The Nothing Time
In every artist’s life, no matter what medium, there are these patches, phases, and chunks of time I like to call, "The Nothing Time". It's the time where you have nothing going on, where you have no visible prospects and there's nothing happening that will take your career further or pay you. The nothing time can be a lot of things but for me it's a time of stress and panic. Its a quiet void where there is no applause from an approving audience, and no calls from the agent... maybe there is no agent.
The quiet is a creeping sensation that lets way to the voice in the back of every artist’s head, "Why are you here?" "Who are you fooling trying to do this thing?" "Why don't you just go home, it's never gonna work out." "You're just waiting tables." (Or if you're me you’re bussing them.) There are moments when I'm at my place of work (one of the 4) where I always hope that I never run into any one that I know simply because I have nothing to report. I'm not "doing" anything.
I'm writing now to say that none of the above is true. First of all to think that anyone really cares if you fail or succeed is narcissistic. It's one of the few times it's a blessing to have people think selfishly. Second, I believe the things that make up an artist are invisible. Art more then that, it's all the senses. But the steps we take to make it visual, tasty, or pleasant are often never seen or even appreciated by the public, and really why should it?
The nothing time should not be a time to panic, it should be a time for ultimate freedom. To express and stretch your artistic power as far and as diversely as you can. Think about no contracts, no internships, no rehearsal dates; if you have no schedule to tie you down, then you are free to do anything! The worst thing you can do with the nothing time is NOTHING. People don't tell you to do art. No one tells people to become an artist, they are drawn (+1 one for puns) to it because of Love. That's right, the capitol L word that means more to us then a casual way to describe your favorite TV show. Art is to artist as gender identity is to humans... it's not a choice it simply is something that's is a part of you.
Exsample: Recently an extremely close friend of mine was going through the laps of a creative outlet, and being a dancer and having worked extensively with the Graham School (as in, Martha), he was more then capable to create something of this own. He certainly has the skill and talent. So he got his friends together and made a dance company. Maybe you've seen me post about it? (See: Fooju Dance Coloabrative) He rented rehearsal spaces and even ran a successful Kickstarter (in which he made over his asking amount). He even had the balls to invite some industry big shots (some of which came). Sure, he could have failed. The Kickstarted could have backfired, his friends could have never shown up to rehearsal, and SURE know one could have shown up to the actual show. But he wanted it. That’s the clutch. He wanted it. No one gave it to him, he gave it to himself. I recently watched a documentary called "I Know That Voice" and in it contains interviews of various figures in the voice over industry. The one thing that stuck out to me was a word from one of the casting directors. Saying: "When I look for new talent I go on the Internet." Translation: people who make their own sh%+.
(This documentary kicks ass)
Yes it’s scary. It's even terrifying. Like I said before, because the steps we has artists take are invisible they are often unknown to us in the beginning and the unknown is always the most frightening thing. I feel Iike this is why most of us feel lost. Not always does someone hand us the next step. Most of us don't have the option of asking parents for money. Even more of us didn't receive nearly enough financial assistance in college. So we are weighted down heavily by financial burden. One can make 100 excuses like these.
If you where foolish enough to take a career in the arts, then doesn’t it make sense to be foolish enough to make art or at least foolish enough to try? Here's a tip: No one knows what art is! Therefor it can be ANYTHING! So the next time I’m wallowing in my bedroom taking deep breathes to recover from my panic attack, or if there is ever a moment I feel like nothing is happening, if I find that I am succumbing to the voices in the back of my head, that's the moment I remind myself to take a blank piece of something and get to working on my art. If they voices ask, "Is this good?" I shrug…
That’s not up to me.