How we go about this process

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
@MithLuin , I think you've been doing a great job of summarizing our ideas and suggestions in very small space, and conveying it to the Execs. Thank you! I'm also grateful for the summary and description of how this process works, it really helps me to gather my thoughts about what might be done to improve it.

My constructive criticism of this process is that while ideas are being conveyed to the Execs, concerns are not. Our concerns can't be acknowledged or addressed if the Execs don't know about them.

For me, as long as some of my ideas are included some of the time, it's only a disappointment or relatively minor frustration when an idea of mine isn't used. I know that collaboration means using ideas from many different people, and part of the fun is bouncing ideas off each other and synthesizing them together. What bothers me much more is when my concerns are not addressed, or even ignored entirely. If my idea isn't used then somebody else's will be, which is nice for them and the others in this project have great ideas too. But if my concerns are brushed aside without consideration, then I feel that I have been brushed aside and that the problem I anticipated is now extremely likely to happen, to the detriment of the story we're trying to write.

I'll use your Hildorien slides and Executive-summary as an example here, Marie. You summarized our ideas well (although you seem to have left out context for who the Voice was). But it looks like you didn't mention something to the Hosts that was important to me. I have a strong concern that Morgoth can't be the tempor, because of his terrifying appearance and inability to shapeshift. Haerangil also had a concern about how the Edain will learn that they can trust Avari. It appears that these concerns weren't mentioned in the materials sent to the Hosts. I don't mean to say that you ignored our concerns, but that you maybe didn't realize how important they were among the other things on that thread.

Sometimes we suggest a particular idea not only for its own sake, but also because we want to avoid or solve a problem to address a concern one of us has had. I suggested sending Annatar to address my conern about Morgoth's hideousness. The context was a significant part of that idea.


My suggestion for the process is to include major concerns, as well as ideas, and display the concerns in a somewhat separate way from the ideas so it's clear that they're an important category of information in their own right. One way to relieve you of having to guess which points are most important to each contributor, would be to say in Episode Questions on Monday or Tuesday before the Podcast "Briefly tell me the few most important points or concerns you want communicated to the Hosts this Wednesday." This would both remind us it's coming up, and let us encapsulate our thoughts and clarify which are most important to us. It would also make it more likely for those who can't participate live to have their ideas and concerns seen by the Hosts.

In any collaborative creative endeavor, it's important that people trust that others will listen to them when they contribute, and no one's concerns get dismissed without consideration.
This, for me, has been the hardest part of this project. I have very often felt that my concerns about problems were not considered and were brushed away, especially by the Hosts. That together with them having very different goals from me, and their humor that I find incomprehensible or hurtful, has made it virtually impossible for me to understand or trust the Execs so far, or to feel that they respect me as a contributor or participant.

I know that my ideas won't always be used, that's the nature of collaboration. We'll always be discarding this or that idea. But I don't think anyone's concerns should be dismissed out of hand. (When I don't respond to somebody's concerns on this board, it's because I didn't read the thread or don't think I have any useful solutions to suggest, but I hope that I haven't outright told someone their concerns don't matter.)



@Ange1e4e5 I haven't replied in casting just because actors aren't an area I have much knowledge in, so there's not much I can intelligently add.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
I think that nearly everyone involved in Silm Film feels that Tolkien's books are far superior to Peter Jackson's films. There are differences in expectations in what would make for a good adaptation, but no one thinks we're "improving" upon Tolkien's stories. We're adapting them for a TV series and fleshing out stories that he only told in brief. And, yes, changes are being made as we go. What the Execs have consistently objected to is the idea that we 'have' to do something a certain way because Tolkien did so. If there is a reason to do it differently, they are comfortable making changes. They don't want to change everything just for the sake of doing so, but they are fine with making justifiable changes.

