5 Things Your Broke-Ass Artist Friend Doesn’t Want To Hear
Because of America’s obsession with lists, I present to you, the struggling artist, the top five things every artist does not want to hear. Let it be known that this list is not so much intended for readers like you, but your friends, family and colleagues, who have a large misunderstanding of the lifestyle we’ve chosen. As we all know, if there were a fool-proof formula for success in the entertainment industry we all would have solved it by now (much like most of us solved the ending to LOST). I urge you—filmmakers, actors, dancers, singers, and artists—forward this to your uninformed friends. Let us crush their ignorance like a tax return can crush one’s self esteem.
1. It looks/sounds like a real play/song/movie/show.
As artists, we work hard and spend a lot of time and energy crafting, what is often, self-produced products and belittling it by saying it “looks like a real” product. It makes us feel like that kid in middle school whose yearbook was filled with the phrase “Have A Good Summer” on the last day of school. Newsflash: it is a real product. We really spent time putting it together, didn’t we? You’re really seeing an end result right now, aren’t you? A little support goes a long way. We know we’re not award-winning artists just yet, but for Pete’s-fucking-sake—Disney World wasn’t built in a day!
2. You work all the time, how come you never have money?
Being broke is not exactly a game of thrones. What our non-artsy friends must realize is that just because you work all the time, doesn’t mean you make a lot of money. I find that New York City, in particular, allows one to be in a perpetual state of physical, emotional and financial drainage with a constant search for paid work that allows an open schedule to audition and perform. We can’t all fall back on our investment banking skills for money… because we don’t fucking have them!
3. Don’t you think you do too many things?
You know who doesn’t think I do enough? Every single person that I owe money to. Yes, we ultimately hop from rehearsals to waiting tables to promoting some ridiculous product, and that might just be the first-half of the day. But, doing “too many things” is the nature of the game, people. It’s called making ends meet and ends will never meet if you don’t travel back and forth, sometimes over and over again.
4. Yeah but… what do you really do for work?
Are you frigging kidding me? If someone mentions that they are an actor, singer, dancer, filmmaker or the like, don’t just assume they’ve made up some fantastic notion in their mind where they’re already on Hollywood’s A-list. We know that we’re not there yet and, yes, more than likely we have a day job, but there are times where we don’t. You’d be surprised how many people you may have never heard of, who are making a living solely based off of their artistic and creative passions. By the way, it’s already difficult enough, don’t be insulting.
5. Do you really think you’ll make it, I mean… what if you don’t?
What if a frigging meteor crashes on my house tomorrow? Aside from being the number one thing not to say to your artist friend, this is also the number one reason I may very well punch you in the face. No… I don’t think I’ll make it… I just enjoy wasting years and years of my life so that I can feel like I’m a character on Glee. No… I don’t think I’ll make it… I want my life to be a complete failure and that’s why I spend so much time doing this. No… I don’t think I’ll make it…. this was all a part of my elaborate scheme to get in good with AMC and discover the ending of Breaking Bad before everyone else did. No one ever thinks they won’t make it and negative energy is not exactly a recipe for a continuous friendship. Furthermore, no one ever asks wannabe doctors or lawyers if they “think they’ll make it.” The reality of the situation is: everyone who would like to be a doctor or a lawyer doesn’t always reach that goal either. “Making it” is defined by the individual, not a friend and certainly not the masses.
I’m not saying a good, strong dose of reality isn’t needed from time to time, but knowing the difference between a strong dose of reality and ultimately taking a colossal shit on someone’s dreams and aspirations is a line that…well, it should be like the new Mason-Dixon line. If you see your broke, artistic friend making some sort of waves, no matter how big or small, I believe that you should try a little tenderness. Hey, maybe you could even help them celebrate. Like the old saying goes, you can catch more flies with tequila than you can with a judgmental attitude.
Photo Credit: wholeart.org