. People with no design background, people with purely technical skills, rockstar designers, children, everyone. But while I accept the critiques from everyone, I still weigh them all differently depending on who they are coming from.

 

One of the benefits of a classroom or studio environment is that you know the people critiquing you and you've probably seen their work. If someone that always shows work with shitty type is critiquing my choice of typeface, I'm not going to take it quite as seriously as when a 40 year veteran that started with metal type does the same. I think that is why people say "well let me see your work if you're such a rockstar" because they want to know who the critique is coming from. It helps to put things in perspective.

 

Bottom line: nothing should be taken personally, and everything should be taken with a grain of salt.

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I like the Bauhaus style of teaching — telling your shit sucks until you get better.

 

People have it easy nowadays.

 

Some things deserve crits, some don't.

Edited by hyp3

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or take a cue from binky and give a useful crit without being an asshole about it.. there's a difference between critiquing and berating.. you maybe taking the 'mograph attitude' a little bit too far.. people here have always been a bit cynical but it doesn't mean it's open season on ripping into people.. unless your advice is like.. amazing, which it probably won't be. anyone can say "go back to school, study more design, the piece at :33 sucks" etc etc..

 

 

ok some of you guys come on this board asking for a crit and don't know the proper etiquette.

 

so those of you who went to a top tier art school or are currently working in the industry, please feel free to chime in. but for you newbs out there who think you're hot shit please read the following before you post your work for review.

 

 

1. post your work.

2. take the crit with a coke and a smile.*

3. ask followup questions but don't berate the critiquer. if we start talking about your mother, then feel free to release the dogs. but anything short of that, shut up and take it. if anything, you'll learn something or at least thicken your skin, which in this field is something money can't buy.

4. if you're going to cry, do it in your room not on this board. and for god's sake don't pull out the "well let me see your work if you're such a rockstar" bullshit. you posted your work, your critique dumbass.

5. learn that all of this is for your own good. trust me when i say that the worst critique on this board pales in comparison to standing in front of a bunch of angry clients, put on the spot, who want nothing less than to embarrass you and make you feel worthless.

 

*edited

 

themonkey knows what's up.

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or take a cue from binky and give a useful crit without being an asshole about it.. there's a difference between critiquing and berating..

 

 

 

 

I couldn't have said it better.

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There are arguments to both sides.

 

For one - when I walk into a classroom, 95% of the time I am given a "I like the type choice", or "I like what you did here."

 

After a while, it gets old.

 

If you really want to get better, be prepared to be torn to shreds. This line of work isn't about receiving compliments, it's about growing and getting knocked down along the way.

 

That being said, there's nothing wrong with doing it in a constructive manner. Keep in mind though, there are some brutal people out there. Killa is one of them - just learn to take the crit like you would any other. Ignore the aggressiveness, and grow from it.

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It's not a useful crit unless you learn why someone likes the type choice or dislikes the type choice. If you're going to shoot someone down over their bad type choices.. What can you say beyond "go back to school"? Whats the point of being brutal if its not helpful? I guess if it's at least the funny then it might be worthwhile ;)

 

 

There are arguments to both sides.

 

For one - when I walk into a classroom, 95% of the time I am given a "I like the type choice", or "I like what you did here."

 

After a while, it gets old.

 

If you really want to get better, be prepared to be torn to shreds. This line of work isn't about receiving compliments, it's about growing and getting knocked down along the way.

 

That being said, there's nothing wrong with doing it in a constructive manner. Keep in mind though, there are some brutal people out there. Killa is one of them - just learn to take the crit like you would any other. Ignore the aggressiveness, and grow from it.

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Props for putting in the time and watching peoples reels, and for taking the time to write pretty lengthy crits but...

 

Silatix is on the money. You also gotta critique people for where they are at for it to be useful. Just like you wouldn't explain things the same way to a five year old as to a teenager, you can't crit everyone the same (students, just starting out, seasoned pro etc.). It's not about toughening them up for the real world it's about giving useful advice.

 

5. learn that all of this is for your own good. trust me when i say that the worst critique on this board pales in comparison to standing in front of a bunch of angry clients, put on the spot, who want nothing less than to embarrass you and make you feel worthless.

 

I hope you have been in the business for twenty years cause if not you are carrying around a lot of bitterness that's going to make it tough over the long haul. Yes in the real world clients are sometimes unhappy, and yes they offer opinions and ask for changes but really if your clients are being such dicks to you frequently maybe you are doing something wrong.... for the most part the people I work with are professional and respect what I do.

 

Never went to art school but have been given crits by some industry vets, some of the best career advice I ever got was in these crits. Yeah these guys were brutally honest but they weren't dicks about it and they took the time to point out not just weaknesses but strengths as well. They were still really enthusiatic about the biz after all their years in the game and that made me want to get better and be in this biz more than anything else, the way you crit I think will just turn people off. The people who really are the shit are usually the ones with the least attitude, cuz they know they have nothing to prove.

 

I am all for the sarcasm, funny put downs, total honesty in crits etc. that's why I like mograph, but there's a difference between that and the attitude of everyone is a dick to me so now I am going to be a dick to you, I just find that really boring.

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I know it sounds a bit childish, but I've always found the compliment sandwich to be a good way to give and receive criticism. Nobody's work is ever ALL bad and there's always something they're doing right. I've found people are much more likely to take the bad with the good rather than just hearing "your work is weak and here's why."

I may not always be the best at it, not as good as Binky, but I like to try to remember the most useful critiques I've received over my career before dishing one out to someone else. I find that most of the time those critiques were not unnecessarily harsh or intended to be shock treatment to "thicken [my] skin"

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Trying to explain why a bold serif is a bad type choice, repeatedly, will get old. And for people who don't understand type, will not understand why it's a bad type choice.

 

I feel bad for Binky sometimes as he goes in depth with the e-crits. Does he get tired of it? I don't know.

 

If this forum was creative cow or the comments section at video copilot, there wouldn't even need to be any crits. But come on, people who post reels should know a bit about the place they post their reels at.

 

I don't want to look at a fucking 2 minute reel that seemed to be made on an Amiga Toaster.

 

I posted my shitty reel a few years back and got torn apart (and I knew where I was posting, even then). What did I do? Started going to design school. Best choice I've ever made in my life.

 

You can't explain design to a person who has never been exposed to design and it's intricacies.

 

There are two schools for the types of feedback people get – the ruthless kick you in the balls until you cry one, and the other approach, where you are calmly given the reasons as to why something doesn't work. Neither one is bad. I prefer the kick you in the balls approach because some people need to be kicked in the fucking balls.

 

The work we do is not easy. It takes years and years of fucking failures to reach to a point of where you're comfortable with your work.

 

I work with new students all the time and they're lazy as fuck. Don't do enough research, don't invest time into their work, and they can't explain why certain moves were made on a piece. They're just after "Oh that shit's fucking spinning! AND IT'S ON FIRE! LOOK AT MY BOLD AND ITALICIZED TYPE!"

 

Then again, this is my personal opinion. So who cares, right?

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I'm gonna side with Killkilla on this one - if someone can be arsed to waste three minutes of their lives watching a reel, then another 10 writing out their reaction to it, then I don't think you can say a word against them - and, from what I've seen, all but one of the recipients seem grateful of the honest response. There's far too much of the 'if you haven't got anything nice to say don't say anything' - myself included, so dozens of reels are posted without any comment at all - and even worse I've seen some truly diabolical turds praised to the skies on other forums. Of course, then I had to step in ;-)

 

So if someone's looking for an honest answer of how to improve their work, that's fine - and 'BE ORIGINAL!' is pretty hard to argue with once you've pulled the 'fucks' out of the way - it's not complicated, and it is constructive. On the other hand if some guy's had some nice words from his mates on Vimeo and liked the way it felt that's no reason to treat them tenderly here, we're all in the same game there shouldn't be a 'hierarchy of praise'.

 

Plus, at least it makes this place entertaining. No-one would have remembered Dorothy Parker if all she'd done was say how nice all these books and plays were.

 

(An aside, now I've mentioned DP - there's a great review she did where she talks about how much she hates being negative all the time, and was determined to find something complimentary to say about her latest victim. So she rips the crap out of the whole book, totally destroys the writer, but at the end says the binding and printing were some of the best she'd ever seen - genius...)

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good thread. i think the point of harsh but unhelpful crits being well taken. it is tough though then the reel is totally unpromising. in those cases i notice sometimes people just leave it alone. usually its either halfway there, good/promising, or contains some rips that need to be called out

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harsh crits are what have made this site infamous.. i'm fine with that.. it helped me way back when as well. but when someone's taking the harshness to the next level (unnecessarily imo) - they're going to get called out on it. case in point.

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It's not a useful crit unless you learn why someone likes the type choice or dislikes the type choice. If you're going to shoot someone down over their bad type choices.. What can you say beyond "go back to school"? Whats the point of being brutal if its not helpful? I guess if it's at least the funny then it might be worthwhile ;)

 

Well said sir.

 

I don't want to look at a fucking 2 minute reel that seemed to be made on an Amiga Toaster.

 

I totally want to look at that reel

Edited by NastyJames

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There's definitely a subconscious checklist that affects whether people reply or not. And I think it's sort of this:

Does the reel make me care one way or the other? If so, am I on this person's side, or against them?

 

It's a kind of a spectator mob mentality. Like being in an audience in the 14th century. You either want to cheer or hurl tomatoes. Or maybe you'll be the lone hero who bravely defends the performer from flying produce. Otherwise you'll sit there bored with your beer and then go home. Participation is where the excitement is, but the presentation has to coax you into it, and once that job is done, the presenter just becomes a platform for the audience to get its rocks off. And it's because the guy up there on stage, as it were, is relatively anonymous. He's faceless, so who cares what happens to him in the future? It's not about him/her anymore, it's about us fighting and laughing and idolicizing and whooping, cuz that's more fun.

 

It's hard to care ABOUT someone you don't know. A new user here is just a screen name and some text, and quite likely a reel with some really generic "graphics" that anyone who's seen television might make. So, personally, I kind of try to consciously NOT respond to whether I LIKE the work or not. My response is predicated on having a relatively clear idea of what might help the poster understand something better. SaintEfan is on point about the compliment sammich, and I try to beef up the constructive criticism and suggestions with "chin up" atta-boy comments, because people are more receptive to ideas that don't come in the form of an attack. But it's always about imparting an understanding. Not back-patting. Not body-slamming. And definitely not "do this, not that" with no explanation. Telling someone their typeface choice is lame without thorough qualification is clearly useless to them. In fact, telling a non-veteran level poster just about anything without thorough qualification is probably useless to them in the long run. That kind of means that I end up passing over a lot of showcase threads because I either don't have any ideas for trying to teach something, or I just can't figure out how. Sometimes I get bored and do a really half-assed job of it and question whether i've done more harm than good. But I think if you have a clear idea about what's going on in someone's head, and you can help them see it from a more elevated perspective, then absolutely go for it.

 

You don't have to demoralize someone to be of help in general. Although your effort will still be appreciated to greater and lesser degrees by certain people, but consider the lurker readership who may benefit. You're not just doing it for the poster. You're doing it for us all. I hope that's at least encouragement enough to say something thoughtful. And when you say something thoughtful, the OP's response probably won't be bitchy. Unless they're a total bitch.

 

Also, don't be a bitch. :D

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90% of the work i see on here is crap and i'm doing those individuals a favor by kicking them the real deal. not shattering dreams but some of these newbs need a reality check..and they should be so fortunate.

 

i'm no rockstar but i'm baffled at how design-retarded some of these people are that they can call themselves "designers." i mean if you didn't call yourself a designer, there'd be no reason to call you out on it would there?

Edited by killkillakillyo

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There's some amateur work that gets posted, but there's some amateur looking work that makes it into "professional" spots too. Is your issue with poor quality work or just with people who actually call themselves designers?

You seem to carry a lot of resentment around with you and I hope that you've been able to turn it into an asset for you.

 

Binky, all well said and, I think, a good reminder to everyone what a crit is really for.

I've noticed, in certain pockets of the industry, a fraternity hazing mentality of "I was paddled when I was coming up so now I need to take my crack at this pledge." I'm not sure it's always very helpful. It seems more a right of initiation than genuine help. I was never in a frat, so maybe it is a good "team building" exercise, I don't know.

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I agree with this. I take the suggestions from people with great reels with more validity. If someone says my work sucks, but doesn't have a reel to show that gives them some sort of authority, then how do I know it's the truth? I pretty much write those people off. Let's face it, it takes courage to post a reel for crit, and anyone bashing without a reel obviously doesn't have any. If I see an incredible reel from someone and they say my work sucks, I'll probably take that more to heart. Also, it's easy to look at profiles and see other people's posts. If all they do is talk trash on a daily basis and tell everyone how much they suck, then it's pretty much a given that they really just enjoy talking trash more than helping people and giving advice. Those people get about 0% validity in my book.

