When I used to teach, I would be the first person to see the students’ final film ideas.
They would pitch me the wonders of their imaginations either with or without thumbnail drawings.
It was a fun and magical time for them filled with anxiety and anticipation.
And sometimes fear.
You see, over time I had developed a bit of a reputation of being brutally honest when needed. If I didn’t think they had a decent story idea, I would tell them.
If they were heading towards making a “Huh? What?”* film, I would say so.
(* A “Huh? What?” film is when the film finishes screening, it’s met with silence. Then with the audience looking at each other mumbling, “Huh? What the hell was THAT?” A common occurrence in student film screenings unfortunately.)
I eventually started to call these pitch sessions “The Crushing of Dreams”.
Well, *I* thought it was funny.
So did a lot of the students. It got to the point if one of their classmates had a real whopper of an idea, a group of them would gather around nearby just to see my reaction.
Which was usually a silent-stare-opened-mouth-raised-eyebrow kind of thing.
They dug it.
Until it was their turn.
Then it wasn’t so amusing.
Sometimes I was met with anger. Sometimes I was met with appreciation. Sometimes I was met with defensiveness. Oy, was I met with defensiveness!
“Yeah, but…”, “Yeah, but…”, “Yeah, but…”.
Now, when I did these “Crushing of Dreams”, it truly came from a place of sincerity and caring. Even if it didn’t look that way to the students at the time.
I didn’t want these guys to have that “Huh? What?” film. (Well OK, except maybe those folks who really didn’t give a damn. I sorta looked forward to that sweet revenge.)