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I Like Things That Unite People, Not That Divide

We are living in a very polarizing era right now.  Everyone has an opinion about something, and they seem to hate those who they disagree with.

Case in point, every four years, here in the United States, we have a massive shit show known as the Presidential Election.

In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s a process where we take two high profile people, and we argue for the better part of a year over which one of those two people are best suited to run the country.

In this process, the nation is split down the middle, and a large chunk of the population will believe that one candidate can do no wrong, and has all of the undisputed answers for how to handle all of the problems that we face in society, while the other chunk of the population believes the same, but for the other candidate.

Of course, there’s always a minority of people who try to think for themselves, and are willing to consider that both candidates make valid points, and that there is no such thing as a perfect candidate…

But in a world such as ours which deals in absolutes, there’s little room for shades of gray.  You’re either a bigoted, gun toting conservative, or you’re an intolerant snowflake liberal.

I’d like to think that we can evolve past this.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m all about the democratic process.  I think it’s great.  However, I don’t think it’s something that we should be focusing so much of our energy towards.

We should be trying to make the most of our lives… trying to look to the positive.  Stop trying to be so hateful and assume the worst about other people.

We’re putting our time and energy into the wrong things, and to coin a phrase, we’re looking for love in all the wrong places.

So much has been said for the military industrial complex, but a recent beast has arisen, and that is the entertainment industrial complex.

Dramatic storytelling in the form of mass media has become a very big thing in this day and age, and one constant thing about dramatic storytelling is that there has to be some form of conflict.  There has to be an enemy.  An adversary.

Real life, however, doesn’t need to be like fiction.  There doesn’t always need to be an enemy.  We don’t always have to point the finger at each other.  We can choose to look past our differences, to acknowledge them and respect them.

So, my vow for myself, and with the grace of God, I hope to stay on track with this vow, is to do my part to not add fuel to these explosive arguments.

  • Politics
  • Feminism
  • Religion
  • Circumcision
  • Vegetarianism
  • Abortion
  • Whether pineapple belongs on pizza
  • …and many more!

Now, I’m not saying that I won’t have an opinion on these topics.  I’m not even saying that I’m not going to talk about them.  What I am saying is that I dislike the negative bias that the human race seems to have.

Negativity is like a magnet that draws people in so that they can get angry and lash out at others who don’t see eye to eye with them.

Instead, I like things that bring people together… that unite them.

  • Food
  • Children
  • Animals
  • Music
  • Etc.

Why You Should See Blaze Ya Dead Homie In Concert

I love a good concert.

Music is a vital part of my life, and my vow has been to always find room for it in my life, no matter what.  It’s not something that I’m going to “grow out of”, or get tired of.  Live music, especially, is hard-wired into our DNA as something that we get together as humans to do as a bonding experience.

The first time that I saw Blaze in concert was in 2001 at the American Theater in downtown St. Louis.  Since then, Pop’s, right across the river in Illinois has become the preferred destination for a lot of national tours. Perhaps it’s because it’s a 24 hour bar?  Maybe it’s the fact that it’s next door to a strip club?  Who knows?

All I know is that I need to get my live music fix at least a few times a year, whether it’s a high energy, mosh pit inducing affair like a Twiztid show, or a smaller, more laid back affair like a Blaze show.

Enter the “Dead Like Me” Tour, featuring Blaze Ya Dead Homie and Gorilla Voltage

If you’ve never been to a show like this, let me tell you this.  The merch stand is a big deal.  It’s usually the first stop that people make, and those same people will often come back several times over the course of the night.

There’s a T-Shirt for all styles.  Whether you’re attracted to the high end Jerseys, the cartoony style, the sports style, or you just need to pick up the new limited run tour shirt, there’s bound to be something that you’ll like>  Majik Ninja Entertainment has made a business model out of keeping a diverse selection on hand so that you can represent your favorite artist the way that you want to.

Not to mention that theres always a nice selection of CD’s and hat pins on hand, as well as any number of novelty items such as bandanas or flags.  At this particular tour, Blaze even had his album for sale on cassette(!!!)

First up was a local group known as The Cannibal Crew.  When you’ve been going to these shows as long as I have, you’ll see a lot of openers come and go, and to the best of my ability, I don’t remember seeing these guys before.

If you have an open mind, you’ll often find hidden gems in these opening groups.  I consider it a part of the experience, because in this culture, we support each other… especially those who are on the grind and putting in the work.

