The Gate Keepers (and you)

For many aspiring artists, it can feel overwhelming how many GATEKEEPERS exist: publishers, producers, gallery owners…seemingly keeping you and your dream as distant cousins rather than close friends.

BUT–especially with the handy invention of the internet–it’s easier today than ever before to get your work out there. Yes, this also means there’s a TON of people out there doing the same, but at least you don’t need a $100,000 grant before posting on Instagram.

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And here’s the important bit: you can’t get onto that elusive gallery wall or that magazine page if you don’t–

a) make art, and a lot of it, including “bad” art

b) put your work out there, again and again.             …and again.

So here’s my excellent advice: Don’t wait for someone else’s permission to MAKE your art, and don’t wait for someone else’s permission to SHOW your art.

You may not have a million dollars or a book deal or a fancy financial backer, but that does NOT mean you have to wait until you do. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck in limbo.

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I recently decided to shoot a scene from my latest script. I got myself a (relatively) cheap camera and I’m just going to go for it. For now, I’ll record the audio on my phone, using a selfie stick my roommate left behind as a makeshift boom pole.

I’m not planning to make Casablanca. I don’t even plan to show ANYONE. All I want to do is mess around, practice shooting/audio/editing, and get a fresh perspective on my script. …Maybe even have a bit of fun, who knows?

In order to make the most out of the time I have with the actors, I’ve carefully planned out establishing shots vs. close ups, angles vs. straight on, etc. And here’s when it hit me: visualizing the scene, especially one moment when the shot cuts from medium to close up on an actor’s face, my chest and hands got all tingly.

It wasn’t even a serious moment in the script. It was a silly moment. But that’s when it really hit me: good gracious I love doing this. 

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I love writing. I love costume design and casting. I love editing. I love cinematography. I love planning how to make a moment special onscreen. I love working with actors to get the best out of them, and under the right circumstances I even enjoy acting.

Not everyone makes it big in their dream career. But I figure that if you can make a living—or even make time on the weekends—to work on something that makes your fingers tingle when you think about it, you’re doing something right.

This is not to say you shouldn’t still do pitches or submissions or cold calling, only that WHILE you’re illegally climbing over gates and knocking on those doors, keep making art, posting art, feeding your creative soul… And don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can’t “get going” until someone else gives you the green light.

Just remember: the less money you have the more creative you have to be!

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Feeling stuck in your creative process? Did your second grade teacher tell you you couldn’t draw? Do you believe art is only for people with “natural talent”? Do you want to stretch yourself creatively?

I offer Creativity Coaching, which is personalized, one-on-one coaching tailored to whatever you are personally struggling with around your creativity. Whether you’re just starting out or are a professional artist, we all get into creative ruts.

Contact me to inquire about Creativity Coaching or set up your first session.

What Makes You All Tingly?

or: How to Determine your Dream Career

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Once upon a time I was working on my laptop in a doughnut shop, planning a short video for a client. It was simple: a five-minute walk-through of her studio so her viewers could get to know her and her style of art.

As I was innocently sitting on an uncomfortable stool, imagining what the video could look like…I started getting this tingling sensation in my chest and hands. I drifted off into glorious fantasies of cutting between shots of colored pencils and water colors. I imagined when I would cut to a close-up and what music I could play over the video intro. I smiled as I cycled through potential fonts in my mind’s eye.

These could be most mundane things, to the wrong person. But to me, it was delightful and exciting as I thought about playing short samples of some of her favorite songs to listen to while she paints.

This past year, I’ve looked at quite a few blogs on creativity, and read more quotes than I thought humanly possible about success and failure.

My main take-away is this: those who achieve success—for the most part—worked unbelievably hard and failed quite a bit. But they kept at it, and that’s what made the difference.

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How do you become an amazing painter, sculptor, or accountant? You practice. A lot.

How do you succeed in a competitive field when the odds are stacked against you? You try. A lot. And when that doesn’t pan out, try some more.

And finally: What is the best remedy for dealing with all the bullshit and painful rejection?

Doing it for something that makes you tingly.

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Feeling stuck in your creative process? Did your second grade teacher tell you you couldn’t draw? Do you believe art is only for people with “natural talent”? Do you want to stretch yourself creatively?

I offer Creativity Coaching, which is personalized, one-on-one coaching tailored to you and your creative process. Whether you’re just starting out or are a professional artist, we all get into creative ruts.

Contact me to inquire about Creativity Coaching or set up your first session.

My Brain is Trying to Kill Me

So I had this great idea for a comic the other day…

I realized that everything in my life was fine. That underneath all my depression & anxiety was a curious, passionate person who actually was quite a fan of life.

In fact, I thought as I walked in the rain without an umbrella, the only problem is my brain. My brain is trying to kill me.

The preferred pastime of my brain seems to be working tirelessly to convince me that everything is terrible, especially me. I don’t really appreciate it, but it’s also the truth of my current situation.

…So then I thought it would be fun to draw a little comic of my brain pointing a gun (or maybe a bazooka) at me. It was a cute idea, until i realized that I don’t know how to draw a brain OR a bazooka.

It sucks when your (lack of) skills interfere with your questionably brilliant ideas.

I mused about what to do for a while, then sat down and drew the comic anyway. And since I already told you what it is, you’re not allowed to say, “What’s that weird blobby thing?”

It’s a brain. It’s supposed to be a brain. With a bazooka.

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