Tag Archives: Art

It’s a New Year and I’ve Been Thinking

UnknownOnce again, it’s a new year.  OK, a little past New Years.  I’ve been kind of busy lately (I’ll get to that in a blog post next week). Anyway,  Is it going to be a fresh beginning?  Is it going to be more of the same?  Well, that’s always the question isn’t it? Maybe not for some people, but I think that if you can’t point to lessons you’ve learned and acknowledge that wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, you’re learning. If you are paying attention, you can avoid making the mistakes of the past.  If it seems like you’re not learning, you’re just not paying attention.

Over the holidays, I take time to reflect.  Not just on the last year, but I think about what I’ve done over a course of many years to get where I am (wherever that is). It’s a process and there have been victories and mistakes.  Every once in a while you have to take stock and hone things down to a few concepts you know have worked for you.  In that spirit, here’s what I’ve been thinking about that has worked for me.

Invest in Yourself.  Here’s why: no one else is going to do it. At least not in the long term.  People will invest in you so long as their short term needs are being met and so long they maintain their profit margin.  So, be an owner, and if that’s not possible yet work towards being an owner.  How do you do that? Invent your job and when you’re done inventing your job, reinvent it.  You do that by doing way more than your job description. Own your position and commit to your evolution within it.  I’m not just talking about business. Invest in your physical well being, your mental well being, your spiritual well being. Own it all.  If you are not doing the investments, own it and change it.  If you are doing the investments, own the process, own the failures and successes equally.

If you’re already an owner, a freelance entrepreneur, an Artist: Examine your investment.  Are you constantly making it more valuable with everything you do? Or are you undermining it with time wasters, vamping, avoiding issues or excuses? Be honest and make sure you are on track.

Casals

Study and Be Curious.  When the world famous cellist Pablo Casals was 90 years old, someone asked him “why do you still practice 4 hours a day?” he replied: “because I think I’m making progress.”

When I’m not studying I notice.  When I’m not studying I have the nagging feeling I am falling behind.  Why do I care so much? Because this isn’t a frickin dress rehearsal.  I’m on stage right now. My career is happening right now.  I’m mentoring those around me right now.  I’m building a business right now.  

What are you trying to accomplish?  Are you seeking out the best information to accomplish it?  Are you stretching your mind and your skill set?  People who know me well, know that I am a big fan of listening to business books on my commute.  I am always looking for new ideas.  If I could do it all over again, I would have started and maintained my discipline of studying whatever endeavor I was involved in a lot sooner than I did. If you are not constantly bringing new ideas into your life, if you are not practicing what you choose to master, you run the run the risk of maintaining your own status quo.  Essentially, status quo doesn’t exist.  It’s against the laws of physics to stand completely still.  You’re always moving in one direction or the other.  Make sure it’s forward.

Trust Your Gut – When people say “my gut is telling me…” they are usually right.  You’re gut is the outward extension of your subconscious.  Our subconscious is much more in tune with how we are really feeling, because it’s not susceptible to the constant brain chatter we engage in.  The key with gut feelings is to separate them from excitement and fear.  After you work through your reasoning on a decision, take a moment to breathe and be silent and let your gut weigh in.

Feel Like an Imposter – I am driven by fear, I admit it. I’ve also found that it’s a good place to be.  So long as fear doesn’t paralyze you, it’s good to worry that you might be “found out.”  It’s good to feel not as smart or talented as people think you are.  It’s the trait I find most prevalent in successful artists.  It makes you humble and focused. Fear handled correctly will make you study harder, practice harder and be more driven. Confidence is great, over confidence breeds mistakes.

6a00d8341c630a53ef013480b8a92d970cTake Risks  “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky.  Usually attributed to Michael Jordan, but indeed he stole it from Gretzky.  This one is very tough, especially if you have a lot of responsibility.  It’s easy to stay where you’re at, do the things that got you to where you are now and maintain. You have to force yourself to step out of your comfort zone and try things that just might not work.  We have two parts of the brain, our modern brain, which reasons and our primitive brain which controls our fight or flight response.  Our primitive brain hates taking risks, because back when we were living in caves, if you took a risk that didn’t work out,  you usually died.  Our primitive brain doesn’t know the difference between a lion and making a cold call.  You have to push through the physiology and risk failure. You also have to fail a lot to succeed.