I don't know all of our opinions of the films, but I would imagine we all have scenes we love and scenes we hate, and parts that we found really moving and parts that we found really cringe-worthy. The only area of this project where we are seeking any continuity with PJ's films is with Howard Shore's score - Phillip Menzies, our composer, is very much using that for inspiration in his own original compositions. Costumes, sets, armor, casting - we're starting from a different point for those ideas.

As for your concern about the tone in which the Execs address the listeners/participants, would you like for me to make a comment to them before the next Session that someone has found their jokes to be mean-spirited and would like them to be a bit nicer/kinder rather than ribbing?
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
*crossposted*

Yes, I understand that concerns are important, and that is part of what I communicate to the Execs. I let them know if an idea was not popular or if there were concerns raised after the fact. I also do try to put such commentary into some of the materials I send them. Typically, I try to phrase concerns as a question: How can we have x if y? etc. These slides and notes are meant as discussion aids, so I don't always want to start with the conclusion. I can't very well tell them what to do AND why to do it! I can give a reason for a suggestion (and certainly did in the Captive Elves notes), and make an effort to convey some of the reasons already discussed.

As for the Hildorien slide/notes (which we can discuss more on that thread), the concern that Morgoth, locked in a hideous form, would not be good for the role of tempter, was brought up and discussed during the Session. It was neither ignored nor dismissed; they simply did not agree that Morgoth was incapable of serving as the tempter in this scenario. You will note that I did include the details about the gold armor and the silmarils (obviously aimed at alleviating the terrible side of his aspect), and the very concept of a tag-team approach emphasized the differing strengths of Sauron and Morgoth. In other words, I trusted the Execs to figure out what we were trying to do based on the final result we gave them, and, true to that, they understood and responded to those concerns. It's true I didn't give much time to the Avari. For one thing, that aspect of the story is really a question for Season 5. And, I did make sure they were mentioned, so if we did have time/desire to speak about them, the reminder was there.

When I raised the unpopularity of the choice of Annael in the most recent session, Corey Olsen was surprised, but immediately asked what the concern was. Once he heard that the concern was a negative impact on the fostering of Tuor, he addressed that concern and explained how he thought this particular back story would not have that effect.

Certainly, I can make more efforts to convey concerns as we go. But the underlying issue remains that just because I convey a concern, and just because the Execs address a concern, this does not mean that we all will feel that the concern has been dealt with satisfactorily.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
I guess my main criticism of the Hosts is that they can be a bit long-winded and not everything gets covered in a session. For the session on the villains plotlines, they barely glossed over the rest of the storylines apart from the catch and release program; in the most recent session, we were supposed to cover Hildorien, Dragons and Luthien; the latter two were almost an afterthought.
 
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MithLuin

Well-Known Member
They are long-winded, yes. They will get to those other topics; they aren't skipping them. But unlike a session where we focus on a single episode, these preliminary discussions are more open ended and a bit more difficult to predict the duration of. I am sorry if it's confusing, but I can't always predict accurately what topics we will cover.
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
*crossposted*
All of this is very reassuring, thank you. Perhaps I didn't fully understand the 'visual aids' you posted earlier.

As for your concern about the tone in which the Execs address the listeners/participants, would you like for me to make a comment to them before the next Session that someone has found their jokes to be mean-spirited and would like them to be a bit nicer/kinder rather than ribbing?
I would enormously appreciate that, Marie. I don't mean to ask for an end of humor and banter, only that one particular joke about making a group of people scream/be miserable. Or... if they don't intend to be mean-spirited, maybe they could say "just kidding" or something like that?

But the underlying issue remains that just because I convey a concern, and just because the Execs address a concern, this does not mean that we all will feel that the concern has been dealt with satisfactorily.
True, that isn't something that can be acted upon by anyone on the forum.


(Cross-posted) Thank you for your insight as well Nick. I've been re-reading and thinking about all the helpful responses I've gotten.

