I know many of you, and I like many of you. But there aren’t many of you. Our web video community is still relatively small, so we’ve all had the opportunity to commingle and get to know each other. This is great for socializing, but it introduces a dangerous conflict of interests. I say dangerous, because it’s really starting to hurt the industry. Let me tell you why.
When you don’t give a bad review, because you’re fearful of the repercussions, or you don’t want to hurt feelings, or you don’t want to lose potential sponsorship opportunities - you aren’t a reviewer anymore. You’re a marketer. Not that there’s anything wrong with marketing! We need more of it in online video. But you see the danger in posing as one thing when you’re the other, yes?
This industry needs you now more than ever. We need you to hunt down the unseen gems that I know are out there - a lot of it is probably happening outside our little bubble, e.g. random YouTube channels, filmmaking communities, etc. - so it’s going to require some leg work on your part. But we need you to do it, because the more truly “good” content that bubbles up, the easier it is to convince the naysayers that our industry is the real deal. I can’t speak for other producers, but I don’t want to be in the “minor leagues” of television, nor do I want that stigma associated with my projects. Raising the bar is always a good thing.
And just as important as finding the good stuff, you need to be more critical of the bad stuff. Like, way more critical. Because here’s the thing. You’re too fucking nice. And it seems like you pick-and-choose your reviews too carefully. Maybe it’s a coincidence, maybe it’s due to a lack of resources, whatever - in my opinion there is no good excuse. An announcement is not a review, it’s an announcement. If you announce something and hype it up, your readership will expect a review on it. Don’t back down on that. You will command a much more loyal and committed readership if you do this. Reputation is everything - you’re a journalist, and I know you know this.
So, I’m giving you blanket permission to bash the hell out of anything I work on from here on out, and I promise I won’t hate you, or disinvite you to parties, or not buy tickets to your events, or whatever other concern might be holding you back.
All I ask is that you’re fair and honest, and you don’t pull your punches.
PS- this letter is not directed at any one person or organization.
I also invite myself to be bashed, if required. :)