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News & Insight

Kevin Smith Is A Class Act As He Runs A ‘Clinic’ On Dealing With Criticism

By Kishore Sawh on August 5th 2016

Leave it to Kevin Smith, likely one of the most unassuming guys in any room, much less at a film screening, to set precedent on how to deal with criticism, even when it’s right in your face and in front of a crowd.

The mind behind Mall Rats and Clerks is back at touring to promote a new film called ‘Yoga Hosers’, and as is typical of the screening tours hosts a Q&A afterward. Of course, doing so is sort of an invitation for conflict in the off-chance someone speaks up in a challenging or ‘vitriolic’ manner, or even one of simple disappointment.

Such was the case when one audience member spoke up about his feelings of dislike for the film, and as with any nail that sticks out, gets hammered. Except he wasn’t met with brute force or overpowering arguments from a man with a mic, as much as his voiced concerns were dismantled.

How Kevin disarms the scenario provides a learning opportunity for just about any creative. In summary, Kevin greets the criticism less as a point of invalidation as much as simply an opinion, and therefore accepts it. There is no effort expended to sway the opinion in another direction, nor to discredit it, but simply to accept it with the full understanding that opinions will vary. He doesn’t tar and feather the man even with majority audience appreciation.

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What Kevin really is doing here is highlighting the two key points all creatives would do well to internalize: a) the work is autotelic if it means something to you b) not everyone will like what you do and that’s entirely ok.

This is tough for creatives given that the very nature of creating is a personal one, but the ability to see the forest through the wood, the bigger picture, is critical. It’s critical to understand that not everyone will like nor needs to like what you’ve got on tap. It’s tempting to say here that some you win and some you learn, and while that’s a truism (and platitude), Smith basically is saying, you may not need to learn anything if people don’t like what you do, especially if you’re going out on a limb and being different – the first guy through the wall always gets bloodied.

Check it out here, and you can see the trailer for the film (vehement expletives included), Yoga Hosers, below that.

Source: FStoppers

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Andre Queree

    Unfortunately the video is no longer available.

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  2. Karen Borter

    I love Kevin Smith. He continues to be just a down to earth guy. Sure he cusses but that’s who he IS … I have gone to several podcasts and it’s just language. I’ll have to watch the response later but I am sure it was nothing short of amazing. He basically makes movies for himself and if other people like it that’s icing on the cake :)

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  3. Alexander McKenna

    I wish he hadn’t given the money back in the end though.

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  4. David Akins

    Just watched what SLR referred to as a “class act” responding to critic. But within a couple of minutes used the F bomb several times. I guess SLR and I have a different opinion of what a class act actually is. And pretty much assures that I would never consider paying over $350. For a premium membership.

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    • lisa Dumaual

      Well, guess that’s your opinion…my opinion is, that Smith’s advice (along with the f-bombs) is the fucking shit!

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    • Pye Jirsa

      David, not sure what this video has to do with premium membership. We don’t curse in tutorial videos if that is what you are concerned about. Not to mention each article is written by authors, not by the site itself unless it says “SLR Lounge Official.” Writers like everyone are entitled to their opinions.

      That being said, if you actually watch the video above, Kevin’s response to someone who just said his movie sucked was pretty amazing.

      It takes a lot of effort to stand up and say that it’s completely ok for someone else to dislike his work. He did it in front of an entire crowd, and said he will continue to make movies that appeal to himself.

      I would think that’s what we should all be doing as artists.

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    • Christopher Snyder

      He’s a class act in that he didn’t go on the defensive and start attacking the guy for his opinion. Whether he uses curse words is irrelevant to the point being made and not everyone is as easily offended by strong language. He’s also not using the language to offend him (he’s not calling him an f’n jerk), he just uses the word in his vocabulary. So what? And like Pye said, the language isn’t used in SLRLounge videos so what does the premium membership have to do with this?

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