Episode 210 — Feeding the Trolls


Episode 210 — Feeding the Trolls

Welcome to Episode 210! I’m going to talk about dealing with trolls. I’ve talked about this before I want to lean into it more. I’ve been wanting to put it together for a while. In the past I’ve said, “Don’t feed the trolls!” Now, I have a slightly different outlook: “Feed the trolls a different diet.”

I’d love to get your feedback on that. We all deal with negative people. Sometimes it’s worth to take the responsibility of helping them. One thing I didn’t mention in the Episode: My team and I have weekly meetings and we talk about my FXTD Mentorship. We tend to talk about the same people who aren’t having the success that everyone else is having — and it’s all due to their personalities and their negative traits. There are people who don’t want to problem solve. They just want a button that fixes everything. If you want to push buttons, it makes your highly replaceable. That’s the whole point of the Podcast: I want to give you the skill that makes your irreplaceable.

Let’s dive in!



[00:44] One of the biggest problems we face as artists is figuring out how much we’re worth. I’ve put together a website. Check it out: www.VFXRates.com! This is a chance for you to put in your level of experience, your discipline, your location — and it will give you an accurate idea what you and everyone else in your discipline should be charging. Check it out: www.VFXRates.com!

[05:03] I have some training that may still be available at www.avengerscourse.com. Even if this training has expired, still sign up — and I have more free training coming up soon. This is the stuff I’m most proud!



[05:51] First of all, I apologize for any background noise. There is some construction at my office. BUT! I wanted to be put together this rant because I find it to be a bit of a problem.

[06:08] The story comes from YouTube — the wonderful land of mini trolls. I put out some free training: a 10-video free course that goes through something that I spent 5 weeks on (and not on my spare time!) I hired and paid artists to make this happen, spent the equivalent of $15K to put this together and release it for free. The site for this course is www.AvengersCourse.com. I’m so proud of this! It’s easily one of the best things I’ve ever put together.

[06:50] I put that up on YouTube. I expected there would be some people who were weird and negative. You know how it is: You look at the ratio of a hundred of great, positive comments versus one negative one. But this morning, there was a person said, “Allan is really good at selling himself…” I laugh at this sort of thing! My response to him was more blunt because I want to help. It’s a realization I’m having with places like YouTube and Reddit. There is a lot of negativity! The thing is: Over the past decade of doing course, doing my Mentorship and publishing free training, it’s changed my perspective on how I do things, as well as how do people get results.

[07:53] Most of the training that I put out these days is not something that says, “Here’s how to understand this product better.” I’m always looking at the end result, which most training doesn’t do that! I’m not out there teaching you how to understand a tool or how to create some crappy explosion, or whatever that might be. What I am trying to teach is: What tools do I need to give you to get you the end results that you want? I have meeting with my team all the time, trying to figure out how we can make that happen:

  • How can we make the courses better?
  • What can we tweak?
  • How can we adjust the attitudes in the student community?

People sometimes try the course and find it difficult and then go do something else. I try to prepare people that if you’re going to try to do something, it is going to be hard work! It is going to require effort.

[08:50] Getting on YouTube has been interesting! I just hit 25K Subscriptions — which is pretty cool! What’s been fascinating is seeing firsthand all the negativity. In my courses, we weed that out and we get more personable with people. But outside of my courses, it’s more educational for me to see the kind of problems that people are having. Whenever I get a troll (and I’ve talked to Ryan Connolly at Film Riot a bunch of times: www.allanmckay.com/133), I find it fascinating. When people are being negative, 9 out of 10 times they’re just unhappy in their lives! Anytime I’ve gotten some vicious email out of nowhere, I end up checking out that person’s Facebook page to see what’s going on in their world. It is usually identical: They don’t have many followers, they don’t have many people who want to be around that energy; they’re posting 5-6 times a day about everything that’s wrong with their life. And no one is commenting back. Most of these people aren’t even aware of what they’re doing.

[10:26] This is exactly what I experience occasionally with people like our friend on YouTube. In this instance — when someone says, “Allan really knows how to sell himself” — I take it as a compliment! I own it! This is part of what I’ve been saying. The first thing I talked about this year was how to build a brand. I put out these concepts and I asked everyone how that made them feel inside. Fifty percent of these people are going to be uncomfortable with the idea of selling themselves. The others will think, “This isn’t for me!” — which is really their way of deflecting. But there will be a portion of the people that will say, “Oh, my gosh! This makes sense! No will want to hire me if they aren’t aware of my services.” I had at least a hundred people coming up to me after. Some would ask me to look at their reel, and they would have 400K followers. So they already have a brand built; they’re just aren’t aware of it.

[11:57] This is the thing that I want to put out there. You need to be putting yourself out there 24/7. Some of us are scared. This is the thing though: I’m happy with my career. I put out these free trainings and free Podcasts. And I’m happy to do it! It’s valuable to hear from you when you’ve had life-changing results. However, when you do get people who are haters, it’s always good to look at the context. I put out a 4-minute trailer for my free course. I worked on it for 5 weeks; again, I payed other artists to join the team. I’ve easily spent 15-20K on this. That’s why it’s a massive undertaking. It’s 10 videos, 15 hours of training. I used a Black Magic camera. I am giving away a Thanos model for free, from that training. I put this out — for free! Of course, you get that 1-2 people who are looking for something negative.