As far as the performance goes, I’ve definitely seen worse.  The crowd was still warming up, but I think they lost the audience a little bit when they called one of the black dudes in the audience an “Oreo”.  He didn’t seem that offended, but a few other people in the audience took to his defense, and reminded the artist that it wasn’t about race.  Perhaps if he hadn’t have said that, people would have been more willing to get into it.

I gotta say though, them throwing severed fingers into the crowd was a nice touch…

After that was John Boi, of the Sabotage Squad.  For whatever reason, he had been out of action for a year prior to this show, and this was his big return to the stage.

You wouldn’t know it though, because he put on a killer performance, that had the crowd getting on their feet and ready for the headliners to come out.

When Trilogy came out, that was when the show really began!  I had heard of him before, but I had never seem him perform before.  I consider my awareness of under group hip hop to be pretty good.  I’m usually aware of the ones that put on a good show and a solid product, so it was no surprise to me when he came out and put on a good show.

What surprised me though was just how good the show was.  I think that if Trilogy sticks to the game, he can be a future superstar.  His energy was on point, his look is cool, and he had a solid connection with the audience.

Extra points too for getting off stage and rapping in the crowd.  I love it when artists do that!

Afterwards, I met him at his merch booth, where his humility and positive energy made me a fan of his.  I can’t recommend this guy enough.

Gorilla Voltage was the group that I was ultimately there to see.  When they entered my awareness, they very quickly made me a fan of their hard hitting, high energy style.

Picture Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong as rappers, on speed, with the volume turned up all the way up.  That’s their style.  The big guy, Mr. Grey, raps slow paced like a big ol’ gorilla, and the smaller guy, Clockworc, raps fast paced an angry like a revved up chimpanzee.

It’s a hell of a show, and if you ever get the opportunity to see them live, I high recommend that you take it.

I met them at the merch booth after their set, where they were nice enough to sign my CD.  Super nice guys.

Finally, it was time for the Dead Man to hit the stage!  Even on a small scale tour such as this, theatrics are important.  A concert is a big deal for a lot of people to make plans to go to, and Majik Ninja Entertainment doesn’t believe in asking people to come out and watch a someone walk back and forth with a microphone in front of a boring black backdrop.

The cemetery backdrop, tombstones, and fog machine were a nice touch!

Finally, Blaze came out, and performed classic after classic after classic.  As I’ve said, I’ve been following his career for a long time now, and can remember when every single track that he performed came out.

He performed a nice mix of his crowd pleasing tracks, but the majority of his playlist came from the 2004 album: “Colton Grundy”

I’m fine with that, because I personally think that musically, it’s his best work.  Sure, theres other albums that have more of his signature tracks, and there are other albums that the best singles, but “Colton Grundy” has the highest number of solid tracks.  You can literally pick any track from the album, and you’re good to go.

All in all, I recommend this tour if it comes through your neck of the woods.  It’s a smaller show, but I think that can be a good thing.  You tend to get a higher quality crowd with more positive energy at the smaller shows, and this was no exception!

Why Longtime Bloggers Sometimes Like To Switch Up Their Formats

 

This post marks a change of pace for my blog.

Everything before this post shall remain for posterity.  After all, this website has been more or less a hobby of mine up until this point.  A lot of the old posts on here were me creating a digital record of a lot of my thoughts.  (Some of them were from my old website, Swollen Thumb Entertainment, which was online from 2009 – 2014)

I’ve decided to get serious about this blog again.  Well… as serious as I can manage to do with a newborn baby and a full time job, that is.

I’m not going to sit around and tinker with the blog before I get rolling on this idea.  So, the new format is something of a work in progress, but I’m rolling with it because it is what I call an inspired idea.  An idea that I believe was given to me by the divine.  I’ll continue upgrading the blog as time goes on, but for now, I’m ready to breathe life into this baby.

“The Black & White Weblog”

I want to take things back to the nitty gritty.  I don’t want to delve into shades of gray.  I’m going to give you my take on things, and I’m going to present things as simply as I can.

Not everything is black and white, but on this website, most things are.

For one thing, I love the imagery.  There’s something magical about photography when you desaturate, and bump up the contrast.  I think that motion pictures lost a certain je ne sais quoi when color film became a common thing.  Ever seen Clerks?  Pi?  Schindler’s List?  There is something to be said for using black and white as a stylistic choice.

