Write a one-minute cue, with at least two rounds of feedback from someone else whose opinion you value—could be a loved one, could be the family pet. It’s up to you. No additional constraints, except the ones you choose to put on yourself. But you really have to find someone who will be honest with you about what does and doesn’t work for them.
My point in suggesting this exercise is to explore what resonates with the people around you, and to see if that stuff is the same stuff, related stuff, or completely different stuff than what resonates with you. Equally important, it’s about gaining some free experience in trying to translate someone else’s feedback into meaningful, successful revisions.
Interpreting someone’s comments—figuring out what they’re trying to tell us in this incredibly subjective, incredibly difficult-to-quantify realm, is a crucial skill for us all to develop.
It’s always fascinating (at least to me) when I knock out a cue, just relying on the craft to get the stupid thing done, and then that cue becomes a big hit with The Powers That Be. You do this thing long enough, and it’s gonna happen. You’ll turn in some work that you feel is sort of uninspired and routine, and magic happens. The client loves it. It becomes the blueprint for the rest of the project… and you’re stuck with this thing that, to you, is nothing special.
Or maybe the converse happens: you really dig a particular cue—you’d bet the farm that this one’s gonna be a Big Winner. And then… nothing. Or worse, the client feels you’re not even in the ballpark of what they were expecting. How to make the requisite changes? How to get inside the heads of the people who are hiring you and come up with a winner?
Let’s do a little field work this weekend. Let’s calibrate our personal cool-o-meters and polish up our skills as translators.
Write something you think is right in your personal wheelhouse—in the sweet spot of your locus of cool; something you know for a fact that you do well—and see how it works for someone whose opinion you value. Maybe it’ll be the roaring success you expect it to be. Maybe, if you really press for (and correctly interpret) an honest evaluation, you’ll find unexpected areas in which you can improve and grow. At the very least, it’s a good excuse to write a kick-ass demo cue in a style that’s near and dear to your heart. And that’s never a bad thing.
BTW, if you’d like your fellow SCOREcasters to offer up their opinions, just include a link and let us know. We’ll be happy to give you the unvarnished truth. Which might require a little less translating than what you’ll get from your goldfish.
Can’t wait to hear what you come up with. I’ll do one of these as well. I’ll run it by a few pairs of trusted ears and let you know the good, the bad and the ugly. Thinking about it now, I’m a little nervous to get started. And I think that’s a good thing.