Sister from another mister.
It just hit me that I’ve been going about this whole thing all wrong. Somehow I got seduced by the fast pace of things in LA and perhaps I know too many people that have “made it”. Maybe the media publicized one too many start up stories about kids who made millions in Silicon Valley or got record deals in Hollywood. That was never the path that I was on, but I got swept up in the tornado.
You ever see a red wood tree spring up out of the ground in an instant? Have you ever seen a baby turn in to an adult over night? No, not really, even in the movies when this happens it does so at a cost. Normally when these thing occur, it is not over night.
In real life plants grow because you water them everyday, your clip and maintenance them. Even for incredibly fast growth, you have to do everything you can and leave a little room for something extraordinary to happen. I’m not saying miracles don’t happen, they obviously do. Big cities with incredible density are among the best place for them also, but that should not be the plan.
The plan, should be exactly that. Water, and sunlight, everyday, every single day. Measure it if you want to, or don’t measure it if you don’t want to. But don’t go to bed every night thinking that the you will be picked out of the millions and catapulted to fame or fortune. It happens slowly, even when its happening fast, its happens slowly.
It is doubtful that someone will email you at your gmail address and you’ll be famous by end of day. You need to be able to survive that time in between, even if it is only the 5 days before the check clears.
Stop waiting to be scooped up, build it yourself everyday as if no one is coming to save you. Plan to take the scenic route, so that it someone offers you a ride you already know where you are going.
If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you’ll notice that I have a lot going on. By bio in twitter is pretty succinct at getting most of it down, but honestly I would need more than 140 characters to list my whole bio. One question I am often asked is “What is your main thing?” And I sometimes have trouble answering that.
You might have seen my other post, where I got into my personal purpose. I mention that I know my purpose but there is a need to translate that higher purpose into something relevant to society. That’s the kicker right there. If I were to tell you that I was a sock designer, as I often say. It creates an impression in a person’s mind. So there are many people who ONLY know me as the sock guy. And that’s cool. They come to me whenever there is a link about socks on the internet, or they ask me for socks for their videos, or they buy them from me for their wedding.
I’ve done pretty good at aligning my personal brand with the whole sock deal. But taking a step back at that what did I really do? I not only designed all of the socks, which is what I am being credited with, but I also shot all the shots, modelled in almost all of them and built the website and did the logo, with a little help from Shopify and Allison Kunath.
Sure I’m humble bragging, but the point is that I had a bunch of other skills that I employed to be effective at becoming the sock guy. I’m saying that I credit myself as a photographer because I have been doing it for 15 years. I started designing HTML sites in the Myspace days and I started modeling, basically the moment I moved to Los Angeles.
This brings to mind that question, when do you get to call yourself a professional. A buddy asked me if I was a professional photographer, and I didn’t even know what he meant, but I said “Yes”. But if you stack my work up against David LaChapelle. I am not sure if you would agree but I have certainly had my work in galleries and sold prints. I have done shoots for clothing brands and models and paid my rent entirely on photo projects. What is more professional than that?
But the same goes for dance, and socks, and design. Does this mean I can claim these titles in the same way that specialist can? I don’t know. But I do know I have passion for all of it and employ my skills whenever needed. Yes, whenever they are NEEDED.
The first thing of all the things I do was music, and ironically I am least known for that (which will be changing soon) and second was poetry. But in order to get my music going in high school I had to get artwork done. So I took a photo class and a graphic design class and made my CD cover, then I made my myspace website and masked the URL to forward to MACEOTHEBAND.com
But then other bands started asking me to do the same thing. So vio la! I was a web designer. I don’t list photography ask a skill on twitter, nor do I list web and graphic design, not only because I don’t think I meet the general professional standard. But also because I am not interested in doing that work.Look for a post on the general professional standard coming up, that is super important to note when valuing your work and marketing your services.
I wear so many hats because these were necessarily skills I acquired when trying to do whatever the primary thing was. Along the way I invested time in becoming proficient in them to a level I felt comfortable telling people about.
I danced for 3.5 years before I called myself a dancer, but the moment I did, I got picked up by a dance agency. Now is it because I started calling myself a dancer that the door opened up, or is it that I only started calling myself a dancer around the time I was actually good enough to do it professionally. Chicken or the egg I guess.
