“Am I going to make it?”
This question haunts many. Countless nights are devoted to tossing in bed fretting about the future.
And that is understandable.
Turning a personal passion into a career is an extremely tricky proposition that troubles most creative folks including singers, novelists, painters, actors, playwrights, dancers, comedians, songwriters, poets, cartoonists, directors, designers, and photographers.
Media music composing is no exception.
These are not pursuits achieved through clear paths. There are very few HELP WANTED ads to follow. These are vast, unmarked wildernesses with a wealth of dead ends, setbacks and adversity.
And these fields are overrun with swarms of competitors struggling to find their way and make their own marks.
SO, HOW REALISTIC ARE YOUR CHANCES OF MAKING IT?
1. DEFINE “IT” ON YOUR OWN TERMS
First, what one is aiming for is a highly personal choice. “IT” can be so many different things:
Applying their art
Getting paid to work
Supporting yourself via your work
Make a good living
Making a great living
Being in demand
Getting to choose among good offers
Working on quality projects
Collaborating with people you admire
Creating something with cultural impact
Satisfying yourself through your work
Helping others through your work
Creating a legacy
Etc., Etc., Etc.
The list is endless. And the choices are yours.
And, be open for them to change and evolve over time.
2. HOW MUCH EFFORT ARE YOU PUTTING IN?
There is a TREMENDOUS correlation between putting in the work and yielding results.
Many of these pursuits tend to be insanely difficult to achieve. Extremely sport metaphors are highly appropriate.
Those who exert themselves more have a great advantage over those who do less.
3. HOW SMART ARE YOUR EFFORTS?
What is your game plan? Do you have a intelligent strategy to move towards where you want to be heading?
The ability to create and execute a well-conceived agenda is often a make-or-break factor in making it.
4. WHAT IS YOUR TOLERANCE FOR RISK?
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained” is a cliché because it is profoundly true.
How much are you willing to invest to pursue your dreams? What are you willing to sacrifice? How big of gambles will you make with no guarantees of outcomes?
Your prudent loved ones who worry about you making it are worried for good reason. THIS PURSUIT IS A HUGE GAMBLE WITH SHITTY ODDS.
5. HOW GOOD ARE YOU?
There are a LOT of composers out there. Why pick you? What makes you better than the pack?
Be brutally honest with yourself. Is the quality of your current level of work strong enough to take you to where you want to be?
If not, how can you improve that?
6. HOW LONG ARE YOU WILLING TO DEVOTE TO PURSUE IT?
Timing can be everything.
Someone willing to plug away for years and years is more likely to make it than those who throw in the towel earlier.
Time allows things to build and grow. It allows to gradually parlay smaller achievements into larger ones.
Time allows you more opportunities to catch the wave of being at the right place at the right time.
7. WHAT ARE YOUR PERSONAL ADVANTAGES?
Life is not a level playing field. Everyone has certain advantages over other.
What are yours? Are you:
Financially well to do?
Part of the right click?
Attractive to others?
Etc. Etc. Etc.
Identify your strengths and use them to your advantage.
8. DO YOU KNOW MAKING IT IS A LONG-SHOT?
Turning personal passion for artistic endeavors into a sustainable, viable career is unlikely to happen for most.
READ THAT SENTENCE AGAIN.
IT is unlikely to happen for most. Most people aren’t going to achieve their goals.
The landscape is littered with the remains of those who strived to make it but came up short. Those who failed to reach their goal far outnumber those who made it.
Now that this sucky reality has sunk in, what are you going to do about it?
Are you willing to be like Han Solo and push forward saying, NEVER TELL ME THE ODDS?
9. IT’S HARD TO BE LIKE HAN SOLO
Life smacks us with a barrage of challenges that fictitious characters rarely face.
It is hard to be cavalier about the responsibilities of bills, mortgages, health, family and other real world obligations.
Balancing those obligations and trying to make it in a passion pursuit is not remotely easy.
10. IT’S OKAY NOT TO MAKE IT
Life is a complex, multidimensional journey and there are great things to experience in both achieving goals and in failing to do so.
Sometimes the Universe makes us fail as a means to kick us in the ass to try harder,
And sometimes the Universe makes us fail to steer us in a different direction.
Be open to it all.