Now, that doesn’t mean that this is a hard rule.  I don’t intend for the entire blog to be monochromatic.  The advertisements will be whatever they are.  I don’t care.  If anything, this will cause them to pop a little bit, so it might be a good thing.  Also, I will most likely throw in a little color here and there anyway, just to break things up, and accentuate it all the more.

Anyway, I just wanted to put this post here so that people would know that everything before here is the old blog, and everything after is the new hotness.

So here we go…!

Is There A Double Standard With Sex Toys?

 

I’ve always felt like there is a double standard when it comes to sex toys.

A woman can own numerous vibrators, or even more penetrative items such as dildos, and this is seen as normal. Not only that, it is often seen as progressive or empowering.

However, if a man owns even a single sex toy such as a pocket pussy, he is seen as pathetic.

Why is this?

I’ve learned in my adult years to give people more of a benefit of a doubt. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that society is out to degrade the entire male gender, and build up the female gender.

It’s easy to believe that society is trying to make women feel empowered for their sexuality and is simulatenously trying to make men feel guilty for their sexuality.

And I’m not going to lie, there is definitely some of that in the equation. I mean, for crying out loud, women even have parties where sex toys are the central focus. If a group of men wanted to do this, it would literally be the “creepiest” thing to ever happen.

I think the real issue here is that vibrators have been around for a long time. Perhaps even longer than you think. The first steam powered vibrator was invented in 1869.

You see, back in the day, women were seen as being inferior creatures, and were often “prescribed” vibration to treat hysteria.

It was believed that women were prone to hysterical fits, and the most effective way to deal with their emotional feels was with an orgasm.

So yeah, society has had something like 150 years to get used to the idea of women having sex toys, while the idea of blow up dolls or fleshlights is still a relatively new one.

At the end of the day, we are living in an increasingly progressive society. I think that a lot of women are starting to awaken from their outdated world views, and are starting to learn that men are human beings too.

Just give it some time, and the double standard will be corrected.

Whatever Happened To Good Cartoons Like Looney Tunes?

 

Originally Published On 12/24/09

Allow me to start this article with a bold statement: Looney Tunes is the greatest cartoon series that has ever been made, and most likely the greatest cartoon series that will ever be made. I say this with such conviction and confidence for a reason. As a matter of fact, I have FIVE reasons why I believe that Looney Tunes is the king of cartoons, and I’m going to go ahead and list them now.

#1 The Characters Were Top Notch

If you watch a lot of the old Looney Tunes cartoons, you will notice the evolution of the characters. None of them ever debuted exactly as the characters that they would later become. They were honed and tweaked according to audience feedback, and according to the input of various directors and producers. Simply put, the characters were refined until they were, in a word, perfect.

Nowadays, this rarely happens, as writers and directors have too much pride to let this happen. So characters are created behind the scenes, and tweaked in private so that they can be “unleashed” upon an unsuspecting audience. However, what made the Looney Tunes characters so great is because they evolved over a long period of time and adapted to the tastes of the audience. The characters grew into the memorable characters that we remember them as.

And there were a bunch of the characters too! Of course, not every character was a big hit, but a lot of them were. Even if you’re only counting the characters that were popular enough to star in their own cartoons, you still have Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Tweety, Sylvester, Yosemite Sam, Pepe’ Le Pew, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin Martian, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, and Speedy Gonzales. There were a bunch of others though!

#2 The Integration of Music Was Ingenious

Looney Tunes goes hand in hand with music. Note the spelling: Looney TUNES. The entire series is rooted in music, and they people behind the scenes never forgot it. As a matter of fact, no other cartoon series had utilized music as effectively as they did, and arguably, no series has done it as effectively since then.

The composer, Carl Stalling had a great deal to do with this and was known as a great innovator in both the realms of music and animation. Stalling turned the process of setting a cartoon to music into an art form, and was able to seamlessly blend background music, sound effects created by orchestra instruments, and the extensive Warner Bros. music library into a mix that was uniquely his own.

Nowadays, it’s easy to overlook something as simple as violin plucks to represent tip toeing, but back in the day, that was a groundbreaking thing. The music of Carl Stalling is among some of the most important music to come out in the twentieth century, and that is no small feat. In a century that featured some of the greatest music ever created, and in record numbers, Carl Stalling remains, in hindsight, one of the most influential composers to emerge. And to think, almost all of his life’s work was done in the form of Looney Tunes music!

