One thing that seems to always happen with me is that once I’m in post-production on a project, I tend to get tunnel vision; I only see what I want to see on the screen. I try to keep all things in mind as I edit:
- What was the original plan or vision for this piece?
- Who is my main audience?
- What do I want people to walk away with?
But even with awareness of the over-all plan, I can get too close to the piece and lose sight of how it will play with a larger audience. Here is where I try to call on “new eyes”. I have a small group of friends and co-workers (non-boss) that I lean on to check me as I go through the process. Some times, I call one or two of them in to the edit suite and don’t tell them anything about the project so that they can give me feedback without any preconceived ideas about what they are going to look at… call it an impromptu focus group. Once they have seen the piece, I ask questions about what they got out of it. That initial feedback will tell you a lot about what your audience will get… or miss. After the initial look, I will ask more specific questions about some of the more subtle aspects like: Does the music feel right? Are the graphics helpful or distracting? Is the piece too long/short?
One of the great things about these new eyes is that you are free to listen to and watch their responses without the pressure of having to have everything polished and perfect… simply tell them that the piece is about 75% done and you just want to get their opinion on how it’s looking. Allow this small audience to speak freely and honestly; while not always easy to hear, it’s better to get a fresh perspective now than to get it in the final approval process.