Friday, May 7, 2010

What Are You Crying About?

Stay in the entertainment industry long enough and you'll run across at least one actor, writer, director, cinematographer, or producer who has gotten bitter. They haven't worked in a long time, and you know right away from talking to them that they aren't likely to work again. They have a chip on their shoulder about the business, to which everyone's reaction is not to knock it off, but just walk away.

Sure, we all get angry sometimes. We've all had our "what are they thinking" tirades, but these are superficial – or they should be. If that anger is allowed to fester and seep under the skin, then it becomes bitterness, and that is fatal to an artist.

Some things to keep in mind that might help get you through the bad times:

No one forced you into this. The entertainment industry isn't coal mining. You didn't have to get into it to put food on the table so that your father's black lung will be covered by your health insurance and your baby sister could go to college. You're not share cropping. You've chosen a career – which in and of itself is a luxury most people on the planet don't enjoy – that almost never pans out. You knew the chances were close to impossible when you started, and yet you still chose it. Fine. Everyone loves a good hero struggling against all odds, but no one likes a person who picks that life, then complains about it.

It only takes one person to launch a career. That statement is both true and false. It has taken hundreds of people to get you to where you are today – a trained artist. You create your work and do your best to get it out on the market. From there, it takes just one person – the right one person – to say, "I like this" and/or "I can sell this."

What happens if you've gotten bitter and your response is, "Yeah, well, it's about time you opened your eyes to my work!" or "so what?" Suddenly, the one person who liked your work doesn't like you so much – and given that there are thousands of people as good as you who aren't bitter, that one person is going to move on. Guaranteed.

So keep your chin up. See the light. You're living a blessed life whether you know it or not. I can say that because you are reading this blog. That means you can read. You have access to a computer. You have the time to kick back and scan my silly words.

Whenever I run across an artist who is bitter, I'm reminded of the old lines from the stereotypical tough-love Dad.

"What are you crying about? I'll give you something to cry about!"

We are all wonderfully spoiled in this world. Bask in it. Celebrate it. Create some art.

Thanks for reading.


Lisa_Gibson said...

Good points you've made. I like the coal mining analogy. Hope all is well with you. Have a great weekend!

lgonda said...
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Anonymous said...

This blog post must be supremely eye-opening for the people who can't be selectively bitter....

Cat Woods said...

Aye, Aye, Captain. Donning my big girl pants, a cheerful smile and my lap top. I shall create--joyfully and blessedly!

Thanks for the inspiration.