#3 The Crew Was Unbelievably Talented

And it wasn’t just Stalling that was talented. The entire crew that worked on the Looney Tunes cartoons was at the top of their game. Warner Bros. made sure to assemble a team of some of the most talented animators, directors, producers, and voice talent that existed at the time.

One thing that contribute

s to the magic of Looney Tunes is the incredibly small crew that was involved with each cartoon. I’m sure that not having a bunch of hands involved helped to not spoil the soup. This adds to the creative process, because there’s more room for spontaneity and less room for creative differences.

Not to mention that back in the day, each job description was a full time job. Carl Stalling, for example, scored an average of one cartoon per week during the entirety of his career at Warner Bros. Having a small crew ensured that the animators were always busy working on the next cartoon.

#4 The Audacity Of The Cartoons Was Unprecedented

When I say that we need more cartoons like Looney Tunes, I mean that we need more cartoons being made by cartoonists that have absolutely no holdups about pushing the envelope in what they portray.

Some of the things in the Looney Tunes cartoons are so racy, that they don’t even fly today! This becomes evident in the fact that the DVD sets are accompanied by a parental advisory due to the use of guns and ethnic stereotypes.

For example, in the Merrie Melodies Cartoon, Rhapsody Rabbit, Bugs Bunny becomes annoyed with a coughing audience member during his piano recital, and straight up shoots the guy in the face with a pistol! Another thing, which you might not have considered, but characters like Porky Pig and Elmer Fudd who have funny speech impediments would never get green lit in this day and age. Not to mention the countless politically incorrect jokes involving people of all colors, including blacks, native americans, mexicans, and white southerners.

It is these things that I think are hilarious as an adult. In an era where cartoons have to be “educational” it is highly refreshing to watch a cartoon that isn’t politically correct. Too bad these cartoons are over fifty years old! How long is it going to take before we can have another “Golden Age of Animation” like we did back in those days?

#5 The Era Was Perfect For The Cartoons

I am, however, not in favor of the Looney Tunes franchise to continue. I feel that Looney Tunes was a product of the era that it lived in, and just doesn’t work in a modern day setting.

The characters just don’t translate to the modern day, which is evident due to the fact that there has yet to be a successful revival of the Looney Tunes franchise. Shows like “Baby Looney Tunes” and “Loonatics Unleashed” has been met with extreme criticism. The two movies, Space Jam and Back In Action haven’t been openly accepted either, with the former owing much of its success to the inclusion of Michael Jordan.

So, in summary, I’d like to see more cartoons that are like Looney Tunes, but not necessarily see new Looney Tunes. Those old cartoons worked because they were fresh, and were what the world needed at that time. Nowadays, we need something fresh for our time, and while it is most certainly not the same thing, we can definitely learn a lot from history in order to figure out what kind of cartoon series we need nowadays. We need a Looney Tunes for the Twenty-First century!

I Was Wrong About Donald Trump


I was wrong about Donald Trump

Several months ago, I predicted that Donald Trump would not be able to win the 2016 Presidential Election, due to his alienation of women and hispanics. I was wrong.

This is humbling. It shows me that I am out of touch with what’s going on in modern day America.

I predicted that Trump would lose by a fairly wide margin. At least, though, I’m not quite as out of touch as those who predicted that he would lose by a landslide.

I’m reminded of Ben Settle, who back in 2015, predicted that Trump would be our next president.

In case you’re not familiar with Ben Settle, he is one of the leading authorities out there on email marketing. He has often been compared to Howard Stern, for his in your face vulgarity and polarizing opinions.

Personally, I think that the comparision is a bit extreme. Sure, Ben Settle is a bit polarizing, but he definitely doesn’t rely on shock tactics in the same way that Stern does.

At any rate, elBenbo, as he likes to be called, predicted Trump to be the winner due to his familiarity with Trump’s past successes in Marketing. After all, in our Brand Name obsessed culture, Marketing is one of the most effective ways to become a sucess in whatever you do, whether thats selling real estate, launching a reality show, or making a bid for the White House.

Like Trump or not, he appears to be doing something right. He’s tapped into a need that the public has, and was able to channel that into a successful presidential campaign.

This is a reminder for myself to try to be more open minded in the future, and to try to find the positives in all things, as opposed to focusing on the negatives.