I know that the comment thread on the end of the hosts is a proverbial fire hose. I've never had half the listeners Prof. Olsen does, and I've sometimes had trouble keeping up. I've often had suggestions missed in the fray, some of which I thought were pretty awesome.
That's what I suspected. For the things we most want to ensure are seen by the Hosts, the comment stream isn't a reliable channel. The idea of having a "Questions for Narnion"-style forum may be a good backup method, if the Hosts are OK with having an additional forum to check. It might be less work for Marie, but more work for them.

I can 100% assure you that Dave's comments about inserting love triangles and pointless battles are jokes.
Good to know for certain!


despite his "handicap" as a straight, white male.
Race and gender don't have any effect on the situation, at least for me.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Okay, I have a suggestion. Let me know if people think this would be helpful.

I already go through the discussion threads and pull information to put together the powerpoints and session notes. So, repeating ourselves there might not have any significant change in making sure thoughts and ideas aren't lost in translation. (Though I certainly do appreciate when people make summary/synthesis posts to bring their thoughts together.)

So, what if I started a thread that was *solely* for leaving notes for the Execs? I could simply copy/paste them and pass them along. That way, there would be no change in anyone's wording, nothing left out, etc. I am not offering to pass along a one thousand word essay every time; I'm looking for short, (but not necessarily tweet-sized), messages that people would like to pass along to the Execs. So, if you dislike a particular decision, you could ask them to please reconsider and give what you think is your best justification for revisiting that idea. If you wanted a particular idea discussed, you could encapsulate it in your own words.

For this to work, we would have to hold ourselves to not replying to others on that thread. It would be public, which is probably better than 'passing notes' or the like. It's just a suggestion, but it has the advantage of being something we can decide here.


Oh, and for those who are struggling with the humor, they do often laugh when they are joking. I realize that's not a 100% accurate way of determining what is serious and what is not, but it can be a helpful indicator.
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
It is a good suggestion as long as you’re truly willing to do the extra work of moderating the thread (lock it so only mods can post?) on top of all that you already do.

At the moment I’m very pessimistic that Corey would only laugh at our concerns. Explaining our thoughts clearly doesn’t seem to matter one bit.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
It is a good suggestion as long as you’re truly willing to do the extra work of moderating the thread (lock it so only mods can post?) on top of all that you already do.

At the moment I’m very pessimistic that Corey would only laugh at our concerns. Explaining our thoughts clearly doesn’t seem to matter one bit.
If only mods can post, that leaves everyone else out to dry.

Oh, and I’ve reached 2,000 posts (not yet 500 likes).
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
No, I very much was suggesting a thread that everyone could post on. It wouldn't be a locked thread but I would request that no one respond to anything that was posted in that thread there. Like when we do nominations for casting, and there's no commentary/discussion on nomination threads.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
No, I very much was suggesting a thread that everyone could post on. It wouldn't be a locked thread but I would request that no one respond to anything that was posted in that thread there. Like when we do nominations for casting, and there's no commentary/discussion on nomination threads.
Ok, I think I understand it better.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Discussion continued from another thread ('Women Fighters').

OK. I was also wondering about your disapproval, since you're the arbiter of what ideas can even be mentioned to the Execs. If you don't approve of, for example, a scene with a healer taking care of Maedhros, I don't really get to suggest the scene to the Execs, or put it in a script outline. I get to post a 1-sentence tweet in the chat box, which at best, if I'm lucky enough to have my tweet even seen before it scrolls off the screen, won't be enough to adequately describe my idea, and so it'll probably be rejected out of hand.
You are describing me as a gatekeeper.

You are suggesting that only those ideas that I like will be passed along to the Execs at all.

That is simply not true. I have certainly passed along ideas that I have argued against here on the boards, even ideas that didn't have much support at all. I might mention whose idea it is, or describe an idea as 'very popular' if several people seemed to like it. I don't always include all the pro/con discussion that went with an idea; I might include one key argument of support or criticism of an idea. But I don't reject ideas out of hand simply because they are not my own. My role is to synthesize discussions, not to value-filter them. It's true I leave a lot out; the Execs do not have time to read 100 posts discussing the project. I do sometimes skip over an idea by accident, or leave out tangents.

