Tag Archives: video

Leverage

I recently did this video about something that’s completely been missing from all of my musical pursuits. It’s the answer to the most common question asked of an artist – ‘why should I care?’ – and it’s the key to credibility and all that comes with it. I lack leverage.

I have a talent, according to my friends and family, and more believably, according to the kind strangers who have told me so at the small, infrequent, poorly attended shows and performances that have characterized my career as a performing violinist / dj / musician thus far. Thanks to them, I have been able to transcend the idea that people close to me are concealing the truth because they love me, and I go on.

So I’m kinda stuck in the middle right now. I am way past the immature temptation of blaming Cape Town (let’s face it – most people don’t have the money or transport for music shows), and I’m also done with blaming myself for a lack of talent, time, equipment, etc. I just don’t see these negative thoughts as useful to anyone with a serious intention.

But on the other hand, I also don’t feel like I am anywhere musically. I have one friend – Emile – who regularly expresses interest in using music to change the circumstances of his life. All the other musicians I know seem either not interested in making anything of their skill, or worse, starry-eyed with the idea that they’re gonna be the next big thing. Meanwhile, the quicker you rise, the quicker you fall. I’m going for a once-off permanent switch thanks.

So my average week consists of only around 4 or 5 hours practice. I intend to say ‘per day’ at some point, but for now, it’s not enough. The rest of the time I’m doing everything from tutoring Koreans to uploading web content to documenting this journey, even to selling donated chess sets in order to pay my somewhat living cost – R6000 per month. Half of that expense is the rent, a beautiful farm cottage with rehearsal potential, but not being used! How can I capitalize?

So I need to make some changes. Suggestions? How am I gonna break out of the catch-22? What do I have to do in order to make something extraordinary?

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Band

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My thoughts on Kony 2012

Magic is asking the question “what if this was real?” The audience subconsciously knows that they’re seeing an illusion, but the spectacle of the performance outweighs their doubt. The true art of the magician is capturing the imagination of the audience, and pushing plausibility past the threshold where the simple, obvious solution is diluted by the sensationalism of the unreal possibility. Random audience members have almost always met the magician beforehand. We know this, but we ignore the falseness of the endeavor for the sake of the spectacle.

Similar behavior is witnessed in the forwarding of viral video campaigns. The forwarder, in awe of the sensation being presented by having everyone in their social circle preoccupied with a certain video, entertains the possibility of the campaign reaching a critical mass and effecting real-world change. Sometimes awareness translates into action. However, the motivation for forwarding a viral video campaign is often not related to the actual aims of the campaign itself. Too often, sharing an appealing video is motivated by keeping the dream of positive change alive, rather than creating positive change itself.

It’s a subtle distinction. What’s the difference? It’s managing a problem instead of ending it. It’s feel-good versus do-good. It’s “someone else’s problem, but I’ll do my small part.” Sometimes, posting a video on your wall is a way of ticking a box in your mind, claiming that you’re contributing in your own way, and can very easily be an excuse for actual inaction.

I don’t mean to condemn Kony 2012 (which I haven’t even watched, so profound is my confidence that no real action will come of it). And obviously, sometimes the positive change does occur as a result of the critical mass being achieved. My point is that we have to be careful of our own motivation behind the forwarding of flash-in-the-pan fads. If it seems like the thing to do simply because that’s how people are behaving, and “what if it works?”, then ask yourself if you’ll really care who Kony is a month from now. If it resonates with you in a way that lasts longer than the time it takes to forward it, go ahead.

Bottom line?
1. Educate yourself about the trend before you pay it forward.
2. Ask yourself if you’ll honestly be thinking about it a month from now.
3. Look past the spectacle and consider what it’s really worth to you.

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