Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A new ENDINGS review

KillingBoxx just posted Will Colby's review of Endings. It's a very positive review, so I'm happy to post it here and let people know about it.

But it also caused me to reflect on something. KillingBoxx contacted me to get a copy of the film a few weeks ago, and I found myself very nervous to send it to them. Making films is hard, but it's not the hardest part. The hardest part is being willing to put yourself out there for criticism. And, make no mistake, criticism will come. Not everyone will like your work (especially if you make films like mine - not exactly fit for the mass audience). So you have to be prepared for that, and so far, it doesn't get easier when a bad review comes in.

But I can take bad reviews. Some people really won't like or 'get' your work. It happens. As disappointing as that can be, what I really despise is the flippant attitude some people take when criticizing someone's work in online forums. There's something about posting a funny slam of someone's work online that bothers me.

We've all read funny slam-reviews by people like Roger Ebert (his review of the movie Milk Money stands out to me as one of the funniest negative reviews I've ever read), and I was asking myself why it's any different for me to appreciate a review like that and not when someone does the same to my work.

The answer is that I think there's a big difference between slamming a lousy film made within the Hollywood studio system and doing the same to no-budget indie films. There's something sort of scummy about taking such an attitude with filmmakers who are giving their all to a project for no money and with no real hope of "fame" from it. Indie filmmakers are trying to build word of mouth and garner attention with no budget for that purpose, as opposed to Hollywood films, which have massive marketing budgets even for the most insipid releases.

That doesn't mean that I think everyone should heap praise on indie films. Far from it. There are a lot of lousy indie films out there, and critics are entitled to their opinions, of course.

But it would be nice if people at least didn't blow off your effort by trying to be funny in those negative reviews. The Milk Money review I posted above is hilarious (really, it is. If you haven't read it, you should). But I don't think that sort of approach is appropriate for a sincere effort made by an indie filmmaker.


Anonymous Mike Everleth said...

Congrats on the nice review!

Also, two things with Ebert: 1. We already know that Ebert is very respectful to filmmaking as an art, so when he slams something like that we know that he's taken the film he's slamming to be an affront against the art form, not just to himself personally, even though he phrases things like "I hate hate hate this film."

2. He's just a talented writer, so when he slams something it's as entertaining as when he praises something.

But, nameless, faceless idiots on the Internet who slam movies are usually doing it out of a feeling of smug superiority and hoping they're appreciated for their wittiness when they're absolutely crummy writers.

8/11/2010 10:30 PM  
Blogger Chris Hansen said...

Well said, Mike. You said it better than I did, but you hit at what I was trying to get to.

8/12/2010 7:43 AM  

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