Tag: create

Creative Mondays #038 – When thrown, just do your best.


Today’s Creative Monday’s post will not be for every artist but it was something I was thinking about today, so I figured I’d write about it.  This is more advice for those creative types that go on a lot of auditions or perform live, but it could have an application for painters, sculptors and other artists as well.

Last week, I got an email asking me to come in and audition for a project.  I, of course, said yes and the person emailed me info about the audition.  It was for a puppet job and over the weekend I familiarized myself with the person that this puppet was based on and felt pretty confident in what I’d do for the audition.  Audition day rolls around, and I get there early and I’m totally relaxed and ready to go.  The woman who’s running the audition meets me in the lobby and we greet each other and as we are walking to the the elevator she says, “Do you know exactly what we are doing here today?”

I said, “Yes.”

“Great!” she replies, “We’ll get you all set up in the recording booth to see the clips and then you can just do some ADR.

WHAT?!  I didn’t say that out loud  That’s what my brain said.  What I really said was, “Okay.”

I must have said it a little weird because she said, “Did you not know you were doing that?”

I said, “No.  I thought this was a puppet audition.”

“It is.” She said, but right now we are just auditioning to do some ADR over some pre-existing clips.”

I smiled, “Okay!  Let’s do it!”

Now, here’s the issue.  I’ve never done ADR before.  It stands for Automated Dialogue Replacement.  Another name for it is looping.  It’s where you watch a clip from a movie or TV show and then you replace some of the dialogue.  This can be an actor replacing dialogue they recorded in the scene that was too noisy to hear, or it can be replacing an actors voice with a new voice, which is what was going on here.  Again, I’d never done it before but I thought to myself, “I’m here, let’s do it!”  Once we were set up however, I instantly realized that none of the character prep I’d done beforehand was going to work.

This entire audition was turning out to be a complete 180 degree turn from what I thought it was going to be.  At the moment I realized this I had two real choices.  I could throw a big fit about it and whine and complain saying how I was mislead about what this audition was or I could just give it a shot a do my best.  I chose the second option.

You know what?  It turned out pretty good.  Was I perfect?  No, mainly because I’d never done ADR before, but I did good enough to not feel embarrassed.  In situations like this I think that really is the only real, professional, choice you have.

When you get thrown, just do your best.

In my years doing comedy music there were countless times on stage where I got thrown.  The first time a string broke on stage I was a mess.  There have been sound issues, unruly audience members and, heck, crowds that just weren’t into me.  In each and every one of those situations, there’s only one real choice.  Do your best.

What do you do when something throws you while pursuing your art?  Do you have other strategies?  I’d love to hear them in the comments below.  Have a great, and creative, week!

Tags : , , , ,

Creative Mondays #035 – Multiple projects at once.


Today I want to talk about a creative thought that hits close to home.  Having too many projects going at once.  This is something I have a particularly rough time with.  I usually have way too many creative projects going at one.  At any given time I have ideas for audio podcast scripts, video podcast scripts, Throwing Toasters songs, completely new show ideas I want to develop and more.

I got the book Jim Henson’s Doodle Dreams and was looking through it and came across this quote by Jim Henson:

“Try to keep enough balls in the air so that when some fall to the ground, you’ve got others up there.”

I immediately loved that quote because I felt it really capsulated my feelings about how I work on creative projects.  I read that as:

Be working on a bunch of projects so that if some of them don’t work out, you’ll still have others to work on.

The inherent danger in this, though, is that you have so many creative projects you are working on that none of them get done.  This is certainly something I run into, however I like to think I prioritize creative projects pretty well.  I will focus on one particular project and work on that one for awhile, but in the meantime I’ll be making small amounts of progress on other ideas.  I find that working on multiple projects also keeps me from suffering burnout working too much on one project.  Moving from project to project keeps the creativity flowing in my mind.  Of course any creative project that someone is paying me to create takes precedence over personal ones that do not pay because, you know, money.

When working on multiple projects, also be careful about ‘bleed through’ unless it is intended.  Bleed through is when elements from one project creep into another.  I find this is more of an issue for me when I’m writing.  I’ll look back through the stuff I’ve written and see that I’ve used the same names or same strings of dialogue.  This is fine if I was writing multiple stories involving the same characters but often I am not.  Bleed through won’t kill a project, it’s just something to keep an eye out for.  In my case, I don’t want people saying, “He’s just writing the same story over and over again.”  (As a side note to this, I do often write the same of similar jokes across multiple projects if they fit.  I figure if one property hasn’t ‘made it’ and there’s a really good joke in it, there’s no reason not to use to make another property even better.  That’s not bleed through as I’m doing it on purpose.)

When working on my own creative projects I often wear many hats:  writer, producer, performer, editor, publisher.  I can do all those jobs and often do.  Though I’m not a rabid fan of Seth McFarlane, I do admire his work etheric on Family Guy.  He created the show, writes it, performed in it and more.  Back when there was a possibility of a Dr. Floyd television show, I was eager to do all those things should the show go forward.  In my own projects now, I’m excited to do all those things.

Sometimes, I find, we MUST be all those things in our own creative work.  At least until we are as famous as Seth McFarlane and we can have other people cover some of other aspect.

Are you an artist handling multiple creative projects at once?  If so, how do you keep them all straight and get them all done?  Let us know in the comments below.  Have a great week!


