Nine hard-learned lessons from my first real Crit:
1. Do not, EVER, allow yourself to become married to the material you're pursuing.
2. Always ask yourself, what is the bare minimum required to convey the essential idea--the barebones, no shit essence of what you're trying to communicate.
3. Be leary of your set-ups: if it feels like you're trying to project meaning onto the shot, instead of setting up the shot to communicate your idea, then you're bassackwards and you don't fucking need it.
4. First, before you do anything else, ask yourself, "What am I trying to say? What do I want my audience to get out of this?" And if you don't fuck around and are honest with yourself, then all you'll need to ask next is, "What is the most elegant way to say it?" and voila!
5. SB: "Part of this class is being able to tell the difference between a good idea...and a bad idea. You're trying to stay structurally or conceptually pure to your idea, so you say, 'I gotta have this scene.' -- You don't gotta have that scene."
7. SB: "You don't need to illustrate stuff." Imply it!
8. SB: (para) Let the audience stitch it together in their heads. "Use our minds as your editor."
9. Credits, cool though they may be, are not necessary for a 90-second short film. Especially when it takes 4+ hours of work to prep them. Cool. Very cool. Not needed. Waste of time.
Of course, when I say you, yourself, etc. I really mean me, myself, etc. And why are these so hard-learned? Because I did the exact wrong thing on every one.
I have my work cut out for me: I have just discovered that I'm probably as self-indulgent as any spoiled, big-budget filmmaker or any pretentious indie "auteur." I didn't even know it. But I gotta lose it, and it ain't gonna go easy.