Dealing With Criticism as an Artist (While Keeping Your Sanity)

Dealing With Criticism as an Artist (While Keeping Your Sanity)

So you’ve created a thing and now some people know about it. Congratulations! Someone is about to be a total asshole to you.

What’s that? You thought you were just gonna make something cool, put it out into the world, get some people’s attention and then bask in the glory of your greatness? Good story, but have you been outdoors lately?  The world is literally teeming with pricks. Yes, there are many lovely people. You may know some. You may even be one. But that doesn't circumvent a simple truth:

The assholes are always louder.

As soon as you create something, as soon as you bare your heart and soul and make yourself as vulnerable as a human can be, that’s when the horrible folks flock to you like flies to a carcass, where they do everything they can to knock you down a peg and a half. If you pretend it will never happen to you, you’ll be particularly shocked when it inevitably does. Someone out there will always hate what you do, so let’s talk a little bit about dealing with artistic criticism in its many colorful forms.

Creative Procrastination: How to Stop Putting It Off & Create Awesome Shit

Creative Procrastination: How to Stop Putting It Off & Create Awesome Shit

I am a professional procrastinator. Well, I would be a professional procrastinator if I ever got around to turning it into an income source. I’ll do that tomorrow, but for now I’ll write about the pervasive problem of avoidance in our creative work.

You may be one of those gifted people with a preternatural ability to focus, never succumbing to distractions. Maybe you don’t have any sort of attention deficit and aren't prone to wasting large chunks of your day accomplishing jack shit because why not the Internet exists. Well congratu-friggin'-lations, you’re way better at adulting than I am. You can stop here and hang your valedictorian certificate on the wall after reading all of Infinite Jest in a single sitting. I’ll meet back up with you in my next post.

Deep Field Dreaming

Deep Field Dreaming

Whenever I get a little lonely, or I start to feel like I’m not part of something important or great, I look at the Hubble deep field photograph and imagine myself flying through it...

New Composition Reel

New Composition Reel

I compiled a playlist featuring samples of some of my compositions. It features a variety of styles and genres I've tackled over the years. Some of these are your first chance to hear samples from the indie film score I spent much of last year composing. Some are from short films, commercials, web series, podcasts and other projects.

How To Discover Your Personal Philosophy in Three Steps

How To Discover Your Personal Philosophy in Three Steps

It’s become a bit of a running joke in a group of my friends: hang out with me long enough, especially if you add a few beers into the mix, and I quickly become philosophical. I can’t help it, really. I’ve always been bored to tears by small talk and am often guilty of jumping straight into the deep end of a conversation without letting it properly warm up. While I realize not everyone is like that, I’m occasionally surprised at how many people seem to live their life without any philosophical context. By that I mean a lot of folks seem to be going about their daily motions without thinking too deeply or asking questions about why they’re doing what they’re doing. Will this decision advance me toward my personal goals? Does that action truly align with my values? Will that next tequila shot make me puke in my Uber? (That answer is usually "yes.")

It’s not that we should be overthinking every little detail of our lives or constantly second guessing ourselves. And it's not that we should be living within a strict set of rules. Rules are arbitrary and restrictive and make you feel bad when you break them. There are no rules in life, and it’s exactly this fact that makes having your own personal philosophy so important; since there are no rules, you can do anything you want at any time (yes, there are laws, but laws don't restrict free will, they simply inspire you to choose wisely). That freedom may sound liberating, but it won’t get you anywhere on its own, and what is life if not a fine chance to explore, discover and work out why we're here? If you’ve ever set a goal for yourself or pursued a dream, you know that to accomplish anything you need direction. We can all benefit from having a set of guiding principles which help us make the decisions that will lead us down the path we're aiming for. Nobody can truly control their life, but you can do a damn good job of setting yourself up for success, whatever your definition of "success" is. Every little decision you make can have an effect on that.

Clean Jimmy Sheen: A Danny Elfman-esque Score

Clean Jimmy Sheen: A Danny Elfman-esque Score

My good friend Adam Hann-Byrd wrote and illustrated a children's book called Clean Jimmy Sheen, and I composed music for the 30-second teaser trailer he created for it. Take a look/listen and learn more about this imaginative story!

Shouting Into the Crowd

Shouting Into the Crowd

Sharing your creations online is kind of like shouting into a large, loud, busy crowd...

How To Be an Artist With a Day Job

How To Be an Artist With a Day Job

There are fifty thousand articles online about turning your creative passion into a full-time career (that's an exact number I counted myself, so no need to check if it’s accurate). Many of said fifty thousand articles include very good advice. You should read them and maybe take what they say to heart. But there aren’t many articles tackling the far more common situation: being an artist and having a*gulp*day job.

The Zen of Film Scoring: Always Change Your Pants Before Recording

The Zen of Film Scoring: Always Change Your Pants Before Recording

With my work on the film score nearing completion, I am focusing most of my creative energies on getting it finished. I have many ideas for general creativity-themed blog posts in the near future, but until I can spend the required time writing them, I give you this film score-centric post to tide you over.

It turns out scoring a film requires developing some creative philosophies (the importance of which I detailed here), using some extremely advanced techniques (and by advanced I mean not particularly advanced, you see what I did there?) and making some interesting discoveries and observations along the way. Here are seven examples from my recent experience.

How (and Why) to Establish Your Creative Philosophy

How (and Why) to Establish Your Creative Philosophy

Creativity and philosophy go hand-in-hand in crucial ways. In fact, you will have trouble making any worthwhile art without first understanding the philosophy behind it. Luckily, it's easy to achieve in a few simple steps.

Anyone who talks to me for more than a few minutes learns that I enjoy getting philosophical. Sometimes I dive a little too deeply into a topic very quickly, but that's just the kind of guy I am; I like to skip past the superficial crap and get right to the interesting stuff.

I'm a firm believer in establishing a personal philosophy that provides a frame of reference for making important decisions. That's a much bigger topic for some future posts to cover, so for now I'm focusing on a smaller, but related, topic: the creative philosophy. 

In this post I'll tell you three important things:

  1. Why all creative endeavors need a philosophy

  2. Examples of creative philosophies in action

  3. How to find your very own personal creative philosophy