Tags : , , , , , , , , , ,

Creative Mondays #033 – Hang on, helps is on the way.


Here’s a cold, hard fact about creating: No one is going to care about your art project as much as you do.  Let me add to that, no one is going to care about your project as much as you do unless you are paying them.  When money is involved, you will find people who will help you out.  Now this is a fact, yes, but it should never be a roadblock to your creative pursuits.  It’s just going to make things a little bit harder to keep going.

No one is going to care as much as you do and that is fine.  That’s the way it works.  If you are creative and have creative friends, I’m sure you think their ideas are amazing, but they aren’t as important to you as your own ideas.

While Dr. Floyd was a creative idea that was created between two people, myself and Doug, in the end there was really only one of us who wanted it to keep going.  The other person felt we had put several great years into the project but, besides coming close to a TV deal, it hadn’t really bore any prospect of becoming something that would make money and that created a bit of a rift between us and we went our separate ways.  It just wasn’t as important to the other person.

For some creative artists (painters, writers, etc.), practicing their art is a solo activity, so not having other people around to lend a hand is fine.  But for some other creators (podcast producers, filmmakers, etc.) you need other people around to help make your dream come to life.  But even though the fact that no one else cares as much as you do exists, you can still make progress on your creative projects, even if you need friends to help you carry them out.

One way to get people to help you is to barter.  You’ll help them create on their art and they will help you create yours.

I’ve found this the most effective way to get help on a project.  I’ll offer to make a website for someone or help them film a video.  In exchange, they’ll help me on my project.  Just make sure that when you are helping with their project to put as much time and care into it as you’ll want them to put into yours.  I find it’s always fun to help people make their creative ideas come true and, hopefully, people find it fun working on mine.

Warning though, some people are takers.  That’s just the way it is.  You’ll help them but you’ll get excuse after excuse when the time comes for them to help you.  At least you’ll be comforted to know that you aren’t like them and you are willing to help out a friend.  Sad, but that’s the way it is.

I don’t mean to make it sound all doom and gloom though.  One very good way to get people to help you on your creative project is just to ask.  A lot of times they’ll say yes.  Or offer lunch.  That’s a good one too.  My office in Burbank is right across the street from a very popular cuban place called Porto’s.  I’ve had many a recording session that either begins or ends over at Portos and I always attempt to pay, especially if they’ve just recorded some dialogue or done some puppets for me.

When you need help on a creative project, how do you go about getting it?  Let me know in the comments below.

Tags : , , , , , , , ,

Creative Mondays #031 – Do it now.


One Sunday night, I was preparing the Creative Mondays post to go out the following morning and as I did I was thinking about the week ahead.  I would be traveling back east to work a short puppet job and, as such, I would be getting home late at night next Sunday.  I said to myself, “Self, you should probably set up the post to go out next week as well, then you won’t have to do it during the week when your Travel Panic* sets in.”

My body immediately rejected this offer.  I was exhausted.  Prepping the Creative Monday’s post was the last thing to do on a long to-do list for the day.  I had driven an hour out to Oxnard, recorded several wrestling promos, driven an hour back to my office where I prepped some things for the job I was going on.  Then I went on a long run, grabbed some dinner, came home and wrote my daily 600 words and wrote out checks for the bills and then, because I hadn’t slept well the night before, I was done.

My brain said, “What’s it going to take?  5 minutes?  You can do it.”

My body refused.

But, it really got me thinking about putting things off, especially creative pursuits.  We cannot put things off.  We have to strike while the iron’s hot.  Make hay while the sun shines!  And all other manner of sayings like that.  When it comes to creative work…DO IT NOW.

Real life is a major pain in the butt and loves to throw things in our way.  If we keep putting off being creative, we may wind up never being creative.

It’s hard and sometimes you have to push your self to do it.  Give yourself a kick in the ass because that story isn’t going to write itself if you keep putting it off.  That painting will never be painted, that dance never learned.  You’ve got to win the fight.  These days we are hardwired to sit and watch TV of plunk around on our phones or computers.  There are so many distractions and so many reasons why we shouldn’t create right now.  We have to kill those reasons and create.  If we don’t, our art won’t live.

As much as I shouldn’t say it, because I’m trying to build a great creative blog here, if you had time to read this entry, you had time to at least START some piece of creative work or continue work on something already created.

So, I want you to stop reading.  Well, after this next paragraph.  Stop reading.  Think about what, creatively, you could be doing right now.  Something easy.  Something simple, yet something that will get you just that much further down the patch towards your creative goals.  Once you have it in your head, I want you to get up and do it.

Don’t wait.  Do it now.

How do you motivate yourself to ‘do it now’?  What tricks of the trade make you get your butt up and creating?  Share it with us in the comments below!  Have a great week!


*Travel Panic is something that sets in before I’m about to go on trip that I, myself, have booked the travel for.  Several days before I’m supposed to leave, my body puts itself in a constant state of “everything is going to go wrong.”  I believe it’s because, even though I double and triple check everything, I know that something is going to go wrong with the travel.  Nothing major ever has, but still the Travel Panic rears its ugly head.  Funnily enough, If someone else has booked the travel, say on a Puppet Up! Uncensored tour, I never have Travel Panic.  Just a peak into the messed up bundle of nerves that is my brain.

Tags : , , , , ,