The number one rule of networking – whether it be face to face with director, producers, talent, or fans, or online in written language – you are going to be watched like a hawk. You have decided to put yourself out there for all the world to see, in all your naked glory…and people are going to comment on it. That being said, YOUR number one rule must be to be polite, friendly, and accommodating at all times. Actually, let me rephrase that – at MOST times. Obviously if you have a stalker who is trying to physically manhandle you at a convention or event, the people watching that interaction may not have the privilege of seeing your best side. But you MUST maintain a level of composure that is polite, friendly, and accommodating.
You ARE going to get bad comments from time to time. Someone’s not going to like the way your scene was shot, or think that you’re not that good an actor. Some people are such that they go out of their way to seek actors they wouldn’t find appealing, just to heckle them. The difference between a successful career and one that spirals downward is how you react to it. Blogging about how they can “kiss your lily-white ass” is not going to garner any sympathy or support. Stay strong, be polite, be friendly, and be accomodating. Walk away if you have to, but don’t confront – even if you’re right, you’ll only be seen as psycho. Understand that it’s the other person’s insecurities and jealousies that are probably causing them to try to cut you down, but reacting strongly to it is only going to confirm their assumptions that you are someone they can use to make themselves feel better. Don’t let them win.
Understand that sometimes, it just is the nature of some people to try to take jabs at you in an attempt to rectify their own insecurities and stresses. Understand that it RARELY has NOTHING to do with you. Feel badly that they are in such a position, and be happy that you are not.
Now, it is true that from time to time the negative commentary might come from someone with some credibility, sometimes in the form of a public review. When that happens, the best possible thing that you can do is ABSORB THE INFORMATION. See if you can contact the reviewer and see if there is anything that they can advise you on to make either your work any better. Don’t take it as a personal attack – if the person reviewing you is a respected authority, then more than likely they are going to welcome your questions. The only outcome which can come out of a collaborative process like that is a better product. It’s free marketing advice – take it and run with it. In the best case scenario, a continued business relationship with reviewers can lead to added exposure for you.
Just remember: “You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not please all of the people all of the time.”