Three Tough Questions that are Easy to Answer

Filters are important. Filters keep the bad stuff out and let the good and valuable stuff proceed.

Evaluations are vastly important. If we don’t know why something worked, then when it’s broken we won’t know how to fix it. Success is good. Evaluated success is better.

Prior to moving forward with any project I’ll ask myself and my team these three questions.

Is it helpful?

Is it memorable?

Is it excellent?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, then we either look for solutions to make it a “yes”, or we do not move forward.

Let’s unpack these a little bit.

Is it helpful?

Sometimes being helpful with your art can mean asking some tough questions of your audience. Sometimes being helpful means shedding light on some big issues. Sometimes, a lot of the time, most of the time for me, being helpful can simply mean giving your audience an opportunity to take their mind off their worries and problems for a short while.

Is it memorable?

Will your audience remember what you said? Will they remember how your art made them feel? Are there absolutely unforgettable moments and performances in your art? Even just one unforgettable, completely memorable element can make the whole piece worth it. (But do try to have more than one.)

Is it excellent?

This is why we rehearse. This is why we work in solitude until it’s ready. One of our biggest responsibilities as artists is to eliminate distraction. If it’s out of place, if it’s not up to standard, if it needs tightening or a rewrite, then it’s not ready, and it’s not excellent. I understand excellence is a moving target and continues to be just out of reach, but if our sites are not set on excellence then is it even worth doing?

If the answer is “yes” to all three, then we are a Go!

However, there is one last thing to do before it’s finished. Here are the final questions to ask after the project was completed and presented. While these questions may take less time to answer, the answers can sometimes sting a lot more.

Was it helpful?

Was it memorable?

Was it excellent?

(That last one is the one that always gets me.)

What questions, filters, and evaluations do you use to begin and finish well?

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One Response to “Three Tough Questions that are Easy to Answer”

  1. Reblogged this on Jan Verhoeff and commented:
    Worthy of being sent out for more to see. Well stated, Rob Lott. I appreciate your candor and your evaluation of success. Great information to share. Thank you!

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