In this business, you're putting it all out there for audiences. When you win, it's the best feeling in the world; you've successfully transported people into a world you've created and taken them on an emotional journey.
But, unfortunately, that doesn't happen all the time.
Sometimes, audiences and critics don't respond. That's maybe the hardest thing about this existence. You want so badly to entertain and connect but when it doesn't come through or is not successful, it's a bummer.
Compounding this is reading critics tear your work apart.
But criticism is a necessary part of filmmaking. It's how your work is assessed as art and for the masses.
Still, Seth Rogen wants critics to know that words can hurt. He was recently discussing mental health and criticism on the Diary of a CEO podcast, where he talked about what it's like to read negative reviews of your work.
Rogen said, “I think if most critics knew how much it hurts the people that made the things that they are writing about, they would second guess the way they write these things.”
He continued, saying, “It’s devastating. I know people who have never recovered from it honestly – a year, decades of being hurt by [film reviews]. It’s very personal… It is devastating when you are being institutionally told that your personal expression was bad, and that’s something that people carry with them, literally, their entire lives and I get why. It fucking sucks.”
This is a brutally honest admission. Rogen went on to talk about what reviews were like for different movies. for him, Green Hornet didn't hurt as much as when negative words were said about The Interview.
“Green Hornet felt like I had fallen victim to a big fancy thing. That was not so such much a creative failure on our parts but a conceptual failure. The Interview, people treated us like we creatively failed and that sucked.”
But Rogen maintains a healthy viewpoint when it comes to the biz and how this all works, and it's, ultimately, what makes an article like this worth writing. Because critics aren't going anywhere. Because the only reason to make this stuff is to put your soul on the line and tell the stories that make you happy.
Jay Chou as Kato and Seth Rogen as Britt Reid in 'Green Hornet'Credit: Sony Pictures ReleasingRogen says, “That’s another funny thing about making movies… life goes on... You can be making another movie as your [current] movie is bombing, which is a funny thing. It’s bittersweet. You know things will be OK. You’re already working. If the fear is the movie bombs and you won't get hired again, well you don’t have to worry about it. But it’s an emotional conundrum at times.”
The trick is to keep working and grinding. The pain sucks, but it's worth it to try to connect. And when you have your wins, it feels better than anything in the world. It can feel hard and pointless, but I do think the more you make the better you get.
You have to tune it out as much as you can and keep making things you believe in.
Let me know how you deal with this stuff in the comments.