Creative Mondays #020 – Be proud of your crap.
If you are any kind of serious creative professional, you put your all into everything you create and then you put it out into the world. And as you have continued to put things out in the world, there’s a good chance you’ve looked back at the stuff you created in the past and said, “Well, that was crap. Why did I ever put that out?”
First of all, know that that is perfectly normal to look back at your previous work and think it is crap. There are lots of creative professionals who look back at their early work and shudder. Take the early, early episodes of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. These were the twenty one episodes that were produced on the UHF station, KTMA in Minneapolis-St. Paul starting in 1988. These are known in Mystery Science Theatre 3000 fandom as the KTMA Episodes. Lots of fans want these first twenty one episodes to be released on DVD. They bombard Shout Factory, the company who puts out amazing Mystery Science Theatre 3000 DVD sets, with requests to secure the rights for DVD release. To this date they haven’t been released and they are sought after tapes on the bootleg DVD market.
I’ve heard Joel asked about getting them released and his answer is always some form of, “If people want to search them out for ‘historical’ sake, that’s fine. We just don’t want to release them on DVD because at KTMA we were still figuring out how the show worked.” Again, I’m paraphrasing, but the idea is the same. They don’t want to release those early episodes because they don’t think they are their best effort, compared to what the show later became. They are looking back at their early work and are thinking that it’s crap. (That’s my word, not Joel’s or anyone else’s who was involved in the show.)
When I first started writing comedy songs, I would put out anything that I could. I had an old MIDI keyboard hooked up to a Mac SE and would program in the lamest sounding drum and synthesizer tracks into it, then play it back and sing live into a microphone as it fed into my tape deck in my own little recording studio. These sessions produced such hits as I WANNA BE LIKE KATO (KALEN) and the hit Dr. Demento aired…once…edited…I REALLY LIKE TO EAT POTATOES. I listen back to these tracks and shake my head. These songs are the very definition of crap. And I look back and laugh because at the time I thought they were comic masterpieces and wanted everyone to hear them. To everyone who heard them, I’m sorry. They are crap. On my last comedy song release FAVORITES, I included I REALLY LIKE TO EAT POTATOES as the very last track because I thought it would be fun to see exactly how far I’ve come.
Here’s the point…it’s okay to put out crap. And even if it is crap, you can be proud of it. In many cases, that ‘crap’ leads to something very good. The early KTMA episodes of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 gave Joel and the other people on the show enough material to put together a pitch tape which landed the show on The Comedy Channel which later became Comedy Central. Dr. Demento playing I REALLY LIKE TO EAT POTATOES on his show gave me the fire to continue working on my comedy songwriting and I’d later go on to have a number one song on his show in N.R.L. (THE NURSERY RHYME LAWYER SONG).
The more ‘crap’ you put out, the better your work gets. So keep putting out crap. Crap is okay. And it’s okay to look back at all that crap and be a little proud.
What early work of yours can you look back at and say, “That was crap.” How much better are you now? Let us know in the comments below.[ Grant Baciocco, 3/4/14, 9:19 PM]