Like me, if you’re in the arts, it can be hard to describe the professional life we’ve chosen to those who aren’t. For people with a steady income in a line of work that they (hopefully) chose, who get to climb whatever ranks there may be, explaining why we creative types continue to chomp at the bit of our profession can be a challenge.
Those not in the arts may assume that we all want to be famous. They also might think that if we haven’t achieved fame, we’re failures. For those of us dedicated to our craft, who have always been wired to express ourselves, fame, with its viral grasp on your every move, may actually be an undesired product of our careers, making one feel overexposed and trapped.
I was only a kid when I began my association in the performing arts. In those days, I guess I thought that fame was the measure of success. As I gained more experience in the real world and learned that there wasn’t a lot of work for performers, I just wanted opportunities, hopefully in projects that spoke to me…and that paid.
The tricky thing is that exposure to your work is important. Therefore, you have to become your own marketing manager. Thankfully, with social media, it’s easier than ever to get the word out about your latest creative venture. However, this double-edged sword can create the perception that we’re all fame-whores, wanting attention for attention’s sake, instead of just letting you know where our show is playing.
So, for anyone struggling with how to describe what you do and why you do it, do what you do in your art: express yourself. Tell your husband, wife, kid and acquaintances new and old that living a life doing your art does one very important thing: it makes you happy. Even if you’re not famous.