If you want current examples, I will give some. I don't think Episode 1 should be 2 hours long; but that suggestion has been made as a possible solution to a timing problem, and I am thus including it. You'll notice that in the list I made of ways we could handle episode 1, I put that suggestion first. I think it's worth discussing. It's not my choice, nor is it my idea, but I have no intention of 'silently filtering' that suggestion away. You don't have to convince me it's a good idea. I don't think it is. But that doesn't mean we can't have the Execs discuss it and see if they think it's a good idea. And if they want a two hour opener, I'll plan one and give it to them.

I think Maedhros should be brought back to the Fëanorean camp when Fingon rescues him, and recover there. You think he should be brought back to Fingolfin's camp, with the Fëanoreans visiting him during his recovery there. We don't have to come to any agreement there. Surely both suggestions can be made, and we can see which will work best in SilmFilm? Your suggestion that Maglor's wife (as besan of the Fëanorean camp) would gift lembas and grain to the besan of Fingolfin's camp was included in what I sent to the Hosts. You'll notice that my efforts to fit your suggested scene into the overall story of healing the feud between the camps was not part of what went into that idea on the slide. It was solely an interaction between the besain, as you suggested.

I do reject ideas that have already been rejected by the project in general. If someone (for instance) wanted to include Argon, I'd have to point out that in Silm Film, there is no Argon. Or if someone wanted to bring back Amrod for some reason, it would be a case of, no, sorry, he's already dead in our project.

And if someone feels I skipped over their idea or conveyed it poorly, they're welcome to call me out on that and I'll try again next time (this thread seemed a good place to mention that!). I know I'm not perfect, and sometimes I drop the ball. Maybe I misunderstood the suggestion or didn't even see it if it was posted somewhere obscure. But that doesn't mean that I am (somehow) intentionally blocking ideas from reaching the Hosts during the podcast.

Now, back to your post. I understand that you are disappointed in how the Execs reacted to this topic [female Noldor characters], and frustrated by your interactions with them. It's okay to vent some of that in my direction, but I have to say that I don't really appreciate being described in this way. I find it to be a very unfair evaluation of my efforts to be a go-between for the messageboard and the Hosts.

It's true that Corey Olsen won't read out every single thing you type in the discussion box during the podcast. But he does read and react to messages typed there. It's his podcast. He's allowed to decide what he wants to talk about. Sometimes, it's not the same things we want to talk about. If he skips over a comment, it might be because he got distracted and didn't see it. Or it might be because it's not what he wants to be talking about at that moment. Sometimes he does come back to things later. If you treat the comment box as a place to respond to questions that he poses and comment on things he is saying, he is quite likely to pick up what you say and respond to it. But not always.


Which brings me back to....what would you all like me to do about that? Would you like for me to start a thread of 'Notes for the Hosts of the Silmarillion Film Project Podcast' where people here can leave short messages that I will pass along verbatim? I am certainly willing to do that. The Hosts are not willing to spend time on the messageboard; sorry, that is not an option that is on the table.
 
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Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
I am very sorry that I unfairly mischaracterized the hard work you've been doing, Marie. I have noticed and been very grateful of how you've presented our suggestions from the forum to the Execs, and I should be more ready to express that. The concern I've felt lately has been specifically about the minor/background characters and not the other topics.

When I set out to clarify what was said in a podcast, I am merely making sure everyone is on the same page and understands what was discussed. It isn't me shutting anything down. It's not even an indication of what I like or what I think.
I have sometimes had a difficult time distinguishing when you speak for the Execs, and when you speak for yourself. I also have a hard time telling Final, unalterable Decisions apart from rough current plans and mere interest or disinterest. I don't intend my reactions to the Execs to be directed at you personally and I'm very sorry it feels that way. I do very greatly appreciate your clarifications of the broadcasts.


