So you've decided to work in a creative field?
Congratulations, now bend over because unless you follow these rules, you can expect a world of frustration and pain...and painful frustration!
Rules For Working In a Creative Field
1. Shut The Fu$K Up! -
Have you ever heard someone refer to themselves as "a writer" only to find out they haven't actually written anything? Have these people also bored you to tears telling you about the "novel" they have been working on for years? Yeah, that's because until you are published, you are not a writer, you are writing as a hobby. This blog does not make me a writer...nor does having a blog make YOU a writer.
I'm not trying to be rude here, I understand that you have ideas circling the proverbial moat of your mind like the black knights of yesteryear. But, the truth is you are only as good as what you've done...outside of a legitimate pitch meeting, no one cares about what you plan to do. It's only what you've done that truly matters. Not to mention that ideas in the creative arts are hardly safe, so the more you share the idea, the higher the risk that you will be ripped off.
2. No Matter The Cost -
Don't sell yourself short, the work you do, be it graphic design, web development, sound design, film, or art, takes skill and talent. So, when you take free work you are screwing everyone else in the creative field by undercutting their rates.
Now, I understand that in some cases you will need to do some free work (typically when you are starting out or when family begs you to help them) and sometimes that is just the nature of the beast. I also understand that when doing free work you might feel the need to do a half-assed job...DO NOT DO THIS! No matter what the pay you should always DO YOUR BEST WORK! The reason for this will be explained in rule # 3.
3. EVERYONE IS A POTENTIAL CLIENT
Do you want to know how South Park creators Matt Stone & Trey Parker landed their TV show?
They were contracted to create a web christmas card that ended up going viral! Then, when an executive from Comedy Central saw the video they were given the option to do a pilot. So, what have we learned from this? Well, no matter who you make it for, or what they charge, do your best work! Because you never know who is going to see it and what that might mean for your future! If you do a half assed job you miss out on the opportunity for more as well as better paid work in the future.
4. Don't Be Such A Piss Ant!
On monday I was given the last minute job of directing the Cinematography classes workshop. They were not pleased with this for some reason and a few of the students gave me attitude...little did they know I have been working steadily for the last summer and this semester on paid and big budget projects. They also don't know that the first people I turn to when I'm asked on set, "Do you know anyone who can help out?" Is students I work with...so, having a bad attitude...means it's less likely that you will get or keep a job in the industry.
5. Never Show Your Family Your Work! Seriously, Never!
I know we all love our families...but when it comes to your creativity they are fashioned from stone cold couldn't give a damn. All that will happen is they will sit, down see what you have created, and do one of two things,
1. They will pretend to be interested in the work and say patronizing things to you like "Gosh...that was...nice...I guess" or "Wow, it's ALMOST like you're a professional" or "So...that was your little project or whatever?"
2. They will pull their pants down and crap all over it.
Now do they do this because they don't care about you...Of course not. Well, at least for your sake, I hope so. They do this because they don't understand, or care, about what you are doing creatively. So if you want to keep your sanity...DON'T SHOW YOUR FAMILY ANYTHING!!!! Even if it wins awards or brings you any sort of media attention, don't show them...they seriously don't care.
6. Always Do Your Best To Outdo Yourself
Don't stagnate! I know that we get comfortable at times with doing things the easy way or taking work we know that we can do...but you must always, and I can't stress this enough, ALWAYS try to stretch yourself creatively as to not be comfortable. You should be terrified of your next project. You should sit for days or months picking over every detail of how this project will be different and better than your last one! Now obviously I don't want you to get an ulcer over this. I just want you to see how important it is to take on the jobs that scare you. The kind of jobs you don't think you can do. Because even if you fail you would at least (I hope) learn something and use the experience to become a better artist.