In my youth I knew the theater impresario Hal Prince quite well.  He once told me that only one third of the shows he produced over his career made money.  It wasn’t lost on me that he he had to produce 9 shows to get 3 successful ones.  He had to work on every one for years to find out if it was a success or a failure.  That is commitment to process.  That is knowing the math and accepting it.  So, accept the math,  get out there, take some risks, fail a lot and start realizing some successes.

Road-Perspective

Look to the Horizon – When I was learning to drive, I remember the instructor teaching us the concept of looking as far down the road as you can see and let your peripheral vision handle what is directly in front of you.  That way you can see problems as they develop long before they reach you.  This also pertains to opportunities.  I’ve always been interested and excited in the future.  The excitement of what’s coming.  I’ve always looked down the road, it’s just now that I’m realizing how well it’s served me.

Have Some Things in the Pipeline – This is the game of what’s next? In the music industry, you can have a song, an album, a tour, but you’ll never get a record deal if you can’t tell the label what else they can sell after they’re finished selling what you have now.  For every deal I’ve got, I have two more that are gestating in the background. For every move I make, I have two more long range ones that I’m working on. Some will work out in the long run, some won’t, but that’s not the point.  Things worth the trouble take a long time to develop.  You have to put in time on a variety of options and that’s hard when you’d like to have some instant gratification.

And Finally…….

The truth never lives in what you say, the truth is always found in what you do – This is the most important one of all.  People say a lot of things.  I say a lot of things. Sometimes I’m thinking or fantasizing out loud.  I do a lot less of that now, because as a leader, people tend to believe me when I say something and they expect it to happen. So, when I say something I have to back it up with action or lose my credibility. I’ve found it’s very powerful to put yourself in that position. The need to act based on my words will eat at me until I throw down and do something about it.  Declarations may set a standard to be held to, but what you take action on is how you will be judged. What you take action on will determine your success.  What you take action on tells the world your values, your standards and your true intent.

Good luck out there this year.  Make some magic!

There is no Magic Bullet

I’ve spent my entire career looking for a magic bullet.  Yes, it’s true, I admit it.  It’s naive, it’s purposeless and the laws of physics pretty much don’t work that way. The kicker is that I know better.  Sorry, we all look for one, but there is no magic bullet.

bullet_5I’m not a behavioral PHD, but my personal feeling is that the reasoning mind works so diligently to find solutions to any problem put in front of it, that at any point, the mind feels that it will find a permanent solution and move on to solve something else.

Lets take something completely inane.  Say you have a coffee maker that you have to put water in every morning to make coffee.  You hate that. I know I do.  I just want coffee first thing, I don’t want any extra work to do.  Eventually, you’re in Starbucks and notice they never have to put water in their machine.  Why is that you ask?  simple answer: they have it hooked up to a water line.  You think, I can do that at home. So, you call a plummer, run a pipe from the main line (at great expense) to the coffee maker, problem solved permanently.  I will never have to put water in the coffee maker again.  You are totally satisfied, It’s a magic bullet. Until the coffee maker breaks. Then there’s a new problem. If I could only find a coffee maker that lasts forever and never breaks.  Good luck with that one, I’m happy if I find one that makes it to New Years from Christmas Day.

We look for the magic bullet everywhere.  The next project, the next relationship, the next business idea, the next job.  Nothing solves permanently.  At the risk of alienating my religious friends I’ll say that religion offers a magic bullet of permanent peace, permanent salvation, etc., etc.  But, as the saying goes: “Jesus Saves,” not “Jesus Solves.” No matter how committed you are, there is still a lot of work and adjustment to do while walking around earth.  Eternal life?  That sounds like a magic bullet.  I don’t know, I guess we’ll eventually find out.

images-1 Even the magic bullet in the movie JFK had a lot of work to do.  As Kevin Costner kept reminding us. “Back and to the left. Back and to the left.  That was one magic bullet.”  If the magic bullet itself has to work so hard to be magic, what makes you think there are any shortcuts for you.

