Happy Monday, compadres. Since it’s a chilly, grey, post-Oscars Monday here in LA, I’ve been in a contemplative mood about great films, and art in general. As the dust settles after Hollywood’s biggest prom event (i.e. the Oscars) and the winners are sleeping off their champagne fueled hangovers all nuzzled next to their Oscar statuettes, and the countless entertainment peons go back to work, one cannot be reticent that it’s so hard to make a good, or even great, film. And for those countless dreamers who come here, straight off the bus from Kansas, ala Axl Rose in the Welcome to the Jungle music video, to realize their dreams as storytellers and content makers, how do you cut through all the bullshit and just make good art? It’s tough. It’s all a numbers game and frankly, 1 in a million will make it. That’s why there are so many jaded waiters in LA, because they’ve slogged through it all. It can get pretty depressing.
But, that’s why you have figures like NPR sage Ira Glass, that lovable host from This American Life. On a series about storytelling, Glass dishes out sound advice on how to continue onward to make great art, but in such a realistic, refreshing and non-inspirational poster way. Better yet, animator David Shiyang Liu took the audio from this interview and animated it with cool iconography and titling. Check it out:I like how Glass says the only way to make it is if you have “good taste,” which is the key, in my opinion. There are countless storytellers that just don’t have good taste out there. I may sound elitist, but to become a tastemaker, you have to have a good barometer when it comes to quality, or even a good sense of the marketplace. Does your work appeal to, or even service a need to a particular market? Even if it’s just to a tiny segment, then hey, that’s great!
Bottom-line, it’s practice, practice, practice. I’ve seen countless young filmmakers, many of them promising, who simply do not hone their craft. They are just focused on their one dream project and that’s it. Sure, it takes a lot to make a film, and it can take months, usually years to drum up financing, support services, etc. But, when we live in a Youtube era, where consumer video cameras are film ready, why not just shoot? If you are not established yet, you should be doing this, until you get it right. Same goes if you’re a writer, painter, musician, architect, graphic designer, or any position where you create art. You gotta keep at it and get it right. Ira surely did. And so did the winners from last night’s Hollywood dog and pony show.