The Chase Jarvis Live Show: The Things All Creators Must Know and Believe
Happy Thursday family! Back with another installment of '2 Cents' this week and I am so hyped about sharing this one with you. Thank you so much to the readers who have reached out via Instagram and e-mail pushing me to stick with this as well the ones who have shared. My first blog "Start your Masterpiece in 2018" has thirty shares and my site has 330 views and counting. While I can say that I enjoy the shared excitement from some of my colleagues and especially my mentors, it means nothing if this valuable information is only spread amongst my close circles. Please share this blog, pay it forward and let 'em know! I'm in the business of spreading knowledge and a weekly dose of 'go get it' every Thursday morning.
Chase Jarvis is one of those guys you listen to and instantly say "he sounds like one of my closest friends" but constantly delivers a harsh reality check that hits--hard. It's that tough love and passion that has made him a popular speaker and sough after for his work as a national publicized photographer, a director, artist, Forbes recognized entrepreneur and CEO and Co-Founder of the online education platform, CreativeLive.
This week's podcast is a HUGE one. Thousands of streams and shares, one of his most famous blogs with thirteen minutes of audible gold. It covers a lot of the topics I'm always stressing to my creative clients about when it comes to their craft and their work. There's only a few people who I listen to and literally freak out yelling "that's what I said!" Chase is one of those guys; super relatable and down to earth but always speaks straight from the mind about what's constantly on the heart.
Living here in Los Angeles for four years now, I won't say that I have it all figured out--good luck mastering anything in this industry. I will say that in all of my time working and studying the entertainment industry, a few things hold true:
-Talent is very important, but if you think it's the only thing needed to make it-you're wrong.
-Learning and growing from those who have done or are currently doing what you want to do is the quickest way to alignment and elevation in your craft.
-Success in Art only comes to those who aren't afraid to spread their influence and share their work.
I support speakers like Chase Jarvis because his thoughts and principles embody the 8IGHTY/2WNTY Creative Coaching platform. Trying daily to educate and motivate, putting the power back into the hands of the artist and not our clients.
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Okay, get your pencils and notepads ready, time to clock in.
His 2 Cents...
(Click anywhere on the bar to rewind/fast-forward. You're welcome.)
My Take Away..
- Experts aren’t the answer.
- Clients cannot tell you what they need.
- Don’t aim for ‘better’, aim for ‘different’.
- Big challenges create the best work.
- Aesthetic sensibilities actually matter.
- Simple is good.
- Make mistakes, learn quickly.
- “Value” is different from “price.”
- A-Gamers work with A-Gamers.
- Real artists create.
Experts aren’t the answer:
Blogs, seminars teachers, blogs or mentors aren’t the authority on your craft nor are they there to tell you exactly what you need to know. If they’re doing their jobs—they are there to give you ideas, possibly guidelines or rules to learn and subsequently break when needed. It’s all too common to have a dance student come up to me and tell me that another teacher told them that they should cut their hair, dance or act a certain way. Remember, it’s NOT about the expert. You’re the artist, everything that you need has already been provided in your gifts. Yes it’s okay to be guided by experts but trust your gut to find your true path.
Clients cannot tell you what they need:
Clients hire you because they have a problem—that’s facts. They need your help solving it. Developing a written work, a visual representation, needing you to craft something and yet they think they know the best way to sew, paint, sculpt or film the very project they brought you on to deliver. C’mon, I know for a fact that my choreographers, my creative directors and videographers know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. Truth is, they have no clue—that’s what they hired you! What they do know is their brand, their product and their vision. Of course take into consideration what they need and go above and beyond to deliver and exceed expectations but don’t get caught up in only showing them what you think they want. Give them what they want and then go nuts with your vision and show them that.
Your job when you are solving their problem is to also add VALUE.
Give them something they didn’t expect, don’t be a monkey for hire. Never do exactly what they ask despite being the client. Do what they need plus something more and better. Remember why you got hired; you are the solution provider, the go-getter, the man or woman with the masterplan. If you are good enough at your craft to be selected for the job, you should be good enough to drive the vision for the solution.
Don’t aim for “better, aim for “different”:
Here’s a reality check for you. If you’re aiming for better, it usually means your walking in the footsteps of someone else. Living in that mind frame isn’t progression, it's assimilation--following the herd. In the famous words of DJ Khaled- "don't play yourself"- there will always be someone better than you that's in front, on the top spot, taking the lead and making those shoe prints that you can’t seem to fit into when you try walking in them. If you target being different; thinking in new ways, creating new things-- you're essentially blazing your own trail and when making your own footprints, you are way more likely to find yourself being or becoming better without even trying.
"Better becomes easier because it’s really just DIFFERENT”
And you cannot stand out from the crowd by just being better; you must be different.
big challenges create the best work:
If you get assignments, training, jobs, mentoring or clients that push your vision and constantly flex your skill set, GREAT JOB—keep doing you. If you’re not getting this on the regular—let’s be honest, most of us aren’t—then you need to be doing one very important thing (this is something to write down).
"You need to be self-assigning challenging work.”
Most of my best stuff comes when I’m put to the test and people depend on me to solve problems. From major production management decisions regarding BuildaBeast Convention and the IMMABEAST brand to cranking out my training material to teach 8IGHTY/2WNTY community classes and seminars big and small in LA and out of the state—even to my clients on the Artist Development side.
(veering off track for a moment)
So thanks to a very good friend of mine, Matthew Harris and the boys Mark J. Feist and Big Billy Clark of HitMakers Entertainment, I have the pleasure developing an AMAZING talent by the name of Terrence Wildë. This guy has it; the look, the sound but most of all, he has the mindset and the maturity to do great things in the music industry. The most 30, nineteen year old I’ve ever met in my life.
