Monday, March 12, 2012

Kickstarter and Personal Responsibility

My Kickstarter is live.

It's odd.  Now that it's finally live I feel more nervous than ever.  It's understandable.  Everyone working in a self-motivated creative field eventually gets to the point where they have to put it on the line and hope for the best.  It's the difference between the doers and the dreamers, after all.

See, when it comes to creative, self-motivated work, there's basically three types of people:

The never-do's.  These people  don't believe they can succeed, or maybe they try and fail and decide it was because they just didn't have the capacity to begin with.  Then they go and get a job at Orange Julius and are never seen or heard from again.

The true doers.  These are those who know success isn't so much about luck or natural talent as it is about putting in the work and becoming a success.  The group we all want to be.

But then there's a third group.  These are the people who want to be in the second group, but just never seem to make it.  Sometimes they're the person who's so naturally talented that everything seems easy, but then they never go out and get the education they need in order to move past the 'pretty good' stage and start being 'great.'  Maybe they're so convinced they already ARE great that they never truly put in the work necessary to learn and grow as an artist because they think they already have what it takes to succeed.  Or maybe they're the person who knows it takes a lot of work to be successful, so they spend their time constantly 'prepping' without actually finishing; they study, prepare, make plans, but that little fear in the back of their minds that they'll end up in the first group keeps them from ever actually making that leap.

That last group is The Dreamers, and they're the saddest one.  They're people who know they're talented, know they could succeed, but fear of failure or a sense of entitlement without work keeps them from achieving it.  And I don't want to be in that last group.

Recently I watched a documentary titled "Being Elmo."  It's the story of the puppeteer who invented Elmo, and like most life stories it starts off when he was a child.  Now here's the thing: When he was younger, he didn't just dream of being a puppeteer.  He wasn't that guy who buys a puppet, practices after school and dreams of one day being a success. No, this is the guy who went out at the age of 10 and started DID it.

He watched everything Jim Henson ever made and took very careful notes.  He cut up coats with fine fabrics and used them to sew his own puppets.  He practiced every day in front of his mother's daycare children to perfect his technique, and by the time he was in high school he was already doing stage shows and working in local television with his home-made puppets.  When he graduated from High School, he went straight to a job with the Muppets because at 18 he was already a seasoned professional.

If you haven't been working on your dream since the age of 10, don't worry, you can still do it of course.  It takes preparation, study and focus, but more importantly it takes actually doing the thing you want to do.  It takes field experience, it takes learning on the job, and that's why I'm launching my kickstarter even though a small part of me is screaming that I don't know enough yet.  This little voice tells me wait just another month, maybe two, or perhaps five or another year or ten and THEN you'll be ready.

But I can't listen to that part of me.  I want to be a creator, and I'm at the point where that means doing it, not dreaming about it.  Failure isn't the worst that a creator can do.  The worst mistake a creator can make is to never truly, honestly try.  It's why I'm not bothering as much with my acting agency lately and instead am planning out webseries.  I'm tired of waiting for my time to come.  I'd rather just make it happen on my own.

What exactly are you wanting to do with your art?  What's the true end-goal, and what are you doing right now to not only prepare for your dream, but to actually accomplish it and live it, right now?

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