Everybody’s a Critic

So if you’re going to put your content out there, that’s the first thing you have to accept. As we established in the previous video, much like there’s no such thing as bad press, even the negative comments are people spending energy thinking and talking about your show. Which is good. It’s way better than no one caring about what you’re doing.

Still, anyone telling you that “You suck” isn’t going to be easy to hear. Someone saying, “This is lame,” about something that you’ve spent months on is going to get inside your head to a certain degree. It doesn’t matter that it’s a total stranger, it takes you right back to the schoolyard. Let’s face it, if none of us had ever been picked on as kids we wouldn’t be trying so hard to make as many total strangers as possible think we’re cool and talented.

If you’re going to put something out into the world you have to be ready for it to take a beating. Especially in a user generated content forum, everyone is a critic. So here are some ways to deal with it.

1. If you’re really getting down about a negative comment, just scroll down and take a look at the ratio of good to bad that you’re getting. The ratio in my comments is usually about 200 good to 1 bad. Once you look at it that way, things start looking a little brighter.

2. If they rail on you about something specific, visit their channel and check out what they’ve uploaded. If it’s nothing, they’re all talk. You may want to take a look at what their comment said about your work to see if it’s something that could use improvement (and if the comment made you mad, you probably already know it could be better), but they don’t have anything showing that they could do it better. Then they’re just a critic, not a contemporary. Ask any filmmaker, a slam from a filmmaker you respect hurts a million times worse than a slam from any critic.

3. Quit doing your show…for a night. Just step away from the computer and watch some House, read a Stephen King book, pop in a J.J. Abrams movie, anything involving enough to get you out of your head; because it’s not the ONE bad comment you can’t silence, it’s you telling yourself that they’re right. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be upset. So put the brakes on, step away from the vehicle, and escape on foot for a night.

4. You could always send them a message to ask for further details about their comment. People were surprised when I sent them messages asking about their comments. To them, I was just another face on the screen. Not real. So they were only too happy to explain what they meant. In most cases you’ll come away with ACTUALLY CONSTRUCTIVE criticism that will help your show improve. Every once in awhile you’ll just run into people who were rude to be rude and they’ll keep being rude. But those people aren’t actually looking to be a part of the process, they just want to tear you down for their own reasons.

5. This is the one that I don’t necessarily recommend, but you could always just stop reading your comments. However, for no-budget content, the thing that keeps some of the people interested is the back and forth with the makers and you don’t want to alienate your audience. They’re the people that are going to buy your merch.

Choose whichever suits you best, but don’t forget the most important thing about making a no-budget show—It’s yours. You can do whatever you want with it. You are creating a story that didn’t exist before and putting it out into the world. As a storyteller, that’s the most vitally important thing you can do. If you can get people to watch it, that’s just a huge bonus. Who cares if some of them are d-bags?

Jarvi out.

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