Part II of II.  Read Part I here.

Every artist faces critics.  And every artist faces choices about how to deal with them. Some claim to never read their reviews (Show of hands if you believe them.  Nobody?)  Others wallow in the bad reviews, ignoring the good. (Show of hands again– Everybody!)

Assuming that you (a) can’t stop yourself from reading your reviews and (b) don’t want to wallow, you might use these five tips to process reviews or other critique:

1) Pay attention– or not. You have the right to ignore critics.  Even if you can’t stop reading them, you don’t need to consider them once you’re done. You’re the artist.  If you don’t like what you hear or just don’t care to engage, stop here.  You created something.  You put it out there.  You don’t owe them anything more.

If you do want to think about your reviews, consider:

2)  How does the criticism make you feel? Don’t be victimized by anyone whose goal is to make you feel bad. Your video took time and effort to create, but any moron can scrawl a comment on YouTube in 10 seconds. If all they write is “Stoopid video” they don’t deserve your time or attention.

3) Critique the critic Jay Z doesn’t take his notes from a 70 year-old country music fan.  Similarly,  you should only pay attention to reviews that clearly come from someone who gets what you’re trying to do.  “I love your video except it should have been in Paris and about a woman instead of in the Wild West and about a horse.  And can she be a Rabbi?” suggests that the reviewer is not on the same page you are.

4)  Is there an idea here? The best criticism sparks ideas. If a comment like “I don’t understand why the girl doesn’t kiss the frog in the last scene” leads you to something interesting, great.  If a comment like “I’ve seen better” doesn’t, you can set it aside.

5) Are all the reviewers flagging the same issues?  Even the most experienced video creator can miss giant glaring flaws in their work.  Usually these flaws happen when we’ve interalized our work so deeply that we fill in thoughts that aren’t on the screen– we see more of our intent than a casual viewer will.  When your reviews all make the same point about one aspect of your video, that can be a clue that you missed something you meant to put in.

 More on critiques and criticism here.



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  • Claud @Greybox says:

    Good tips. What's very important is you pay attention to both reviews and reviewers, including the negatives. Then turn it into positive criticism. I'm sure it will benefit you in the long run.

  • Dirk Wiley says:

    This is excellent advice. Learning to separate an informed thought from mindless comment is essential if you're going to survive critiques. I especially like the insight that sometimes we see more of our intent than the casual viewer. (My problem!)

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