How do you currently evaluate your sound designs?

We all receive comments (verbal and written) from our colleagues (Supervising sound editor, Re-recording engineer, Director etc.), but does anyone have use a formal evaluation system?

If you do what is it, and how useful do you find it?


I always encourage feedback to be offered in terms of emotions and what's right for the brand/story/experience, and to not let a shred of feedback slip by without forcing the critic to get at the "why" behind their comments (make no mistake, that can be very difficult). That gets the conversation, usually, out of the tactical and micro-managing phase and back on track with letting me do what I do best, while never belittling or invalidating the feedback itself, and letting me better understand what the critic is trying to achieve.

It's often the case that what is said in terms of feedback isn't always what's meant.

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When I was a teenager I hung around a recording studio and got chatting to the owner many times. His advice was this....

If you think your music is crap everyone else will think it's the most awful thing they've ever heard. If you think your music is good everyone else will think it's crap. If you think your music excellent everyone else will think it's good. If you think your music is the work of genius everyone else will think it's excellent.

I try to be my worst critic. That said it's also healthy to evaluate your own work by comparing it to your peers and influences.

At this point in my career I can confidently say I'm rather good at what I do. BUT, I still have a lot to learn.

Never knock yourself too much but beware your ego too.

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Some distance is always needed. I see all too often how people go too deeply into tweaking details and lose sight of what their original intentions were. I think this is related to what NoiseJockey said above.

To get distance you need other people to listen to your work and give some form of personal qualitative feedback. Rather than the banal 'this sound good or bad' or bland comparisons of 'sounds like this' or 'sounds like that', listeners need to articulate their experiences, which is not always easy.

But in the end, good feedback tends to go a long way.

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