Content is King: Fly Your Freak Flag & Write Your Passion

Content is King: Fly Your Freak Flag & Write Your Passion

I am rewatching Community on Netflix.  I watched it when it originally aired on NBC, but watching several episodes back-to-back is a whole new experience.  As I’m watching, I keep thinking I can’t believe this was on broadcast television! Because it’s weird, really weird.

Ostensibly about a seven member study group at Greendale Community College, the show’s heart is a love of pop culture.   Almost every episode is an homage to a specific show or genre and it’s pretty genius, especially to a story geek like me. But it is not mainstream.

the cast of the TV show Community
The cast of Community

Community’s mere existence, let alone the fact that it lasted five seasons on NBC, before a final season on Yahoo television, is remarkable. The show is still so popular that last year there was a  bidding war  over the rights to make a movie.

Content is King

Community’s ongoing popularity is testament to the world we live in now where content is king. Gone are the days when you had to create something that appealed to everyone. No matter what kind of storytelling or subject matter you are into, if you create it your people will find you. Whatever kind of weird and wacky ideas you have bouncing around in your head, there’s an audience out there waiting to gobble it up.

So fly your freak flag! Create the kind of content you want to watch and read. From sourdough bread to railroads to alien romance there is literally something out there for everyone. This range of storytelling is good news for creators and audiences. It’s good news for people like me that are interested in a bunch of random things. It’s good news for people that are really interested in one thing.

Everything is Cool

Judging people by the kinds of stories they’re into is an attitude of the past. The Big Bang Theory, a sitcom about geeks into science fiction and comic books, was a huge hit that was on for 12 years. Things that were once considered niche like Doctor Who and zombies have gone mainstream. Romance readers, once looked down on, invented Book Tok, talking about their favorite books on Tik Tok, propelling romance sales into the stratosphere. Creators are inspired by their favorite things, whether they are considered cool or not. A big mystery buff, writer-director Rian Johnson created modern versions of his favorites, Agatha Christie’s Poirot (Knives Out) and Columbo (Poker Face).

Don’t be afraid to go against the grain and create content that is truly one-of-a-kind. Whether you’re into creating hilarious sketches, heartwarming stories, or hair-raising horror, there’s an audience out there just waiting to lap it up. So, let your creativity run wild and create content that will make your audience laugh, cry, or scream (in a good way, of course).

Don’t worry if what you want to write about doesn’t seem to in anywhere. Fly your freak flag and stand out. Comment below and let me know some things that you are really excited about creating.

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How to Make Money with Your Creativity: Intro to the Creator Economy

How to Make Money with Your Creativity: Intro to the Creator Economy

Have you heard about the creator economy? It is when people create, distribute, and monetize their own content, products, and services using online platforms and social media. This includes a wide range of activities like creating videos, writing articles, offering courses or coaching services, and much more. In the creator economy people showcase their unique talents and skills online and monetize their creations.

It’s an exciting time to be a creator because there are now endless opportunities to build a career doing what you love, whether it’s through social media, e-commerce, or other online channels. Creators are everything from traditional artists, musicians, and writers to social media influencers, podcasters, and YouTubers.

Thanks to the internet and social media, anyone with a creative idea can build an audience and earn a living from their passion. There are countless ways to turn your skills and interests into a profitable business. Creators monetize their content through a variety of ways: advertising, affiliate sales, merchandise, subscriptions, and direct payments from fans. As a result, many creators run profitable businesses.

I am a creator. I connect with you through this blog, virtually through my  courses  (more coming soon), and in person at workshops and  coaching sessions . For me there is something very powerful about identifying as a creator.

We live in exciting times! The creator economy is changing the way we think about work, creativity, and community. It’s a place where anyone can find their niche, build a following, and turn their passions into a source of income and influence.

In the creator economy, the sky’s the limit! You can work from anywhere and set your own hours. Everyone’s creator lifestyle is different. Many people use their creativity as a side hustle. Others work at it full time. All creative entrepreneurs are small businesses owners and have to spend time marketing as well as creating. There is always a lot to do, but it is a lot of fun.

