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!

***

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.

***

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.

What are you AIMING for?

In a realistic portrait art class, this wouldn’t fly:

Realistic Portrait

Grade: F+

In a draw-something-in-three-seconds-which-looks-semi-human-but-also-kind-of-like-a-duck class, I’d do fairy well.

Grade: B – –

But I love that little guy. I feel an emotional attachment to him. Does he have arms? No. Does that matter? Hell no.

Keep on rockin’

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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“I love Rejection”

This was posted on facebook when someone shared my blog. I thought the comment was also worth sharing: “I LOVE rejection. Means I hit a nerve…”

What an interesting way to look at it, Diana.

The comment made me want to share my favorite type of rejection/reaction to my work, the doesn’t even know how to react:

“It’s very…creative.” (said with disdain)

“I don’t even know how to respond to this.”

and

“Are you being serious?”

Share your favorite rejections below!

A Sensible Life, Part III: The Best Advice I’ve Ever Heard

I’m sure you’re dying to know how my quest to find a sensible career is coming.

My subconscious has a tradition, whenever I am either in the midst of a significant life change, to give me extremely violent nightmares.

Well, lately I’ve been having extremely violent nightmares. They’re usually quite intricate, with a full-blown plot and lovable characters (who die gruesomely yet poetically).

And of course, there is one exception: sometimes I get violent, bloody dreams when I’m about to make an incredibly stupid decision. It’s like a helpful compass.

I may become a therapist yet…but not yet. Not yet. I have unfinished business to do first.

***

I sat down with my parents the other day, and kindly shared that I would still be needing their money, but for different studies that I had previously mentioned. It was something I’d never asked for money for before: something not sensible.

They just listened.

I said something along the lines of, “I’ve always loved art…and creativity… But this goes against every fiber of my being. I’m afraid that if I put money—your money—into schooling which has very little guarantee of a job after graduation, let alone a lucrative career, I will end up losing what’s really important: my money. And then I won’t be able to pay for rent, or food, and I’ll die of a combination of starvation and humiliation.”

Silence.

So I awkwardly filled the silence with, “A career is not something to fiddle with. A career should be sensible. Sensible.”

To which my dad responded, “I’ve always thought it’s best to have an un-sensible life and sensible shoes.”

Thank you, dad.

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A Sensible Life, Part II: School for Therapy

I recently decided to go to school for therapy. By that I mean: go to school to become a therapist, not use school as a form of therapy.

It was a mostly logic-based decision as far as a career was concerned. I’ve always had interest in psychology, (and much more recent interest in helping people), so my choice wasn’t completely out of left field.

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On a separate note, I was recently struck with an idea for a short story:

The main character is a therapist, who gives up on his creative dreams. Soon he finds himself—day in and day out—tasked with supporting others to follow their dreams instead of settling for second-best.

At first, it’s rewarding. But then it becomes too much…. And any client of his who decides to pursue their dreams, come what may, tragically gets murdered and stored under the therapist’s floorboards.

***

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Who can say where ideas come from? Sometimes inspiration hits at the strangest times. I may find the time to write this story while I’m applying to graduate school, or I may not. At least I know where my priorities lie.

P.S. The TWIST at the end of the story is that the therapist’s office was on the third floor, and he’s been dropping bodies onto the person beneath him for years.

Not very considerate.

Marry Me

I’ve been thinking for quite some time now what career path I should take. And I think I’ve finally cracked it:

I’ve always wanted to go into a creative field, but held myself back because it wasn’t ‘practical.’ I need safety. I need security. And the arts, um…don’t give you that.

That’s why I’ve decided the obvious answer is to marry somebody either up-and-coming as a doctor or lawyer, or someone who’s already super rich.

“Gold digger” has such negative connotations…but yes, that’s exactly what I’m talking about.

I’m not picky, though. I’d settle for a producer at a major production company or maybe a movie star. Someone who loves me for me and also doesn’t mind me doing exactly as I please while they support me.

So if anyone knows a human-person who matches this description and is looking for a not-so-attractive, depressive type who doesn’t like to socialize or have sex, tell them to call me.

The Adventures of Mark Anthony [part XII]

Mark Anthony were the best of friends in many ways. For one thing…

      Cast:

MARK: Anthony’s best friend

ANTHONY: Mark’s best friend

***

Mark and Anthony were the best of friends in many ways. For one thing, they always ate scones together on Saturdays. Unfortunately, this particular scone was stale and had a slightly bitter aftertaste. What’s more, Anthony reMARKed on how the whipped cream on his hot chocolate tasted like the milk was just slightly overdone.

 

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The Adventures of Mark Anthony [part XI]

Mark Anthony were the best of friends in many ways. For one thing…

      Cast:

MARK: Anthony’s best friend

ANTHONY: Mark’s best friend

***

“Mark,” said Anthony, “Why do I feel so alone?”

“Beats me,” said Mark, “I feel fine.”

The Adventures of Mark Anthony [part X]

Mark Anthony were the best of friends in many ways. For one thing…

      Cast:

MARK: Anthony’s best friend

ANTHONY: Mark’s best friend

***

“Anthony?” said Mark, “Are you dead?”

“Yes,” said Anthony, “But it’s alright. I live…in you.”

“But Anthony,” said Mark, “I’m dead.”

“That’s ok,” said Anthony, “You live on…in me.”

“But Anthony,” and Mark, “We can’t both live on if we’re both dead. And living on only counts if someone alive remembers you.”

“Well, that just doesn’t sound right,” said Anthony.

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