Annals of Creativity
by Adam Leipzig
We will work at the margins and the edges. Change never starts in the center, nor does it come from established players. Change starts at the outside and works inward. Then it becomes established and needs to change again.
We will stop thinking in terms of devices. A screen is a screen is a screen. We will start thinking in terms of transactions: Is our content free? Is it for sale? Is it for rent? That’s all that matters.
We will stop complaining that “nobody understands how to monetize digital media.” Of course we do; we’re already doing it. It’s just that the dollars will be lower, which will be balanced by more people having access to our work.
We won’t whine about how things used to be better. They weren’t, and it makes us look old. We won’t crow about how much better things are today. They aren’t better either, just different.
We will hold fast to our relationships. We can’t take our money or possessions with us, but our relationships will outlive us.
We will be truthful, because our audience wants truth, as do the artists with whom we work.
We will stop using complicated words to describe the world. We will say “How things look” instead of “optics.” We will say “direct” instead of “disintermediated.”
We will stop using the word “silos” and name them for what they are: corporate territorial ego-games. We will remember that our audience does not think in silos: they think in terms of the work. Their unit of transaction is not “a PPV” or “a download”—in the audience’s mind, the unit of transaction is the creative work itself.
We will upgrade our software.
We will become long-distance friends with the people to whom we have outsourced our work.
We will be fearless about expressing our opinions, because unless some people disagree with us, other cannot agree with us. But we will be kind, and remember we may be wrong.
We’ll acknowledge that dollars are important, but that dollars and aesthetics are not the same thing.
We’ll stop being arrogant about who the audience is and what they want. We’ll talk to them and let them tell us, and maybe we’ll buy ‘em a couple of beers. We may find ourselves surprised.
Adam Leipzig, Cultural Weekly’s publisher and the former president of National Geographic Films, is working to build and support the community of creative people and entrepreneurs. His new book, ‘Inside Track for Independent Filmmakers: Get Your Movie Made, Get Your Movie Seen, and Turn the Tables on Hollywood’ will be published in January.
Images: Top photograph by Stephan Gevers used under Creative Commons 3.0 license; bottom from source here.