Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Cost of Everything and the Value of Nothing!

Wednesday musings...

I continue to be amazed at the lack of awareness of what is NEEDED to develop craft and what is NECESSARY to achieve craft.

Perhaps this is something that is society-driven: everything is instant. Everything is now.

Craft and artistry is not created thus. It is time and and dedication and realization and HONESTY.

If you want a chance at a career, you have to INVEST in YOU and in the development of that career. That means lessons, study, development, classes, SELF...

Yes this costs money. Yes you need to commit and sacrifice! If it is important to you, you suck it up princess and figure out a way!

I was discussing this with colleagues this week - and we were talking about our commitment and what we needed to do and CONTINUE to do to develop our craft and our professionalism. Many of us had 2 or 3 jobs to pay for lessons and classes, and some of us STILL are paying for student loans because the VALUE of what we were investing in was worth it for the journey!

Things are too expensive if what you are investing is lacking. If you are looking for an "instant fix" then go do something else. Developing craft takes time and initiative and dedication!! On the other hand, it isn't about ongoing wandering either...Knowing WHAT you value and HOW to develop that value through specific investment is KEY to achieving the development you are looking for.

As a teacher, my job is to become obsolete. I teach you HOW to teach yourself. You end up checking in from time to time for a 2nd set of ears/refresher....

How long that takes depends on the singer. What are you there to do? What do you have to work with? What are you wanting to achieve ultimately? Are you being honest about your ability and your talent? Are you being REAL about what you want to do versus what you are able to do, versus what you are best suited to do?

Finding the best possible "fit" for you and your goals is up to YOU. The singer must find that fit with a teacher, class, coach, program, etc etc that makes the most sense. If it's not working, it is BUSINESS. You make the adjustment! You thank them for their time and expertise and move on!

Complaining, would-a, could-a, should-a, whining, wondering, isn't going to move you forward! Being pro-active on WHY you are studying and WHY you NEED to study is key.

What are you doing all this for? Saying "I want a career but I don't want to invest in it" is a red flag that perhaps you should do something else. Just because you have talent doesn't mean you have the makings of a career.

Some of you have more ambition than talent. What are you investing in? How are you developing what you have?

The extremes are simply that: those with real talent who don't think they have to invest because everything costs so much; and those with real ambition who don't have the natural talent.

BOTH extremes need to make a decision about cost/value - and decide where they WANT to be and what it will take to BE THERE.

Sacrifice? you bet. Sacrifice to gain MORE in the value of your craft.

Honesty? I hope so. Do you know what you have? What you lack? What you need? What is good enough and what isn't?

"It's good enough" is NOT an option. Not if you want to be competitive.

"Just because the teacher says so" is NOT an option. REAL teachers tell you WHY. REAL singers ASK. They don't follow blindly. They are pro-active in their development and their reality.

Yes there is a cost. However, what is the VALUE of your commitment? What is that worth? Ultimately, what is it worth to YOU?

The willingness to discover the possibilities comes from a commitment to self. The willingness to invest in the self and the development takes creativity and effort.

With willingness comes possibilities. With willingness comes recognition of what is real and what is not. Real reveals honesty or lack of it.

Are you spending and just spinning your wheels? Or are you investing and discovering a TRUTH?

Are you willing to see the difference? Are you willing to ask the hard questions? Are you willing to commit to the hard questions?

If you aren't - that's another honesty and it is okay!!!! Pretending is not pursuing a career! Better to recognize the truth and act on it!

Commit to the truth of you whatever that is. The value of that cannot have a price tag. If it does, it's another delusion.


  1. I couldn't agree more. It's taken me a long time to finally get to the point where I felt I knew my instrument(s) well enough to triage. Either THAT or I sang and acted and danced (dancing was the first to GO! lol) for years until I figured out what I did best and what I WANTED to do ABOUT that.
    I LOVE to sing and I think I have a quite serviceable voice! BUT I haven't sung much for some time and I need real training to get into shape before I consider going to any EPAs so I waste neither the producer's or MY OWN valuable time.
    Last year I took a class at Adler Studios for professional actors who wanna do some scene work and the like. The class had a few actors who seemed to be professional students! Honing their craft to a deadly point while nothing is at to speak. I thought that was stupid but I understood the fear.
    I liked the safety of the class but I prefer to NOT waste my time succeeding there when there's a chance I could succeed in an audition.
    Lately I've been focusing on on-camera work no matter how low/no-budget so I can work up a real and move toward work in TV and film. At this point those seem the most fun and I know I can do that with the right exposure and networking. AND I have a PLAN to my goal! Not an overnight expectation of fame and wealth but a more realistic plan with sign-posts and markers.
    I'm 46 now. I'm going in my own time, in my own way and with no illusions. But I have hope, talent, drive, ambition and a plan. And the plan includes a side job for more money for headshots, a real, some nice clothes...stuff to make me successful LOOKIN'!
    I can DO the acting. I am in touch with my craft daily and I know what my marketability is now as opposed to THEN. And I have projects coming up so I'm not stagnant.
    Also and apart from the acting I'm going to do the cliche and try some stand-up! Not because I expect to get famous or anything but FOR FUN!
    But back to your premise with which I agree...Firstly, if you really suck at something you need to find out the truth and move on. You will never be a ballerina!? Turn those feet out and JAZZ IT UP! Stop whining and get to WORK! Be happy with what you actually CAN do and strive to be the BEST.
    Y'know, I think the moral is this: The WORK is its own reward. If you don't like the work and just wanna get rich & famous?!?!?!?! Buy a LOTTO ticket and stop cloggin'-up the audition lines at the AEA center.

    (Sorry...I can ramble....)

  2. I agree 100% with Susan
    In this day/age of immediacy the value of the pursuit of craft has fallen & I hate to say I do not see it being picked up soon