[14:55] Here is the value! Here are hundreds of people saying, “Yes! This is amazing!” I’m seeing people who’ve never done 3D before. I’m seeing people coming together, and even delivering better results that I could. At the end of these 3 weeks, I want to see the growth. But what do you do when you see an opportunity like this: I am a pretty well adjusted person and I would’ve said, “Wow, this is great!” I’d see it as an opportunity to grow and do something fun and amazing. But when do you do when you see the negativity. When you get people who are just looking for holes in something — “Nothing is good!”, “It’s all a scam!” — these are the people that are frustrated at everything and everyone because they aren’t getting the success they want. But how do you get success if you look at everything as a giant turd?

[16:44] I always say, “You’ve gotta be in it — to win it!” If you have someone who’s tearing everything apart, everything else in their world sucks. It allows them to use that as an excuse and sit back and not be successful! They never get the results that they want and hope they no one else does either. This is where I was starting to be more brutal, in the last couple of days. Everything I say, I have accountability. For me to publish something, it has to go through my team. So if I say, “We get hundreds of emails” — it has to be true (because otherwise I’d look like an idiot in front of my team). That’s the accountability factor. In the last couple of days, I did become more brutal. My team usually gets frustrated when I stay nice when someone is treating us with aggression. To me, it’s about polarity: The more you polarize the situation — the more they sound angry — the more it becomes clear who is behaving irrationally. So speak professionally and calmly. When they see your behavior, it’s obvious to them and everyone else that they’re being erratic.

[19:45] Recently, I felt I had to become more blunt. I would start a nice response to someone who’s being aggressive and negative, but then I’d realize that wasn’t going to help them. They would never realize why they’re never getting any results. I want to give people the realization to have a different outlook. This is very important! I hope you’re getting the subtle messages here: You need to be looking at opportunities to grow and become successful! No shortcuts! Lately, I’ve been compelled to resist my temptation to write a polite message. Sometimes you have to take that responsibility on, at the risk of sounding like a jerk!

[21:47] Yesterday, I had a comment on Facebook, “Does every single lesson have to be an hour long?” It’s 10 videos and 10 hours of training. It’s not a tutorial but a course. I planned to make this a $700 course. Instead, I decided to publish it for free. It will transform your skills and your career. When I saw that comment and at first, I wanted to ignore it. But I wanted the person to see the problem there. I ended up replying to that person. In the last few days of this training, there have been 62,000 people going through it. When someone is complaining, I have to step in and say, “To learn VFX, it takes years, not weeks! It takes decades to get really good! There are no shortcuts. And if you’re looking for shortcuts, maybe this video is not for you!” It’s what’s required to learn. For me, my goals with this training is to train people to be good enough — to hire them myself or to recommend them to others. With this training, the intention is to get your skills to where you need to be. This is always results driven, so I can get you a job at ILM, Scanline and Weta. Maybe this training isn’t for the person who is looking for shortcuts. There are plenty 5 minute videos out there! There are no shortcuts to success!

[25:28] In general, it always pains me to point out the reasons for people’s resistance. I felt I had to have some responsibility. Maybe, we have some behavior that we need to confront. My big thing is procrastination. I tend to the things that I want to tend to, and sometimes I ignore something like emails. Sometimes, it takes someone else’s stepping up and calling us out on that.

[27:03] We all have trolls. My wife who designs vehicle wraps had someone comment: “I doubt you’ve ever seen a real car in your life!” She sent him a photo of a car she just designed for 50 Cent. Thirty million people loved his photo of this car! But there is always going to be that one guy who’s trying to rip someone apart to make himself feel better. Maybe when you see others do that, you can step up and confront them. I hope that makes sense!

[28:51] I could care less about trolls. But I had this realization recently: We need to call them out, to point out why they aren’t succeeding. It’s not just your skills that are important. You need to be on top of other aspects. So here is a challenge for you: When you see others out there have that negative behavior, don’t ignore it. Help them out! Step up and ask them why they feel this way! Make them see the value in something positive. I think this is important and is applicable to all of us. I’ve had to take this harder route recently. A lot of these trolls are posting verbal negativity because it gets ignored and no one is confronting it. Everyone is just letting them continue spewing out negative stuff. You never know: You may help some of these people confront their behavior! I know we all have encountered trolls out there. I think we need to confront it with humor and think about what’s really happening; because 9 times out of 10, it has nothing to do with you. So take the high road — and do something for the greater good!

I hope you enjoyed this Episode and got a lot from it. I’m interested to see what you think of it. Please take a moment to share it or to email me with your insight: [email protected].

Later that day, after I recorded this Episode, on YouTube this person retracted on everything negative he’d said. He was asking if I’d come and work for him. So addressing him publicly was worth to see it turn around. Maybe it’s time for some of us to step up and help these people. It may be a cry for some attention.

I hope you enjoyed this Episode. I appreciate your listening!

Until next week —

Rock on!


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