Tag: film

Your Art is crap…but that’s okay

I’ve been putting it off for too long.

Let me fill you in: I wrote a novel four years ago. My first reaction? Hell YEAH! Take that Stephen King. Eat my dust JK Rowling. James Patterson—who’s that?! So there it was, a completed manuscript, in my hard drive, fermenting in digital soy sauce. And you know what? I was happy. I was exuberant. I was feeling like a freakin’ genius.

I read it last week.

 

It was crap. Damn…

I’ve written a few rudimentary novels in my twenty-seven years alive. I really cared about this one. That’s why it hurt. That’s why it hit me hard. That’s why I’m writing about it now.

Listen up. I believe this.

I believe that all artists—directors, writers, painters, singers, rappers, poets, and interpretative mime artists—take their art seriously. Too seriously. We’re an insecure group that craves affirmation and acceptance. We want people to say: “Hey, that was awesome!” although know-one truly cares. We want people to call us a genius, when, most of the time, our best work will remain invisible.

I envision my writing craft as a Jujitsu-trained pelican. It stabs me with its bill every time I make a mistake. It hits me hard. Every time. Pelicans don’t like me. Interesting fact.

Moving on.

I had to be honest: Kane, you’re a crap writer. Your sock choices are horrendous, too. Idiot.

But wait. Was it really that bad?

Think break. It hit me when I was on the MRT. There are levels to crap. It’s true—every profession, every artwork, every piece of work. So I began to think: what did I really do?

I transformed a dream…into a reality.

We often don’t give ourselves credit, but sometimes, the simple act of creating is enough. Transforming a dream into a reality, something you can see, read and touch, is an incredible feat. It takes time. It takes focus. It takes blood, sweat and repeated pokes to the heart. So what if we weren’t so self critical all the time? Where would that lead us?

Here’s my advice: Just complete. See your creations through.

Create your own story—an oil painting, a film, a stick figure drawing—and finish it. Make it personal. Care about it. Love it. Don’t have sex with it. That’s weird. But love the process.

Sometimes we need to think of our work as crap to push ourselves forward. And it’s okay to admit when it’s not your best work. Sometimes we put in infinite amounts of effort, and get nothing back.

Know this: you are making better crap every time. Slow steps. There are geniuses in the world. The simple fact is all of us aren’t. So practice and go through those growing pains. Pain is growth.

Right now I’m editing the second draft of my young adults novel. I’m looking back at myself four years ago, and I can see the intention, the enthusiasm, the fire to finish. But…

Art will never be perfect.

There will always be a “better idea”, a “better sentence” or a “better shot”. Make mistakes. Learn to love them. Do better next time.

So keep going. Success is just over that hill of crap.

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

A wonderful read. Although I didn’t like the main character, Toru, all too much, the poetry of the prose and the dream-like pace captured me. His sentences are divine. Here are some simple ones I wrote down:

The ragged end of the last word she spoke seemed to float in the air where it had been torn off.

The moonlight splashed the walls in a touch of diluted India ink.

A heavy pall hung over the forest as if all the animals were holding their breath.

And my favourite:

The sky was a fresh-swept blue, with only a trace of white cloud clinging onto the dome of heaven like a thin streak of test paint.

Oh Murakami – how you humble me with your skill. 🙂

You are Somebody (in your own story)

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Recently a person told me, “Nobody will ever tell you that you’re a somebody. Don’t undervalue yourself. You’re a somebody when you say you are.”

Many times we think of ourselves as ‘wannabes’ or ‘amateurs’. We’re looking for validation. Some measure of success that will proclaim to others who we are. We don’t really have the confidence to say we already are what we want to be. It’s frightening. Scary.

But is it true?

Does 100,000 Twitter followers make me successful? What about 1001 email subscribers to my blog? 999 Tumblr followers must mean I’m successful…right?

Whether you aspire to be a writer, a producer, an accountant or a business man – there a moments in life where we all share that feeling. We look at other people’s success. We compare ourselves to them and wonder, “How come I’m not there yet?”

It’s taken me a while to realise that it doesn’t take a number to define success. It  doesn’t take tons of awards or testimonials. It just takes one moment. One single moment when you make a choice. In other words, it takes a plan.

A 24/7, 365 day plan that is. It’s about dedicating yourself to what you want to achieve and just heading in that direction. It’s a start.

Just don’t stop. Keep going.

I don’t consider myself amazingly successful at the moment. I have no major Hollywood credits to my name, no book deals, no million dollar bank account and no Mercedes-Benz to back it up. However, I do feel I have one thing.

I feel I’m a somebody.

I may not have all of those things just yet (don’t get me wrong, I’m aiming for a mansion haha)…but I have little things.Little things that have changed and touched — on teeeny weeny scale — some people’s lives.

Not in a big way — but little successes. Sometimes, it’s just about starting.

Here are my starts:

I have a story that’s currently in development at a major television network. It’s a start.

I have two fully completed novels that are awaiting to be edited. It’s a start.

I have a blog that I feel connects with people on some level and is the beginning of something perhaps even greater. It’s a start.

I had an idea this morning about a young girl that changes the life of a murderous cyborg. Hey…it’s a start.

Starting is the hardest thing. Just remember you’re a somebody. And the more starts you have, the more possible endings you will create for your own story. So here’s to starts.

