Working in sound is both intense, demanding and stressful at times, so it's vital that you look after yourself and the people around you.
With that in mind, let's start the series with an important reminder from Telltale Games audio director Michael Kamper, on creativity, feedback, validation - and what you can do to make a difference:
Written by Michael Kamper
The other day on my drive into work, I was thinking about validation. Specifically, as a person in a “creative” profession, what validation means to me.
One of the hardest lessons that I have learned over the course of my 20+ year career is how to take feedback. I was terrified to have my supervisor sit over my shoulder while I displayed the work I had been crafting for the past week. I would much rather have them review my work while I was out of the room and come back later to get the notes they left behind.
One of the hardest lessons that I have learned over the course of my 20+ year career is how to take feedback. I was terrified to have my supervisor sit over my shoulder while I displayed the work I had been crafting for the past week.
The thing to remember is that everyone else is just as wrapped up in just as much insanity in their lives as you are. They have just as much joy and pain and stress and anguish and hope and disillusionment as you. I figure 60-80% of their reaction/interaction with you probably has 0% to do with you and 100% to do with whatever they are dealing with at the moment.
Where I’m going with this is that as creatives we do what we do because we love to do it. However, we are always hoping to have some kind of external validation for what we feel we are accomplishing – be it from our boss, our compatriots, our product’s end-users – whomever is getting exposed and influenced by our work.
Unfortunately, as fractured and stressed as we are these days as a society, it’s almost impossible to get any kind of unsolicited and constructive feedback from people. Even getting a “yeah, that seems good” can feel like pulling teeth. Others will never see everything that we put into our art or understand the stress it takes to even get something into a state we feel we can share it with them.
My point is to be mindful of two things…
1) Don’t rely on external validation to justify your creativity, find that validation internally. Sometimes it’s the only way to keep going.
It’s cliche to say “believe in yourself” but that exactly what you have to do because you will always go through patches where it feels like one one else does and you need something to keep you moving.
2) No matter what position you are in – intern, manager, or CEO – find the time and make the effort to give people validation for the work that they do. If something impresses you, if you are moved by someone’s work, if you feel they have hit that sweet spot – tell them so.
You never know when the words of encouragement you share with someone will be just the right ones for them to make it through their day
Even if what they did works on a functional level but doesn’t quite hit the right emotion, tell them they are on the right track, give them the direction you are looking for along with the motivation they are craving.
You never know when the words of encouragement you share with someone will be just the right ones for them to make it through their day.
Be mindful, be encouraging, be constructive, be considerate, be helpful, be honest – whatever it is you do, ultimately just try to be the message you most want to receive from the world.
Find out more about Michael Kamper here.
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