It's true that Corey Olsen won't read out every single thing you type in the discussion box during the podcast. But he does read and react to messages typed there. It's his podcast. He's allowed to decide what he wants to talk about. Sometimes, it's not the same things we want to talk about. If he skips over a comment, it might be because he got distracted and didn't see it. Or it might be because it's not what he wants to be talking about at that moment. Sometimes he does come back to things later. If you treat the comment box as a place to respond to questions that he poses and comment on things he is saying, he is quite likely to pick up what you say and respond to it. But not always.
What I was trying to say about the podcast is that I don't think he can see every message, or has time to respond to them all or read long ones, and that it isn't a place where we can describe our thoughts in detail. And I don't get the impression that the podcast was originally really intended to be the time for giving our suggestions, that maybe they prefer us to do it some other way anyway.

Would you like for me to start a thread of 'Notes for the Hosts of the Silmarillion Film Project Podcast' where people here can leave short messages that I will pass along verbatim?
This is a suggestion that I personally like.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
What I was trying to say about the podcast is that I don't think he can see every message, or has time to respond to them all or read long ones, and that it isn't a place where we can describe our thoughts in detail. And I don't get the impression that the podcast was originally really intended to be the time for giving our suggestions, that maybe they prefer us to do it some other way anyway.
I'm just going to jump in to answer these two points.

I can say with relative certainty that the hosts cannot see every single question that is typed into the box, but they do their best.

I can also say that commenting live was indeed the original method in which participants' ideas were to be conveyed to the hosts, with the hosts' briefings (synthesized by Phillip at the time) just giving them a general sense of wind direction.

I would say that anyone who is attending live, active on the discussion boards, and involved in the script discussions likely has more creative input into the direction of the show than anyone else, maybe rivaling that of the Hosts themselves, though they exercise ultimate veto power.
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
I have to say that I don't feel like my concerns, or the ideas we had developed before today, were conveyed to the Execs clearly or accurately. Corey didn't merely dismiss these things out of hand, he acted like he had never heard of any of them, including the entire Galadriel storyline that we wrote using the direction he himself gave us.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I have to say that I don't feel like my concerns, or the ideas we had developed before today, were conveyed to the Execs clearly or accurately. Corey didn't merely dismiss these things out of hand, he acted like he had never heard of any of them, including the entire Galadriel storyline that we wrote using the direction he himself gave us.
Given that the Prof. has spent a ton of time addressing your comments since you began participating, I'm not sure what more you are looking for. As he said today, his disagreement does not amount to a dismissal. He has addressed your arguments in detail on quite a number of occasions.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
What was conveyed to the Execs was that there was a conflict between the timing of the Galadriel storyline and their initial request to have the Kinslaying reveal come before the Dagor Aglareb.

Here on the boards, most people* liked the idea of moving the Kinslaying reveal later to address this conflict.

Clearly, the Hosts preferred to alter the timing of the Galadriel storyline to accommodate the earlier Kinslaying reveal.

Corey Olsen does often have to be reminded of what he'd said earlier, but once he is reminded, he remembers that. He did not forget about the Galadriel storyline, he was simply looking for ways to condense it and have it happen earlier to preserve the mid-season Kinslaying reveal that he wanted.

The significant alteration of Galadriel's storyline is that her conversation with Celeborn at the Mereth Aderthad where she discusses the death of her mother is now being combined with the conversation where she reveals the kinslaying to him. To accommodate this, we will likely find an opportunity/excuse for Celeborn and Galadriel to meet and speak prior to the Mereth Aderthad, either by bringing her back to Mithrim or bringing him back to Doriath. We do need to iron that non-trivial change out, but...we can work with this.

Something had to give - we either had to alter Galadriel's timeline or alter the Kinslaying reveal timeline. I gave them the Gantt chart with the kinslaying reveal at the later slot; they were well aware of our recommended alteration. They just chose not to use it. That happens.

(*with the key exception of Ange1e4e5!)
 
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