"...And Make It Real Creative!" - October 1999

and-make-it-real-creative-logo-1By Andy Capp

It took a communication breakdown for us to finally have a few minutes to talk. I had been approached by the Program Director about filling in for Rob about a month ago. No big surprise, it was a three day weekend, and Rob always seems to have something going on out of town that keeps him from doing the Sunday Night Jazz show on holiday weekends. The surprise came when we both showed up that Sunday night. Apparently his traditional getaway plans had fallen through, and somehow the word hadn’t gotten to me. I suppose I could’ve been mad, but as busy as I’ve been lately, an unexpected break of a few hours felt like a Godsend. Besides, it finally put an end to the months-long game of phone tag Rob and I had been playing.

I met Rob when I took his computer music class back in the Macintosh days. Part college professor, part musician/composer, Rob is one of those creative-types that thrives on too many projects with too little time to complete them. The CD project that was in the talking stage when I started the class became reality a year later, and Rob tapped me to help get it into some local stores. That was 3 CDs and countless advertising jingles ago for Rob, seemingly thousands of radio ads and bad writing attempts for me. Over the years we collaborated on several projects, but most of our communication was separated by months of adrenaline-based creativity in other directions for us both. Inevitably, the word “Busy” always comes up near the beginning of our infrequent conversations… that, and “tired.”

Same old, same old that night. He had an idea for a new project that he wanted me to be a part of. A big idea, one that makes too much sense not to work, one of those ideas that’s not only creatively fulfilling, but might mean some real money for those involved. We had to do lunch soon to talk about it more… but of course not this week. He has that play that he’s doing the music for opening this week, and I’m up to my ears in it at TV. We left it with a promise to call or email when we have an open day, a promise we both knew would probably be broken.

How stupid can I be? My God, here’s a chance to do something I really love, and make a good living at it, maybe even trim my work week by 20 or 30 hours. Here is Rob, Grail in hand, offering to share a sip. And what do I do? Drive off to the station to take care of “just one more thing” for a few hours. Why don’t I just say to hell with all my responsibilities at the jobs that are keeping me alive and go for it?! Probably for the same reason Rob hasn’t moved ahead with the idea since he had it months ago.

We’re scared. Most Creatives are. There are the usual baseline fears of failure and not being able to pay the light/gas/rent/internet access bills, of course. But greater than that is the fear of rejection. What if we put it out there and someone calls our baby ugly? Brrrrr! It’s too frightening to think about! Much easier to keep plodding away at what we’re doing, taking the crumbs offered, both in positive feedback and cash. Yet, year by year, we all seem to work more and more while making less and less. And I’m not just talking money here. The feelings of fulfillment slowly fade away too, replaced by the realization that you’ve “sort of” been doing what you wanted with your life… but not really.

I’m not really a whiny old fool, honest. I genuinely enjoy where my life is now, both professionally and personally. It’s just that looking back, my real dreams have taken a backseat as I did things that flanked my hearts desire, simply because opportunity was there when I needed to buy groceries and gas and a Nintendo 64 for the kids. The dreams have stayed just that because I let life chart my course. There’s nothing wrong with that, but something tells me that it’s time to grab the wheel and steer toward the second star to the right and straight on to morning.

You can do it… whatever “it” is. All of the self-help Gurus will tell you that. The thing you should not do is buy into that belief unless you’re willing to commit to the hard work it takes to get you to the place where the dream becomes reality. Overnight success only comes to those who work overnight for months and years. If your life is a dream come true right now, good for you! But if deep down you know that your life should’ve been something else, something more, I encourage you to get off your butt and make it happen.

For my part, there are still uncharted creative waters that I want to sail. Maybe it will be Rob’s project, maybe not. Perhaps it will be another voyage in radio, perhaps not. The point is that it’s my choice, and since I’ve realized that, no matter how many hours I work paying the bills each week, I will find an hour here or there to work towards what I really want.

I’ve said it before, if you want to be a Production Director at a Top Ten market station, you can do it. If you want to write a hit song, you can do it. If you want to do a famous cartoon voice for the WB, you can. But only you can do it. Nobody’s going to do the work for you, and work it will take. Do that lunch, write that email, do whatever it takes to be what you want to be, not what you have to be.

