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    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2011 edited
    I finally made a step into the world where-in the critics pick at your corpse.

    My new play opened last weekend, and for the first time, I'm being reviewed.

    So far, one meh, one mash note, and one that was so savage that (I'm afraid to check) I assume I now have severe rectal bleeding.

    I know a lot of you have your stuff out there for public consumption, so I've got to know, how do you shrug off the bad press while keeping the good at arm's length?
  1.  (9524.2)
    when in doubt, best not to read it. just do what you do and keep putting it out there.
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2011
    When my book came out, I read everything. Most were super positive. However, I found it sort of annoying that no matter how glowing a review, the writer had to find SOMETHING to dislike. Sometimes the dislikes (usually near the end) were pathetic and just there to fulfill some sort of anti-bias protocol.
    The reviews were also very helpful in seeing the tone of the book. It was a biography and I was a big fan of the subject. I didn't want the book to come across as a pandering kiss-ass fest. Unfortunately and unknown to me, I guess I went a bit overboard the other way and the book ended up being perceived as a negative slant (which I still can't see.) HA.
    Message boards and other non-"critic" critics can demoralize you to the bone. Beware. Who your reviews come from should be weighed carefully against what they say.
    Like William Joseph Dunn and Andy Warhol said, let the critics say what they will, keep moving forward. Keep producing.
    And for rectal bleeding, I use yesterday's dirty sock.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2011

    Best piece of advice beyond what William Joseph Dunn said? Never engage your reviewers except to thank them for the review.

    A review is just a person's opinion, be it good or bad. Engaging with them to argue about a negative review will never do anything more than make you seem defensive and combative, and people do love stories about people reacting negatively to bad reviews. A simple thanks is much more gracious.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2011
    They can be harsh. Metacritic thoughtfully collates all of ours for us, here's what the wider world had to say about Fable 3...
    I tend to read the bad ones, some of the middling ones and mostly ignore the gushing ones though. If everyone is making the same points (good or bad) then we pay attention, but often you'll find that one person loves something about the game that someone else hates. But I'm not aware of us making sweeping design decisions based off the reviews of the previous iteration though (although don't get me started on focus groups...)
  2.  (9524.6)
    I don't really read reviews.
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2011
    Did you read them when you first started producing public works?
    If you did, why did you stop?
  3.  (9524.8)
    I read them, and I thank the kind ones for the kind reviews if there's a way to do that. I tried not to let the bad ones (there were a few on my first comic, but none since) get me down.

    And occasionally I'll post a link to an extraordinary review on Facebook or my usual message boards. I just received one that literally made my jaw drop, and I had to share it with people.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Some people will like your work, some people won't. I try to have a thick skin and hope that my books are reaching their target audiences and making those people happy.
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2011
    Thanks all. It's kind of jarring the first time around, the good and the bad. I guess there's really no way to prepare for it.

    The night before the reviews started coming out, I had this conversation with a friend and cast member:

    John: Your first bad review will be like a punch to the chest; it will crush you, but after that, you won’t give a fuck about bad reviews.

    Me: I could do what John Berryman did. His advice to other poets was to “paper your walls with rejection slips.”

    John: Yeah. He shot himself didn’t he?

    Me: No, he threw himself off a bridge.

    John: Right, it was Hemmingway who shot himself. He did the same thing with reviews too, right?

    Me: Yeah, I believe so.

    John: Right. So maybe you shouldn’t do that then.
  4.  (9524.10)
    If I come across any particularly scathing reviews, I always forward them to my mother.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2011

    I believe Stephen King also papered his bathroom with them.
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2011
    Being a freelance photographer, I get some reviews. Primarily from the client, the client's significant other and the client's friends. Most of this is filtered through the client, but in a few cases I've gotten direct quotes from their loved ones as well.

    I'm also a photographer who does my own thing and has hopes of being exhibited, so I get some reviews on that stuff as well.

    I read them. With most of the negative stuff I find it best to NEVER let it get to me and try to pick out what is a valid negative point that I can take in to consideration and what is just a matter of the reviewers personal taste. If I'm working for a client the latter is the most important. For myself the former is. Regardless, it doesn't cost me anything to try something new.

    I find reviews, bad or good, can carry some validity in them. If they make it a point to be scathing, just ignore them though. Even if there are some genuine good points, if the points are surrounded by the reviewers own personal bile it's not worth reading.

    Sorry, kind of circled with that.
      CommentAuthorCameron C.
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2011
    If you're actually looking for advice that can lead to you towards improvement and growth, reviews probably won't provide that. D:
  5.  (9524.14)
    Did you read them when you first started producing public works?

    Not really.

    You see, I'd been a reviewer. And had therefore hung out with a lot of reviewers.
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2011 edited

    (via @icelandbob)
  6.  (9524.16)
    @ warrenellis - just out of curiosity, what did you review? music?
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2011
    @RenThing and Agitpunk: I'm not sure about the bathroom, but King says when he was starting out he'd nail his rejection slips to the wall. By the time he finally sold a story, he'd had to upgrade to a railroad spike.

    @Just Agitpunk (mostly): I've never been reviewed in a publication before, but I spent four years at art school, where at least once a week I'd be exposed to a jury of my peers, plus the professor. I was never really the star student of any of my classes, at best I was popular because I tried to be as nice and professional as possible to my classmates, including while giving them critiques. Mostly, everyone returned the favor. Moooostly.

    For those bad critiques, mostly in my writing classes, I eventually just grew a thick skin. If someone gave me a good thrashing, I'd keep any comebacks to myself, have a little rage-storm later and vent with some friends, and mostly forget about it within a few hours. Sometimes, though, I'd look back at something I'd drawn or written, and go "well, d'oh, looks like they were right!"

    The tricky part there is, sometimes assholes do point out legitimate problems, and as the artist, it's not a bad idea to look and see if they're right. However, look at the actual critique, and not the insult. One is valid, and you can use it to your advantage; the other is a sign of the reviewer's, or the critic's, unprofessionalism, and that has sweet fuck all to do with your play. That's on them.

    I know its a cliche, but its true: your worst critic is always going to be yourself. But sometimes that's your best critic, too. Listen to that before any other - it'll keep you honest when the reviews are gushing, and it'll keep you going when the reviews give you an ass hemorrhage. No matter how kind or mean they are, no critic will ever rob you of the ownership of your work, and you are ultimately who decides if it was worth the time and work and fear. No one else.
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2011
    @ Oldhat, Cameron C, and Alan Tyson

    Very good points, all. Thank you.

    @Jonathan Hickman: Hysterical. :)
  7.  (9524.19)
    Being currently on both sides of the aisle on this topic. I love reviews or critiques on my work, good or bad.

    But reviewing comics for this blog I do my best to review comics as honestly and intelligently as possible. But there's been a few people that take the bad reviews hard or try to convince me that I'm wrong for thinking the way I do. It's funny, but artists are sensitive folk. If you ask for a review, expect an honest opinion. I see too many suck up, kiss ass reviews, and thats not helpful to an artist.
    • CommentAuthorVerissimus
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2011
    Were the reviewers right? That's for you to decide.

    If they were just being a bunch of trolling pricks, just ignore them. If they said somehting useful, then use it to become better.

    But congratulations on having the play performed. That is possibly the best review; that you got a lot of people enthusiastic enough about it to bring it to the stage.

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