Every project is another opportunity to advance your skill set.  It’s never a breakthrough in and of itself.  Your success is not just out of reach.  It’s happening right now.  Success is the never ending process of realizing there is no magic bullet. This project leads to the next project.  One challenge leads to another, so learn to take joy in the process of moving challenge to challenge. Do the best you can, find your way to the next one, and the next and the next.

Relationships are not any different.  You are finding the way to the next moment. But, what moment are you finding your way to?  Are you sculpting the moments or are you just watching them arrive and pass?

Since there is no such thing as a magic bullet, overnight success, perfect relationships, what are we to do to move things forward in our careers and life? The idea of creating conscious value.  If you ask yourself in any situation, job, task, relationship, am I creating value now?  The simple act of asking the question puts you much farther ahead than looking for a magic bullet.

You see, looking for the magic bullet is the act of looking for the world around you to bring something to you that will solve all your problems.  But remember, a bullet’s trajectory, no matter how magic, will eventually succumb to gravity and end up in the dirt.

Unknown-2Creating value is the act of bringing something to the world around you which is a far more powerful position. For to create value is to break through the challenges and the transience for one shining moment of clarity and success.  String together many moments of creating value and you will create a life well lived.

 

It’s All A Gift

MP900433167 (2)I heard something the other day:  “Successful people have learned to like the process.”  I think that’s true.  When I look back on my career, I see that in the early years as an actor and then as a producer, I spent most of my time frustrated, miserable, moody and depressed. If it wasn’t happening I wondered: why isn’t it happening?  If it was happening I wondered: why isn’t more happening?  I don’t remember ever being satisfied.  Quite frankly, I’m still not too sure that I’m satisfied. But, I have learned to like the process.

After all, lets face it, all of life is a process.  More than that, it’s all a gift.   No matter how you look at it.  If you feel God divinely put you here or if you’re an athiest who feels that our time on earth is the result of random consequence. Either way it’s a miracle that we’re here at all. So, no matter how you look at it, it’s a gift. The process is a gift.

So, how does one learn to like the process?  I think its about living in the moment. Granted, not all moments are created equal and some are just plain better than others, but when you think about it, this moment is really all you’ve got. It’s all that is truly real.  Where you’re going, the end result and your perception of all that has happened in the past, even if it JUST happened, is now in the past and relegated to a figment of your imagination.

Moments are like a grand puzzle.  If you’re concentrating hard on something it puts you in the moment.  Your concentration is the process of trying to figure out how the work you are doing in the now will fit into a larger canvas of the end result.

Now, keep in mind I did not say learn to LOVE the process.  There are some that love the process, but admitedy, the process is hard to love.  Just ask the artist who is suffering from writer’s block.  There may be parts of the process that you can love.  However, any process has moments of drudgery and frustration. It’s in that moment when you remind yourself that this moment connects to the next moment, so fully commit to this one.  Accept it for what it is and do the best you can to contribute something to the canvas. When you feel like you’ve made a contribution, you will like the moment. When you like the moment, you will begin to like the process.

It doesn’t matter whether you are writing a script, shooting test footage or making the dreaded cold calls to hustle up work.  The moment is a beautiful thing.  Remember, you have a finite number of them.  The day will come when you run out of moments, so you might as well figure out how to fully engage and like as many moments as you possibly can.

