I've given this post a lot of thought, I think my conscience got the better of me because this little voice in my head kept saying "I am what I am" Which is a particularly peculiar feeling when it's the voice of Popeye. I guess it's my way of telling me to be me no matter what. After all, this blog is supposed to pretty much be about that, my life, work and things I dig. So without further delay here is some advice for those of you who want to go into a creative or artistic career of any kind. Rest assured these things have been learned the hard way and in some cases by accident. Now that I think of it they might even apply to almost any vocation you choose.
10 Basic Rules for Creative Professionals (Revised)
1. Never sell yourself short: you are worth a competitive rate and have an acquired skill no matter what a client will try to convince you, you are always worth a fair competitive rate.
2. Get it in writing: If they don't want to sign and give you a deposit they have no intention of paying you.
3. Art and creativity is not more important than competence, reliability and consistency. Your client is buying a product that is not tangible, how you relate to them means more.
4. Shiny and trendy does not mean good: There are plenty of "cool" creative people that are starving and horrible ones that are fed.
5. Learn the term and technique, not the pretty button: software is ever changing and will not be anywhere near what you learn now in two years. The concept, fundamentals, process and terms will never change.
6. Software name dropping is useless: learn as much as you can as quick as you can, no serious creative is impressed when you know the latest "make it shiny" button or program. Show skill and let that speak for itself. Employers who are obsessed with those things will drop you for the next best thing in a heartbeat.
7. Get a good internship and learn, learn, learn: Internships tend to have the most valuable real world environment. You will learn more in a month as an intern than all four (or more) years of a college education. College can lay the important ground work you will absolutely need to get an internship but sadly college environments are full of rainbows and unicorns.
8. No one likes arrogance: Be good at what you do and let the work speak for itself. There is always someone who is better. There will always be toxic people who negatively criticize. Avoid them and don't be that person unless it's constructive. Also, don't compare yourself to others it will only make you bitter.
9. Content is more important than anything: Someday soon your special skill will be no more than a pretty button in a program. Say something with your work; don't just make it because it's trendy. Work that speaks to a viewer is remembered; work that is "amazing" or "pretty" will always be forgotten in time.
10. Be persistent and driven: Never, ever give up. Always challenge yourself and others. The road is a long one and sometimes it is not the best that prevail. Instead it is those who have survived creative life's inevitable hard knocks and failures that shine brightest.