When posting in a Facebook group about the filmmaking/video creator world, one is bound to and should get some pushback. After all, people navigate their careers differently and have cultivated some pretty valuable insight along the way. Criticism to anyone who writes about filmmaking or series creation as I do should be expected. Lord knows, sometimes I deserve it. After one post in particular I had received a little blowback and it got me thinking. Instead of getting my ego bruised or lashing back, I actually became curious. What did the nastiest of those comments have in common. You’ve seen them, the ones where it’s all anger and you’re left wondering what made a person actually take the time to write those words. I really wanted to know the difference between someone who disagrees and legitimately moves a conversation forward and someone who brings a more grenade-y vibe to the filmmakers-on-Facebook community.
Here’s what I observed. First, I noticed that the angrier commenters were certainly “interested” in filmmaking, but they didn’t seem to have a commitment to it. The people who posted things that were critical but constructive and asked challenging questions all seemed to have the same thing in common as well, only it was the polar opposite to their crankier counterparts. They were curious, they seemed to be professionally detached, and most of their work was better than the people who were complaining. I’ve noticed over my career that people who complain, cut down or generally take a negative approach to the work are the people are most afraid. Sometimes they’re afraid of failure but mostly their afraid of change. Complaining and angry filmmakers are the people with the least chance of moving the needle on their filmmaking careers. They often say things like “when I have the money, I’ll make my web series”, “when I get a different job, I’ll write my screenplay”.
Whereas the people who are committed, said things like “I know it’s a risk, but it’s something I have to do “, or, “ I have no idea how it’s gonna turn out, but I’m gonna go for it.”
The difference between the two is night and day. The people who are truly committed to their careers don’t wait for Mars to go into retrograde, for the stars to align or for the ducks to get in their proverbial row. They simply go, they take action, they remain curious, they know to ask for help. To them, criticism is simply data and not attached to their self-worth.
The “interested” crew have all kinds of excuses why people don’t understand their work, or why they can’t get something done, or why it just isn’t working out for them. The problem usually lies somewhere outside themselves.
Committed professionals, start before they’re ready, and only think about what actions they can take to get their projects done. They don’t worry about what they are thinking or feeling, they concern themselves with what they are doing.
Ask yourself, which one of these you are. Be honest. Do you find yourself knocking people down, or building them up? Do you have an excuse or is there no excuse for why you aren’t advancing your career?