Problem: I need to pay my bills and do so by doing creative work.
Solution: Convince as many people as I can how creative I am, so they might hire me to use my uber-creativity to help their a) product; b) lame ass tv show or movie or c) design a website – sometimes…
So now the problem is that I do get hired to do the creative work, and that’s well and good, but I find myself less and less inclined to walk around proclaiming how large my penis is and that it is bigger than any other penises in proximity.
I find myself more and more inclined to find ways to stand up, say what I think about things, and work with my usual work ethic, and if clients and potential clients are good with that, AND (and this is the tough one) I’m into whatever they want to do, and HOW they want to do it, then there’s a good match for creating great work.
It doesn’t even require a perfect storm for colloborative creationism – it simply requires people knowing what you’re about, and how you’re going to approach what they want you to do. It’s about creating your own personal brand, and finding an effective way to communicate it.
OK, while I’m not normally much of a TV watcher, I must admit that the casting decisions made for the new season of “The Apprentice” is brilliant.
And even in it’s first hour of “Street Smarts” vs. “Book Smarts” it’s clear that the book smart folk have been brought up believing that appearances are important, while the Street Smart folk are more intent on doing whatever it takes to get the job done.
Nothing is more tell-tale, and more inline with my current favorite creative work, Hugh MacLeod’s “How to Be Creative” than seeing all the silly ass college grads sitting around in a room after their loss and someone asking the group “well, how do we feel? what do we think” – which is the essence of his 8th Rule. “Team Players are not very good at creating value on their own. They are not autonomous; they need a team in order to exist.”
And we have reached the point in our society where it is more important to exist inside the team, and keep the status quo, rather than commit to something, anything and run the risk of being booted off the team.
Kind of a crock of shit, I think.
Was just reading through my “Wired” RSS feed and skimmed through Adam Penenberg’s Media Hack column of the week, when he refered to something written last year by Chris Anderson, the editor of Wired Magazine – called “The Long Tail.”
Adam was drawing parallels with the ubiquity of blogging and it’s effect on the free market of intellectualism.
It’s really no wonder so many people are scared shitless of free knowledge and free markets. Hell, I’m scared – because all of these ideas of meritocracy and people actually deciding what something is worth based upon it’s quality means that either my shit better be good or I will perish (figuratively speaking, of course). This more than any other issue is what’s got all the music and film and television people running around in circles tearing their hair out trying to figure out what the “next big thing is.”
But here’s what I think – the next big thing, is not a big thing at all. In the power of the free market, it’s all about the small things….and how many of those small things you have to sell to make a living.
But here’s the hard part; I’m deep in a business where it is very expensive to create content – even at the independent level.
So here comes the challenge. According to “The Long Tail” we have to be prepared to make possibly more sales than I might have previously forecast, but over a far far longer period of time. This is good for long term revenue, but very bad for cash flow. If it turns out to be true – the studios will continue to need larger and larger pictures to prop up their enormous and bloated overhead costs, and the indies will need to find a way to reinvent their business.
It’s gonna be interesting.