Creative Mondays #021 – You don’t need permission.



“May I please be excused form the table?”

“May I have some more dessert?”

“May I go outside to play?”

From the time we are little we are taught to ask for permission.  As we get older it seems like we’re still asking for permission.

And if you create art it seems as if you are always asking for someone’s okay before doing anything.  Heck, it often seems as if all we need is someone to say, “Yes, you may make your art.” and we will be a success.

“Will you make my script into a movie?”

“Will you release my album on your record label?”

“Will you display my paintings in your gallery?”

We are still asking for permission.

I will let you in on a little secret.  You don’t need anyone’s permission to create your art.  You don’t.  You can go ahead and create it yourself and get it out there in the world and today’s technological advances make it even easier.

When I teach my How To Podcast classes, one of the things I like to try and instill in my students is that you don’t need anyone’s permission to start doing it.  You can get your message out to the world for relatively low cost.  The only real investment is time.

Sure you need a few tools to record a podcast but you can now produce and publish a podcast entirely on an iPhone.  You don’t need to ask anyone’s permission to do it.

I think this can be applied to a lot of other areas as well.  Got a TV series idea?  You can shoot a low budget version of it and put it out on YouTube.  Music artist? will put your music on iTunes next to Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake.  Visual artist?  You can set up an online gallery or even sell your artwork directly to patrons via

Yes, there are costs involved in setting these all up, but what we’re talking about  is permission.  You do not need anyone’s permission to do any of the above ideas.  You can tell Hollywood/The Music Industry/The Art World to take a hike.  You’re going to put your stuff out there on your own and with things like YouTube’s ad sharing, CDBaby’s payments and Etsy’s as well, you can earn money directly from the people watching, listening or looking at your stuff.  No permission needed.

Realizing that you don’t have to fit your art into the demands or constraints of others is incredibly freeing.  When I was producing The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd, there was no censorship committee we had to run anything past.  We didn’t need to ask permission from anyone else.  We just created the show.  We became our own censorship committee.  We decided what went on the show and what didn’t.  I guess, in a way, we had to run ideas past each other, but we had similar goals so  there were never any problems on content.

Chris Guilbeau calls the people who decided weather or not you can do something as The Gatekeepers.  We live in a fantastic time where technology lets us circumvent the gatekeepers.  Yes, it would be great to have a television network, movie studio, music label or famous art gallery publicizing our art, but you’d need their permission.  I say, don’t ever wait for permission.  Just do it.  If it is good enough, the studios, networks, labels and galleries will come to you.  And if you’ll be in a much better position to negotiate with them because you’ve done it all yourself.

I feel I just briefly need to mention that if you are under 18 and still living with your parents….you do need to ask permission from them.  Sorry.  Also, if you are using other people’s work you, most certainly, have to ask for permission.  You can’t just steal their art and make it your own without asking.  My lawyer made me ad this paragraph.

So, if you are waiting to create because you need permission from someone else….forget it.  Just start creating!  Or if you REALLY need permission, I’ve just given it to you.  No go.



2 thoughts on “Creative Mondays #021 – You don’t need permission.”

  1. A question I used to get at conventions all the time when I was doing more comic work was “How do I get into drawing comics?” I’d always answer that with “Have you drawn a comic?” They’d always answer no. Distribution is a problem to worry about AFTER the work is created. If you want to work for one of the big companies, you have to have a portfolio, not just a desire to work there. If you want to go the self publishing route, you have to have the work before you print it. Just create it! Worry about how to get it out there after.

    Also, if you haven’t heard the story of Felicia Day’s THE GUILD, and Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s SingALong Blog, I highly recommend looking into them. Such great stories of bypassing the networks and getting their work out there on a grand scale.

    1. Great advice Kristin. Thanks for adding them. Yeah, you can’t really put out into the world what you don’t have.

      I am very familiar with Felicia Day and The Guild. In fact, I just took an improv class with her. It was a lot of fun. But to your point, yes, that’s why I love the internet. It levels the playing field in some respects.

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