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If you can’t take the criticism, DON’T ask for it!

In almost no other profession are open criticisms solicited, let alone appreciated.  However, if you are a performing artist of any kind you expect criticism.  In fact, nearly constant criticism, albeit constructive, is the norm.  If you respect and admire those from whom you solicit critique, you won’t need a thick skin – just a very open mind.  Learn to accept it now, or you’re sure to fail in the end.

If you’re an actor, voice artist, disc jockey, etc. and you drudge up the nerve to ask someone to critique your work, make sure you’re soliciting criticism from someone whom you trust implicitly.  Don’t make the mistake of asking your significant other, best buddy, grandma or bartender.  I guarantee they will be inclined to praise your talent(s).  Why?  Because they care about you and don’t want to hurt your feelings.  There’s another very good reason.  They don’t do your work.

Seek critique from those whom you respect and admire.  Select those who do what you do and have been doing professionally for at least as long as you have.  Keep in mind that there are peripheral experts who are very much qualified to critique your work as well.  Producers, directors, recording engineers, etc. – all of whom may or may not have ever been on the talent end of our business.

A considerate and professional critique usually consists of some praise of sparkling elements of your submission in the beginning.  Then, the commentary will usually take the direction of instructing you as to what you may do to improve your performance(s).  Remember, that you asked for their opinions (and they are opinions, but they’re based upon experience) and if they’re truly qualified, you’ll find them to be quite explicit in their responses.   If you’re not receiving criticism in a respectful manner, maybe you should choose another mentor.  By the same token, do not expect the criticism to be sugar-coated.  You must remember that they took the time to listen, read, watch, etc., your submission.  Then, they further gave of their time to either write their critique or deliver it to you face-to-face. 

The most precious commodity we have and our ONLY constant in life is time.  It is a gift.  Never take it for granted.

Worse yet, NEVER argue with your mentor concerning their critique of your work.  NEVER attempt to defend why you read a line this way, or why you chose this entrance over that entrance. 

Instead, thank them for taking their time to help you.  Also, take from the critique what you can use – then, chuck the rest!  Yes, critiques are nothing but subjective.  By definition they can’t be anything but!

If you enjoy what you do, respect the opinions from those whom you solicit critique.  You don’t have to agree.  But, if you want to continue to work and you desire to improve these professional concessions, don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

This practice will also assist you immensely when auditioning.  If you cannot accept critique for exactly what it is, how will you ever be able to take direction.

Okay, quiet on the set…


Doc Phillips has been providing voice work in one way or another for 30 years. He is also an internet entrepreneur who hosts and manages several sites. He built, maintains and "markets" his website, http://www.docphillips.com.