Filmmaker Kevin Smith Demonstrates the Perfect Way to Deal With Criticism

Note: The video contains some NSFW language. Relevant point in the video starts at the 41 minute mark.

As part of the screening circuit for his new movie releases, filmmaker Kevin Smith typically holds a Q&A session afterwards in which he gets to interact with fans. Any audience member is welcome to stand up to the mic and throw out a question for Smith to answer at length. At a recent Q&A session he got some blunt criticism for his upcoming movie “Yoga Hosers,” but the way he handled it couldn’t have been better. This is something we all could learn from.

After being told by an audience member that his new movie was flat out terrible, the “Clerks” director did not skip a beat. Immediately Smith accepted the opinion of his critic as a valid response, but never backed down from his creative vision for the film in any way. Throughout their exchange he continued to show respect towards the audience member and really tried to understand their position in being let down by a film they paid good money to see. Smith also explained his own position as the work’s creator and why it’s important that what he makes needs to satisfy his own desires first and foremost. The whole five minute exchange can easily be translated into each of our own creative endeavors whenever we are criticized.

Front page image by Ian Muttoo and used under Creative Commons.

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Ryan Mense's picture

And for those that are curious, this is the trailer for Yoga Hosers:

Norbert Tukora's picture

That trailer is very, very bad!!!
Kevin says on youtube the trailer has 2k positive 2k negative. In reality the trailer you linked has 4.6K positive 6K negative. It got worse over time...

Pho To's picture

20% on Rotten Tomatoes......Fuck Rotten Tomatoes!...It irks me why anyone would listen to a critic before watching a film and formulating their own opinion first.

Elliot Haney's picture

Rotten Tomatoes are not critics, it's a critic aggregator, showing the general consensus of many critics, and it's incredibly helpful to look and see what the majority of professional writers and critics are thinking and feeling. And the reason people listen to critics is that we don't want to plop down $30-40 for a night at the theater without any idea whatsoever if that money will be well spent or if the 20% on rotten tomatoes generally means a movie is trash. It irks me when people don't understand that and don't just let people live their lives.

Binky Bass's picture

Good stuff....I feel for the film maker, if we take a shit photo and someone sees it, we wrecked what? A couple seconds of thier lives, lol, how long is a movie...heres your money back.

Joe Schmitt's picture

Gotta say...I wasn't that much of a Kevin Smith fan before but I am more of a fan now. Level-headed and well handled. The trailer though? Horrible.

Justin Sharp's picture

It's always interesting when people see a movie or some other type of subjective art form and can't see beyond their opinions. They can't understand why anyone would have a different opinion. There's nothing special about having opinions (of course, understanding why we form our specific opinions is a whole other more complex story). Kevin Smith's handling of the situation was brilliant. All of his Q&A videos on youtube are always entertaining.

Deleted Account's picture

Yoga Hosers = Millennials through the eyes of Gen X

sorry a-boot that

Anonymous's picture

Dom Quixote?

Tony Northrup's picture

I like that he was gracious, but I didn't hear him say, "You're right, I could have done that better. I'll learn from your feedback and improve next time."

It's OK to just fulfill your own vision if you're making art for your own gratification. But if you're selling a product to an audience, you have to think about their feelings, too. It's the difference between amateur and professional. It's the difference between masturbation and sex.

Buck Christensen's picture

Why would he possibly say "You're right, I could have done that better. I'll learn from your feedback and improve next time."? His response precludes such an apology. He said it himself, he made a movie that, in his eyes, is perfect in every way. Why would he apologize for his vision to a single viewer whose vision/taste didn't match his own. Tailoring your work for critics is a slippery slope toward eventually losing your style/contaminating your vision.

Chris Johnson's picture

That movie looks pretty funny to me, I'm sure it won't be some critically acclaimed film but I will definitely go see it.

Ralph Hightower's picture

I hope that Yoga Hosers was shot on digital; it would've been a waste to shoot on film.

Can I get $20 also? I promise I won't spend it on the movie.