1,000 True Fans

Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired magazine and polymath, wrote this fantastic essay. It’s one of my all time favorites. An absolute must-read.

Talk about empowering!

If we can go make art, and get 1,000 people to love our art, so much so they’re willing to consistently engage with and pay for it…we can have a career. Doing the work we love.

Way easier said then done, I know. Especially when you drill down what a “true fan” really is. But it’s possible. It’s measurable. It’s actionable.

Find one true fan.

Then ten.

Then a hundred.

Then five hundred.

Then 1,000.

Then find…

…your lifelong career.

You Don’t Get To Stop Choosing

My old Chicago acting teacher and mentor, Kurt Naebig, warned us early on to never complain about the industry. Never, ever moan and groan about jobs or the lack thereof. His words, “The industry didn’t choose you. You chose it.”

He was right.

So why do we stop choosing?

If we chose to be artists, which is the biggest decision we could make, shouldn’t we expect to continue to make choices throughout our entire artistic lives? Choices about the material we’re passionate about. The material we stand behind. The material we absolutely have to manifest and share with others.

Or did we think that all our choices would be made for us?

Metaphor Alert!


I’m attempting an original metaphor. Wish me luck…

Picture yourself at a beach. You stand near the ocean, looking out. Tide rolls in. Tide rolls out. That ocean is the universe.

When the tide rolls out, bend down and quickly dig a hole in the wet sand. That hole is your life.

There are tons of different seashells nearby. They come in all shapes, colors and sizes. Those seashells are your art.

You have two options before the tide rolls back in.

ONE. Gather a bunch of seashells and fill up the hole with your choices. Your art.

TWO. Do nothing. Let the ocean fill it up for you.

Start With Why

In his best-seller Start With Why, author Simon Sinek argues that the best companies and organizations, the ones we remember, are those that have a clear sense of purpose. Their “Why” supersedes their “What.” Their products and services exist because of their “Why.” Mission before Action.

What if we did that for ourselves? As artists, what if we really honed in on our “Why” for creating. What if we had our own personal mission statement? Not just cool words on a page. But something we believed to our core.

I’m guessing that we would then get clarity on what projects we wanted to make. And with whom.

And our output, our choices, would reflect that clarity.

And then maybe, just maybe, we’d have a shot at being remembered. By the right people. For the right reasons.

Hobby, Job, Career, Vocation

A useful exercise…Write down these four words: hobby, job, career and vocation. After each, reflect and write down what each word means to you.

Next, watch this video from bestselling author, Liz Gilbert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0g7ARarFNnw

Once you clarify what you’re currently doing and what you want to be doing, then you’re free. Free to create art on your terms. Your clearly defined terms.

And no one can take that away from you. (That’s a hint by the way. As to what I’ve defined Vs. and acting for myself. See if you can guess.)

Memento Mori

“You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do, say and think.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Memento Mori is an ancient practice of reflecting on our own mortality. Reflections manifested in all art forms–paintings (like the image above), songs, writings (the Stoics and others), etc….even Walt Disney made his own personal Memento Mori cartoon.

Rather than scare us, Memento Mori should free us. It should free us into taking that leap. Making that decision. Producing that play.

If you know your days are numbered, why not do it? What do you have to lose? What’s stopping you?

Always remember. You could leave life right NOW.

The Virtuous Cycle

What happens when you find a play you’re passionate about and commit to producing it with excellence?

You create an incredibly meaningful experience for a whole lotta people. You start the virtuous cycle.

You create a meaningful experience for yourself.

For the playwright.

For the cast.

For the designers and crew.

For the audience.

Or for you visual learners, you create this…