Gossip & Games Is Back!!!!!!!!!

 

Gossip & Games is BACK BABY!!!!!!!!!

It’s been something like nine months since Gossip & Games has been off the air. Technical issues have been preventing me from working on the show. The video editing proved to be too hard on my PC, so I was forced to do some upgrades.

Now that I have my system upgraded, I’m ready to recommit to Gossip & Games. This time, I have envisioned the show as a weekend show as opposed to a weekday show. There were a few reasons for this, but the main reason is because I have a vision for the rest of the week.

For example, I am currently working on launching a couple of separate shows for Thursday and Friday. These are on the backburner though, because my primary focus is to get G&G going full steam, and to continue to upgrade the show.

My strategy for this show has always been to gradually upgrade the show until it reaches my artistic vision. I’m happy to say that the show is almost there. I still need to work on a few things such as lighting, audio, and ambiance.

It All Starts In The Mind

 

Originally Published On January 9, 2009

 

The seeds have been planted.

Let’s assume for a moment, that you are an artist. After all, you’re either an artist, or you’re not. Artistic ability isn’t necessarily something that you are born with, but genetics can play a role, even though being an artist is something that you can learn to be. Being an artist is a state of mind, more than it is a degree of talent. It affects the way you look at the world, and it creates a desire inside of you to share that viewpoint with other people. If you are driven to create, and have a desire to express yourself through your creations, you are an artist. Never let anyone tell you differently.

Art can be a touchy subject. Every person has their opinion on what art is and what it isn’t. Is the painter who throws erratic splashes of paint randomly onto a canvas really an artist? And what about the hip hop artist who yells repeated phrases onto an instrumental that someone else produced? And let’s not forget the guy with the video camera recording people having sex. Some people might even consider THAT to be art. If there’s one thing about art that is completely consistent, it is that people are going to disagree and debate over what it truly is.

As we age, our minds become less and less open. When we are born, they are like lumps of clay, which have their basic attributes. For like that lump of clay, which never ceases to be a lump of clay no matter what shape it takes on, your mind will always be your mind, no matter what shape it becomes. And like that lump of clay, your mind will continue to harden, and become more resistant to change as you age.

The human race is very diverse, and while most people become more and more set in their own ways and mindsets, some people have resisted the urge to become complacent in their own mindset. They have decided to remain open minded about life and existence. They have decided to not let their minds harden and take a final shape.

This works for any issue or group of issues. On one side of the spectrum you have those who seek answers to life’s questions in order to find comfort. These people are not likely to question the status quo, as long as they are able to tolerate whatever the issue is in question. These are the people who often have trouble understanding the things that other people do, and in more extreme examples, these people will end up hating the people who do things differently. And when these people become comfortable in their outlook, there is very little you can do to sway them. These people are very common in divisive areas such as politics and religion.

On the other side of the spectrum, you have those who seek answers to life’s questions in order to find truth and deep meaning. These people may change their outlook on life, their priorities, or even their religious beliefs on a regular basis, depending on what they learn. These types of people often go into artistic fields, or become philosophers. They may be considered unstable, or flaky by their peers, but well meaning. These people are common in areas such as science and philosophy.

Don’t misunderstand me, there’s nothing wrong with being in either of these two groups. And even if there was, you need to understand how the yin and yang of these two groups works. One could not exist without the other. There would be little need to be open minded about anything without people who are stubborn, and vice versa.

What you will need to do as an artist is to identify which audience you seek. This will influence everything that you do. Will you aim to please the small, but loyal group of open minded people, or set your sights on the complacent group of people, who may give you temporary success,?

In today’s overly crowded world of entertainment, there is no time to dilly dally. You must identify your target audience, and grab their attention as soon as possible, because there are more and more sources of entertainment than ever, and they are all vying for attention. If you have a story to tell, or a message to spread, then by all means, do so. Just don’t waste your audience’s time.

It all starts in the mind. So open your mind, and let’s get started!

The Entry Level

 

Originally Published On January, 12, 2009

 

So you’ve decided to stop letting time pass you by, and to embrace your calling in this world?  Since you’ve established your goal, the next step is getting started.  But how does one get started?

There’s a term that I will use often in my future blog postings, and that term is “The Entry Level”.  What I mean when I use this term is what you will probably end up doing when you decide to start down a new career path.

What I consider to be the true entry level of any field is the one that requires the least amount of preparation or investment.  One of the main mistakes that a lot of people make when they want to start down a new career path is that they overestimate how much preparation they will need to do, or how many supplies they will need.  There is simply no substitute for actually practicing what you want to make a living doing.

Let’s say that it’s your dream to one day have your own daily talk show.  You might consider buying a webcam and setting it up at your computer desk, posting your opinions about various subjects to YouTube.  If you wanted to, you could even have special guests!  With the minimal investment of a webcam, and the preparation of having a few topics set aside for you to discuss, you are now in the entry level of the talk show industry.  Your next step could involve stepping up your production values, working on your charisma, or just simply developing a huge backlog in an effort to generate a following.

Or maybe you want to be a professional model.  Your entry level would be to purchase a camera and get someone to take photographs of you on a regular basis.  Or maybe you’re lucky enough to know someone who wants to be a professional photographer, who would probably jump at the opportunity to have a person to hone his or her skills with.

That brings me to another point that I would like to make about networking.  You should try to find people with whom you can grow with, who are at the same level as you in their own career path.  Maybe you can develop a partnership, and find yourself an ally to climb the ladder with.  Or, like in the above example, you can benefit by having a contact that can help move your own career forward, and vice versa.

I use an example such as this to illustrate how your eagerness to learn, and a hunger for growth can feed off of someone else’s.  There simply is no substitute for doing something when it comes to learning it.  You can read about it forever, but until you actually do it, and develop a muscle memory, it’s little more than a goal or an aspiration.  After all, the question is “What do you do for a living?”, and not “What do you want to do for a living?”  So just do it.  Stop living in the future!

My generation is probably one of the most ambitious generations of all time.  We have high hopes, and big ideas, and we all want to be millionaires.  Our major fault is our failure to back up these dreams with action.  Often times, the number one obstacle holding us back is our failure to get started on our goals, always putting them in the future, or awaiting some event to trigger them for us… such as winning the lottery, graduating college, a government program, etc.  What I’m trying to tell you is that you need to make it happen yourself!

Take me for example.  I’ve been in the planning stages for way too long. I registered www.swollenthumb.com in 2004 for crying out loud!  I have so many projects backlogged that it was like a kinked hose with a lot of pressure on it, which would burst through if only the kink would be fixed.  For so long, I didn’t know what the first step was.  Finally, in mid 2008, I set a date of January 9th to launch my business, for better or for worse.  With the implementation of David Allen’s program, “Getting Things Done” I am finally ready to unleash my projects, one by one.  Right now, I am in the entry level of my profession, which simply put, is providing value to as many people as possible.

What about you?  Are you in the profession of your choice?  And if not, what can you do to get started?  Can you identify the entry level of your dream career?  Remember, if it’s not something you can get started on in the near future, then it is not the entry level.  And remember that if there’s a fire in your belly, and you have the desire to get out there and create, then don’t let anything hold you back.

Your Reason To Create

 

Originally Published On January 15, 2009

 

“For me, the greatest drug of all is creation because… you get the same kick… your brain gives you feedback… When you create, all of a sudden you get a little endorphin buzz”

– Robin Williams on “Inside the Actor’s Studio”

It’s important for you to ask yourself why you want to create.  Everyone who creates has a motivation behind them.  Generally speaking, one reason is as good as another, as long as it resonates deeply within you.  However, when you know exactly what the reason is that drives you, you’ll be able to plan most accordingly.

Do you want to create for the money?  Some people who create get paid a lot of money.  For example, even at the lower end of the spectrum, professional screenwriters get paid very good money, at least compared to the average entry level “regular job”.  When the bills have to be paid, and you’re looking for a career change, you may be willing to try ANY new skill in order to get that peace of mind.  For a lot of people, financial gain is the best motivator that they can possibly have.  There isn’t anything wrong with being motivated by money, so don’t let anyone tell you that there is.

But maybe you’re not motivated by money.  Maybe you’re looking for self fulfillment.  Some of us have a natural drive to create art and share it with others.  Personally, I tend to fall into this category.  My motivation isn’t to make a lot of money with my creations, but my wish is to make enough money from my creations so that I can continue to create as my primary source of income without an outside job to distract me from it.  I enjoy providing value to other people.  For example, I enjoyed my $5.15 an hour job stocking groceries much more than my $8.50 an hour job at a TV station, because I was able to personally make a difference in people’s day.  The ability to spend all the time I want providing value to other people doing what I love is what motivates me.

Are you working to further a cause?  This generally falls under the category of protest.  Ask yourself if you would continue to create if your goal was reached.  If the answer to that question is “no” then your reason is probably to further a cause.  You may have decided to take up videography as a way to promote your political beliefs.  On the entry level, there are free services such as YouTube to get your message out.  And if it is a solid message, the amount of money you invest into it is not relevant.

Do you want to create out of boredom?  Is there nothing better to do than to put something intriguing into circulation?  If this is the case, then my next question would be “How are you going to convince people to become emotionally involved with your creation if it’s possible that you may lose interest later?”  Do you actually feel passionate about your creation?  If not, why should anyone care about something that you feel indifferent toward?  Some people may tell you that it’s not worth doing if your heart isn’t 100% in it.  However, I feel that ultimately, nothing lasts forever anyway, so go for it!  Who knows, you may end up enjoying the act of creation more than you anticipated, and it may turn into a career for you.

Whatever your reason is, make sure that you know it from the very beginning, and always remember it.  Write it down, and tape it to the bathroom mirror if you have to.  Whatever you do, always know what your goal is, and why it is such.  This will help you to have a sense of purpose in what you are doing, and allow you to stay focused on what drives you as a human being.  We all have an inner calling, and we must strive to find our role on this planet, to provide value to others in a way that leaves us fulfilled.

As long as your reason is sincere, you can rest assured that it is a good reason.  If your reason to create is sincere, then it will give you motivation.  Whatever motivates you to create action is a good motivator.  That is the sign of a good reason to create.

How Can Muscle Memory Help Your Career?

Originally Published On January 21, 2009

 

A warning to science geeks: I have taken a few liberties with the proper definition of muscle memory, which are induced physiological changes in the brain that attain increased levels of accuracy through repetition.

In normal-person-talk, this means when you perform an action enough times, the brain picks up on it, and allows you to perform the action without thinking about it.  For example, you weren’t born with the ability to write, brush your hair, or drive a car.  However, after you learned how to do these things, they became such a part of your day to day life that now you no longer have to consciously think about doing them.  They just come natural.

As I type this article, I am demonstrating muscle memory in the sense that I do not have to think about the keys that I am hitting.  Even though I am not formally trained at typing, I do have the keys memorized to the point where I can have words seemingly flow from my brain onto the screen.  The middle step of finding the correct keys is so familiar to me, that I can use my brain power to think about other things, such as making a coherent article out of the crazy mess that is my line of thoughts.  I’m serious; it’s like a rainforest in there!

If you’re a wrestling fan, you may remember in 2003 at Wrestlemania XIX when Brock Lesnar was facing Kurt Angle for the World Heavyweight Championship, and Lesnar went to the top rope for the scripted finish to the match.  The original plan was for Lesnar, who is a big guy at 265 pounds to perform a spectacular high risk move and pin Angle for the belt.  The plan went awry however, when Lesnar botched the move and landed on his forehead, knocking him silly and giving him a concussion.  Lesnar later said that he had no memory of finishing the match, which would have fooled the casual viewer because his muscle memory kicked in and he pinned Angle after performing his normal finishing maneuver.

Once you have a well developed muscle memory, you will be able to perform under wide varieties of conditions that might otherwise hold you back, such as a concussion.  Hopefully, that won’t be necessary though. Hopefully, the extent of your obstacles will be things such as bad weather, minor intoxication, and the common cold.

At any rate, the only way to develop a muscle memory is to actually practice your skill.  You will never develop a muscle memory by reading about something.

Don’t misunderstand what I am saying.  You should always be looking to improve your skills, and reading about them is a great way to peruse through other people’s collective knowledge.  If there’s one thing the world doesn’t need, it’s more and more people out there in the professional world who don’t know what they are doing.  By all means, learn all you can, so that you can truly school what you do.

What I AM saying is that the professionals didn’t get the way they are by only reading about what they do.  They got that way by practicing their skill.  So whatever your skill is, you can get better at it by allowing your subconscious mind to take over.  Practice good habits when you are learning your skill, and in time they will become second nature to you.

The concept of a muscle memory can work in any aspect of your life that you apply it to.  You can use it to become an early riser, to become a skilled gamer, to learn how to cook, drive a stick shift, and to help develop good habits.  You can use the very concept of muscle memory in every aspect of self improvement.

