The ego and creativity – Wolfe’s kiss farewell
Today I had an extremely offensive conversation with one particular friend. He has some very strange ideas about creativity, so I am going to address these ideas very slowly, in a format that he is very welcome to absorb in a space where he cannot commit an assault.
There is a chasm of difference between developing an idea, and developing a marketing strategy. We can see from our television channels that shooting for the lowest possible denominator in the hope of viewing figures is not the way to achieve quality. We can also see from many arthouse movies that self indulgence does not always produce something that you would want to watch.
My friend, who makes arty movies which he does not bother to market, likes to prevent me from speaking at all by attacking me verbally whenever I try to explain to him that he has his priorities a little confused, making it impossible for me, as an extremely patient and understanding friend, never mind anyone else to work with him.
Today, it was a possible sit com that became impossible to even conceptualise, because he imagines that finding a marketing person that will make the magic exposure problem go away is more important than developing a product. This means that you cannot even develop your idea sufficiently to make it worthwhile, never mind discuss it to the point that you get any actual work done.
I have previously tried giving him simple open ended tasks to complete alone, with the idea that if he is left to complete something himself, I will not be at physical risk, and he will gain the satisfaction of moving a project on a stage. Even this has resulted in such a strong stress response that it is not possible to get anything done, and so two projects so far have had to be abandoned. He then likes to tell me what he thinks I asked him to do, which is nothing to do with what I actually said, because he was not listening in the first place.
Now this problem is caused by stress. In particular a fragile and super-stressed ego, so today I tried using myself, and then Wolfe, as an example of how other people work. In my case, as money is not an issue at present, I like to spend one third of my time on the piece of work, and two thirds of the time allocated on marketing the piece of work, whether this is over a month, a year, five years really does not matter as long as I have the time and space. Therefore there is a fairly consistent flow. For someone like Wolfe, for whom money is very important, he spends maybe 5 minutes out of an hour doing the work, and 55 minutes out of the hour telling the world that he has done the work. This can be done by passive or direct means, but whether you believe him to be a loudmouth Yank or not, he is certainly more successful, in a very niche market, than anyone else.
You cannot market a product that cannot exist due to temperament. In order to market thin air, you have to be a convincing person with a track record of actually achieving what you set out to achieve. Your cheaply made arthouse movie can do this for you, if you actually bother to develop your skill to the level where you are presenting something watchable. In order to do this, you have to consider the wider public rather than trying to sell yourself to a ‘marketing person’ who probably doesn’t exist.
700 people a month look at my artwork on the website. I maybe tweet it twice a month to achieve that, the rest of the hits coming from the relatively unrelated blog. This is a good use of time, develops my writing ability and expression, and gives me time to dream up more complicated versions of my work. I picked up a lot of information from Wolfe in this respect. Worrying about what people think of you, or failing to promote yourself is not useful to you. Insulting your friends by preventing them from helping you and telling them repeatedly that their views are irrelevant whilst they try to give you the information that you need is also not useful to you, as they will simply stop trying at all.
A master of an art is not an egotist, too frightened to input feedback. Very much like a British academic, they will listen to the most obscure information related to their interest area in an effort to improve quality, improve audience figures, expand their area of interest.
In my case, since my work is usually produced when I am wounded in some way, annoying me is what usually gets you a piece of work in the first place, which is why Wolfe was such an excellent candidate. He lacks understanding or respect for other people, however, which is why it is now more interesting to me to find some fresh meat.
I cannot help my friend with the knot he has tied himself into. I am just not putting myself in that position again, which means conversation is now likely to be severely limited. If I acted towards him the way he behaved this morning, I would now be in hospital. The great pity is that I doubt a single word I said went in, and so nothing will change.
If you are a creative person, bear in mind what I have said. Even if you do not like your work, it is important to either bin it or promote it to allow others to feed back to you. Otherwise you could find your passion drained by circumstance, and unless your spark is as self-healing as mine, you could end up bitter, hostile and unable to access your own genius.
Thank you David, for being careless, rude and a bit sexist and stupid. Without you, none of this would have been possible.