There’s a strange disconnect between art and entertainment and the people that consume it. A disconnect that somehow doesn’t see the people involved in the creation of said entertainment and art.
Both things are necessary, are part of not just our cultural makeup but part of what gets us through the day to day struggles, but for some reason we look down our noses at those that do the work of creating those things.
We see it far nobler to work at a store, or at a blue collar or white collar job than it is to be a creative. There’s a weird idea that creative folks aren’t really ‘working’ because we don’t see what they do as work.
We don’t value it at work.
But telling a photographer that’s been perhaps shooting since they were young, maybe took classes and, really, puts the work in behind the camera day to day, isn’t working is crazy.
Telling an artist that paints that they aren’t working is nuts.
Telling a musician that they get to play music all day, and that’s not work, is silly./
It’s all ridiculous because we discount experience.
We ignore ‘the work’ it takes to get decent, better, and good at what you do.
Much like all of us had to learn the ropes at our jobs to be decent at it, it takes time to learn to write and develop a voice, and time to figure out how you want to tell stories.
Poets ache over their word choices to try to find not just a simple rhyme but to choose words, phrases, and physical layouts that mean something.
We see people playing live gigs and think, man, that has to be fun, but we don’t see the hours of practice, the balance of a day job and the music, or balancing of the art and the family.
The thing we miss is that creatives, most of us, have day jobs and it isn’t art.
Sure, some of us find ways to be creative in our work, but generally speaking we’re not getting paid to do what we love dearly.
That’s not how it works.
As a culture we need art and entertainment but we don’t tend to respect its creators or value its worth. With movies and television streaming now, consume things like a kid eating candy on Halloween. We watch a whole series in the course of a day, we watch a movie because we’re bored, and we stream music without much thought.
We are consumers but don’t pay much attention to what we are consuming so naturally we don’t consider the writers, actors, directors, producers, lighting teams, sound teams, and on and on of every movie.
We don’t think of the music performer, their producers, their musicians, the label’s people, or any of that.
We don’t think of the cost of the paint or the canvas or the hours it took to create that bit of beauty you saw in your social media stream and smiled about.
But it all has value, and people need to be paid.
Just like our work has value, whether the random person knows this or appreciates it or not.
I had my eyes opened in New York in ‘05 when I heard that there were authors that sold not just a few books but were selling a lot of books and had a fanbase but were still not writing as their sole income.Stephen King and his ilk are outliers of the art. Just like there are thousands of local bands and regional bands that are good, have fans, and produce records that folks buy but aren’t getting that break into a bigger scene. With the visual arts you really have to get lucky to get it in front of folks and, thanks to social media, you can do that, but to its detriment it also makes it easier for folks to steal that art and appropriate it without a mention of you.
It’s hard to keep going, to keep pushing, and to keep creating when there’s no money in it.
But people still do it.
We still do it.
Local and regional actors still do the work because they love it and hope they can break through. The same goes for the small town directors all the way up to the film festival darlings that get the awards and accolades but aren’t getting the call up to the big leagues.
But it’s hard.
People don’t WANT to work these ‘side hustles’, these delivery jobs, these gopher jobs, but we do what we have to do to make ends meet to do what we want to. To take care of ourselves, our families, and our hobbies.
And for those of us that create as our hobbies, to hopefully keep fuel in our fires.
It breaks my heart to think of all the writers that gave up.
The bands that broke up.
The directors that quit.
The creatives that stopped creating because there was no money in it and little to no appreciation.
There’s a disease we suffer from and its in telling people they need to grow up and get real jobs.
That they need to stop fooling around.
And that pressure, the pressure to give up and focus on other things, on getting a better job to get more money so you can get more stuff and get a better job and more money and more stuff is rampant.
It’s what we are.
We love to hear the music that moves us but don’t want to commit to a whole album, we want it ala carte.
Choice is not the enemy, it’s our feeling that everything needs to be priced for disposable consumption. We shouldn’t treat our lives and what we consume this way. As if it’s a chore. As if it’s a distraction. From our social media to our eating habits to our free time we distract ourselves and can’t help it.
We consume content without a second thought, watching or listening because its there and we’re wishing our days away.
We need to learn to enjoy things again.
To tame our palates and savor things.
To not let ourselves be pushed and prodded by social media and network pressure to consume, consume, consume but to ENJOY.
There is nothing wrong with occasional junk food and ‘junk’ entertainment, but we should be mindful in how we consume and that we consume it.
Do we want to give views to awful people’s social media who create drama or danger for your casual view?
Shouldn’t we ENJOY the books we read, movies we watch, music we listen to, and everything else we consume?
And if we enjoy it, shouldn’t we want to make sure those people keep creating things we like?
Doesn’t that make sense?
We all deserve to be appreciated for the things we do, it doesn’t happen, but we deserve it, and in turn, the people that create things that make us happy deserve our appreciation. From the biggest star to the local person doing it because they can’t stop. They deserve our appreciation, and our business, if their work speaks to us.
In our mass consumption we forget that somewhere there was someone or someones that created that thing we are consuming. They often create away from the light, away from the attention, but that doesn’t make them any less worthy of our support.