Friday, September 16, 2011

Weapons of Mass Distraction

I have been reading the book The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield. In it he says:

"Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance." 

Basically, he is saying that Resistance is any force that holds us back from being the person or artist we are meant to be. It is a force that prevents us from doing anything creative. With today's social networking and internet, this is truer than ever before. I can tell you countless times I have tried to get some work done but have been distracted by Resistance. The graphic above says it all. I get online and check my e-mail. Then I check facebook. Then I go to Coming, Cartoon Brew and On Animation. and see what's going on in films, TV and animation. Some of their posts have videos which will lead to links of other videos, and so on, and so on, and so on. Next thing I know several hours have passed and I haven't done a damn thing!

How does one stop these Weapons of Mass Distraction?!

I have no idea. I'm still reading the book. But I think I came up with a solution that seemed to work really well. It's described in one of my last posts. If left to my own devices, I'd never get anything accomplished. If there was a way to make money off of watching TV and browsing the internet, I'd make a fortune. So what I had to do was make a schedule for myself on my days off. I scheduled myself something do to every half-hour. And you know what? It worked! I got so much done that by the end of the day I had such a feeling of accomplishment. I knew when I rested my head on my pillow that night that I had done something productive and, more importantly, something creative by day's end. The creative bit was not something huge, but I DID do something that I enjoyed and gave me fulfillment.

So what is my solution to defeating the Weapons of Mass Distraction? 1) I could unplug the internet from my computer. (HEAVENS NO!!!!) or 2) I can make myself a Personal Daily Assignment Sheet and follow it to the letter. The first one sounds plausible but a bit extreme. The second is very doable, because it has worked before.

I found out recently that a studio I've been trying to get into will be posting a job opening coming in November. They will also be opening up their apprenticeship program again in January. This means I have about six weeks to come up with new shots for my demo reel. Now comes the tough part, trying to decide on what to do. According to a recent blog posting from Animation Tips & Tricks, here's what I know I need and what recruiters might be looking for:

  • A body mechanics shot
  • A pantomime acting shot
  • A dialog acting shot

So that is what I need to do. I have plenty on my reel but nothing new. I need to change it up to show my growth, knowledge and experience. I have a couple of shots in mind already. It's just a matter of narrowing down my choices to the top three in each category and picking one.

If I can paraphrase Steven Pressfield to better fit my situation, here is what he would have to say:

"There's a secret that real (animators) know that wannabe (animators) don't, and the secret is this: It's not the (animating) part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to (animate).
What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance."

The fact that I'm sitting here and writing about Resistance IS RESISTANCE!


Every time I stop and think about my life and my unlived life, two songs come to mind. The first is called "Living Without Living" by Hipbone. I think the title alone says it all. Most of us are just "living without living." Hipbone is a jazz group that I came across by accident and this and this are the only traces I can find of them online. If you love great modern jazz, I highly recommend their album The Brothers' Love and Movie.

The second song comes from my favorite band in the world, the Dave Matthews Band. This song is from their Listener Supported CD and DVD concert. It is called True Reflections and performed by the great Boyd Tinsley.

The lyrics say it all:

Find some inspiration
Reach down deep inside of you
Amend your situation
Your whole life is ahead of you

If you want to make a change, you are going to had dig deep inside of yourself, tap into that inner strength that we all have, DESTROY those Weapons of Mass Distraction and MAKE that change. What have you got to lose?

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