You’ve heard the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none”? I’m going to start with something controversial, I hate that quote. This quote has been preached to me on many occasions throughout my career and I can imagine it will continue for the rest of my years.
Why this quote? Because my creativity is hard to grasp, I do many things, and can do many things well, does this sound like you?. Your creativity doesn’t fit in the societal norms of occupation, the idea that we decide to be or do one thing in life and that is how we will be labeled and introduced for the rest of time. No, I, like you, are a rare breed, one that has no definition so I decided to make one for us multi-talented human. Hi, my name is Annisa and I’m Creatively Fluid.
When I was very young I showed a lot of elements of a creative child. My parents put me through ballet and dancing from 5 years old, later I added music to my list, learning piano, clarinet and music theory, then we had to add drama, painting, and fine art in high-school, to film and television studies and music extension.
At university, I studied a bachelor of photography and included subjects like jewelry making and sculpture. My final graduation project was a series of animations, which I learned how to do myself. Then I went to study acting at drama schools for a few years, made short films which did well at festivals, work as a costume assistant, actor and camera operator of feature films. Became a fitness instructor, model, and presenter. Got into stand up, yep comedian, and had sold-out shows in Australia and now I can also add screenwriter to the list, as I’m currently writing tv shows and feature films.
And the crazy thing is, I can and still do all of it.
But I can’t put all of this on a business card, one; it would look ridiculous and two; people in this industry want to know exactly why they are networking with you and how they could use your skills later.
So do I tell people all the things I can do? No! It sounds egocentric and self-absorbed. No one wants to hear all that, and until I get my version of The Truman Show, this industry isn’t about me… yet.
My point being, at first I thought it was just me, all this creativity, all these avenues I enjoyed and found fascinating. I felt so alienated when people, usually those who lacked creative diversity, would say things to me like “you should pick one thing, that’s the thing you should focus on”. It was a dagger to my heart like there was something wrong with me, I can’t pick one thing, they are all my one thing, they are my way of being able to express and communicate.
As I got older I noticed the commentary more and more, “wow you do so much”, “is there anything you can’t do”, it was enough for me to delve deeper into my research and understanding of the creative and how I could come to terms and accept my creative diversity.
I read in a book once that said you can effectively define yourself for yourself when you are able to present yourself to others with no confusion. Because I was confused about what it is I did, or do, or wanted to pursue, so were others. So I pulled it, and myself apart, and took it back to brass tacks.
I realized in my creative journey, ideas would come to me and sometimes the skill I had wouldn’t best execute the expression of the story so I would use a different one. As someone with a diverse creative skillset, I realized my mission was to find the right outlet that would give that idea, and story, the greatest form of expression.
To be Creatively Fluid is to use the right skills and tools in your toolbox to express and execute the art at its highest and most beautiful form.
We all know this industry likes a box, you’re a producer, or writer, or actor, or director. Right? Well, what about those who Act, Produce, Write, and Direct? Amazing!
As someones that can do all those things on a project it becomes very helpful, especially on small budget projects or ideas that you are trying to get up and running. You will learn when to share what skills you have available and at your fingertips, and when to keep your mouth shut because it doesn’t serve purpose to the project.
But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. I have learned to retrain my brain to put my ego aside and ask, ‘What does this project need from me?’ ‘What can I truly give wholeheartedly to this project?’, ’What do I know I can do, but I know someone else will deliver better for this project?’ and most importantly ‘What do I need to improve on, or learn from others?’
As a creatively fluid person, you have a lot to give. You have a lot you can offer to a project but also remember there are only so many hours in the day and only so much energy you can expel. You are probably going to be more help in being able to assist a producer and you focus on the writing and directing than you are spreading yourself thin and doing it all.
We know this industry is a team effort, it’s why we call it “The Crew”. If you do need something just for you, then I encourage you to find that outlet. For me it’s stand-up, I write, direct, produce, and manage those shows and touring currently, but even now that I’ve done that for me, I’m happy to bring someone in to help collaborate and bring new life to my work. The ego has had its spotlight, so to speak.
Which brings me to my last thought, sometimes we do need to do something just for us. As creatives, we want to try things, push boundaries, and learn new skills. Sometimes you just want to do it all to see if you can. And I encourage you to do so because you will learn what you think you can handle and what you actually can handle. (That's also a life lesson)
You know all the tools in your toolbox, but that doesn’t mean you have to use all of them to get the job done. Be smart in your execution and you will not only create beautiful work, you will create relationships and a life long career you are proud of.
Thank you for being wonderfully Creatively Fluid.
Emerging writer, actor and comedian, Annisa Belonogoff, has made a splash in film, onstage and in Sydney stand-up scene. With sold-out solo shows at the 2019 Sydney Comedy Festival, Annisa recently toured her show, which she both wrote and directed, "Dear Future Ex-Husbands", to Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. She studied screen acting at NIDA, and has had the privilege on working onset with feature films such as Wish You Were Here and Thor: Ragnarok. Annisa wrote, performed, and produced an two award-winning short films (Reality Check and Face Forward) delving into modern dating life. Her current writing projects include, Teacher’s Playground, is a nostalgic comedic song to her rural upbringing in Emerald, Queensland. Not Russian Anywhere, a funny because it’s true story of a young Russian-Australian women learning to deal with her very Russian family, (another ode to her upbringing and family). The Estate, a psychological thriller which questions who we trust and joint writing collaboration sci-fi action adventure, Dearth.
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