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   Now in our eighth calendar year!
    PCR #397 (Vol. 8, No. 44) This edition is for the week of October 29--November 4, 2007.

"American Gangster" †by Mike Smith
Halloween Potpourri part 2 -- a Casanegra Halloween. †by Terence Nuzum
Grow or Die: Art and the Review †by Corey Castellano
I Went To Cult-O-Ween And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt †by Lisa Ciurro
Retro-Ween †by ED Tucker
Halloween & Horrors Overload Pt. II: Beach Theatre Terrorthon and Cult-O-Ween †by Andy Lalino
The Nominees Are .... Passing On .... Movie Notes .... .... .... .... .... .... Whatever Happened To--? Chapter 32: Charles Durning †by Mike Smith
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Film Biz 101

Grow or Die: Art and the Review

This week's topic is actually relevant to a thread that recently passed around the CFB Site. This time around I want to discuss something that relates to "developing your skill set". Now, how does this relate to anything recently seen on the board you ask? Specifically it relates to the "harsh reviews" topic. Let me explain:

We are all creative, artistic individuals, working in a creative medium. Because of this, the bulk of our work has a "labor of love" element to it or, more simply put, we put a little of ourselves into our work. When our work is critiqued, praised or criticized, it's as if we, or a beloved child, is being targeted. While, it's not hard to understand feeling that way, there are other things to keep in mind. Let me start by stating the obvious: If you put your work on public display you are opening yourself to commentary and critique. This is part of the ongoing nature of the artistic mediums in which we work. It is also the potentially adversarial nature of the artistís relationship with anyone with whom the art is shared.

That said, I will state that the biggest downfall of any creative individual is this: Not being able to see what's wrong with your work. While it's fine to be proud of your project, you also need to be realistic. For example, letís say you shot a ten minute short that has great acting and production value but crappy editing. Letís also say that it has crappy editing because you edited it yourself and you are too close to the source material (i.e. you wrote it so you get it). Now someone critiques your project and comments on the poor flow or convoluted storytelling. Do you get pissed off and turn your back on your ďattackersĒ or do you try to remain objective and realize that this is an opportunity to grow as an artist? Remember that when you cease to grow you begin to die...

In the past, when I taught Special Effects / Prosthetic Makeup at the Westmore Academy in LA, I learned that, while there are many things that can be taught, the most important ones can't. I found that the craft of makeup FX could be taught but not the art. You see, apart from the technical aspect of things, what can be taught is how to see whatís not right with something. Unfortunately, the only way to do this is to POINT OUT THE FLAWS in the work. Then, hopefully, someone can begin to see where they went wrong and they can learn to compare the resulting ďmistakeĒ or shortcoming to what they TRIED to accomplish and improve.

Critiquing someoneís work, be it film or a portfolio, is a difficult thing. If you try to remain complimentary and non-committal you arenít really helping the person. Conversely, if you are too direct youíre considered a harsh, brutal, uncaring asshole. This is why I adopted a habit from a good friend and fellow makeup artist wherein, when reviewing a portfolio, comment only on things that you like unless asked for a critique. BUT, if asked for a critique donít candy-coat it. The film industry is a harsh and unforgiving business and instilling false hope or a misplaced feeling of accomplishment can rob an otherwise talented individual from achieving their potential. Over the years Iíve seen peopleís work absolutely EVISCERATED by their industry heroes but they took the lesson, learned from it and came back better than ever . This is a lesson that should be applicable to everyone involved in the film biz.

"Film Biz 101" is ©2007 by Corey Castellano. The Film Biz banner is a creation of Corey Castellano, ©2007. Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova. †All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.