Of course the response is, "I'm just telling it like it is" or "That's just a reality check for the noobs." But the only way people will get better is with specific criticisms and ways to get better.

I highly doubt that "It sucks" or "it's not original" helps anyone make the necessary changes to become better at their craft.

Let's face it. We're doing this because we love it and we're trying to put food on the table. So next time anyone thinks about writing, "That's F-ing Terrible," think about the family behind the artist that needs food on their table. Will saying they suck help them in any way, or will an actual valid crit help them much better?

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The underlying rule is that if the work sucks but it belongs to an enthusiastic and appreciative young pup, then by all means I'll give em a bit of advice. Whether, having seen my shitty reel, they decide to listen is up to them, but I'd like to think my experience is of some use. I don't use it to throw my weight upon someone, unless they are an arrogant little shit, but this is really, really rare thankfully. The worst people we tend to get on here are people who, without due care, rip off Andrew Kramer over 15 shots, and ask us to critique it as if those tutes are below us... sandwiched between a typographic (90 degree angles, pop pop pop, vignette) of an cockney gangster film's voiceover, then a few gaudy inflatable extruded-font-on-cyclorama 3D spots. Oh, and I forgot the Flying Arrows. What mograph reel would be complete without spline arrows showing us where to cast our discerning eyes?

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Having gone to a design school I learned quickly how to take a critique: Just smile, nod, and say thank you.

 

While I agree mostly with what you are saying killkillakillyo, I think that you are taking it a little too far. I gladly accept critique of my work from anyone and everyone. People with no design background, people with purely technical skills, rockstar designers, children, everyone. But while I accept the critiques from everyone, I still weigh them all differently depending on who they are coming from.

 

One of the benefits of a classroom or studio environment is that you know the people critiquing you and you've probably seen their work. If someone that always shows work with shitty type is critiquing my choice of typeface, I'm not going to take it quite as seriously as when a 40 year veteran that started with metal type does the same. I think that is why people say "well let me see your work if you're such a rockstar" because they want to know who the critique is coming from. It helps to put things in perspective.

 

Bottom line: nothing should be taken personally, and everything should be taken with a grain of salt.

 

I totally agree with you Albert. Lets see the reel so we know who is talking to us

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The underlying rule is that if the work sucks but it belongs to an enthusiastic and appreciative young pup, then by all means I'll give em a bit of advice. Whether, having seen my shitty reel, they decide to listen is up to them, but I'd like to think my experience is of some use. I don't use it to throw my weight upon someone, unless they are an arrogant little shit, but this is really, really rare thankfully. The worst people we tend to get on here are people who, without due care, rip off Andrew Kramer over 15 shots, and ask us to critique it as if those tutes are below us... sandwiched between a typographic (90 degree angles, pop pop pop, vignette) of an cockney gangster film's voiceover, then a few gaudy inflatable extruded-font-on-cyclorama 3D spots. Oh, and I forgot the Flying Arrows. What mograph reel would be complete without spline arrows showing us where to cast our discerning eyes?

 

dunk

 

well said

 

in real life the compliment sandwich works, and is a better place for more supportive critiques. the internet is weird.

 

edit: also what albert said.

 

there should always be some internal or external criticism going on - too often it looks like people who think their shit dont stink and its only too obvious they wont be able to take the crit they are asking for. whatever, the internet is weird. just work to the point that you can work somewhere proper around some badasses and you will get better more helpful critiques - until then, take your chances with the internet. it helps if the work isnt pointless technique or plain ugly and shows some inventive thought

Edited by mintyfresh

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Came upon this one late…

 

I go back and forth myself. It's definitely frustrating with the “new blood” sometimes because there's so many that do rip and don't put due diligence into their work, but that's the case with any industry. Having recently been in a position to work with new peeps and students occasionally, I re-looked at the ways I critique people since I'm naturally inclined to be a little more impassioned, but probably coming off more arrogant than I truly mean to be. I think constructiveness is key, no reason to break someone down without building them back up. That's just U.S. foreign policy shizzle right there and you see where that takes us.

 

I think people like binky are super useful around here and give well thought out, informed answers that are truly helpful. His critique of my first reel was pivotal in my change of approach from a technical/software tricks mindset to a focusing more on design and storytelling.

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