The team and I had a task to create a concept and choreography to pitch to Terry’s management for his next music video. They gave us two weeks; that’s it! Two weeks to create choreography, teach the dancers, teach Terry how to dance and perform, get the choreography in his system and also prepare a solo performance piece. It was a full plate for sure. So we completed the task and presented it—and management did not like it. I took some notes, asked a ton of questions and with another two weeks to recycle the old gameplay and deliver a new one, did a lot more focusing on what I wanted viewers to FEEL when they watched this video. That made the difference, everything changed.
The pressure to create magic was on but instead of freaking out about what the dynamic and vision was and how it was going to turn out—it was the pressure that helped me choreograph some of my best work, the diamond that we were going to show off at the next presentation. Thanks to my team for delivering and Terry for what he does best, we were green-lit by management--blessings to the Lord.
Moral of this short story—embrace challenges and the rewards that they bring when we persist. Creating challenging work to complete allows you to strenghten your ability to create on demand and put out quality work in a short timeframe. This is what gets you hired and noticed; the ability to be artistic at will. Harnessing that lighting into a bottle. They say that the strongest steel is forged in the fire, so get ready to sweat a little.
Like Chase says, “Big Challenges Create the best Work”.
Aesthetic sensibilities actually matter.
Go figure on this one. It seems like a big duh but you’d be surprised at how many people overlook this when it comes to explaining their visions or work to clients or potential backers who don’t run in the same circles or are as knowledgable. This is CRUCIAL— You have to develop a keen sense of design, color, light, composition, camera angles, use of vocabulary, terminology, etc.—you have to have a well-read point of view. To just say “I know a great picture” or “I know a great design when I see it” isn’t going to get you anywhere anymore. You have to differentiate yourself, you have to have substance. You will need to know for your own sake and the sake of your clients, peers, co-workers who will ask you—WHY something is better.
WHY is your choreography a better fit for the artist/feel of the track?
WHY is your photo the one to use for our ad/campaign/front cover?
WHY does your design meet our goals in a better way?
WHY should the song be sung or produced your way rather than how we have it currently?
"If you have no idea—no visual vocabulary, no opinion, no point of view, no aestetic sensibility— you won’t be able to explain these things and you won’t get jobs.”
If you can finesse and do get a job, you won’t be able to explain WHY your photos are worth getting hired again, WHY your designs, choreography, production, songwriting, etc. are better and when the same client comes around the next time for another campaign, story, song or video—you’re not going to get hired because you cannot articulate your point of view. Develop a sense of taste.
Simple is Good
Keep it simple, just like this rule. Outside of the technical basics, over complexity is the number one reason why most creative works fail. There is no clear central vision. Remove clutter, remove distraction—do one thing and do it well.
Make Mistakes, learn quickly
Simply put, you need to be able to learn from your mistakes. Avoiding failure is not the goal, in fact, it’s near impossible. I use boxing or football as an example to all of my clients. Boxers don’t train to not get hit—that’s part of the job. They understand the inevitability that things don’t always go to plan and learn to adjust quickly and move forward. Brett Farve, Pro Hall of Famer and retired NFL Quarterback, has had some of the most jarring hits in the history of the game. When discussing his many concussions and asked how many times he’s played with them, his response was “too many to count”.
If you’re not willing to make mistakes, you will be paralyzed by inaction. Do stuff that works—make more of it. If it doesn’t work—do less of it. Change it and do all of this quickly.
"Value" is different from "Price"
Do not compete on price alone, take my advice from experience and learn from my mistakes. Focus on delivering value and price yourself accordingly. If you deliver great value with your images, if your design solves problems, your sound is more in demand, your choreography is of a higher quality—better than expected—better than your competition—and you can illustrate that, I repeat ILLUSTRATE that, through other means like statistics, reviews, pointing at popular media and pop culture or showing how you solved other similar problems— you SHOULD be more expensive.
But remember, Value comes in various forms.
A-Players work with A-Players
If you are good at what you do, then you work or seek to work with other people that kick ass too.
If you suck, then you put yourself around sucky people to feel better about yourself; it’s pretty black and white. If you want to be the best, seek to be around amazing people. Other artists, producers, choreographers, managers, creative directors, assistants, teachers, whatever—shoot high—shoot for better than yourself constantly.
Just like I’d never take financial advice from a bum, never take advice from someone who hasn’t done what you’re planning to do and be careful of the advice of those who haven’t done it in a while or aren’t consistent.
-Stop asking dance teachers who haven’t been on tours or choreographed on tours, how to be a tour dancer
-Stop asking engineers or producers to work on your next big hit if they haven’t produced any of their own
-Stop asking people who are shipwrecked and in the same boat as you, how to swim to shore and survive
Find mentors and knowledgeable people with tenure and notable industry experience and bug the hell out of them. When you look for advice in the circles you run with, you accept the risk of taking information from your potential competition. It could be right, or it could be just wrong enough to throw you off the scent of your next big break. Why gamble?
Real Artists create
This one hits home for me. Do you just sit around and think of things you COULD create? Design, shoot, choreograph, photograph or ship but never actually put out anything? Then get this—you’re a poser.
Take a new approach and make stuff. Maybe what comes out isn’t always perfect but stuff should always be leaving the door and hitting the gallery, the web, the billboards and the street. This was the art of “shipping” that I talked about in my last blog post covering David Kadavy’s “Start Your Masterpiece in 2018”. If you are for real, you will be pumping out work on the regular and if you aren’t...🤷🏽♂️