So whether you’re a seasoned creator or just getting started, there’s never been a better time to explore the exciting world of the creator economy. With hard work and dedication, you can turn your passion into a thriving career that brings you joy and fulfillment. Get creating!

Create with 1,000 True Fans

1,000 True Fans  is a theory by Kevin Kelly, the founding editor of Wired magazine, that creators only need a small number of devoted fans to achieve success and financial stability. In a world where it is easy to get caught up in building huge numbers of followers and likes, this concept is empowering. 1,000 true fans is the cornerstone of the creator economy.

The idea is that if you cultivate 1,000 true fans – people who are willing to buy everything you produce, attend your events, and support your work in any way possible – you can build a sustainable career as a creator.

The key to this theory is the idea of true fans. These are not casual followers or occasional supporters; they are dedicated and passionate fans who are willing to invest in your work. According to Kelly, a true fan is someone who will buy anything a creator produces, attend every event they hold, and tell their friends about their work. A creator with 1,000 true fans can make a comfortable living, even if they only charge a modest amount for their work.

The beauty of this concept is that it’s achievable. It’s easier to find 1,000 dedicated fans than it is to go viral and attract millions of followers who may not even be interested in supporting your work financially. The beauty of this approach is that it doesn’t require you to have a massive following or reach a mainstream audience. Instead, focus on creating work that you love and finding a small, devoted fanbase that will support you and your work for years to come. And as your true fanbase grows, so does your income and your ability to create more of the work you love.

1,000 True Fans in the 9 to 5 World

While the concept of 1,000 true fans was initially developed for creators looking to monetize their content, it can also be applied to a corporate career. The idea is that instead of trying to be everything to everyone, you focus on building a small, dedicated network of professional connections who will support you throughout your career.

In today’s fast-paced and competitive job market, it’s important to cultivate a strong personal brand and network. By building a small but dedicated group of supporters, you can set yourself up for long-term career success.

In the context of a corporate career, your true fans could be your colleagues, managers, mentors, and clients. These are the people who believe in your abilities and are willing to vouch for you, recommend you for job opportunities, and support your career growth.

So how do you find your true fans in a corporate setting?

Focus on what others want: Connect with your colleagues and clients on a personal level and make an effort to understand their goals and needs.  By giving them what they need to succeed, you will be quickly become their go to person. 

Over deliver: Consistently produce high-quality work that demonstrates your expertise and attention to detail. When possible, give people more than they asked for.  This will help you stand out and earn the respect of your colleagues and clients.

Follow Up: After you’ve built relationships with your true fans, stay in touch and continue to nurture those connections. This will help you stay top-of-mind and position you for future opportunities.

By focusing on building a small but dedicated group of true fans in your corporate career, you can set yourself up for long-term success. Remember, it’s not about impressing everyone – it’s about people who believe in you.

If you are interested in writing a newsletter to help build your 1,000 true fans, you can get started with  ConvertKit  for free today. I am an affiliate which means I make a small commission at no extra charge to you. I never recommend products I don’t use myself.

 ConvertKit  is a full service e-mail marketing system that provides you with all kinds of goodies to help you succeed. Including:

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Why You Should Cultivate Curiosity

Why You Should Cultivate Curiosity

Curiosity is a powerful force in the life of a creative person. It is the spark that ignites our imagination and drives us to explore new ideas and possibilities.  When we are curious, we are open to learning and experiencing new things. This allows us to see things from different angles, which can lead to new insights and breakthroughs.

Be Permanently Curious

Tap into the power of curiosity by adopting a mindset of permanent curiosity. This means approaching everything in life with a sense of wonder and a desire to learn and understand more.  It’s important to practice the habit of asking questions and seeking new information. This can be as simple as asking a colleague or friend about their interests or reading an article on a topic you know nothing about.

