Teaching The Media Show: Producer Feedback

The great strength of the Gottesman Video Collective is the way all new video producers learn through apprenticeships, or legitimate peripheral participation. A key part is feedback in production meetings. Our managing editors emphasize positive and constructive feedback. Feedback is frequently very detailed, ranging from “What did you do with the lighting there? I liked how it looked” to “Did you consider rearranging the edit so the speaker said such-and-so first?” to “There was a pop in your audio at 2:31, did you hear it?”

We couldn’t bring the students we were working with at BIHS in to the lab for a meeting, so we did the next best thing: we had some of our producers watch their videos and recorded their feedback. This is the video we showed to the students. Their reaction let us know how compelling they found the process of getting authentic feedback from “real” producers, and you can see it in the video blog about their final day of class. They were riveted to the screen! In feedback at the end of the day, one of the students said, “At first I was really nervous because I thought they wouldn’t like what we did, but then I was really proud when I heard what they said.” Another student said he thought this model made the project more like the real world than many of his other classes.

What do you think: is “authentic” producer feedback important? How and why do you think the kids reacted differently to this video than they did to Skye and Gus being in the classroom? Do you think there are ways in which authentic producer feedback could go wrong?

You may not live near Hollywood or Manhattan, but there may still be opportunities for your students to get their work critiqued by professional producers. It’s worth approaching professional studios in big cities to arrange a remote online feedback session; you might try using Skype, iChat, or Google video chat. Many major cities also have their own small advertising producers, and of course many towns have local television broadcast affiliates or local cable-access stations (the latter of which are incredible resources for students who really want to get into production — our best interns came to us from production at local channels). You might even try approaching a nearby college or university; many of them hire videographers to cover events or create remote video content. You’ll want to prepare these mentors by reminding them to keep in mind the production limitations of your students’ equipment; to pay attention to details which could be improved in spite of these limitations; and to be positive but not content-free.