Why I Wear So Many Hats, and why I think many of us do is part necessity and part proficiency. We all have transferable skills, like when you meet an actor who also directs and produces. These are different skills but the environment in which you acquire them is the same, so if you are observant you can learn them all at once to a certain degree.
It has to do also with limited resources. On a big budget film, the director is not doing the kraft services. But on a small job they might be. As an artrepreneur you might not have the money to pay someone to do your marketing. So to get off the ground you have to be the marketing director. But if along the way, you realize a strong interest and aptitude for it, why don’t you call your self a marketing expert if you can do the job?
I think that is why so many people call themselves “Creative Directors” and “Serial Entrepreneurs” the title implies a lot but doesn’t actually mean anything as far as skills. It is more of a character distinction with a general implication of some abilities associated with art or business. You might as well say, “I’m interested in art.”
So instead, I don’t name one thing, I name them all. True, in some cases I loose all opportunities, and in others, I gain multiple opportunities. I create a complex profile by listing 5 different things and let people squirm to figure out what access point they want to engage with me on. But that is what I want them to do. I want people to think before they box me in, I want them to think about their own needs and my abilities and have as much information as possible to make a decision on how we should collaborate. If that means they never get there. Then it means we weren’t meant to do business.
Ironically, as I describe it , it is just another way of narrowing my target market/audience. I want to work with creative critical thinkers, and those people can engage with a guy who does five things because they know which of those 5 things they need from me, and we go from there.
If you want to wear one hat and be a specialist, do that. If you want to wear 5, do it. But be realistic about the costs and benefits of both and move forward in kind.
This guy…always stealing my shine.
As I look back on my professional history, one thing is clear. Every job, I have ever had has been incredibly demanding. Every real job that is, when I was scooping ice cream at Coldstone’s Creamery it wasn’t that demanding. Since then there has been a clear pattern; high stakes, fast pace, intense time investment.
It started at my father’s house and carried on from my time in the Army, and at American Apparel, up until now with all of the MZK Projects. I have become accustomed to burning the midnight oil and grinding it out until the job is done. At 12 years old I remember working in my front yard, pulling weeds by flashlight because my father said I couldn’t go in the house until I had finished. He locked the door and would check my work periodically until it was satisfactory. Only then could I get a pass inside for dinner. It was 9:30 pm by the time I was done. Thanks Dad.
Just this past weekend I was up until 6:30 am on a work bender cranking out a magazine layout for another endeavor I hope to pursue. I laid down to go to bed as the sun was rising and I wasn’t even tired. I couldn’t even sleep more than 2 and a half hours before I had to get up and dash of to host my acro yoga group at the park. Everything was okay though because the big acrobatic motions in acro are reflexive and physical. It’s not like I was going to be doing my taxes, that logic was revealing. I was making a great justification for not getting the amount of sleep I needed to function optimally because of what I was going to be doing the next day.
This isn’t just me, this is all of us, artists and entrepreneurs. Whether we have a ridiculous editorial deadline 12 hours away or we need to prepare an investor deck for a big meeting. Maybe you broke your algorithm and your presentation is tomorrow. ( Silicon Valley, anyone? Ok just me. That’s fine.)
Point is, its not that my jobs are highly demanding of me. It is that I am demanding of myself. The whole time I thought it was my boss that was making me work crazy hours, but it was myself. No one told me I had to cancel my plans with some Tinder date and binge work all Saturday night. No one but myself. No one told me I have to repeatedly bail, flake, and dismiss my friends to get everything I want done. No one but me.
Some say it is self discipline and work ethic, others say it is passion, others may even say it is necessity. I mean to be quite honest, I probably should have been up looking for clients or trying to research investors. But no, I was working on a magazine that probably isn’t going to make me any money for a little while.So that cancels out necessity.
To be honest it is probably a combination of all of these things, the perfect storm of inspiration, adrenaline, and determination. Its all the stuff they take about in documentaries after someone is successful. I wonder if the quality of my work was worth not taking a break to complete it.
As artists we often have trouble with capturing momentum, so we pull all nighters because we fear not having the drive to do it a moment later. We view these moments of creativity like flashes that must be captured when present. But maybe that is the problem right there.
After getting back to my work, I found a million typo’s and even some major aesthetic issues that I didn’t fix because I was so intent on getting the work OUT and on paper. (Even in this very blog post there are tons.)
