Sunday, July 13, 2014

Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way: Real Careers In the Entertainment Business

So you’ve discovered your life’s calling, life’s task, career epiphany, or what ever you want to call it, and it’s in the entertainment business. Whether in film, music, classical arts, or artist management, you’ve found it, and you are excited and ready to get started! But there’s that little voice of a parent, boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse that keeps repeating in your head: “Grow up. Get a real job.”

There are valid reasons that the non-artistic persons in your life might say things like this to you. While it’s primarily because they lack your creativity and don’t understand your passion for entertainment, these more analytical types know that you probably have a greater chance of being simultaneously bitten by a shark and struck by lightning than becoming the next Jennifer Lopez.

I recently discovered for myself that I had narrowed the scope of my career and business far too much. Setting out to be a self-sufficient composer, musician, and sound engineer was a good start, but it placed far to many limitations on my income potential. In an informal interview with a personal friend, mentor, and entrepreneur, John Jacobs, I asked him what the secret to his success and longevity was (he has over eleven years as a self employed individual). He said: “Don’t think of yourself as a composer or musician, think of yourself as someone in the music business who is willing to do anything within your sector to make money.”

That sentiment was reinforced when I came across the article "The Top Ten Reasons Not To Become A Recording Engineer," in which author Justin Colletti points out many of the pitfalls in this specific entertainment business pursuit. I was not surprised by the first one, “It can be hard to find paying work,” but the second one, “It can be hard to find non-paying work,” was an eye-opener!

So I went about revamping my company’s business model and without knowing it, I had already followed Colletti’s next piece of advice. In his article "6 Areas In The Music Business With Potential For Growth," he points to broader scale enterprises like record labels. That is exactly what I have done with my own company, expanding it from a composition factory to a full-blown label. It has opened the door to income streams that I didn’t have when it was just “me, myself, and I.” Are there more headaches? Of course.  Is it worth it? Absolutely.

Now I spend a portion of my time working with personalities of a questionable nature, babysitting young artists, and recording music that grates my nerves. But I’m still in the industry I love, I still have time for my own music, and it sure beats trading hours for money as a corporate pawn!