Saturday, January 23, 2010

REASONS OR EXCUSES?

Are the following reasons....or excuses? If they are excuses, are they for the shipper or receiver?

You aim too high. You need to lower your standards. Vancouver doesn't have a lot of options. You moved to Toronto during a recession. No one's buying art right now. Agencies are wondering if they're going to have to drop talent, let alone sign talent. The music (or any other appropriate) industry is dying. If only you guys had released it five years later. If only you guys had released it two years ago. It's too funny. Is it funny? It's funny, right? I don't get it (what's not to get?) Canada wants a more safe, banal version of an American funny (or of any) thing and the one exception, The Kids In The Hall, are all filled up as of twenty years ago. Is there a market for this? Have you ever tried doing this yourself? No one's paying writers. No one's paying for content.

The list goes on...

14 comments:

the iron chic said...

Excuses! Keep truckin'.

Robert Dayton, Junior said...

...but if they're excuses why things haven't 'happened' then the reasons must lie with me and I have to take sole blame: a reason NOT to keep trucking until I can find out WHY I am fucking myself up/over after putting so much good energy into things...

Robert Dayton, Junior said...

P.S. that sounded harsh but I am starting on something massive and when it is finished I don't want it to be added to the growing deluge of unreleased/unsold. I only have so much time and so much energy so where and how it is focused is important....
Perhaps, some of those are actual excuses but I've heard em all when stuff is unsold/unreleased. As an artist/entertainer part of my job is entertaining the people (as an artist: relaying something of worth to the people) and if it's in a vacuum what's the use?
Perhaps I just have to keep chipping away building this pile, who knows? But I'd love to have some things figured out before I move further so that I don't become overly bitter/frustrated: rather be inspired to spur on.

Xenia said...

yeah sure some of this is true, but to me it only means that I have to try harder than ever. Not impossible just really difficult.

Laura said...

maybe the things you're trying to make money with you're just not good at, meaning not enough people are into that product for it for it to be profitable for you, and the things you're actually good at you're not trying to make money with.
that's my theory for everything.

Robert Dayton, Junior said...

Hmmmm. Naw. It's not that cut-and-dry, sadly. I've had to learn through trial-and-error, an artist trying to gain some sort of business sense. Quality doesn't actually seem to enter the REASONS OR EXCUSES picture at all. I keep waiting for someone to say that I am a terrible writer, artist, entertainer, musical artist, etcetera, and then why: but no, I often get that I am talented so I keep honing my craft. I am enormously self-critical, the work better be great as there's enough crap out there already. The main critique is that my work is distinctive (like that's a bad thing). When I asked my ex what I should drop (ie. what I might be the worst at) she said acting. Acting is the one thing that has made me some very good money. It helped me to survive in TO. But I couldn't find a TO agent (I have an awesome Vancouver one)as agents actually were looking to drop clients but now it seems there's an industry upturn and as of yesterday I have a potential meeting with an agent who is interested...
I was selling some art and writing last year but then people told me that no one's buying art and writing. And these past few months no one has been- for me and other talented folks I have talked to, at least. So now my focus has shifted to an art book, not a big money maker but it'll be done cuz i want to do it and it'll support my arts as a whole (it'll be funny, tragic, romantic, glamourous, creepy, dark, with hand drawn pics and writings synthesis on a UNIVERSAL THEME). I plan to get 40 sample pages done to show to publishers, DIY exhausts me so don't bring it up, the least I want is decent distribution.
So much seems to be about timing and setting. And getting distribution (backing).
All my career agendas have been predicated on that (while always maintaining a vision, having something to say). See previous post as well. Both posts written with sinus pressure which is when I get the most downbeat.
I have to remind myself that it does all build on each other and hopefully makes for a good CV, but hey, some acts get 10 stars on Pitchfork and find they are a current flash-in-the-pan and have to now play their first show. Of course, no one remembers them the following year but they took the money and ran.
I have always gotten strong reactions from my audiences and really reached people but I couldn't break through the DIY barrier even with a pro appearance: seriously, a lot of folks have thought that I had backing due to the high standards of the projects.
I see people here in Toronto who are so talented and aren't getting paid. A perfect example is comedy. So many good interesting comedy people but Canada doesn't want to take any risks, so they are left to languish unless they leave. Prove me wrong.

I just really hope that I am doing the right thing by working on this book...

Xenia said...

Are talented people getting paid elsewhere???

Robert Dayton, Junior said...

Tough call, but I guess the phrase 'starving artist' exists for a reason. If you want to become a lawyer you pretty much know which hoops to jump through. Being an artist is a gamble. When you ask about 'elsewhere', well, it's always hard to say, I have some successful and talented pals who are in successful musical acts that are just getting by, one American pal has been a legend (and an inspiration) for the last twenty years and been making music for longer. In the writing sectors I hear it's rough to make dough.
Where I've made the most cash is in acting in commercials, film, and TV: it doesn't offer creative control of course but it does allow for certain freedoms to create. Pitching films and shows is a whole matter altogether, especially in Canada where they don't want something 'different', they want a safe variation on something American. Safe is the key word. What's worse than the Barenaked Ladies? Moxy Fruvous. It's a shame to have to be in a band like that to get one's own show.
But there's always arts grants and I have a few American pals who salivate over those.
Sacrificing doing what one loves to make pap would be terrible. I keep making music because so many people respond so immediately to it because it offers something Different for them. It's the (dying music) Industry that doesn't want something Different.

Laura said...

i actually honestly think it's because the stuff you are doing doesn't appeal to a large enough audience.

Robert Dayton, Junior said...

Oh, phew, so glad that problem's solved then! Thanks Laura!

Robert Dayton, Junior said...

Current blogging/life fixation: wondering if next project can get backing/support to reach a wide enough audience. One commenter's solution: your stuff doesn't appeal to a large audience. Okay, so maybe I should just give up if that is the be-all end-all answer. Pat answers like that are more destructive than constructive and already swirl about my head. Luckily, this ain't such a bad day so I can't take it to heart and crush myself as I can think of numerous examples of peers who have done okay and occasionally more than okay(which is why I thought of this book).
Some things that I do I know are more marketable than others, and obviously I constantly think of how to create it with an audience in mind and how to have it find its' audience. Luckily, all this stuff I've done has built connections and a cache, etc., to grow from...
But maybe that commenter's right: just give up as it ain't never gonna happen. Problem solved. What a waste.

the iron chic said...

Oh, Laura. Anon commenter who joined blogger just to leave negative comments on other blogs.
You probably know "her."
I love it when people are neagative on my blog! Laura, come visit me, we'll chat.

the iron chic said...

Neagative AND negative!
;)

Robert Dayton, Junior said...

Thanks, I often think that people are smart enough to read through a pseudonymous or anonymous person's hooey and those commenters usually are too negative to be bright or insightful, I can deal with hecklers and naysayers, unfortunately they add nothing but a general feeling of louse- especially when one is trying to problem solve. They don't reveal their true identities for cowardly reasons ('Laura' is probably some fat, unshaven tragic figure), however, I am me and I stand for what I say.
I currently don't regret posting my creative frustrations as I think many folks can relate and I do want to work out said kinks.
I should state that my creative endeavours have led to some great opportunities directly and indirectly, a couple are upcoming so it's 'okay.'
I just want to make sure that my next direct endeavour is well thought through.
I remember after art school finding it tough to show my art (Vancouver is the home of photo-conceptualism and artist-run centres with few commercial galleries)so I focused on other things. Then drawing blew up! Timing is funny and many factors enter the picture.