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.

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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.

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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

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The Snowman: A Guitar Reimagining

While I dislike the commercial compulsion to push the beginning of the Christmas season so far back it essentially starts on Halloween, I'm hoping this piece of music I'm sharing with you is obscure enough that it won't be conjuring any visions of sugarplum fairies in mid-November.

I think I first saw The Snowman when I was in pre-school. I remember being captivated by the mesmerizing colored-pencil animation, the dreamlike atmosphere, the gorgeous music and, of course, the unusually heartbreaking ending. It's a faithful adaptation of the wordless children's book by Raymond Briggs that has always stuck with me, so I bought it on DVD several years ago. It's only as an adult that I can fully appreciate it for being the masterful work of art it is.

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The Zen of Film Scoring: The Sonic Palette

During my first week of procrastinating/working very hard on the score for I Hate You, I was naturally a bit curious to learn more about the methods and techniques of established composers. Spending time pretending to pick up tips from the pros was an excellent way to avoid the fact that I was freaking out about how the hell I would successfully pull this shit off. One YouTube video wound up being a big inspiration, but not in the way I had initially imagined.

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How to Organize Your Entire Creative (And Personal) Life in Three Steps

Juggling work, personal and creative lives can get complicated. After years of trying to make it happen, I finally figured out a system that's both simple and effective.

Many people see me as an organized person, but I’m gonna let you in on a dirty little secret: I’m actually an incredibly unorganized person who constantly forgets things. I forget brilliant ideas I thought of five minutes ago and incredibly important tasks I need to do today. The only reason I seem organized is because my life would be a completely unredeemable mess if I weren't vigilant about having my shit together. I'm totally overcompensating.

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The Zen of Film Scoring: A Blank Canvas

I'm currently knee-deep in scoring a feature-length independent film. I think it's about time I started telling you alllll about it.

Several years ago I was working at the most miserable office job I've ever had in my life. Despite this, or maybe because of it, I made friends with many people I still talk to today, often about how shitty that job was. It was actually a hell of a good bonding experience—kind of like our own version of 'Nam, but we only suffered emotional deaths—and proof that good things can come from awful situations. One such co-sufferer was a gentleman (I use that term loosely) named Brad who led a team with me. We spent many hours playfully insulting our freelancers and talking to each other about the things we actually cared about rather than the work we were doing. For me it was music and this idea for a webcomic I had. For him it was a movie he was writing. I made him promise to let me score the film when it was done, whenever that may be. He agreed for reasons I cannot explain.

Fast forward to sometime in 2014 when I get a Twitter message out of the blue: Hello Sir Evan. You still interested in scoring my film?

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How To Use "Ironic" Properly: A Public Service Announcement

Irony is one of the most consistently misunderstood terms in the English language. I can't claim that I've always used the word properly myself in the past; in fact, I once had a friend call me out on misusing it in a Facebook comment. I then channeled the extreme pain I felt from that public grammar shaming into an intense study session to learn the true definition of irony. 

That study session lasted about three minutes. It also made me hypothesize that one of the reasons for the word's rampant bastardization of this fairly straightforward term is that the true definition is so simple, it seems like it should have a more nuanced meaning. But for the most part, true irony is about as nuanced as a Nickelback song. In case you were wondering, that's totally not nuanced in the slightest bit. Bonus points for working a Nickelback burn into a blog post about English!

I was generally satisfied with knowing the true definition of irony for myself until I read legendary sports announcer Al Michaels’ autobiography. Somehow, despite the stated presence of a Sports Illustrated co-writer (and presumably a grammar-savvy editor of some sort), Michaels repeatedly misuses the word “ironic” when he means “coincidentally" throughout the book.

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6 Major Pitfalls for Guys to Avoid When Online Dating

They say you learn more from failing at something than from succeeding. If that’s the case, I’ve learned quite a bit about the online dating world over the years. Still, you’ve only really learned from your failures if you can adjust your actions to achieve some success, so a 100% failure rate doesn’t make you an expert so much as an idiot who refuses to take a hint. To that end, I’ve also had some successmore as time went on, in fact. So while I’m obviously not claiming that I’m the greatest online dating expert of all time, I can confidently say I have learned some useful and important truths when it comes to making it work.

Even though I wouldn’t win any dick-measuring contests about how many girls I’ve gone out with from dating websites, I have some legitimate insights into what works and what doesn’t work because I had to put a lot of effort, trial and error into figuring it out. And while none of this is an exact science—you just can’t predict what any one person is going to respond to—the following bits of advice are things that I’ve come to realize are particularly important in having online dating success.

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You’re Doing It Wrong: Happiness

Ah, the pursuit if happiness, an American institution so beloved it’s scribbled on a little piece of our country’s history we call the Declaration of Independence. Surely a man from Philadelphia, the very town in which that historic document was signed, would never dare to criticize such a hallowed phrase.

Of course I would, because this is the Internet and I have the power to tell an adoring public my self-important opinions. I’m going to wield that power like crazy right now, because this one’s a doozy: happiness is a lie, and contentment is overrated.

 

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