Share: 6 Lessons from Negative Reviews

This is a repost of part of Jenny’s post. Full original version here.

Before that, in a timely manner, I read this from Guardian Theatre Blog: Fail Safe.

6 Things I’ve Learned From Negative Reviews:
1. They show that you’ve DONE something. You’ve created something. You’ve pushed through your fear to ship something that matters to you.

2. Your work has spread to a wide enough audience to get real, honest feedback from people who aren’t on your payroll (friends, family, people who love us no matter what).

3. Negative reviews will come in, but guess what? THEY DON’T KILL YOU! Shocking, right? Our inner critics would have us believe the world will come crashing down, but it doesn’t. They might sting, but that’s it. It’s no gaping wound.

4. It’s an opportunity to re-examine what you DO like about your work AND what you don’t. The review can’t hurt unless you agree with it on some level. Use that information to make your work better next time. Is there anything you would do differently?

5. Negative reviews are a sign that you’ve done something different enough to piss someone off. Points for creativity!
6. I am LUCKY to have the “champagne problem” of a few negative reviews. Of reviews at all! I am very grateful my work is out there, and that it has garnered as much interest and support as it has.


There was this UFO table thing in the corner of Barbican Weekender, and appeared on the little screen on the side was the discussion topic: “Why the long queue for the rain room?” There were 2-3 people around the table, and a man sitting in the middle passing on the mic from one to another. They were talking about weather.

The atmosphere was easy and equal. I don’t like voicing public opinions, but it drew me in and I sat down by the table, and raised my hand to answer the question, “I think we are just being control freaks, we were never able to control the weather, and now we can have rain drops not falling on us, and we all wanted that.”

Questions and opinions – should we be in control; why do we want to be in control; realisation of we cannot control everything; controlling the weather to avoid catastrophes like Katrina and Sandy.

The topic changed from weather to being in control.

I raised my hand again, “Sandy made me realise that technology helped us be in control, but Mother Nature will always be more powerful. We have to be in control, yes, but we must also respect the environment we are in. Respect Mother Earth.”

The lady beside me chipped in, saying that there are billionaires are doing projects that are trying to control -something-, they are like the Bond villains who think they are doing good but actually not. The man across the table would prefer that he is in control because losing control is not a good thing. I said that it is not necessary to be in control all the time; we must trust human brain, when it loses control, it gains something else and very often, it is the “ah” moment, creativity.

The topic changed from rain, to weather, to being in control to human creativity.

I loved it. I love discussions. I love asking questions about “the norm”. I love challenging my own thoughts, even got into fights.. I mean, debates where I “attacked” the arts and my own profession – which happens a hell lot in public debates anyway. (If I couldn’t defend myself, everything I do now loses meaning within the wider context. But if I could, I will be very, very pleased.)

I hope to be in another Talkaoke soon.

Reverse side of a Talkaoke banner.

Define: Contemporary Dance

What a wonderful definition of contemporary dance by Sanjoy in this article! :

“If these pieces [of contemporary dance] shared anything, it was not style or substance or quality, but rather an underlying belief that the vision of their creators was more important than any particular tradition, technique or convention; a valourisation of idiosyncrasy, of creativity above conformity.” – Sanjoy Roy