My world can be a strange one.  I’m helping to build a company and I have great aspirations and vision for it.  But, it requires that I shape shift and I constantly find myself doing things that I am unfamiliar with.  The unfamiliar sometimes fills me with great doubt about my skills, with uncertainly and frequent paranoia. Those are moments when I don’t “like” the process.  Those moments are the ones when I just want to be an agent and do deals and help my clients reach their goals through closing the deal on the table, and I still do that everyday.  But, there is the realization that through investing in the process of building a more powerful platform and learning new things I am helping my clients in ways that I never could before.  It’s better for the company, the clients, the agents I work with and myself. If I commit to my process as entrpreneur AND agent we will all reach more of what we collectively aspire to.

At home we have a little white board next to the door.  Adrienne and I take turns writing on it little inspirational sayings that we come across.  Last week she wrote “Now is the only moment that lasts forever.”  She wrote that before she got hit on the big toe with a cast iron cassarole pot lid, opening up her foot and requiring an ER visit and some stitches.  Granted, that moment did seem to last forever, the swearing, the gushing blood, the hopping around.  But, the reality is, it didn’t last forever.  It also came and went. The three shots of Tequila helped move things along also, but the moment came and went.

So, what are you doing in this moment?  Whatever it is, it will affect the next moment and the next and the next.  It’s all connected. That’s why you need to use this moment to make a call, plan a spec shoot, take a photograph, tell someone you love them, write a blog post, write a scene, write some goals or learn something new.

It’s all about living with intention and being aware of the moment instead of rehashing the past or day dreaming about a future that is not based on right choices and hard work in the present. Intent will always put you in the moment, because intent drives you.

quote-William-Law-be-intent-upon-the-perfection-of-the-144583_1

 

25 Rules for Surviving and Thriving In Hollywood

As an actor (my first career in entertainment) I came across a list of rules for making it in show business. I can’t remember who it was by, but it was funny, succinct and to the point.  That was a long time ago and I don’t remember the rules other than the mantra which I’ve repeated here in rules 3, 8, 16 & 25. Also, rule 1. came from an English blogger who’s blog I can’t find now (credit where credit is due… sort of.)

So, here we go.  My first rules for making it in Hollywood. Based on my experience, I wrote down  the 25 most common sense things I could think of. Why 25? I figured you could handle that many.  If I thought if the cast of Jersey Shore was reading, there would only have to be four and I’ll let you guess which ones they are. If you think there are some missing, feel free to chime in.  With no further ado, I bring you my 25 Rules:

1. Always carry a pen.

2. Have specific, time sensitive goals.  Use the pen to write them down. Keep them in a place where you can see them.

3. Save your money.

4. Don’t neglect your family and friends. When the bottom falls out, they are the net that will catch you.

5. Go easy on the cosmetic surgery. There’s a fine line between looking younger and like a surprised floatation device.

6. The best route between Hollywood and Beverly Hills is Fountain Avenue to La Cienega to Burton Way.

7. Always remember that youth and skill are no match for age and treachery.

8. Save your money.

9. There’s no such thing as overnight success.  There are only years of hard work that suddenly pay off.

10. There is a big difference between leaving your mark and marking your territory. Don’t confuse the two.

10. Failure is not an option, it is an inevitable and necessary ingredient of success.

12. Getting knocked down in Hollywood thins out the herd.  Always be sure to get back up.

13. If anyone ever says you’ll never work in this town again, realize it’s only until they need you again.

14. People don’t need a good reason to sue you, they just need a lawyer. Don’t take it personally, it’s just business.

15.  If you don’t love the movie business, find something you love and do that instead.  Love expands and so does bitterness.

16. Save your money.

17. Always make sure you’ve removed the lens cap before rolling.  Success is in the details.

18. The town can smell fear and desperation. Find a way to erase these emotions from your business life.

19. Be nice to waiters, valets and receptionists.  Someday they’ll be green lighting your projects.

20. When someone’s assistant says “actually he/she is in a meeting and can’t talk now.” They “actually” just don’t want to talk to you.

21. Know the difference between providing opportunity and mentoring.  It’s the difference between making someone opportunistic or loyal.

22. Movie making is problem solving. If there are problems, it means that you’re still in business.

23. Never say “to be honest with you” or “I’ll be totally honest.”  These phrases mean that you are not usually honest and your current honesty is an exception to your standard operating procedure.

