Madness Day is just about 30 hours away, and I'll have a new animation uploaded then. In the meantime, I figured I'd make a post about, after being an aspiring writer, game developer, animator and artist as well as a hobbyist music composer and voice actor for a lot of my life, there's a lot I have learned. There's a lot of do's and don'ts that I have concluded thus far if you do not wish for your progress, productivity, and general spirit to be staggered, if not completely broken. And if you are any sort of ambitious media creator as well--no matter what medium it may be--you are free to read what I have to write, and I hope it does you well.
First and foremost, nearly everyone in the community of art and general creation, from what I've both experienced and observed, are a more sensitive people; we're a bit more perceptive, intuitive and emotional than many out there, and this is what normally leaves a heart in us that has this burning desire to create and express ourselves artistically, whatever form that may come in. Those who feel they are sensitive people in an insensitive world tend to have these symptoms. Due to this, it is in our earliest nature to take things more personally. Not to say that "other types of people" don't, but again, from a general perspective, this is what I believe is true.
Now, when we receive criticism for what we have may spent an immense amount of time and effort on, of course our initial reaction as humans is to become defensive; subconsciously, we see our creations as an extension of us, not something that we just made in the past. And it's funny to think that there's people out there that are so insanely insecure that they even get violently defensive over some of the pettiest things, such as products that they purchase, what food and drinks they like to consume, what they wear, what kind of car they drive, what games they play, so on and so forth. These things simply are not extensions of ourselves.
But the main point I want to bring up with this are these two facts that my little journey of life so far has taught me:
1) People who are confident do not care about what others think of them.
2) People always want others to feel the way that they feel.
It's incredible how true these two statements have proven to be based on what I witness every single day of my life, whether it be in the art/animation community here online, or at Walmart. These just seem to be two undeniable facts that I have yet to see be contradicted, and my belief in this is further solidified based on how I used to behave (and at times still struggle with) as well.
So what am I saying here and what does this have anything to do with being a media developer and taking criticism? First off, never take criticism personally. Yeah, you've heard that one many, many times by now, and you've probably figured out that that is a lot more easily said than done. But here's something you may nothave heard much of: criticism is often times meant to be personal, not to help guide you to improving your skills and talents.
There are loads and loads of envious, jealous, bitter people out there of all ages and backgrounds that are deliberately on a mission to tear down what they see has the potential to be successful. Why? Because they lack confidence, have low--if not any--self-esteem, and they want others to feel the way that they feel. They feel like crap, so what do they do? Give people compliments and try to help them with their endeavors? Usually not. Instead, they want others to feel like crap, too. Why is this? It's because so they can feel better by comparison; these people do not like who they are, they do not like their life, they are completely miserable, and instead of trying to better themselves because of it, they take the path that just feels easier to them: hatred. They choose to hate what is around them, seeing every negative aspect they can pick out of everything everybody does, creates, and is. Because they hate themselves. But again, I firmly believe that people want others to feel the way that they feel. So if they hate themselves, guess who else they hate? You got it: everyone else.
And these are the types of people I classify as "arrogant"; arrogance essentially boils down to artificial confidence. If someone is not confident, they try to bring others down, rather than to help them to rise up. If someone feels as if they are worthless and never succeeding, why in the world would they want to see others get what they want but do not have?
Now this brings me to part two of my little post here: people who are happy do not want to screw anybody over; they're confident, and over time and through what life has taught them, they chose to be receptive and learn the very basic laws of the way the world works, instead of choosing to be arrogant and take "their own path". If you're happy, content, and confident with your life, you won't have a desire to mess with anybody. You won't have a desire to make others feel bad.
The trouble with criticism is that it is in this murky blend of people who genuinely just want to help and want to see you improve, and people who just hate themselves and want you to feel bad because of it. But 100% of the time, these people loaded with self-hatred will never, ever admit it.
They will always disguise their "constructive criticism" as existing because of reasons such as, "I'm just pointing it out so you know", "if something can be better, it should be better," and "what you did 'wasn't correct.'"
Again, if someone hates themselves, why in the world would they care about watching somebody else improve? It's simply a psychological paradox and their argument fails, every single time. Arrogant people do not want to admit that they are arrogant, so they lie about it. Don't believe me? Call someone out on it and immediately watch them get aggressive and hostile towards you. It will happen literally every single time.
EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
"You suck," "you'll never become a good artist," and general childish name-calling are not constructive pieces of criticism; they are in fact what I like to call destructive pieces of criticism. They don't offer anything for the creator to build off of, they're just negative words, and nothing more. If someone sees a project you are working on, digs it up and makes a post about it on one of their social media accounts stating that "this person doesn't know what they're doing," how is that constructive criticism? It isn't, it's just a symptom of self-hatred; they just want to show their followers someone that they want to believe is "not as good as them" exists.
Let me just conclude this quickly because I could just go on and on about symptoms of negativity in people who claim to be "critiquing" your work; here is my personal advice from one human being to another:
1) Never take criticism personally, even if it actually is designed to be personal and not constructive. Even if you're still a bit new and tend to take things more harshly than they're intended to be, frame what you were told about your work positively. Instead of thinking "oh, this person's right, I suck," flip it around and tell yourself "hey, my new drawing/animation/whatever will now be even better than this!" And trust me, later in time as you improve, you will not care about how "bad" your previous work is. And again, if the person is just trying to attack you for making something they couldn't, ignore them. Listen to what allows you to improve, and ignore what is just an attempt in tearing you apart.
2) You are awesome. Don't forget it and don't let negative, bitter, envious people bring you down because they see that in you. The only people that want to bring you down are the ones that feel down themselves. People who are happy do not want to mess with others.
3) What you focus on expands, and what you ignore, dies. If you angrily reply to hateful comments on your work, you are feeding them. However, if you ignore them and realize that whoever said/wrote that about your work is miserable and they want you to feel just as awful as they do, laugh at how much time they're wasting and how they're only making things worse for themselves, and begin focusing on what makes you feel happy and what actually makes you improve.
None of this is easy to learn, but nothing that doesn't cause any initial pain is not worth doing. Nobody became amazingly talented at what they do and had no times of hardship. The storm may last a while, but it will never last forever. Be kind to one another, practice, practice, practice, indulge in every good feeling that you are blessed with, and frame even the most harsh of criticisms you receive as positively as you can; bad people exist, and the world will not change for us, but we can change ourselves. No matter what.