Monday, August 3, 2009

Taking Criticism part 2

I recently began taking golf lessons after spending my life as an enthusiastic, but entirely autodidactic golfer. What a revelation!

But it got me thinking about how my golf instructor Livingston is perfectly capable of being highly "judgmental" -- a cardinal sin for instructors in today's society in my experience -- because there's no subjectivity in the success of my golf shots. It's not his opinion that my shot sucked. I can see exactly how bad my golf shot is. So I can't debate Livingston's assessment of my swing.

Unfortunately, instructing in something totally subjective--writing and acting--doesn't have such clear results to gauge. It actually is my opinion about a student's performance or script that I can offer. And they may disagree, just as there are plenty of people who would disagree with my opinion about the movie, The Hangover, for example. (See my earlier blog on why it sucks, in my OPINION.)

However, instructors in subjective disciplines like mine, can only be gauged on their credibility. As I've been hired consistently for 25 years to work as an actor and a screenwriter, I believe I have some credibility.

I wish students could realize that when I'm judgmental, it is because I am getting them to strive for excellence. I wish I could inspire by nurturing, but it is, I guess, not my nature to be nurturing. My goal is to transmit my passion to anyone interested in receiving it and to push them to be the best they can be.

Teachers like myself are a throwback from modern teaching which has focused on boosting students' self-esteem and supporting them in their studies. I just don't know if that's enough to make aspiring actors or writers employable.

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