24.  Anything positive you do or say is instantly forgotten.  Anything negative you do or say follows you forever and makes you a suspect in all the ills of humanity.

25. Save your money.

The Aztecs, Snooki and You

Artists tend to have a nasty habit.  Actually, many nasty habits, but one in particular that I want to talk about.  They stand out at the edge.  After all, the edge is the Artist’s perch.  Looking back towards the middle, you can observe life and society.  This helps you comment and express yourself.  Looking the other way, out towards the void. You can poke at it and push the edge out, establishing a new edge and evolving  art forms past anywhere they’ve been before.

However, the edge is also a curse.  Yes, as you look into the center it makes you face watered down, path of least resistance excuses for art.  It makes you face the culture of Snooki.   Facing the culture of Snooki can make you lose faith. It can make you feel isolated and unequipped to participate in the center where the business of art is done.

So, where’s the balance?  Unfortunately, there isn’t any real balance, it’s about committing yourself to being heard, and to be heard you have to pay attention to business as well as art. It’s also not about multi-tasking.  As Shawn Achor presents in his book; ‘The Happiness Advantage’ the human brain is not really capable of multi-tasking.  It IS capable of moving from one task to another very quickly, but can only focus on one thing at a time.

What I’m talking about is committing to action in business.  The Aztecs called it “Ollin.” When disaster struck, such as earthquake, flood etc. The word would spread from person to person to “Ollin” which means become active “now”.  Seek higher ground, prepare food stuffs, throw grandma over your shoulder and get moving.  I heard an interview with the author Kevin Hall whose message is the power of the words we use. He points out how close the expression “Ollin” is to the modern expression “All in.”

It seems everything in the Aztec language has an artistic rendering.  To the right is the one for Ollin. Interesting, though don’t give them too much credit, they were also into human sacrifice and bungie jumping without cords attached which of course is not bungie jumping, it’s just jumping.  They had their quirks, but some very useful concepts came from their culture and this is one of them.

This doesn’t mean that you have to interrupt your pursuit of craft go to every industry event, party and screening (though a few wouldn’t kill you)  or go for an MBA in artist management. But, it does mean you have to pay attention to finding new ways to interface with those who’s craft is making money in the arts and media.  They are, for better or worse, the ones building culture. Because, when they make money, you make money.  When you make money, you can pay the mortgage, go to the grocery store and buy finger paints for the kids.

This requires you to leave the edge and venture into the center, and no, it’s not selling out.  It’s curious, I have always found that artists who acuse others of selling out are the ones whose art is completely inaccesible or whose  talent is suspect.  In essence, there is no such thing as selling out.  There are finding ways to make a living while creating art.  In essence, there is only “all out” or “all in.”

So what’s my advice for going all in?  First and foremost, think about how you can take action on both an artistic level and a business level.  WRITE IT DOWN. Hold yourself to it.  Make a plan for artistic development and business development.  Not just a plan, a detailed plan. Once you make the plan, work the plan.  If business development is foreign to you, make a commitment to informing yourself as part of your plan.  You can start by reading some of the books from my resources page.

I know I’m being extreme in bringing up Snooki in a discussion about art and culture, but I’m illustrating a point.  Snooki is indeed an artist of some kind or other  from the center.  If I had to, I would label her a performance artist of happenstance. Right place, right time, right car wreck of a life. But, she will be here, then she will be gone when a better car wreck catches the media’s attention. Hers is not an artist’s career, it is the brief, bright light of celebrity.

The Aztecs on the other hand, stood on the edge and built culture through artistry.  Their edge became their center and culture.  They lived it every day.  My real question here is: in our polarized world can you build culture from the edge?  You can certainly build art at the edge.  But, if you don’t venture to the center to force art into our culture, it’s left to Snooki. Do you really want future generations to be scratching their heads as they watch “Jersey Shore,” wondering where we lost our grasp on beauty?

