This might not be a post themed around the Beach Boys but their popular song, with the same title, is rather apropos for what is the intended focus. This subject needs no long, drawn out exposition or delving into of intense proportions. Nevertheless, it is a topic that seems to get attention very sparsely but is prevalent to work in the arts quite a lot. In other words, this is something all camps can relate to and of which everyone can be more mindful:
These three, little words, are such simple terms and even simpler matching concepts. Performers are thought to display and have much gratitude, every time they step out onto an empty stage, post-performance, to take the appropriate bows. Graduates of arts programs -whether music performance, technology, business, education, therapy, management, or any of the other sub-fields out there…students are all advised to remember their manners when still in school interning and then, again, once they have left to take a stab at gainful employment in the “real world.” Regardless of the specific job one has, each of us professionals also in aware of the logic of the world and the plausibility of certain things being able to happen versus not -straightforward and objective perspective. The sky will not turn green, oboes will not suddenly sound like trumpets, 100 emails is 100 emails.
The entirety of this sounds painfully obvious and yet, for as clever and unexpectedly-thinking kinds of people those in the arts tend to be, on the flip side of things, so much of the beauty and flexibility we pride ourselves on gets lost in the contrasting pursuit for quotas, status, numbers and labels, etc. (both the record kind and non-record kind). Like anything else that is not an essential-function type of career, doctors and firefighters and police for example, so much of the rest of the occupations out there involve some level of subjective existence. Does that make it difficult to let creative pursuits, like music, exist in their pure, free flowing form because ultimately”it’s a business?” (with “it” in this case constituting anything from a licensing company to a recording studio to a professional orchestra…)
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Musicians, and other creatives, so often want to convey a dedication to authenticity and real connection, in order to stand out; an objective that one would believe to mesh well with an individual who aims to think differently for a living. Yet, despite what one would see is almost like an inherent quality of “atypical approaches and unique visions,” used in the creation or support of art, there is a continual presence of “common” approaches, methods, behaviors and overall presences that can take root in industries far outside of the arts. Often, these commonalities manifest as the opposite of or lack thereof, to the above mentioned three words in bold. One would presume that people who think and act with creativity or work to support creativity, would devise creative ways to get what they need done in order to succeed at the “business aspect of things” but instead, tension and divide still appear to permeate interactions between the greenest of artists to the highest A-listers of celebrities.
It is so important to remember and see, the big picture of who, what and why you are doing something in the arts. Never take your eyes, and ears away from the creativity you’re trying to let be. Yes, these are turbulent times, where things keep changing on a never forgotten dime; start ups and artists constantly struggling for money and time. Still, let’s not allow the things that are free, like taking a breath and inserting a “please,” wither and die next to the aspiring money tree.
Business is business and certain things do have to happen if one wants to succeed and say they’ve “made it in the biz,” which is unarguably hard. However, the competition and difficulty present should not harden us as artists, managers, marketers, professors, developers, engineers, promoters, producers or anyone else. Maybe if we fall back more often on remembering we’re the cool crowd that gets to step off the beaten path…while we’re busy forging our own trails, we won’t let our creativity, our commodity, become corrupted by the pressure to pump up our art’s appeal. When we need something done we have to remember the basics, no matter how stiff the competition gets, no matter how tight the deadlines are, no matter how bleak the consumer trends are projected to be.
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Artists and people working in the arts should be the best at being grateful *because* of the struggles of within our industry market.
We should have the most committed manners because we have been already been drilled, and continue to drill the next generations, on the fact that without remembering to apply such, careers will be that much more out of reach, if not lost forever.
And since creative people often get hit with inspiration at the most unexpected moments and the time between those moments can be any length, from minutes to days, weeks, months or even years, (who hasn’t referred to their own “creative process” as the reason behind an unusual timeline at some point?), we should now be well adjusted to the fact that things don’t always go as planned, not letting a spontaneous deviation, whatever form that may take, take us down with it because feelings, no matter how extreme, don’t reset time or change what has already happened.
Just for fun, here is the Beach Boys “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” Possibly a rhetorical question to consider in conjunction with these other thoughts.