Always be…

A simple way to practice curiosity is to always be…

Always be reading. Read at the level you want to write. Read the kinds of books, articles, and screenplays you want to write. Read about new topics and read about your industry. Know and follow the thought leaders in your business and the business you want to be in.

Always be watching. Watch the kinds of stories you want to tell. Watch short videos and documentaries about things you know and things you don’t.

Always be listening. Listen to podcasts about a variety of topics. Listen to podcasts about skills you want to improve or acquire. Check out scripted podcasts or listen to an audiobook.

Always be writing. If you are a writer, write every day even if it is just for 15 minutes. The more you write the more your writing improves. Even if you aren’t a writer by profession, practice writing clear and concise emails and compelling presentations. The better the writer you are, the better a communicator you are. And everyone no matter what they do, can be better at writing, speaking, and presenting.

Make curiosity one of your superpowers and exponentially increase your creativity. You will be surprised at the unexpected benefits learning and trying new things. By adopting a mindset of permanent curiosity, you can unlock new possibilities for yourself. So make it a habit to be curious, and see how it can transform your life!

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New Hollywood is Old Hollywood

New Hollywood is Old Hollywood

I am a hardcore movie fan. I love old movies, new movies, good movies, and bad movies. All genres except horror (I’m a scaredy cat.) Though paradoxically I do love a juicy true crime. I am also a Hollywood fan, the old Hollywood of the studio system, big glamorous stars and big intriguing stories for the big screen. No matter what kind of stories you write: novels, screenplays, comics, and even non-fiction, I encourage you to be inspired by old movies. These films built our cultural story sense and understanding of genre. Knowing a bit of old Hollywood history helps your story foundation.

Past is Present: Old Hollywood Relevance

In one of my favorite stories, a starlet was making the audition rounds. Everyone (agents, casting directors, and directors) kept telling her she looked like a young  Natalie Wood . Not only did she not know who Natalie Wood was, she didn’t bother to watch any of her movies. Yikes! Did you know that  Robert Redford  named the Sundance Film Festival after one of his favorite roles, in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)? Or that Adam Sandler’s Just Go With It (2011) was a remake of the much funnier Cactus Flower (1969) for which  Goldie Hawn  won an Academy Award?

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

I have 1969 Hollywood history on the brain because I finally watched Quentin Tarantino’s latest film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), which is set in 1969 and follows an actor whose career is fading (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his best friend and stunt double (Brad Pitt). And Leo just happens to be living next to  Sharon Tate , an actress who is most famous for being murdered by four members of the  Charles Manson  Family in 1969. Despite touching on a terrible event, the movie is a love letter to 1960s Hollywood when TV had come into its own and the movies were going through big growing pains as the studio system finally died and hippie counterculture became mainstream.

Just like in 1969, the entertainment industry is going through another transition. Movie attendance continues to dwindle and the studios are making fewer and fewer movies that they’re releasing theatrically. Streamers are fighting to see which ones will survive and less and less people are watching broadcast television.

The only constant in life is change. It’s a cliché because it’s true. As creative people, it is easy to hunker down and try to hold on to the systems of the past that have worked for us. But part of creativity is innovation, and as storytellers we should always be ready to adapt and pivot. Because the one thing that never changes is people’s hunger for a well told, entertaining story.

Don’t worry. Story is not going away. Just like books didn’t replace campfire stories, movies didn’t replace live theater. And TV didn’t kill the movies. Remember when we thought radio plays were dead? Podcasting is just radio on demand. The more things change, the more they stay the same. In fact, the streaming wars have made audiences even hungrier for good stories and good content. Now people regularly binge stories hours at a time.

Old Hollywood: Watch, Listen, & Learn

If you would like to watch more old movies, the American Film Institute has a bunch of  “greatest” lists  in every genre.

A good place to start is  Singing in the Rain , which is about the panic in Hollywood when talking movies started and how stars and studios adapted. As modern creators, it is fun and inspiring to see people freaking out about new storytelling technology. Singing in the Rain is also considered one of the best musicals ever made.

