seth godin

An Experiment into Transparency regarding Lunch

I have a secret.  Actually, many secrets.  We all do.  Small ones, horrible ones, inconsequential ones.  But if you ask me what I had for lunch, it's akin to putting a knife to my throat and asking me to sell out my best friends, if, in a fictional bout of storytelling, they just happened to rob a bank and I was entrusted with that information and nobody was hurt.  You know the saying, snitches get stitches.  

The symptoms;  throat constriction, brain fog, and suddenly finding myself in an intensely difficult moment which could be alleviated with uttering a few simple words, whatever they may me, about what I had for lunch.  The most inconsequential questions become existential dilemmas.  Vague is my due course.  That is a character trait, years in refinement.

In my time, i've been able to get away with this in good style.  It was much easier without social media.  And even after, I could hide those simple pleasantries by way of social media interactions. After all, if I posted about where I was, why would I have to repeat said place to a girlfriend, or buddy, or anybody else?  Now, this isn't a modus operandi about everything, just the simplest of pleasantries.  The type of philistine chit chat we engage in as humans for some odd reason.  At some point, the mere thought of these simple niceties became too exhausting with people whom I've known to some degree.  Now, people I don't know so well, this is a non issue which is a sort of weird paradox all to itself.  

Now, everything I wrote above is mostly metaphorical.  It refers to the artist, the process and the work.     

So, it's time to try another approach.  Since I would like to practice what I preach, I will be sharing more information about process.  Secret projects that I toil in for long lengths of time, well, now I will show you what goes on behind the curtain.  This is not easy.  This is total cognitive dissonance.  But, I cannot tell another kid to share their work (and I mean process) without me doing it without abandon.  We are living in an Austin Kleon, Seth Godin kind of world.

Burn those old ideas.  Keep the head empty, and maybe, it can refill itself.

Of course, this experiment has a time limit.  Till the end of the year.  If it proves worthwhile to post clips of a fucking rehearsal, it will continue.  If utter repulsion sets in, I have the rights to terminate my own self inflicted experiment.  

Cheers my friends,

Relevancy When Clocks Go Wild

The question of relevancy is always an important one when the arts, cinema or any cultural element is discussed, thought about, and perused towards some end.

We can always put our heads down and slog through the terrain, to do what we love without ever needing to be self aware of our place, or our goals, both collectively and individually.  But, that's a simple pursuit.  Valid as any, but, shallow in scope. 

Instead, and often, we think deep and long about our place in the world.  And, as the world changes in rapid succession, in a culture that Alan Moore deemed "The Culture of Steam", when discussing the immediate future, certain trends emerge.  And to clarify, I believe Moore was discussing the ungraspable future culture, as predetermined by technology and its interplay with our old world evolution.

This is the time of the instant update.  And, you can look no further than the emerging talent of today to really understand what this means.  In music, the perpetual mixtape was the start, but the further you push that along, the more you get to the current state.  Just like instagram, music has also morphed into the weekly song/video style most prominent in hip hop.  I like to use hip-hop as the example, because it's elements are very immediate.  It's production, usually fast, and wordplay doesn't necessarily need to be written.   

Acts like Lil B and Riff Raff elude to a changing landscape where they are always on the cycle of relevance, because, they mimic the culture of the internet itself.  They are both shrewd, entertaining and showman promoters.  They are a new species of music artist.  Self aware, skilled, entrepreneurial, shameless and momentum oriented.  And regardless of what you think of them, they continue turning critics into fans, by sheer willingness to be out there, to take the brunt of "haters".  

In an alternative way, if Riff Raff put out a few videos, and waited for something to happen, nothing ever would.  This is a critical difference between the old and the new.  The closest example in the film world would be someone like Joe Swanberg.  But perhaps, there are countless other "video" artist who are better examples whom I just don't know.  Tim and Eric immediately came to mind as the television version, but the metaphor is not as clear.  Adult Swim nurtures these changes, and was willing to take those risks years ago.  In the world of books/blogging, look no further then Seth Godin.

In a disposable age, perfectionism isn’t valued because we just don’t have time for it.  By the time it’s perfect, the world moved 10 steps ahead.  I know, your ol school idealism doesn’t want to deal with it.  Whatever. 

The question is, in this new landscape, what if you turned it off.  What if your video didn't come out on that Wednesday, or that you stopped your twitter'ing and vine'ing and facebook.  What if you get sick?  What if you don’t make three films a year?  And what if, you weren’t birthed into a career before this all happened?  You know, in the old timey days (pre 2005) when things work different? 

The constant hustle and digital sharecropping reminds me of Jaron Lanier's critique of the internet and the middle class.  You can hustle on that street corner all you want, but, when you get sick, well, you're fucked.  But, at least you’re relevant.   :) (smiley face)

Pick Yourself

There is a line, oft repeated in Seth Godin's newest book, "The Icarus Deception" in which he simply states, "pick yourself".  This is a profound thought, and in the simplest language possible.  

Here, he is referring to people who are waiting for a chance in the sun (but instead, can choose themselves).  People who wait for some authority to point them out, to lift them up and place them square into the X at the end of the rainbow.  Problem is, this is the worst type of game, with the worst type of odds.

Now, Seth comes from a marketing background.  He understands the world of business, entrepreneurship, marketing, etc.  But he tries to bridge the gap to the arts.  In many ways, he succeeds.  But, in his fury of words, the actualities and nuances get swept under the rug.  

For example, while you can DIY anything, the cost of traditional narrative movie making is very high.  Even the tiniest budgets rival the seed money for a new start-up.  And while you might not be promised a return, the business world is pretty straightforward.

With that said, his phrase, "pick yourself" still works.  Because, if you don't, your not living in todays world. You're looking at industries and systems of the past, and for the arts, this is especially the case.  

Even with the high cost of movie making,  when you "pick yourself", you have a sense of control, and a vision for tomorrow.  This of course means that some compromises might have to be made.  

But, the numbers tell the truth (at least for now).  Movie making that you remember from your childhood, will not be the same business in a couple years, then it was for the last 50 years.  It is hardly any different from the record business.    

Shit has flipped, and hard.  So, pick up the camera, or remix what's already available.  Or simply, write your dreams down.  That way, you are on the start of the journey of picking yourself.  A place exists for everybody who tries.