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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Independence

It's near impossible, there's always someone who wants you to align with their product. And they'll pay you $200 to put their advert about toothpaste on your site. Or they'll invite you to the premiere and treat you like you're important so that you'll write a positive review.

Everyone is so quick to cash in. And it's not always for money, sometimes it's just for a minor status bump.

But then you have to ask, who the hell can we trust? Who is speaking in our name?

The thing about being independent, about keeping your own path, is that it gives you power. And it might only be a tiny tiny power. Literally, just the power to have your own opinions.

But that's great, and could lead anywhere!

And then some film website with thousands of readers wants you to write for them. So then your readership gets transferred to their domain. They get the advertising revenue, they get the loyalty. You're just one of the cogs. I've seen great writers take the bait, leaving their blogs behind to go write for another site, little do they know they're just churning out content to earn other people money and help them climb the Google rankings. It's all a big scam.

There used to be DJ's on the radio who had their own voices. There used to be bands who had something to say. There were actors who had something to give us.

Now people think in terms of success and earnings, and they immediately become uninteresting.

Don't sell out until it's absolutely essential. There's too much at stake.

And sure people will disagree with this and talk about 'the realities of the industry', and you don't need to tell me, I get it, believe me.

My point is that if you win 'X Factor', you're an overnight success, and then after that you're toast, done, the road is over. You're opening supermarkets and doing nightclub visits.

You may have had talent, but you had no learning curve.

But if you're a singer with a following of 100 people, who is writing songs every night, you're on to something. You've not been defined yet.. you get to keep growing.

The world needs artists. It needs people who are REAL. The ones who change the creative industries and do work of meaning are never the ones you think.

Speak to any successful musician in America and they'll talk about Ryan Adams and Harry Nilsson, yet the public hardly know they exist! It's like the way Woody Allen still gets talked about and referred to by absolutely everyone in the film industry, because his work changed everything.

But people don't want to be Woody Allen or Harry Nilsson. They want to be stars, they want the red carpet.

In film and music, the interesting people are the independents. It's just like when Louis C.K. took the unprecedented move of filming and distributing his new stand up show independently. It changed our views of distribution, made us see how anything is possible.

I'm not saying to turn down the big pay-cheque-soulless jobs, cause we all need the money! You gotta do what you gotta do.

I'm just saying, keep an eye on the real stuff. What's in your heart. Cause it's a rarity these days. And it's that stuff that changes the world.

Care to share?

3 comments:

  1. This is true for any industry! Journalism included. Yes, we need the money, but where do we draw the line? It's a debate we had in a meeting yesterday, sometimes being stuck in reality and trying to tell the overly idealistic ones to calm down is painful! I don't enjoy being a wet blanket. I do, however, blame my first serious employer. Most money-minded institution known to man. Has messed up my visions of being a journo of some depth.

    I realised at some point that there was no point in dependong on them. I decided to use my blog and a resignation letter to find a space in this industry where I could do good work and not worry about money! :)

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  2. That's the good side about not doing this for a living. I don't even have any ads on my blog. I don't ever obsess over visitor numbers. I write because I enjoy stretching my writing muscles, free from expectations and ambitions. Pure joy. Many of the non-professional writers don't realize whata privilege this is. I've seen both sides, so I know.

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