The current Covid-19 virus pandemic has dramatically impacted our lives. Shelter in place, face masks, and social distancing seem to have become the new normal, at least for the near term. Schools are closed, sporting events cancelled, and non-essential businesses have been shut down. The stock market doesn’t know how to react. Creatives watch their future revenues evaporate as SXSW, Tribeca, Coachella and other festivals, large and small, are cancelled. Broadway is closed, uncertain whether productions and audiences will return. Film productions worldwide are shut down indefinitely while the movie venues that were scheduled to feature these projects close due to fear of spreading the virus. Fear has begun to creep in through the cracks.
As creatives, it is critical we do not fall victim to this fear. It shrinks our brains. Carolyn Centeno Milton writes about the intersection of wellness, neuroscience and business for Forbes. In her 2018 article, ‘Fear Shrinks Your Brain and Makes You Less Creative’ (Forbes, 4/18/18), Milton makes the argument that fear shrinks the portion of the brain responsible for creativity and imagination. In contrast, positivity and gratitude help you protect against this.
Creativity is one of our most valuable assets. During these trying times, we need to be creative now more than ever. While society is in fear thinking, we need to be leaders and professionals. Instead of falling victim to fear, how can you punch fear in the face? We are faced with a choice. It is time for us to adapt as creatives or die.
We will get through this! In the mean-time, focus on what you can control. Use this time to sharpen your skills. What skills can you work on that helps you grow as a creative professional? Utilize technology to learn more about your craft via on-line videos, podcasts, or tutorials. Network with colleagues via Zoom or Facetime. You can even go “Old School” and read those books piled up in the corner that you never quite got around to. Concentrate on things that can build your career or business during the crisis. Make it your goal to come out of this crisis stronger and more valuable than when you entered.
Create content. Isn’t that what we do as creatives? Most people are content consumers and not content creators. Content consumption is up over 60% during the crisis and platforms are looking for more content to fill in the gaps. Once the stay at home orders are lifted, the creative who has a project (or two) ready to go will have a distinct advantage over others who just have great ideas and no substance.
The iconic Maya Angelou, no stranger to overcoming hardships throughout her life, once said, “Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Invite one to stay.” It’s time to make a choice. Take care of yourself. Get up, get dressed, and act like a professional. Punch fear in the face, and press record.
I am a Chicago-based producer/promoter/manager/sales&marketing consultant with experience on a variety of theater, music video, film, dance, opera, marketing, and video projects. I use my skills and experience to help promote indie projects that may need assistance in the business areas of their projects. I view my role to clear the obstacles for my clients so they can focus on making great art.
Currently working with a group of high school students from the Harlem Veterans Project developing video profiles of veterans from WWII forward. I am helping the project expand their scope to add profiles of Native vets.
Currently in pre-production for Let Her Kick, a musical short about a female high school kicker who is fighting for the right to play for her high school football team.. The first phase of this project will be a story music video with the project's climatic song, "Every Time I Kick the Ball". The music video will serve as proof of concept for the project as well as support fundraising.
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