Why don’t you tell me yours? 🙂

Exploring Your Creativity: What Makes You Tick?

I’m a writer. It took me a long time to say that. To admit it to myself. But this simple affirmation in my mind has pretty much changed the way I do things.

Why?

It’s my belief, that you are whatever you want to be…the MOMENT you say you are. I believe that. I also think it’s important.

You’re taking command of your own destiny. You’re no longer a passive player in the events around you.

You’re in the driving seat.

I’m a writer AND a “storyteller” too. Maybe these titles are self proclaimed but you see – it NEEDS to be. These titles transcend the different media forms – that’s the great thing with art. I sometimes see myself as a reborn caveman scrawling fables on the walls of a dark dingy cave. It’s not normal but hey.

It reminds me that I can do anything I set my mind to. That my goal is not to sell a thousand books or make a million dollars. It’s to create. That’s it. Just create.

For me- it’s empowering. As long as I create – the rest will work out.

I feel more of an artist now because my work comes from a part of me that isn’t dictated by outside influences.

It’s totally me – laid bare and honest. Therefore, at the same time, I’m discovering new aspects to myself I didn’t know existed. I’m digging deeper.

I’m not just a writer. I’m not just a producer. I’m not just a budding entrepreneur. These are all titles for what I do. Why I do them is a different story. I’m trying to be deep here…can you tell? 🙂

So the last few weeks I’ve been working on a variety of projects from film, to comics, to animation to novels. I’m loving it! I’m picking projects that immediately generate that ‘spark’ in my mind. A “Wooo that’s interesting” feeling from the moment I hear them.

I haven’t exactly been racking in the moola! I must state this. But it’s been the greatest month of my life in terms of creativity. I’m not doing it for the money yet – that comes later.

I’m starting projects that truly bring joy to me.

As my mindset changes, I’m seeing changes in the world around me. I’m starting to see myself gravitate towards stories, ideas and characters with MESSAGES I really want to say. That’s awesome sauce (sorry I heard that somewhere).

So, today I’m simple going to detail the top 5 creative influences I’ve discovered about myself and how they relate to me. These are all from simply observing my habits. Maybe you can do the same for yourself:

1. Motivational Videos: I can’t get enough of them. I’m watching a variety of them, but the works of Eric Thomas the Hip Hop Preacher are my favourite so far. I love the feeling of being motivated. To having a WHY to get up early and do things. They also get me pumped on a Monday when everyone else is still recovering from that back to work feeling.

What I discovered: I want to explore motivational speaking someday. Not for fun – but as a business idea. Probably online, as I feel that’s the future of television. Companies, schools and community-wise.

I realise to get there, I’d need some form of STORY myself. The STORY of my life. It’s doesn’t have to be epic…just one success, one struggle and one lesson. By making it the best I can, I’m sure I can use it to inspire others and help them create their own life story.

2. Dinosaurs: Yes – I’m still in love with them. There’s an inherent fantasy-like aspect to them that children and adults adore. They’re bigger than life. I recently wrote a children’s book entitled ‘Johnny the Dinosaur’ just for kicks. I just have to produce it and pursue it further. It’s about a glow in the dark dinosaur people!

What I discovered: Why not explore children’s books? To teach children about storytelling techniques, writing, colours, and effective speaking. And above all that – FOR FUN!

3. Science fiction – I’m a Treky. My most fond memories as a child is watching Star Trek Voyager at 6pm-645pm on BBC 2 whilst I was living in the UK (I remember!). No matter what I do, I will always be a sci-fi geek. Space. Aliens. Sub Fusion Reactors that create portals in the space time continuum. How I love techno-babble!

What I discovered: Never forget what your influences are. There’s no reason to change to suit the times. Be bold, be daring, be different, be yourself.

4. Writing: I’m writing as much as I can right now. I’ve been on a full on quest these last few months. I already have a few projects I’m sourcing for funding for and I’m exciting to get them going.

I also have 3 upcoming novels! Don’t know at this moment how they’ll turn out – but hey – I’ll start with one word at a time and see where they take me 🙂

What I discovered: I need to get better. I feel I’m a good writer. Not a great one. I need to write more, read more, learn as much as I can about the art of writing. I need to become more effective in my word-smith abilities. And then — let the story speak for itself.

5. The Internet: Yes – I admit it. I procrastinate sometimes too. HOWEVER..The Internet for me is a source of inspiration. I love visiting the websites, facebook pages, blogs and the tumblr accounts of different artists and industry professionals. My favourites are the creators of Avatarr: The Last Airbender:

http://bryankonietzko.tumblr.com/ and

http://michaeldantedimartino.tumblr.com/

I’m also thinking of starting a tumblr soon with the purpose of exploring my creativity, life and my interactions with people. Maybe even an official website.
Hopefully they’ll all link to my FB, Twitter, Blog etc and create a hub for me to reach out and accomplish all those dreams. Not just for myself but for other people too.
What I discovered: It’s ok sometimes to feel unmotivated and out of ideas. It’s normal. It’s human. Remember the thing that sets humans a part from anything else – is our ability to interact and convey our emotions in amazing ways. Sometimes in subtle and shocking ways too. To connect without physically connecting. Now I look to outside influences even more – to learn from them, to understand how they do things and to recognise when I’m doing something wrong.
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