Producing is taste and tenacity. You find something you absolutely love and decide you have to put it out to the world.
How do you develop taste?
You get specific.
How do you get specific?
Consume as much art as you possibly can. Figure out what moves you. What you value. What you cherish. What you’re willing to stand behind and say to others, “Hey this is something I found, and I think it’s worth your time.”
Do that over and over and over.
It takes guts. It requires vulnerability. Because you open yourself to judgment.
But here’s the thing, by doing this, you will cultivate your own, specific taste. And find the others who share that taste. The tribe. The 1,000 True Fans who inspire you to make your art.
With that in mind, here are the links again to my two Fellow Traveler posts. They detail what I loved enough to share in January and February.
Welcome Fellow Travelers. Below are my February picks. Thanks in advance for reading. I look forward to your feedback and any of your own picks!
The Sound Of Fury. One of the bleakest film noirs ever made. Lloyd Bridges is sublime as a bad guy. Makes you wonder why he didn’t get more great roles in film. And the haunting ending will absolutely shock and awe.
The Apartment. Gets better and better with each viewing. Jack Lemmon is my favorite actor and he’s in top form here. Fred MacMurray, cast way against type, oozes creep. But it’s Shirley Maclaine’s magnetic, vulnerable and heartbreaking performance that steals the show. You can see why she became a star. Even the way she pushes elevator buttons is riveting.
Bill Cunningham: New York. This 2010 documentary about the street, fashion photographer is sure to inspire. Anyone can lead an artistic life if they want it bad enough. My favorite line…”If you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do, kid.”
Loving What Is by Byron Katie. I stumbled upon this book while researching more on Stephen Mitchell. They’re a married couple. “The Work”, which consists of asking yourself four questions in any situation, is powerful, actionable advice.
American Son by Christopher Demos-Brown. Though it has some flaws, this play is propulsive with great characters and a phenomenal premise. You can see why it attracted star talent to both the cast and producing team. (Thank you Ingrid for recommending.)
Naval Ravikant on “The Joe Rogan Experience.” Angel investor and modern day philosopher, Naval dispenses tons of practical wisdom and advice over a wide array of topics. Long, but worth every second as well as a repeat listen or two. Get your notebook out.
All things VAN MORRISON. Astral Weeks would be in the discussion for my “If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring one album…” I’ve easily listened to it over 100 times. Be sure to also listen to the albums St. Dominic’s Preview, Moondance, and His Band And His Street Choir. Turn the lights off, grab your headphones,, sip some whiskey and settle in.
P.S. – Why the name “Fellow Traveler”?…We’re all traveling on our own artistic journey. The journey to find and manifest the art we’re passionate about. Let’s travel together.
Fast forward one, three, six, twelve months from now. Assume things are relatively back to normal.
Ask yourself how you spent your time prior to then. What did you do? Who did you help? Are you proud of the thoughts you had? The actions you took? Were you strong and resilient in the face of uncertainty?
Was reminded today of the stunning poem, Berryman, by the Pulitzer Prize & National Book Award winning poet, W.S. Merwin. Merwin was a seventeen-year-old freshman enrolled in John Berryman’s creative writing class at Princeton. A lifetime bond was forged.
It’s incredible advice to any artist. I encourage you to read it again and again. The last two verses especially resonate.
I had hardly begun to read I asked how can you ever be sure that what you write is really any good at all and he said you can’t
you can’t you can never be sure you die without knowing whether anything you wrote was any good if you have to be sure don’t write