When I was a child, my father attempted to teach to me cook. I use the word “attempted” because I appear to have learned nothing from the experience, despite his valiant efforts. I was simply not interested in domesticity.
However, I did learn one lesson.
My father once told me: “It doesn’t matter how good your food is if no one wants to eat it.”
Substance Is Not Enough
The idea behind this is that it is not enough to have a good idea. In my last post, I talked about how my teacher, Dr. Pittman, taught me that it wasn’t enough to simply have a good idea, but you had to show what it could do. This is a similar principle.
You can’t bank on people loving your art once they get to it, you have to make that attractive, too. Presentation is not secondary to substance. They are equal.
This is where many artists fail. Artists are people who, by definition, would like to focus on their art and all that that entails, and can tend to view anything else as a distraction. But you know what’s a true distraction? Nobody reading what you’re saying. No one showing up to your recital. No one marveling at your painting.
Sometimes you gotta be your own hero. Your own hype man.
This is the same problem Christian Bale’s character Borden has in The Prestige. While undeniably a better magician than Angier (Hugh Jackman), he possesses far less in the way of showmanship, and as a cause of it, struggles.
It’s a good lesson for young artists to remember. And how do you become your own hero?
Write like you’re running out of time. Secure endorsements from people that you admire or respect. Tell people about your work. Seek interviews. Hell, blog about it. Do something.
Being able to hype a bad thing is arguably an even greater and more useful skill than to create a good thing.
And if you’re a real artist, you’ll find a way to do both.
Feel free to comment, like, share, and follow below!
Megamind: Oh, you’re a villain alright, just not a super one.
Tighten: Oh yeah, what’s the difference?
Photographer: Michael Stern