No, no, no. I still have a dick. Not that kind of change! Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Call this an informal self audit that I'd like to share with you, my fellow creatives, specifically, filmmakers and photographers, to help you become a wiser and more wicked whip with a magic wand. Ok, That was a total stretch and reach for my often overuse of alliteration.
1. DON'T BE THE CHEAP GUY (or GAL) :: Gal, so retro isn't it?! My friends, you WILL get proposals asking for a discount on the first gig and their promise to feed your future consistent work. Conversely, you may feel tempted to offer discounts up front in hopes of building relationships on the back end. This is creative suicide. Once the cheap guy, always the cheap guy. I promise, either client will never hire you for the bigger gigs and if they do happen to call again and you dare drop a gangsta quote on their gray matter, you'll hear crickets faster than a two pump chump can dump. Work for your deserved rate, or free or not at all. Don't be taken advantage of.
2. PARADOXICALLY STREAMLINE WHILE GENERALIZING :: WTF? Huh?! Bombs here people. It's all I drop. So many that ISIS has ME on THEIR watchlist. Pimp. So what am I saying here? Look, when I was new to the art world, I would scoff at any person who'd approach me for work that wasn't part of my niche. "Are you fucking nuts?! I only shoot editorial style portraiture dummy, why would you even call me for product work? Do you see any product work on my website? Dumb ass!" Click. Ok, I'm never a douche but some gigs had these thoughts rattling around my brain for sure. All the resources said to focus on a single niche and never stray; that's how to get more work. I call bullshit. Will I shoot shit that I hate? Look, here's my simple strategy. I have my ballpark figures that I quote for gigs of my "niche". Outside of my niche? Ok. Look people, I have a family here. Cash is king. Outside of niche but interesting? Cool. Outside of niche and something I wouldn't be caught dead shooting? I simply drop a really outrageous number on their skull. It's a win win. Say I'm asked to direct a porno film. Deep down I really don't want but for the right price? I smell some of you thinking that's a sellout mentality. Leave your pride at home people. Because guess what? When you are able to pick, choose AND name your price, you've got leverage to work on those oh so necessary personal projects. Trust me, that film you're planning ain't gonna be cheap to produce.
3. STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHAT JOHN OR JANE ARE DOING :: Envy is dangerous people. Long gone are the days of my drooling over the pages of Avedon, Heisler, Winters and Jarvis. I remember the days when I'd damn near masturbate to the works of Dave Hill. Today, my inspiration comes in many unusual forms. Mainly? Jack White. His music, being different, is what inspires me to grow my bodies of work on a daily basis. Sure, I still check out the awesomeness people like McNally, Leibovitz, Arias or Hurley are producing but just not nearly as much as I used to. Newbies try to imitate. It's normal. The mature artist innovates. Get there.
4. LIKE GOOD BBQ, SLOW AND LOW :: This is a fickle ideology. Sure, when in the fortress of solitude, it's easy to spend hours, days, to "get the shot." Shit ain't so cut and dry when you got CDs, ADs, VCs and CEOs breathing down your neck. When it's client work and you're at the mercy of the dude who's cutting the check, there comes a pressure to work at an accelerated pace. STOP it. Take a breath. Sloooowwwww down. This is not to say you should waste time by having water cooler convo with the sexy marketing chick about the "Veep" season finale. No sir. Time is yours and their most valuable asset, yes. BUT, when you are framing the shot . . . breathe. I can't tell you how many times when I felt pressured to rush the genius, that I'd avoid switching lenses or adjusting lights. The odds are against your producing brilliance in this fashion. Take inventory of the scene. Breathe. Visualize. Breathe. Compose, expose and breathe. FOR FUCK'S SAKE, DO NOT BE AN INFLATABLE FLAILING ARM MAN WITH A CAMERA!
5. FOCUS . . . ON YOU :: It may seem odd to some but personally, diet, exercise, meditation and sleep are some of the most powerful tools in the box to help unleash that raw creativity that sometimes hibernates deep in that right side of your nugget. We all got busy schedules. I get it. But don't tell me you don't have time for 20 minutes of cardio and 20 minutes of meditation, every single day. You got time to watch "Game of Thrones" reruns every night don't you?! Need I say more? People, you don't have to even join a gym these days. You'd be surprised at how much you can accomplish in your own home. Like the Stairmaster? Got steps in your house? Steps. Stairmaster. Come on people. Don't have a zen room for meditation? I do it in the bathroom. Food? It's easier for you to eat garbage takeout? Fuck that! GrubHub people. You have tons of healthy options. Stop your excuses and start taking action.
6. EVERYTHING IN MODERATION, INCLUDING MODERATION :: Such a fantastic quote by Oscar Wilde. Call it taboo but I'm a proponent of the responsible usage of alcohol and/or marijuana as tools that may help the creative process. Don't get me wrong. I think the hard core shit should be uninvented. Prescription drugs, amphetamines and everything in between are the devil. No doubt. But personally? I like to enjoy Trappist Ales or IPAs on occasion. While calming the insanity between my ears, I can more easily hone in on an idea that could potentially be pure brilliance. Now, although I advocate grass, I'm not a fan. Paranoia city here people. But if it works for you? Cough to get off all you like my friend.
"THE MORE YOU INSPIRE, THE MORE PEOPLE WILL INSPIRE YOU."
Catch my drift? And no, I didn't fart. You're questioning how this quote even remotely relates to today's article. Good observation. The point is that, just like storytelling with my camera and creatively writing this blog each week, my helping you help yourself better yourself as a creative and a human is the best high I could ever experience. Better than any other drugs people.
NERD FILE ::
I know you want the BTS info of the light bulb photo! Stay tuned. Next post I will go into fine detail of how this super dangerous photograph was created. Luckily, I'm still here to be able to share the experience.
Until next time . . .