Why it’s okay not asking for feedback

Feedback is a great thing, and it should be encouraged, but it’s okay if you don’t want feedback. I never asked for it when I was working on a personal project and couldn’t articulate why. Something happened to me this week that made me understand how I function. Do I think that I’m always right? That I’m infallible? I don’t care about people’s opinions?

Mainly no, but partially yes. I was at an all-day feedback workshop at work, and I’ve always been comfortable receiving feedback, but now I know how it’s best to give one when someone is asking for it. Somewhere around noon, the delivery guy arrived with my book orders, and from then, I had a hard time paying attention. I have a low attention span anyway, and the workshop was a bit longer than it should’ve been. My new year’s resolution for 2021 was to watch Twin Peaks, read the Dune, and bake a babka. I’m about to start the third Dune book, I watched all 3 seasons of Twin Peaks, Fire Walk with Me, and read both books about the history of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost. I still have 9 months left to bake a babka, but that’s another story. Getting back to Twin Peaks, I fell irreversibly in love with David Lynch. I watched countless interviews with him over the past weeks, and any time I hear him giggling in my head, I feel I’m a happy person. And the two books I ordered from Amazon were Catching the Big Fish and Room to Dream by Lynch. 

Right after work, I started to read Catching the Big Fish and finished by 10PM. Unfortunately, I don’t meditate because it’s making me even more anxious but reading about Lynch’s experience, I felt that I wanna feel like he does. It’s a well-known fact that the biggest movie failure of David Lynch is the Dune adaptation from 1984 when he didn’t have final cut. I don’t know how he can answer the questions about Dune with such a calm attitude for 30 years, but this is just another thing I envy him for. This is how he describes his feelings about this failure in the book:

I love the French. They’re the biggest film buffs and protectors of cinema in the world. They really look out for the filmmaker and the rights of a filmmaker, and they believe in final cut. I’ve been very lucky that I’ve been in with some French companies that have backed me.

But it wasn’t always that way. When I made Dune, I didn’t have final cut. It was a huge, huge sadness, because I felt I had sold out, and on top of that, the film was a failure at the box office. If you do what you believe in and have a failure, that’s one thing: you can still live with yourself. But if you don’t, it’s like dying twice. It’s very, very painful.

It’s totally absurd for filmmakers not to be able to make films the way they want to make them. But in this business it’s very common.

I came from painting. And a painter has none of these worries. A painter paints a painting. No one comes in and says, “You’ve got to change that blue.” It’s a joke to think that a film is going to mean anything if somebody else fiddles with it. If they give you the right to make the film, they owe you the right to make it the way you think it should be. The filmmaker should decide on every single element, every single word, every single sound, every single thing going down that highway through time. Otherwise it won’t hold together. The film may suck, but at least you made it suck on your own.

David Lynch – Catching the Big Fish

And this is exactly how I feel. I have a vision that I want to make, and since I’m creating it for the joy of creating, I have the right to display it how I imagined it. When I’m working on my day-to-day job, it’s a different story. But as long as I’m doing it for myself, I can do whatever I want to do. Apply low contrast colors, choose worst-practice charts, decide on bad fonts. If they turn out great and people love it, that’s a plus, but I don’t really care if they don’t. One of my favorite visualizations is the one I made about Infinite Jest and it got the lowest number of likes in my portfolio. But I’d rather do twelve more Infinite Jest vizzes than something I’m not in love with.

Featured image: Huck Magazine

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