Thursday 10 March 2011

Following Your Own Path

Becoming the artist you are, getting to the you that is really the best you can be, is a really bizarre thing. Because you find yourself inspired in the weirdest places -- like a Dylan bootleg from '83, or a rom-com flop starring Jennifer Aniston; and it's strange because --- how can you build a career based on influences that no-one cares about?

But of course you can. In the extended cut of "Almost Famous" there's a great scene, I think between William and Russell, where they talk about loving a moment in Marvin Gaye's "What's Happenin' Brother", it's a small 'woo', one of those accidents that got left in--- but it's the best thing on the record.

Those are the little things that inspire us, the little things that make us who we are. If you don't like "Casablanca" but you do like "Just Friends", so be it -- that's you. Some people spend years denying they like "Just Friends" and as a result deny they love mainstream rom-Coms and therefore never let their creativity explore rom-coms and thus never reach their potential. I'm sure you all have examples where you've fought against your natural skills/instincts/interests.

I know quite a few actors who turn away from their strong points-- it's very self-destructive.

Embrace it. I'm not into "Star Wars" and I'm not into "The Matrix" so I don't really go there, it's not my ticket. Having a wide range of influences and knowledge is of course great and important; but you just gotta make sure you take care of what you love. If your skill as an actor is being a scary gangster, or being a quirky girlfriend-- you could shy away from it or you could become the best quirky girlfriend that ever was by constantly working on it. It's like right now, this theory I'm exploring of "doing stuff for the 1%" -- it might be nonsense, or it might be worthwhile; either way I'm battering away at it until I exhaust it. I'll be the authority on being creative for the 1%. That's how we all need to be about our niche things, about the things we love.

You can be pretty good, maybe even great; at doing things well like many others--- or you can absolutely nail and own the one area you're personally drawn to. There's room for a master of suspense like Hitchcock, or for a powerful woman to give Streep some competition at awards time, or for a screenwriter who can make a script read like poetry. Whatever it is you're good at or want to be good at, that's where it's at; even if no-one around you gets it yet, even if everyone says "I'm telling you there's no market for transgender thriller rom-coms!" they're right. But they're right because you're not great yet, you're still pandering to the 99%. When you nail the thing you really want to say, after years of learning, writing and redrafting, then they'll get it--- you'll have mastered your work, mastered you, and when you show everyone else who you are, they'll see themselves.

Care to share?


  1. I love Just Friends.

    I've never understood people who hide who they are and what they truly love, especially in this sort of scenario. Sure, you probably won't win an Oscar writing a rom-com, but you'll make millions of people happy, and possibly make a pretty respectable living in the process.

    Those people who look down upon certain genres need to lighten up. It takes all kinds!

  2. I used to closet love things, but than i relized that it just made me feal asahmed, so if somthing has helped make you who you are dont hide it, i loved reading this.

  3. It takes courage to be yourself. "Embrace it." I like that. :)

  4. Excellent post, i do find your blog posts very inspirational. Yesterday I took a chance and posted my first fictional piece to my blog. I also took yesterday and Monday off work to collaborate with a friend on an idea for a sitcom I have had for 16 years. It's exciting try something I have felt I would be good at for years but kept shying away from.

  5. Poignant reminder indeed. How many of us have forgotten to embrace who we truly are for the "mainstream"?