Hooray for Hollywood!
When you think of an artist (an actor, singer, writer, painter etc), there are generally two things that come to mind; the first is the ‘Hollywood’ life; glamourous, walking the red carpet, fancy cars, mansions, platinum albums, books being turned into movies, being interviewed by Oprah!
Here comes another ‘Starving Artist’
The second is the ‘starving artist’. The general image of the starving artist is someone lives on 2 minute noodles, can’t keep a real job, struggles to pay their rent and struggles to put up their latest project, film, show, etc.
For most people, these are the only two realities they believe are possible for creative people. It is an ‘everything or nothing’ mentality… and it couldn’t be more wrong!
So what’s the problem with these two artist identities?
The big problem is that this mentality is shared by so many people within the industry itself, particularly with those just starting out or who find themselves in a ‘blocked’ state.
The images we see on TV and in films of glitz, glamour, success and rags to riches stories are all incredible and dazzling! We see ourselves sharing and delighting in that world for a brief moment, then we turn around and our own reality seems so far away from that ‘Hollywood life’.
Some think that if they are talented enough, all they need to do is wait, or be at the right place at the right time and they’ll be discovered. Even worse, they may gain a real opportunity for small success and turn it down because they don’t believe it matches what they feel they are worth. ‘I’m too good for this’ or ‘I am destined for Hollywood and I’m going to make it!’
The idea of ‘waiting to be discovered’ reminds me of the story of the ‘drowning man’. (note- Whilst this story has religious origins, that’s definitely not the reason I’m sharing it. I just find it to be such a fitting metaphor!)
A man was stranded on the roof of his house in a flooded town. He prayed to God to save him. A man in a rowboat passed by and offered the man help, the stranded man declined saying ‘God will save me. Later, a person in a motorboat went by, again offering assistance. The stranded man declined again saying ‘I have faith and God will save me’. Finally, a helicopter passed and dropped him a ladder. Once more the stranded man declined saying ‘I’m praying and God will save me’. Eventually the flood destroyed the house and the man drowned. Upon reaching heaven he asked God ‘why didn’t you save me?’ to which God replied ‘I sent you a boat and a helicopter! What more did you want?’.
The man was so caught up on the incredible notion of God saving him, that he completely missed the opportunities to be saved and get what he wanted all along.
Regardless on whether or not you are religious, spiritual or believe in fate, I love what this story highlights. You can be so focused on the idea of being discovered for ‘the dream opportunity’ and believing it’s going to come, that you actually stop putting in the work and seeking out opportunities for yourself, or taking opportunities that come to you that may not seem like your final destination – but they could take you there!
Your career and your life is a series of steps. Are you going to sit on the bottom step and just wait to be called upstairs?
This is what so many people believe. That the only way to ‘make it’ is to be discovered, whether you are an actor, writer, singer, dancer, or anyone in a creative field with talent.
There are so many steps, opportunities and careers between the stark world of the ‘starving artist’ and the ‘hollywood life’.
Similarly, some believe that you cannot be a GENUINE artist without being a ‘starving artist’. This notion is ludicrous, limiting and highly negative. You have so much more to give to the world, and have the respect for yourself to want to live a fulfilled life.
Money cannot make us fulfilled, only YOU and YOUR mindset can choose joy (at any given moment, in any financial situation). Money can buy you stability, security and very importantly it can buy you your time and freedom to continue to follow your passion to create…
If you choose to do so, from this moment on you are no longer a ‘starving artist’…you are creating a life of sustainability, creativity and success.