Wednesday, February 10, 2010

128. But really, don't get excited

So, let's say you're watching a new cop show on this thing called "television," which is an archaic form of tivo or iTunes. And the show, episode after episode, delivers great writing, crisp characters, tense situations and gritty, urban drama you want to keep coming back for. Oh, and the gruff Captain is played by an animatronic kangaroo.

I figure that might have happened for one of two reasons. Either the creators had it in there from the beginning, "Our show, Guts and Pouches, will be different from all the others because the gruff Captain is played by an animatronic kangaroo." And they were really excited about that. Or when they were turning in drafts to the network, some producer there said, "You know what this really needs? An animatronic kangaroo." And they grumbled but they put it in.

Two ways it might have happened; three potential outcomes.

1. No one notices. No review ever mentions it.
2. It makes the show. The Washington Post says "It's a keeper if only because the gruff Captain is played by an animatronic kangaroo." The kangaroo gets his own discussions at Television without Pity.
3. It's a disaster. From the beginning, fans and critics wonder what the hell was going through the creators' minds. It drags the show down. Finally, the kangaroo is gone.

I use a tv show as an example because unlike other forms of art, currently, it's cumulative. You have to keep going back to it. With other artforms, you get one shot to get it right.

I am currently deep, almost done with, a project in which I fret that in many scenes, the gruff Captain is played by an animatronic kangaroo. No one forced me to put him there. I did it myself. But, given that this is not a tv series I'm writing (SPOILER: I'm not writing a TV series), I have one shot.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

100. No, really.

This won't be a complete treatise, only a comment on something my friends and I have talked about: creating something comes with a huge, crippling fear of success. Or a fear of failure. Or both. Fear of failure is the one people talk about, and it seems to be more easily sanctioned. Of course you don't want to fail.

But fear of success is much more mysterious. There's some primal part of the brain that gets upset with change -- that I understand. But there's also something in the brain that sighs with relaxation when a project goes south. Why is it that some part of me is relieved to not finish something?

I'm not in that mode now, so this all feels slightly academic, or like trying to sing show tunes when you're blue. But it will come back, I promise. And that's the point (again) where I'll recognize (again) what concurrent behaviors reinforce fear of success.