Available Opportunities
Expanding Growth
Passion vs. Talent

What’s right for me may not be right for you.

This may very well be one of the most confusing writings I’ve done to date.

Why? Because for the longest time I have been telling you to learn your craft, techniques, style, skills from others in the biz who are and have been successful.

Now I’m about to tell you shouldn’t hesitate to break all the rules, explore new ways of creative expression and don’t follow the leader.  Follow your passion.

BUT… you need to still learn new skills and make a living. “Ta Da” The confusion.

Here is some clarity.  To accomplish those two seemingly opposite approaches; “Don’t worry if no one cares about or understands your idea” and the other “Fall in line and do what people want you to do and will pay you to do it.”, I offer you two simple goals or paths.

Path One: Create in a style that feels natural to you, regardless of what others think.  Don’t worry about how this is going to make you money while you are developing your new idea or new way of creating things.

Path Two: While you are developing and experimenting you need money to live. The only thing people will pay for is a skill they need and for you execute that skill as per their direction.  Some call this selling out. I call it surviving while you prepare to change the world.

As I’ve pointed out in prior writings the best way to learn sellable skills is to get yourself in an environment of professionals. Most of the time one of them or a few of them will play the role of mentor / advisor and teach you the skills you need to land paying gigs.

Fortunately, those are probably some of the skills you will need to develop your new idea.

Learn their skills but don’t become their clone.

None of us see, listen, process or execute the same on a gig, even if we are doing the same job.  That uniqueness is what makes us valuable to the team.  If you become a clone you will limit your opportunities by stifling your uniqueness. Limiting your uniqueness will definitely limit your ability to develop new ideas.

What is a new idea?

In all of our creative industries, film, broadcast, theater, music, etc. we are all influenced or inspired by the world around us.  We are influenced by the advances in technology. We are influenced by music, images, books, movies, conversations we over hear, the list of influences / inspirations are endless.

Influence isn’t stealing an idea. Alexander Graham Bell was first to market with a point to point communication devise. That single idea has “influenced” generations of “new ideas” to today’s revolutionary devices called “cell phones”.

If you had a chance to talk to any leader in a creative industry and were only allowed one question, nine times out of ten it will be, “how did you come up with the idea….?” Their answer usually will start with, “I was always influenced or intrigued by…”

Many times, that influence has nothing to do with the end product. It is usually the catalyst that gets the thoughts rolling.

Here is an example.  I am by no means a camera operator. Yet, I have developed tons of visual images that we’ve used to uniquely enhance some of my shows.  A few of these visual images happened while I was “playing around” with camera technology that I knew nothing about. I call these moments “stumble ons”.

I’d push a button or tweak a menu parameter to learn how the camera worked and bam some inspirational image appeared.  It didn’t happen because I was trying but when it happened it inspired a new idea, Stumble On.

When I showed the images to real camera people their reaction was, “How the hell did you do this and Why”? When I’d showed them the parameters I’d tweaked their reply was, “Why would anyone change those?”. 

Why? Because I didn’t know the rules. New ideas never come from following the rules or the “that’s not how it’s supposed to be done”.

Many of those images became the basic visual technique that themed a new look for shows I was working on for FOX in the early MTV era and earned me my first Emmy.

Inspiration or influence can come from anywhere.

You can be a visual artist listening to a Spotify playlist when a small musically passage inspires some new visual image. The same is true if you are a writer and a scene in a movie connects with you, inspiring you to write an entirely new screenplay that was influenced by that one exchange of dialogue in that one scene. Even though your screenplay has nothing to do with the original dialogue.

These Stumble Ons may or may not change the course of your career but are necessary to grow your personal style.

Dreaming is cool… reality is the goal.

The practical side of influences that inspire new ideas is working out the ability to bring them to life and where to use them. Many people will tell you about this cool idea they have and will never take it further than an idea. Ideas aren’t real until you make them reality.

New ideas take trial and error. Trial and error take time and sometimes money.Time to experiment with different techniques while you explore something that’s never been seen, heard or tried. Remember that your time and money is being invested in something nobody is asking for or thinks they need. So, don’t get frustrated when you share your idea and it is not applauded.

This experimenting time is not “sellable time”. Sellable time is time someone needs and will pay for. Let’s say you’re hired to be a recording engineer, your time has a value because the end product, the recording, will be sold. That’s sellable time.

If your tinkering around with a new idea that may or may not have value to anyone, it is hard to get paid for that time, non-sellable time That’s why I laid out the TWO Paths in the beginning of the writing. They should run simultaneous throughout your career. You need to have sellable talents and skills BUT never give up chasing dreams and new ideas. That latter is what you were destined to do.

Fast track your entertainment production career