 You Must Remember This  is a wonderful podcast dedicated to exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century. The podcast is written and narrated by film critic/historian Karina Longworth. I’m hooked on this Hollywood history podcast! I stumbled on it when I was looking up some information about the Manson murders after watching Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I binged in two days the 12 part season Charles Manson’s Hollywood. Karina is a wonderful writer and speaker, really bringing the stories to life. Other seasons cover things like Famous Dead Blondes and the history of MGM. I can’t wait to listen to the rest of the backlist.

Another Movie About Writing

Last weekend I watched  See How the Run  which came out earlier this year. All I knew about it was it was a period British murder mystery set around a stage play. I was pleased to find out it is a fictional murder mystery set around the real  Agatha Christie  play The Mousetrap. Even though it takes place in 1953 London, it is feels like a movie about old Hollywood because we see all the drama around turning a hit play into a movie, including the writer fighting with the director about the script. Even more fun, the murder mystery is full of Agatha Christie tropes that connect to the play. Fun fact:  The Mousetrap  has been playing in the West End of London without interruption (with the exception of the lockdowns) since 1953.

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Oops!  Learning in Public

Oops! Learning in Public

Last week I sent out the newsletter missing a paragraph! Oops! You can read the correction here. That mistake didn’t feel great because it was in public. But it got me thinking that as creatives the only way we learn is in public. Whether you’re writer, an actor, visual artist, or a filmmaker, you put your work out into the world and learn from each experience. The next time you and your project are even better. Every week I feel a twinge when I hit publish.

The people I think are the bravest are stand up comics. They tell stories about their own life on stage by themselves. It is the rawest kind of performance and writing combined. And stand up is created in public. Comics tell jokes, seeing what works and what flops. Constantly refining their act before it is “official” and they go on tour. The serious ones go on stage almost every night. If you live in Los Angeles or New York, you can see well known comedians working on their new acts. When I was going to a lot of stand up, I would see the same people over and over. It was fascinating how their bits changed over time.

Like stand up, this newsletter is a constant work in progress as I learn from my experience, my research, and your feedback. I really appreciate your patience when there is a mistake like last week. And I love hearing from you about what you like and don’t like.

When something doesn’t go quite right in your life or in your career, do your best to react with grace. Laugh at yourself. Pick yourself up and move on. Remember everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes they lead to a breakthrough. Penicillin was famously discovered when mold accidentally grew in a dirty Petri dish. Mistakes can fuel your creativity. One time in high school, I turned in a two part creative writing piece with the wrong part as the first page. My teacher went on and on about what a great choice that was and how it made the piece work so effectively emotionally.

Do you have any stories of mistakes that turned out to be for the best? Comment below and let me know.

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2 Things About the Creator Mindset

2 Things About the Creator Mindset

I have been sick for two weeks and my foggy brain and the forced rest has made philosophical. For me there are two things I always relearn from listening to other creative people. From established writers, to newbies, my clients, and myself, it seems like these are universal struggles.

1. Don’t judge yourself by other people’s careers or other people’s work. There are no overnight successes. You don’t know how hard someone worked to get where they are. You don’t know if they have 25 unsold screenplays in their drawer before they’re suddenly the hot screenwriter. You don’t know if someone wrote their novel 15 minutes at a time over five years or in 5 weeks. Just keep your head down and keep creating. The more you do, the better you’ll get, and the bigger your body of work will get. There is no I should be where she is or I should have done X by now. Everybody’s life unfolds at their own pace. Which lead me to…

2. It is never too late. Some people have been creators their whole life, making movies in their basement when they were seven. Some people start writing at 25; some people start writing at 55. You can be a YouTube star at 25 or you can be a YouTube star at 75. Just start.

One final bit of advice, as a creator, always be consuming the kind of content you want to create.

Read at the level at which you want to write. Reading is the nourishment that feeds the kind of writing you want to do.

Jennifer Egan, novelist

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