This last week has been a rough one. I’ve been in touch with all of my post-pro posse and they’ve all informed me that they’re not even close to being done with their work. That’s everyone. VFX and music. This distressed me given that our original upload dates for episode 6 were this week. So I’m holding off on all of my finishing work, color correction and sound effects to work on as many VFX as I can to help get this thing to completion. At the same time we’re still looking at shooting episode 7 starting in late-May, early-June, so I’ve been sending out emails to locations and Eliza (my wife/co-producer) is going to start shuffling around shoot dates that don’t work for our actors and writing up character descriptions for the auditions we still need to hold.
So, while all of that is happening, our subscribership is getting more and more antsy. I certainly don’t blame them. We’re looking at 9 months without a new episode. We did a whole bunch of things to try and condense the time between episodes and it just made the process longer with everything we tried. Not great. Frankly, I’m surprised more people haven’t unsubscribed, but it brings me to what I want to talk about today.
It feels impossible to talk about this without seeming ungrateful, but I live on the edge, so here we go…
If a certain amount of time goes by without a new episode I start to get comments from people in the updates along these lines:
“SO MANY UPDATES, SO FEW EPISODES! Unsubscribed. You must suck at editing if it takes you this long.”
“If you don’t upload an episode soon, I’m going to unsubscribe. I didn’t sub for the updates, why don’t you put them on another channel?”
or, in one extreme example, someone posted on my YouTube channel comments saying something pretty close to this:
“You probably never even thought about making a new episode, just took everyone’s donations and sat on your ass wasting everyone’s time and money. What a waste of time. I hate your stupid f***ing show, I hope you get cancer.”
Now, sure, the last one must have had something else going on at which they couldn’t direct their rage, and just decided to throw it in my direction, because there’s NO WAY anyone could be that upset about a low budget show on the internet, but for the other ones I have a pretty standard response:
“You should probably unsubscribe.”
If they feel the need to threaten me with their subscription, I don’t want them around. Plain and simple. If they donated to the show on one of our fundraisers I feel like I really let them down, because they’re contributing to the show and wanted to actually help us, but most of these people are simply subscribers. Don’t misunderstand; I appreciate every single person who’s interested enough in what we’re doing to subscribe to it. I read every comment that comes in and I’ve taken to heart constructive criticism and genuine appreciation, but I also take the rest of it to heart. The people who think I’m jumping through these production hoops for their one subscription can take a hike. These guys seem to think if they unsubscribe, we’ll stop making the show. It’s the same jags who subscribe with a comment like, “That video just earned my subscription.” It’s like, “Finally! GarageArsonist5342 finally subscribed to us, guys! We did it! I gotta call my mom and tell her!”
A lot of other people on the boards back me up when I tell them to just unsubscribe, so I figure that’s pretty fair game. But sometimes someone just says something flat out like a hit and run. These ones are like:
“That fight scene suuuuucked.”
“This show could be great if it had a different director.”
or, even the people who are really nice can do it, like:
“I love the show! Great writing and I love all the characters, especially Donald, but can’t you guys make it faster? It can’t possibly take 7 months to make a half hour show.”
Most of the time, I just pretend to let these slide. Notice I say PRETEND, because every one of them bursts through the creative pride ventricle in my heart and out my back in a perfect, hollow-point, through and through. Even the low caliber negative comments are armor piercing. But if I can’t take it and I have to say something…like if someone insults a fight scene I’ll say:
“I went to your channel, where were all the fight scenes?”
“Give it a shot. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.”
It all basically amounts to: I’d like to see you try better. And whenever I leave that kind of response there’s at least one random commenter (not even the person I responded to) who comes back with:
“Hey, that’s not cool. You’ve got to let this stuff slide off your back, man. Learn to ignore it.”
And to that I say–Why? Why do I have to ignore it? They get to criticize me, I can’t criticize their critical expertise? They seemed to have it all figured out when they were talking about what I was doing wrong, they should be able to discuss their opinion a little further. That or learn to ignore my response.
People don’t like having the fact that they’re not creating something thrown in their face when they’ve played critic. We critique everything around us every second of the day, it’s built into who we are. Therefore, people think they should be able to criticize without any repercussion whatsoever; they’ve had their say, mischief managed. The idea that they have to be able to better accomplish the thing they’ve just criticized becomes offensive enough that even strangers who happen upon the conversation feel like they’re being attacked, enough so that they’ll chime in a defend a random internet troll. I think it’s because we essentially become experts in anything we consume enough of. If we watch a ton of fight scenes, we have a high personal standard that any fight scene has to meet; it doesn’t mean we can choreograph and shoot one, just that we know what a good one looks like. That’s absolutely fair. If we were only allowed to judge the things we can do, we’d hardly be able to comment on anything, so maybe it is a little unfair of me, but sometimes I can’t help it. Drawing their attention to the difference between watching something and accomplishing it is sometimes the only card a lashing out entertainer has to hold on to. It always makes the critic feel a little worthless. And sometimes that’s the only way I can return the favor.
I guess what it comes down to is my desire to be treated the way I treat others. If I don’t like something, I don’t leave a comment or I don’t give it a good rating. If I stop being interested in a channel, I unsubscribe. I don’t tell them I’m unsubscribing. I should take solace in the fact that so many of my comments are good. I go to the comments section of Ain’t It Cool News and the unmitigated bastards in that comments section are unbelieveable. Every post has an outpouring of the worst kind of bile and hate that humanity has to offer. Good grief. Why do they even keep going to the site if they hate everything on it?
This is super long. Sorry. Blog-vent complete. Internet critics just need to accept that the comments section goes both ways.
Still working on the episode. I never stopped, no matter what they think.
Thanks for reading, guys.