Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why one opinion means nothing

Every Sunday I go deep into my NFL coma. Don't answer the phone, eat lots of junk food. The house could collapse around me and I wouldn't notice as long as the TV kept working.

I have the NFL Sunday Ticket package so I get to watch my beloved Giants every week. But a few times a year one of America's most popular announcers calls their game. This guy is widely recognized as one of the best in the business.

And when he calls the game, I turn the sound off and pick up the radio broadcast on the Internet.

I'm sure ninety percent of football fans love this guy. But his voice, his attitude and his style just grate on me for some reason. I can't stand to listen to him.

But hey, that's just my opinion. And it's just one opinion.

At some point early in your career, you're probably going to run into someone who will tell you that you have no business being in the business. That your work is awful, you have no talent, and no one will hire you. And in some cases, some of you will take that one opinion to heart and run back to mom's basement.

We in the industry are creative people, but all creative types are overly sensitive to criticism. We might send out a batch of resume tapes, get five positive responses and one bad one, but we'll focus all our attention on the negative. It's just the way we're wired. I'm the same way.

When you're looking for that first or second job, negative opinions can become a demon and that demon can dance the Macarena in your head. You start second guessing yourself. "Maybe I'm not good enough. Maybe I need to do something else. This person knows what's he's talking about, so I must be awful."

When you go down that road, you give one person an awful lot of power.

First of all, anyone who writes or says something mean to a rookie is truly crossing the line. We all started somewhere, and I dare say 99 percent of us turned out some awful work in that first job. To not remember that and kill someone's dream is just unconscionable. And I often hear of college professors who dabble in this kind of talk. Sad.

I've watched plenty of tapes over the years, and a few were so bad they left me scratching my head and saying, "Where do I even start with this person?" And over the years some of those people who seemed absolutely clueless have blossomed into terrific reporters and anchors.

I've also had a few people come to me and tell me they met some ND who told them they were awful. And then I look at the tape and see a ton of talent.

One opinion means nothing. I've been wrong before, and so has every manager in this business. Some people just need a chance, some are late bloomers, some need the right mentoring environment. You don't need to be told what's wrong, you need to be told how to take your talent and make it right.

But you all need, as my father told me, "Skin like an elephant."

Get a bad review? Fuhgeddaboutit. If you truly believe this is what you are meant to do, if you honestly burn to work in this business, don't let one opinion from someone you've never met change your life.



Anonymous said...

Grape, you're a Giants fan? I knew there was a reason I loved this blog other than the news wisdom you share. Hopefully Eli can hold onto the ball and they can get it done this Sunday against the Bears!

-The Grape said...

Last week's game was truly frustrating to watch. I mean, how do you lose 29-10 and never punt?

This week I'm hoping for the daily double... a Giants win, and the Mets fire their manager.