I suppose I’m not only giving you some tools here, but also a call to action. It is possible to sustain yourself while doing something bigger than yourself.  Are you ready to go Ollin?  The Aztecs did, Snooki does.  Oy, yes that’s the point.  If you don’t, there will be an endless procession of Snookies.  I think I speak for all of us in the center when I yell to the edge: show us what you’ve got!  save us, save us from Snooki!

It Takes A Village

“It takes a village.”  That old saying that everyone uses for everything from the success of a child to a business project gone completely awry. In my experience, I would say that it’s a very true metaphor. Even in art that appears to be a solo endeavor. Painters need someone to loom canvas and manufacture acrylic paints. You could argue that a dancer doing a solo might qualify. But, that would be a naked dancer with no training, and we’ve all seen that before, usually being dragged (still dancing) into a police car. Entertaining? Yes. Art? Not really.

So, what do we really need to be creative? Collaborators seen and unseen. But before that we need to be motivated to create something.  Where does that come from? Somewhere in the soul is my guess.  The Hungarian psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi coined it “flow” (and yeah, that’s really the guy’s name.)  Flow he discovered is that place we all have been, where we are so intently engaged in something that we lose track of time and reach a level of focus so deep it is almost trance like.  We forego sleep, don’t feel fatigued and can ignore hunger. Based on the feeling of personal connectedness and engagement, we tend to come back to those activities again and again.

That’s where the concept of ‘opensource’ comes in.  It is a neighborhood in the new village of art, entertainment and hopefully collaborations well beyond.  In his book “Drive –  The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” Daniel H. Pink cites numerous studies that determine:  the intrinsic value of our flow activities (that is, how they make us feel) far out weighs any extrinsic rewards like money that we might get for doing the activity.  You can want or need to be paid for your creativity, but according to the science, money will never be able to motivate you enough to enter flow and ‘true’ creativity.  You are far more likely to create your best work with like minded people regardless of whether or not you get paid for it at all.  So, money is one thing, but not the only thing.  Here is a version of Pink’s philosophy:

What is really interesting to me is the descriptions of Wikipedia and Firefox and how they came about.  Code wonks donating their talents (which they get paid for during the work day) build something together that not only is bigger than any one of them, but provides a space for those creating to gain mastery over their craft. They work for free, but they are free to work how they like, when they like without deadlines or the constraints of work for hire.  And that is the recipe for flow.

So what does this science mean to an agent that depends on 10% of my artistically gifted clients making a living?  It means I need to encourage my clients to recognize the concept of flow.  It means I need to encourage mastery. To realize that it’s my job, to get the issue of money off the table by striking fair deals, so they do not have to think about it. I believe that is the way I participate as a collaborator in their art.

I’m not a filmmaker, nor do I want to be or pretend to be. I’m a manager, a partner that can focus on the bigger picture of the business and find myself in “flow” by ways of listening, advising and negotiating.  Sounds strange, but flow exists in any talent you can think of and that’s where it exists for me.  But, more so my job is encouraging artists to create even when they are not working for money.  To take some down time to keep working for mastery and to open source with other like minded artists on projects of their choosing.

The definitions of success are changing.  In the wake of so much pain at the hands of economic collapse,  and the realization that consumerism as a social ideal merely trades flow for a quick endorphin rush, the next phase of human progress is upon us.  It may be Utopian to suggest, but there has never been a better time in modern history to be in the arts.  People are hungry again for beauty, for experience and open to the understanding the human potential is far more than survival and unlimited cheap gasoline.

So, lets see what we can create.  As artistic collaborators we can show the world that collaboration is exponential and born of compassion and empathy.  No doubt financial gain is important to sustain art and the artist, the business and the businessman. But, flow is the true goal to fixate on.  It may be too early to tell, but even science seems to be saying that flow, and it’s resulting mastery takes a village.

