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Wednesday 9 March 2011

Be Supportive, Not Critical

It's easy to be critical. We all have opinions. When we criticise writing, or directing or even acting -- we do it with such authority. But where do we get this authority from?

Spielberg has authority. Meryl Streep has authority. The rest of us don't. Scripts are bad not because rules aren't followed, but because the scripts aren't good. So you need encouragement.

THE ENCOURAGER should be your name, and mine. Creative people don't succeed because of critical people, they succeed in spite of them. It's the positive, encouraging people who truly listen and care and inspire-- they remind us that it's an art form, that within us we have unique ideas and stories.

As an actor -- you need teachers who teach you skills and encourage you to reach far into the depths of who you are; they need to bring that out in you. Actors who get too criticised, too often, stop acting; because they try to please everyone and when they're acting they're trying to do good by the 500 critics who've told them they're awful, rather than the two people that matter: themselves and The Encourager.

We're at our best when we're connecting with something within us. When we turn our curiosity and energy and heartaches into words or performances or beautiful photography. We only get there by believing in the truth of our own ideas and feelings and intuitions.

Critical people wreck that. But they don't GET it, we have to remember that. Create work for the 1% who get you. That's when you entertain people, that's when you touch their hearts.


  1. Brilliant! I totally agree with you. I respect constructive criticism when is from someone who wants to help me and encourage me to be better. We all need someone to be our THE ENCOURAGER.

  2. I think this is true for all of life, not just film. The internet is so full of hate--everyone's a critic. It's especially true for women, as the internet seems to bring out the "Mean Girl" in most of them. It makes me sad, but definitely reminds me to take everything with a grain of salt.

  3. In an odd way this really cheered me up.


  4. Thanks for that, Kid. And I think that what you said-- "As an actor--you need teachers who teach you skills and encourage you to reach far into the depths of who you are; they need to bring that out in you."-- is applicable to any student, anyone seeking to learn and hone his craft, regardless of what it may be. To do anything really, really well, you've got to mine those depths, and it sure helps to have the Encourager as teacher.

  5. Hmmmm, if you don't criticize, people won't progress.

    If you put something out into the world for an audience to see then you must value their opinion, if 500 people think it's bad, but yourself and 1 person think its good, well it's probably worth sitting down and rethinking, or at least listen to the critiques.

    And certainly I'd value an audiences opinion over the 'more authoritative' people you mentioned, after all surely it's them you're trying to please/entertain/enlighten.

  6. Personally I do find constructive criticism helpful as long as I get a right to reply and be heard regarding why I may not have chosen the way that is being suggested. I have been fairly lucky with the comments I have received on my writing but I know this has not been/will not always be the case. I agree that encouragement is incredibly important to aid creativity. Thank you for writing this post.

  7. Woow, this is really inspiring, made me feel like guilty for not encouraging you to write about the "Apartment"am gonna be the ENCOURAGER from now on! thanx for thiz piece of writing, but please also encourage me to write more on my blog by simply reading it as i read urs daily. thanx once again!

  8. This is very inspiring, makes me glad that i ignore the people that tell me my chances of being a novelist are slim, and i listen to the people that give support. Its good to be supportive becase than when you need it they will be there for you to give back that support.