It took a communication breakdown for us to finally have a few minutes to talk. I had been approached by the Program Director about filling in for Rob about a month ago. No big surprise, it was a three day weekend, and Rob always seems to have something going on out of town that keeps him from doing the Sunday Night Jazz show on holiday weekends. The surprise came when we both showed up that Sunday night. Apparently his traditional getaway plans had fallen through, and somehow the word hadn’t gotten to me. I suppose I could’ve been mad, but as busy as I’ve been lately, an unexpected break of a few hours felt like a Godsend. Besides, it finally put an end to the months-long game of phone tag Rob and I had been playing.

I met Rob when I took his computer music class back in the Macintosh days. Part college professor, part musician/composer, Rob is one of those creative-types that thrives on too many projects with too little time to complete them. The CD project that was in the talking stage when I started the class became reality a year later, and Rob tapped me to help get it into some local stores. That was 3 CDs and countless advertising jingles ago for Rob, seemingly thousands of radio ads and bad writing attempts for me. Over the years we collaborated on several projects, but most of our communication was separated by months of adrenaline-based creativity in other directions for us both. Inevitably, the word “Busy” always comes up near the beginning of our infrequent conversations… that, and “tired.”

Same old, same old that night. He had an idea for a new project that he wanted me to be a part of. A big idea, one that makes too much sense not to work, one of those ideas that’s not only creatively fulfilling, but might mean some real money for those involved. We had to do lunch soon to talk about it more… but of course not this week. He has that play that he’s doing the music for opening this week, and I’m up to my ears in it at TV. We left it with a promise to call or email when we have an open day, a promise we both knew would probably be broken.

How stupid can I be? My God, here’s a chance to do something I really love, and make a good living at it, maybe even trim my work week by 20 or 30 hours. Here is Rob, Grail in hand, offering to share a sip. And what do I do? Drive off to the station to take care of “just one more thing” for a few hours. Why don’t I just say to hell with all my responsibilities at the jobs that are keeping me alive and go for it?! Probably for the same reason Rob hasn’t moved ahead with the idea since he had it months ago.

We’re scared. Most Creatives are. There are the usual baseline fears of failure and not being able to pay the light/gas/rent/internet access bills, of course. But greater than that is the fear of rejection. What if we put it out there and someone calls our baby ugly? Brrrrr! It’s too frightening to think about! Much easier to keep plodding away at what we’re doing, taking the crumbs offered, both in positive feedback and cash. Yet, year by year, we all seem to work more and more while making less and less. And I’m not just talking money here. The feelings of fulfillment slowly fade away too, replaced by the realization that you’ve “sort of” been doing what you wanted with your life… but not really.

I’m not really a whiny old fool, honest. I genuinely enjoy where my life is now, both professionally and personally. It’s just that looking back, my real dreams have taken a backseat as I did things that flanked my hearts desire, simply because opportunity was there when I needed to buy groceries and gas and a Nintendo 64 for the kids. The dreams have stayed just that because I let life chart my course. There’s nothing wrong with that, but something tells me that it’s time to grab the wheel and steer toward the second star to the right and straight on to morning.

You can do it… whatever “it” is. All of the self-help Gurus will tell you that. The thing you should not do is buy into that belief unless you’re willing to commit to the hard work it takes to get you to the place where the dream becomes reality. Overnight success only comes to those who work overnight for months and years. If your life is a dream come true right now, good for you! But if deep down you know that your life should’ve been something else, something more, I encourage you to get off your butt and make it happen.

For my part, there are still uncharted creative waters that I want to sail. Maybe it will be Rob’s project, maybe not. Perhaps it will be another voyage in radio, perhaps not. The point is that it’s my choice, and since I’ve realized that, no matter how many hours I work paying the bills each week, I will find an hour here or there to work towards what I really want.

I’ve said it before, if you want to be a Production Director at a Top Ten market station, you can do it. If you want to write a hit song, you can do it. If you want to do a famous cartoon voice for the WB, you can. But only you can do it. Nobody’s going to do the work for you, and work it will take. Do that lunch, write that email, do whatever it takes to be what you want to be, not what you have to be.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet