This is about the fourth ‘Creative soiree’ that I have hosted this year. The Creative Soiree gets all kinds of creative people together- designers, photographers, artists, writers, etc. in a ‘safe’ place to discuss what means to be creative, learn from each other and most importantly, how to make a living as a creative person.
At this soiree, we had the advantage of sounding out someone who started a music media company during the last recession. The international business also manages live-streams and concerts, websites and social media for bands and links them with brand names. This man has two small children too. I was just impressed that he had made the time to come for this discussion! Naturally the discussion turned to how creative people can be creative, commercial and contributive in their work. These are some of the highlights of that discussion with him and others, along with my own musings.
- Constraints are creative. Both ‘top end’ and ‘bottom end’ commissions have their constraints. Constraints and creativity go together to solve problems.
Business is non-judgmental. Listen to the voice of the ordinary person, read stuff that you normally won’t, and do things that you have not done before. All these activities increase not only personal creativity and knowledge but also your client base. Look at yourself and your work from outside in, not inside out in order to get the right perspective.
- Become your own agent or get one. All creative people need agents. If you can’t get one, become your own agent. Salvador Dali painted, acted, designed, wrote and danced until he became the one man PR agent for himself. Watch this hilarious clip from ‘What’s my line?’ featuring Dali. His provocations were seen as gimmicks by his critics and as ‘performance art’ by his fans. Not all of Dali’s creative ventures succeeded but what succeeded was enough to give him a place in history.
- Base your fees on your work value. Can you quantify the value you bring to your project? As a creative person, you are a participant in the ‘creation of value’ and therefore, your fee should be a percentage of that value.
- Success depends upon luck and so increase your chances. Certainly, many people work hard and are clever. If merit was the only way people could succeed, then anyone who worked hard and was clever, would succeed in life. But life is not meritocratic. Instead create what are called ‘weak links’ or casual, non –work related contacts, and your chances of a lucky break have increased.