The Scariest Hill On Earth

Ellsworth Road, just mentioning the vast peak out loud brings back adrenaline fueled thrills and nightmares from my youth. It was named after Connecticut’s own Oliver Ellsworth (one of the writers of the US Constitution.) and the state’s first US Senator. This hill, for it was just that, although in my kid eyes it was impossibly large one, and the only one around,  so it might as well have been Pike’s Peak.  We would ride our bikes down in the summer and sled down in the winter before the plows came.  The evil part of this hill was this:  though the top of the hill was the end of the road in the middle of the neighborhood, meaning there was hardly any traffic on it, at the bottom there was a cross street named Riggs. There was no stop sign as it crossed Ellsworth, so cars coming through the neighborhood just barreled on by.  Riding your bike at top speed down the hill, as you approached Riggs, you had a choice:  try to be sure nothing is coming and charge through or hit the brakes and be safe.

More than once I laid down rubber on my bad ass Stingray banana bike right before ending up as a hood ornament.  More than once, my heart jumped into my throat.  Most memorably, the time a tough older kid named Dennis made me ride down on a skateboard.  Me, lying facedown on my belly, my nose inches above the pavement, and him on my back.  That time I forgot about the traffic, wondering how I was going to explain to my mother how my face got ripped off on Ellsworth Road.  But, I somehow survived that descent and many others.

Chief among our games on Ellsworth was to see how far you could coast without pedaling after crossing the dreaded Riggs.  We’d station a kid on the corner to make sure we could race through the intersection without braking. Then the rule was no pedaling, whoever went the farthest won.  As I was thinking about this week’s post, I thought about this game once again.

Momentum.  It’s hard to get it going, and much harder to keep it going.  Especially without pedaling.  When things are going well, the wind hits your face, all you hear is the whoosh in your ears and all you feel is speed.  The farther you go, you slow down almost inperceptably by degrees.  Before you know it, you’re moving quite slowly and not long after you’ve stopped.

Careers are like this.  Especially freelance careers in media and entertainment.  When you have a success or a series of successes, it’s easy to think the rush will never stop and the pace will never lessen.  But it does.  It’s the nature of gravity, friction and distance.  I heard the motivational speaker Brian Tracy once say: “You can only coast in one direction.”  Oh, too true.  I never once coasted UP Ellsworth Road.

The idea is to keep pedaling, even when times are good.  Find ways to keep the momentum going, even when you think you’re going fast enough already.  This is difficult when you are in the heat of one project, to be thinking of the next one, but it’s absolutely necessary!  You have to keep pedaling!

In my career as an agent, I’ve had far too many clients come to me after years of constant work and say, “I used to have momentum, but now it’s slowing down.”  When I ask who they’ve been in contact with lately, they reply:  “I’ve been working for years, I haven’t had time to keep contacts up, so now I don’t really know anyone. I’ve been too busy.”

Do you see why you have to keep pedaling now?  It doesn’t matter whether you are just starting out or have been making money as an artist for 30 years.  You have to do the work of getting work constantly, everyday, and let’s be real, having a freelance job today only means you have to find one for tomorrow.

Here’s my challenge to you.  Make a list of everyone you know in the business.  Make a list of every producer, director, studio, gallery, ad agency that you want to get to know.  Don’t stop until you have reached 50 contacts on each list. Now, find a way to retain or regain contact with those you already know, and ways to make contact with those you want to know.  These lists are the bike. Now you need to pedal a little everyday.

I heard a while back that NASA is proposing to send a spaceship light years away. They are suggesting what is called a perpetual motion rocket engine to power the craft.  This engine will use small thrusts of fuel, fired at timed intervals.  A seconds long burst of thrust from a nuclear engine once every day.  The idea is that over time, all these short bursts add up and the ship is going very far and very fast. The ship never coasts, it’s propelling itself a little each day.

That is pretty much the concept I’m proposing to you.  A small burst of thrust everyday to create huge momentum to gain speed and distance for your career.  Start doing this today, because I can tell you from experience that if you stop pedaling on Ellsworth, you can only coast to halfway between Newport Avenue and Four Mile Road.