Do you feel like social networking has given us more LIBERTY? I’m on the fence whether this is a good or bad thing. Opinion is good. However, access to many opinions causes a “make everyone happy” state of mind. I use to imagine how cool it would be to hear everyone’s opinions. I could tailor something that ‘everyone’ would like. I’m starting to think otherwise. Listening to too many opinions about projects like Acting for Action has caused a fear I never had. The fear that some people might not like some of the things I do. After a long long run, I’ve come to this conclusion. I should listen to those I trust and that are honest to me. But should never let a negative comment hold me back from trying other things. It’s been a reminder thick skin is part of the job description.
ALFREDO: Lemme give you some good advice that I am virtually incapable of following: thirty, forty, fifty years from now, when you are an old man and your grandkids ask you, “what were you like as a young man? What interested you? What can you show me that you’re proud of?” you will have an answer: your work (of course you will also be a sweet grandpa who spoils the grandkids rotten and gives them a lifetime of good memories on that score). But you will also have a DVD (or, by then, a built-in retinal scan?) of Acting for Action or anything else you’re pleased with. The current yammering coming from social media – good or bad – will have faded, and the only question to ask yourself is, “Am I proud to put my name on this?”
DHH: I don’t think your question concerns social networking, as much as it does the life of an artist. Part of our job description is to put ourselves and our work out there, for people to judge as they will. Everytime I create a new show, I get loads of opinions about it – good, bad, indifferent, and everything in between. You may have noticed that, even here on YOMYOMF, there’re some posters who sorta hate me and my work. Though I disagree with their views, I also respect their right to hold them. And you know something? That actually makes us lucky cuz we’re among the fortunate few who get to create work people see, and have strong feelings about. All that said, if these opinions are starting to make you fearful, potentially even paralyzing you as an artist, maybe you should stop reading them. There’re always going to be folks who love your work, as well as those who hate it, and sometimes it’s better to know that in the abstract, than to actually read the reviews. (I think what you’re doing in ACTING FOR ACTION is loads of fun, btw, so if you want MY two cents — keep up the good work!)
PHILIP: I guess I’ve never really put too much weight on what strangers think of me or what I do. I think that applies to both good and bad comments because it’s just as easy to fall into the glow of the positive feedback as it is to wallow in the mire of the negative. If you put weight in the good things people say about you, then you also have to put the same weight on the bad things and neither is probably a healthy way to go about this.
ROGER: If anything, social networking has made it far too easy for people to “talk” before thinking. Much of what is tweeted or updated or posted seems to stem from knee-jerk emotional reactions to something just read or viewed. Overall, I think it’s more negative than positive. Here’s why… Social media seems to be cultivating this shoot first aim second opinion gallery. There’s that old saying, “let cooler heads prevail…” Basically, be patient. Think. Let the emotions fade away and then formulate your opinion. Unfortunately, the culture of social networking promotes such immediacy and instantaneousness that many people often dole out a level of critical opinion, flippant behavior, and/or insensitive thoughts that would most likely not come out had they had to communicate that opinion person to person.
It’s easy to be a jerk on the internet. But what’s even more concerning is that perhaps many of the jerks on the internet don’t even know they’re jerks. And perhaps many of those same internet jerks are much more sensitive and considerate as people in real life, person to person interactions. The safety of the internet can sometimes make the accountable let accountable.
That being said, Sung, I’ll say this – I have always admired your zest for taking chances, pushing the envelope, and treating people right along the way. Don’t stop. You’re doing it right.
ANDERSON: Constructive criticism is becoming a rare thing. I think, as an artist, you must accept that, and determine if it should inform your future vision. No matter how “serious” or “silly” your work is, criticism should be digested, thought about, and you decide if it is sound or not. And I’m not talking about internet trolls either. You can’t give them the time of day. That is where social media has gone wrong; instant gratification that goes through no thought process. Good criticism complements art.
IRIS: This is an excellent, provocative question. On the one hand, the ability for every Joe Schmo to voice an opinion and be counted equally is a cool concept. It’s nice to have a direct connection to the audience. On the other hand, the fact that you know nothing about Joe Schmo is its downfall when talking about critiques. When you read a movie review, you’re probably going to pay more attention to a New York Times or L.A. Times critic over someone from a right wing, religious magazine. Even if I’m in a room with two friends, talking about a movie, I might have one friend who prefers raunchy comedies and another friend who likes high art films. When they say “that movie sucks” or “ that movie is really great,” I can weigh their opinions because I know something about them. But we know nothing about the commenters on the Internet. What kind of content does this person prefer? Is this person a troll? Is this person certifiably crazy? Who knows? Plus, I think social media spawns negativity (as people have mentioned above) precisely because we don’t know who they are, so they can never be held accountable for what they say.
EMMIE: I wouldn’t take criticism to heart. There will always be people who hate you (not you, Sung, just . . . any given artist), and people who freaking love you. Think of your favorite band; that amazing, mind-blowing, magical one. A bunch of people hate them. Think of the worst band in the world. A ton of people love them. Ultimately we’re just a planet full of people who like different things.
I do think it’d be nice if people who threw out a lot of criticisms tried doing the things/artistic pursuits/activities that they critique. Everything is sooooo much harder than it looks.
When you’re in the process of realizing your vision, or attempting to, I think you sometimes have to amicably ignore what even your trusted colleagues say. A lot of wonderful things have resulted from people trusting their gut and vision, while simultaneously ignoring the entire world’s opinion/recommendation. That’s the artist’s/inventor’s obligation – you shape something original.
When money’s at stake, I can totally understand making a calculated decision and altering what you’d ordinarily choose to do. But if the only intent is to be true to your idea and vision, I believe in doing whatever you want.
I think most people have heard this quote from Bill Cosby, but I’ll repeat here in case you haven’t: “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”
ANSON: That’s a great quote by Bill Cosby and I’ve been on that side before, complete failure because I was trying to please everyone and lost putting my own touch. Social media and commenting on Youtube is a weird world that us old kids are still trying to understand. Of course as artist we want honest feedback, good or bad. But part of it also is people want to stir up a conversation or trending topic. So the more extreme of a bad comment they leave, the more people will pick up on it and respond to it. So a 13-year-old kid who wants a few hours of popularity can do so just by leaving a nasty comment.
Overall I think the great thing about Youtube is that we can try things for almost no money and see whether it’s a good or bad idea. But at the same time as artist we still need to prep as much as possible. And completely go all in on every project even if you lose a few days of sleep because, at least for me, you don’t want any regrets. It always pays off somehow to work your ass off whether people see it or not.
QUENTIN: I think we gotta look at social networking more as a game and a tool and not too seriously. It’s a fun way to connect with people you know and people you don’t know as well. And truly there are days I feel like taking myself off Facebook forever… but at the end you just realize that it’s part of everyday modern life.