Thursday, December 30, 2010

2011 : A Space for an Odyssey

This New Year I am probably the last person who should write about “How to keep New Year’s resolutions” (so I won’t). I am as guilty as anyone of what I call the creative “Art of Multi-crastination” and have a task list longer than my arm stretched out before me as we speak!  
For that purpose, Angelo Bell has a wonderful Blog post for Filmmakers that offers up some great tips for setting powerful goals and keeping them here: 11 Ways to Keep Your Indie Film New Years Resolutions
I’d like to talk about the “Why” - Why NOW is a particularly important time. And I don’t mean in that nebulous Zen “Now is the only moment of power” kind of way (even though it’s true).
As we approach this New Year - 2011, many of us carry forward resolutions to do more, do it better, and get in great shape while we are doing it.These valiant goals and others come in many forms and just about every artist, writer, musician, filmmaker and entrepreneur have a host of industry specific goals they would like to achieve at the start of each year.
 For Artists of all kinds, the journey from creative inclinations to professional aspirations and achievements is indeed a great odyssey! 

But this year is a particularly interesting and fortuitous year to get on top of that list and really tackle the goals you wish to achieve.“The industry” is in a temporary upheaval and there is a groundswell of independent arts activity and technology that is shifting the balance of power and creating a more Artist friendly environment with more direct connection to audiences. Alternate paradigms are emerging and gaining ground. 

The challenge and core “down in the gut” question for many ambitious creative people has always been “How can I “make it” doing what I love to do?”  For many that means finding a functional “middle class” path that not only provides life’s necessities, but also the means to facilitate the manifestation of more new and unique collaborations and works of art and entertainment.

There are some lovely new “memes” spreading across the internet like “authenticity” and “Becoming one’s own brand”, but … there is still a long way to go! There is always the danger that these ideas with such great potential could simply be assimilated and abused to dysfunction by the pre-existing stagnant industry giants or people that are still so saturated by the previously engrained “competition” and “scarcity” based paradigms that they simply imprint the old memes upon the new ones, effectively canceling their value. (i.e. SPAM and “Push Selling” ain’t “NEW” or “authentic” simply because it’s “tweeted” from a freakin’ Star Trek lookin’ Android or iPhone”).

2011 holds a great deal of potential opportunity precisely because we are in this state of flux. The atmosphere is bristling for change and anyone with the courage and fortitude to play a positive role in that development NOW has a good chance of finding their “wave” in the years to come. Being flexible and open to new ideas, people and processes while maintaining clear focus on our goals may just be the key to riding this wave. I truly hope that there are many of us who can heed this call.
  • We need to cautiously but expeditiously find our way through developing better business paradigms SO THAT we can really sit down and focus on developing our craft and our art. That is after all, the heart of what we do and the reason why most of us do it in the first place.
  • We need to be able to focus on writing NEW stories and finding amazing new ways to tell them.
  • We need to expand our creative and cultural vocabularies by collaborating with artists, friends and partners that enrich and enhance each other
  • And we need (and deserve) to be able to survive and thrive while growing and expanding to our full creative potential. “The Arts” play a very important role in culture – too important to be left in the hands of bean counters and corporate executives with no connection to the art itself.
Whatever your role in the world of arts and entertainment, now is the time (while the “system” is broken or at least reasonably off its footing) to rebuild our industry more in the image we’d like to see, rather than simply struggling to get on for the ride and trying like hell not to get bucked off.

Just keeping our ordinary New Year’s resolutions seems hard enough. Getting on point toward building a great career and body of work in the Arts is an added challenge. Doing it during an economy in flux adds even further complication. Attempting to change the industry one artist at a time may seem even more daunting. But determining to do any of those things NOW may just be the single step that launches the rest of your own amazing creative odyssey in the world of Art and Filmmaking in the 21st Century.

Stanley Kubrick's "2001 A Space Odyssey" was a groundbreaking film and represented what great filmmakers could achieve at the time. It spoke to the 21st Century over thirty years before it would actually arrive.  

Take inspiration from that and speak to your own future as an Artist and your own personal creative odyssey for 2011.
                                                                                                                                           Happy New Year!
T. Reed  - Composer @TAOXproductions