When They’re Committed To Misunderstanding Your Creative Work
How to decode such feedback without losing your mind
We’re artists who want to excel in our creative work, and that means a) asking for feedback so that we can only get better; and b) submitting our work for approval or rejection.
Usually when we turn in our best efforts the underlying assumption is that if what we made was truly good, that work will automatically get noticed and appreciated.
But how often do we question who exactly is assessing what we put forth? What qualifications do they have?
It’s not enough for someone to be famous, or successful in their own right, or to have hung out a shingle that reads EXPERT.
What values do they have?
What world do they — consciously or unconsciously — intend to make through their promotion or holding back of anyone else’s talents?
Here are a few recent examples from my life in which I had to ask myself these questions — perhaps more than I ever have before.
Let’s be clear: I went to the first showing of on opening day to see this historic and hilarious gay rom-com helmed by Billy Eichner, directed by Nick Stoller, and produced by Judd Apatow.
Did I love it? I LOVED IT. It was funny, kooky, heartfelt, and populated with some of my favorite actors and a wildly great Hall of Bisexuals.
Yet the internet exploded with vitriol once the movie came out because it had the audacity to only rank #4 in the box office opening weekend during a global pandemic that is not yet over.
My sense is that most of the haters never even saw the film; and that like my straight male friend who enjoyed the romance but was put off by conversations on queer themes that he deemed “too political,” some who did see the film were not equipped to tap into the deeper meaning or experience of what made Bros so great.
Did we even see the same movie?? I wondered.
It matters who sees what you make — not all judgments are equal in their capacity to comprehend your art.