It's been a while since I wrote anything, so I figured it's time. What will it be about? I hope I'll know by the time I finish it. That's the way I roll.
I did an interesting shoot this week for a kid in the Far Northeast who was offering mobile sound recording services, plus producing, post-production, marketing, social media - the whole thing in one package. He was only about 20, but the fact that he was willing to shell out $400-or-so a month for a Yelp ad featuring a video says a lot about his confidence in himself.
His set-up was small: a microphone (which he says he surrounds with some sound baffling) attached to his laptop. And that was it. Wonderful. I mean that without a trace of sarcasm at all. We now live in an age where one kid with a laptop can pretty much do everything a record label used to.
Now, of course, that's oversimplification: no matter how mcuh power your laptop gives you, there's only so many hours in the day, and so many of you (just one, in case you were wondering). Kids with big ideas frequently find that the number-one roadblock to their success is themselves. Their ability to set agendas, establish priorities, find enough time in the day and energy in their bodies to make their dreams a reality.
Do I have an antidote to this? Not really. Spotting these tendencies in others is always encouraging, because it shows me I've found a smart, dedicated invidiual who is willing to roll up his sleeves and get to work. He knows his stuff; he just has to do it.
What I would say to this kid and others like him is this: work hard, but work smart. Have a main goal in mind, but break that goal down into more easily attainable steps towards the main goal. And break those down as well. Break it down until you have a step-by-step, day-by-day plan to get you where you want to be.
And be clear on that goal. If you want to be a rock star, then work on that. Understand the work involved, and do it. Study your craft. Study your industry. Inventory your stengths and weaknesses. How do your strengths help you do the day-to-day work of being a rock star, and what's your plan for keeping your weaknesses from hindering you from that goal?
Easy, common-sense stuff, right? The problem is, a lot of people don't know what common sense is. A lot of people don't know what they want. Or they know, but they don't believe it can be attainable. Maybe it is, but maybe it isn't. You'll never know until you try. And keep trying.
And keep yourself free of distractions. Don't let 'I wnat to be a filmmaker' morph somehow into 'I want a job in the film industry,' or worse, 'I want a job in the "entertainment industry",' whatever that chimera might be. The very first step is having the strength of your convictions, and the very first step to that is knowing what those convictions truly are.
Only then can you really say, 'Yes, I can.'