Another week, another video in the can.
That’s 10 videos so far, people! (11, if you count “Hey Jesse Jackson,” which I count as half a video.) When I started this thing, I had no idea how long I’d be able to keep it up for. Now, I’ve gone from trying to figure out a video at the last minute to having video ideas for songs 3 to 4 weeks ahead of time. I guess it’s true what they say, “practice makes perfect!”
Okay, so, since what I do is considered “art,” there are going to be people out there who like my stuff, and people who don’t. One of the reasons people do not go for what they want to do in life is that they are afraid of getting any kind of negative criticism. They feel like if someone tells them their work isn’t good enough, or that they are downright terrible at what they do, their self-esteem will shatter so badly they won’t be able to recover.
However, I’ve always taken the opposite approach. I’ve always welcomed criticism because I figure that, in trying to become good at what I do, I’m not going to get everything right immediately, yet I may not always be able to point out what I’m doing wrong. Unfortunately, most people are so worried about keeping a person’s self-esteem up (lest that person punch them in the face), that even if that other person does mediocre work, they’ll still say “oh, great job,” thinking they are helping the person.
This is FAR from the truth. In actuality, it’s HARMING the person in the long run. They’ll go along doing the wrong thing thinking it’s right simply because no one stopped them to say, “um, you could be doing that a LOT better.”
I’m fortunate enough to have people in my life (my brother, David, and my friend Michele come to mind) who don’t mind telling me when I’m doing a song or making a beat that either sucks or could be made better. Heck, I think I let my brother hear 4 or 5 songs late last year that he said wasn’t showing off my true writing potential. After being mad at him for a couple of hours, I realized he was only saying that stuff because he saw potential in me to do really GREAT work, as opposed to just trying to get by with anything.
Because I put my songs out on the net, I get many, MANY chances to get feedback about my songs. Some of it is sent directly to me via YouTube/MySpace/Wordpress comments, and the majority of it has actually been pretty positive. However, I like to go to other sites that I’m not a member of and read what other people think about some of my stuff – it’s a great way to get an unbiased view of my work since I’m not the one directly asking for the feedback.
Of course, most of the sites have posted my “Obama” video, so the majority of critiques have been about that song. The overall response is positive, but, like all art, there have been people who posted comments that weren’t exactly the nicest in the world. I don’t like to promote negativity, so those comments won’t be mentioned here; needless to say, though, I find it hilarious that a person NOT liking the song would actually take 2 minutes out of their day to express WHY they don’t like a song of mine. It’s like, regardless of if they liked it or not, they still spent time focusing a portion of their lives on ME – so, in the end, it still benefits me!
But like I said before, I accept all kinds of criticism, be it positive or negative. I was a theatre major at Hampton University for 5 years. That’s FIVE years of being critiqued for stage performances, improv skits, class acting assignments, and thesis work. Once you’ve had practice hearing good and bad things about yourself via numerous performances, you develop a thick skin for the comments you’ll receive about others for anything you do, for the rest of your life. Someone saying a song or mixtape or video of mine “sucks” isn’t all that damaging to my psyche – especially when 19 other people are standing next to that person saying the same body of work is “great,” “uplifting,” and “f–kin’ awesome.”
Yeah – I hear that I’m “f–kin’ awesome” a LOT these days.
So, the point of all this is simply: if you have a goal or a dream, expect criticism. Don’t let it slow you down, and remember that not all negative criticism is bad. If anything, you can use it to re-route yourself into the right direction, and prove the ones throwing the criticism at you wrong. It’s worked for me so far, and it can work for you, too!