It served me well to refine, but I looked at it with a different mind. On second pass, I look at my work with an entirely different perspective. It is the analytical mind that takes over and that is how I know I needed to rest.
If you are laying in bed, tossing and turning with an idea. Then get up and act on it, or drop it on a bedside notepad. That creative surge may come when it wants to and you really should seize those moments for those great gems. But do so without fear.
Creativity is a product of your diet, just like everything else. You are in full control over what ideas you consume. Your idea consumption effects the quality of your idea output. So before you freak out about how infrequently your brilliant ideas are, ask yourself when the last time you experienced something new or read something that really challenged your mind. It doesn’t have to be pleasant or even thought provoking, it just has to stir you up. (See Dynamite)
As far as sleep,if the next day you need to be on point, get your rest. If the next day is not as important push through.
Your analytical mind needs rest, to capture the details, work with precision, and make perceive depth, gradient, spelling errors, and nuances in color.
Your creative mind can be more useful even on less sleep, when your critical brain is tired from the day, you may be in a drunken sleepy state or giddy. The lack of rest to your critical mind actually helps get inhibition out of the way so you can open up your mind to radical thought.
This is only with energy as a constant. If you need energy then you should rest, but that is not so much about sleep as it is recuperation. This is all my experience, and I want to leave that out there. We’ll be presenting more formal studies on energy and rest as a resource in August with Citizens Of Culture, so I hope that will be informative.
Simple rule I live by is this. When I need my analytical mind the next day, I pack it in even if I am tired. If I can make due, or need my creative, broad strokes mind the next day then I push through.
Sometime you have to take the time to land, before you crash.
Firmly rooted in the present, carrying wisdom from the past, but looking to the future.
@gingerleila is a beast behind the lens!
I always end up working on the weekends.
No such thing as too many good people in one place.
I am not what you would call a health nut. I am not an ardent gym goer. But I am in better shape now than I have ever been, the reason why is my body philosophy. My goal is just to stay fit.
The standards I have set for my diet are pretty basic. I eat balanced meals cooked with real food. Its about as simple as that. I just limit the amount of processed foods I eat but there are definitely some GMO veggies I’ve eating in the last week.
I know it is not the best food possible, so most of the time when people come to my house I just offer them a simple snack, water, or juice. When I know I am going to be pot lucking or cooking dinner or brunch for others, I make the extra effort to buy the organic stuff, but it’s not something my budget can really sustain at the moment to be quite honest.
I’m not going into all of my work out habits and everything, I just used my diet to illustrate the casuality of my perspective. I am not a fitness nut just someone who values staying fit.
It all comes down to this one moment, when I met a woman who looked to be in great shape, but because she was a smoker, couldn’t walk a single mile, or up a flight of stairs with out being struck with fatigue. She may have had other issues but the point that I got was that looks can be deceiving.This point was further illustrated when I watched this 325lb guy do a full split after dancing for a minute and a half at a dance audition. He was incredibly fit, but he just looked “overweight”.
I began to re associate my ideal body to something that had more to do with function than form. A vision of health, based on what you could DO with your body and not what it looked like necessarily.
Being muscular, lean, or in shape is great, but if you are not in good condition to tackle life’s obstacles then being skinny and having muscles is nothing more than a fashion statement. For example, if I can’t dance, with a woman for at least 30 minutes without a break, I know I am not fit.
Anything beyond meeting the needs of my body, lifestyle, and environment is gratuitous. I thought it would be fun to do handstands, so I learned them but it doesn’t really serve me any purpose beyond recreation. Its like being really good at drawing, its a hobby.
Anyway, I digress, the point is that I look at my life, and the demands that are placed on my body and they match up. I don’t like driving, but I love riding my bike, so I have to be in good enough shape to do that. If at any point my physical condition keeps me from doing the things that I love , I know I need to make a change.
When I look in the mirror, I will always see imperfections, I’m not very tall, I think my knees bow in a weird way, and my complexion isn’t even all over my body BUT I’m okay with that stuff. Because when I look in the mirror I see a body that get’s me to the dance floor and lets me express myself. I know am strong enough to lift my father or grandfather if they become injured or unconscious, and those are some things I consider when I deem myself “fit”.
I think everyone should have a body philosphy, and live by that and forget about the rest.
We are all beautiful.
Keep your head up. ⬆️