Behold the Critic

The world is full of critics. They are the so-called experts that can tell you all the things wrong with an artistic creation, such as a film. They can even tell you if it’s the writing, acting, editing or directing that ruined the film. They are quite knowledgable and have great vocabularies.

But there is one problem: they cannot create the very work they criticize. They cannot make a movie, write a novel or paint a painting. Some have tried, and failed miserably.

An expert is someone who can do something very well. A critic is not an expert at anything except trivia and criticism.

If you study anything, study with masters. Never study with critics or career educators.

Sometimes, directors can be critics as well. They love to criticize other people's work. The same can be said for actors. They especially love to criticize Oscar winners and movie stars. But they don’t stop there. They also criticize their fellow artists and friends — usually behind their back but sometimes to their face. They have a running monologue of criticism.

But of all the people they criticize, they have one absolute favorite.


They love to chop themselves to pieces. Of all the targets of their criticisms, they levy the fiercest attacks on their own, perceived, incompetence. On the surface, they may be arrogant. Behind, underneath the bluster, is a totally lack of confidence. No matter how good they are, they will find a reason to be dissatisfied, and miserable. They forget that no one is perfect — perfection doesn’t exist.

They hold themselves to a standard that is impossible to meet. And so, they set themselves up for failure. And they fail, fail, fail.

And finally, when they can’t take it anymore, they quit.

Some become teachers or professional critics.

An artist should appreciate the creations of others. He should look for all the good things in people’s work and ignore the not-so-good. He should do the same for his own work, while training to improve the rough areas without finding fault. He should strive for perfection, while knowing that absolute perfection doesn’t exist, and that everyone is a work-in-progress.

Treat others well. Treat yourself well. You are important. You are an artist!

— Isa Totah