I am in my third month of making a living in the Arts. In January I created a lecture poster for Georgia Southern University, finished my short film, started a children’s book with a local author, gained two reoccurring clients, and started discussions on two animation projects. Here is an update of the things I’ve learned and accomplished since my last post. The purpose of this blog is to keep myself motivated and on track and provide knowledge for those looking to make a similar decision.
PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE… BECAUSE NOBODY ELSE WILL FOR YOU
There is a fine line between tooting your own horn and sharing what you create. The best kind of art is what you do for yourself simply because you just want to do it. However there is no reason why you can’t share it with people once you’re done.
I’ve found that when I’m finished with a major project such as a film, album, or book the best way to let people know they exist is through press releases. Press releases let the newspapers and blogs know what you’re up to. A lot of the time you won’t hear a response, but when you do they can lead to articles, reviews, exposure, and maybe some new clients or fans. They appreciate a good story being handed to them so it works for everyone.
In January I sent 3 press releases out locally to promote my movie premiere and received responses from 2 of them. This led to an article that is coming out this week, and another one closer to the premiere. As a result, the editor of The Chico News & Review also let me know of a local talent competition called “Keeping Chico Weird.” I entered my film Wormholes and it was played in front of 700 people. It really pays to try!
If you are creating anything for hire you will run across negative feedback or setbacks that can kill your confidence. To avoid this as much as possible make sure to ask as many open ended questions as possible when starting a project. The more you fully understand their needs, the smoother it will go. I had a couple negative reactions last month but was able to keep my head clear, not take it personally, and try to understand where they were coming from. I stayed polite, and professional, and delivered a product they were happy with.
In some cases you will find the client is not reasonable, understanding, and not worth your time. If you run across this, try your best to make them happy, be the better person and then you don’t ever have to work with them again. It’s not worth damaging your reputation and don’t spend days and nights angry making assumptions about the situation. You could be spending that time creating.
ALWAYS LEARN NEW SKILLS
My friend Dana said something last month that really stuck with me. We started working with surround sound for the first time and I wondered how we could meet our goal in time for the movie premiere. He said, “If humans have done this before, I’m sure we can figure it out.” It was the confidence boost I needed and very well put. It's not like we were trying to fly to Mars. We were merely working with new software and parameters.
In both my personal and professional work I have been teaching myself new skills weekly. If you come across a challenge you are not sure how to overcome at least try to figure it out. With resources like youtube, Lynda.com, countless blogs, and friends who have done it before, you can usually find a way. You should expect many failed attempts but keep learning and keep trying.
That was my January. If any of you have feedback on dealing with difficult clients or resources for learning new technical skills please leave them in the comments below. I hope this blog is useful to someone else.
I QUIT MY JOB TO FOLLOW MY DREAMS: