04 July 2013

The Sweet Fail of Success

Success is measured in many ways and in the creative fields there are perhaps more ways to think of it than in other endeavours. 

In my case, for example, I can point to many signs of success. I wanted to work in special effects/animation as a child and make movies. For the personal documentaries I  made I wanted to:
  1. Win some awards
  2. Get a project shown in a real cinema
  3. Get something shown on TV

I've done all of these things and even sell my films on Amazon.com, something I wouldn't have imagined starting out. So I can't complain that I haven't achieved my basic goals. 

Now the fail part. I also expected with these achievements I hoped I would be able to squeak out a small living, nothing ridiculous, but this has not happened. I've worked on some nice professional projects for PBS and well know documentary film makers, and even though some won Emmys and Peabody Awards, I am cleaning streets part time to make ends meet with almost zero graphic design and truly zero video work is coming in for a couple of years now. 

There are lots of "reasons" for this. No one has the budgets anymore with the economic crisis ( or so they say) to hire people and I did not grow up in Montréal or New York City or get the chance to go to college all of which would have helped make stronger networks to draw work from. So while my work is considered excellent and not even expensive, I have to remind as many people in hiring positions possible that I still exist as often as I can. Knowing the right people is everything in business and no amount of talent, hard work or dedication can overcome the basic fact of "it's who you know" and "getting there at the right moment". 

Then there is the artistic part. I am very happy with my drawings for one thing and while I could certainly use more money (read: any money) for my film projects, in the end I'm happy to keep making them and progressing slowly into more complicated things. So success again. 

So in the end, I'm a success in how I think of my work and how it's received when I get jobs... but a failure in the "making a living" area which is, truth be told, the only measure of success everyone, including artists can agree on. 


T' said...

This is a tough one, Vince. Me? I haven't had the awards, the exposure really any of the success parts and I, too don't have any money to speak of made from my art. Still, it's worth it to me to keep going, keep making, keep hoping. I am sorry that you have to do something other than work at what you love for a living, but as long as you still make that which you love, that is a measure of success as well.

Behemoth media said...

My friend Deborah ( who I think you met with my little Vanessa years ago a the picnic) keeps saying "Didn't we blow enough people to be in a better financial state by now? " lol

I am curious to see if, now your book is out, if it will be like my films and many people will assume you are raking in the dough because you have something for sale on a well known platform. I am lucky to make a whopping 100$ a year from my films on Amazon!

T' said...

Heh, I've sold 11 copies so far and it would have been 14 but none of my family owns iPads. I haven't started advertising yet, but that's next on the agenda. And any comic awards thingies that take such submissions will get a copy as well. Sadly, even though the book is 'finished,' I'm really only halfway there. Also, so far, no one who's bought one has given me any feedback, which isn't a good sign.