So whatever it is that you want to do with your life, all it takes it the ability to identify the entry level of your chosen profession, and just do it!  Life will pass you by unless you spend it moving towards the path you desire to be on.  Many, many people have the plans, and even the competence to do what they want in life, yet they lack the experience to do it.  So get the skills that you need under your belt, and from there you can focus your energy and effort on other ways to get ahead on your path.

Don’t Ask For Permission

 

Originally Published On January 28, 2009

 

Get It In Gear, Already!

You call yourself an artist, but you don’t actually create anything.  So, what are you waiting for?  Does your nine-to-five job make you feel like less of an artist?  Do you feel like you need permission to do what you want to with your life?

Fine, you have my permission to do what you want to with your life.
Does that make you feel any different?  Probably not, and with good reason.  Before now, I never had any control over your life, so how does me giving you permission to do something change your life?  It doesn’t.  It changes nothing.  Maybe there is someone, or something in your life that is holding you back from realizing your potential.  Whatever.  I really don’t care what your reasons are.  If you are an artist, you have a natural drive to express yourself in whatever form you decide to.  For you to allow anything to hold you back from expressing yourself is to deny yourself the very purpose of your existence.

What Are You Waiting For?

Don’t ask for permission to do what you want with your life, just do it.
You’re an artist, and nobody can take that away from you.  There are only two reasons why anyone would want to hold you back anyway.  Either they are jealous of your talents, or they are afraid of your talents.  How selfish is that?  It’s your life, and your talents… not theirs.  They can’t tell you not to use them.  You have possession of your life and no one else, so don’t let anyone else live your life for you.

Movies

So you’ve been watching movies for your entire life, and your American dream is to see your name in the credits on the big screen?  Don’t listen to your “friends” and “family” who tell you that you’re living in a fantasy land.  If that’s what you want, then make it happen.  You don’t need permission from anyone to make a movie.  Go do it!

Writing

Perhaps your passion is reading and writing.  You daydream of one day writing the great American novel and going on a book signing tour.  Your hope is that one day, your “job” will be upstairs at the keyboard with a warm cup of coffee.  Don’t listen to them when they tell you that the time you’re spending hammering out chapters is a waste of time.  You don’t need permission from anyone to write a book.  If that’s what you want to do, there’s nothing stopping you.  Hell, even without a computer or typewriter, there’s nothing stopping you from grabbing a notebook, so what’s stopping you?

Music

Maybe the love of your life is music.  Is your escape from the stressors of your life in the form of headphones?  If you won the lottery, would you deck out your car with a phat sound system?  Do you write verses in your spare time, and dream of one day seeing a shiny new shrink-wrapped CD with your name and picture on it in the music store?  In this day and age, the only people who are truly unable to cut an album are the ones who don’t want to.  Go out and make it happen!  You don’t need permission from anyone to make an album.  Get on the internet, and research how to do it.  I guarantee you that if you saved up for a little while, you could make your dream come true.

All Of The Above???

Or maybe you are among the lucky, uninhibited class of creatures who wants to do it all.  If you are, I salute you.  Go crazy and do it all.  Try everything.  You don’t need permission from ANYONE to create ANYTHING.  If you are a writer and you want to cut an album, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not allowed to.  Go out there and show those naysayers the best damn album you can make.  If you are a film maker, and you want to write a book, then do it!  If you are in a band, and you want to star in a movie, then make it happen.  Don’t let the haters stop you!

Get The Picture?

Whatever you decide to focus on, just make sure that you give it a fair amount of focus.  Practice your new skill, and read up on it.  That way you can school it to the best of your ability.

Value: Passion vs. Greed

Originally Published On January 30, 2009

 

I doubt that anyone who has been reading my blog would doubt that I have passion about it…

The Key To Having A Successful Blog

The successful blogs have one common goal, to provide value.  As a blogger, if you want to have a successful blog, you need to take your mind off of making money.  The money is a byproduct of having a successful blog, and you should never focus on the byproduct of anything.  The money will come if you provide value to your reader.

For example, I am adopting the blogger’s mentality to my company, Swollen Thumb Entertainment.  Other production houses follow a completely different approach, and would never dream of offering as much free content online as we are planning to in 2009.  (By the way, the free content begins in March, if you’re curious).

We’re going to offer free music to download on here.  Other production houses want you to drop 10 dollars or more on a CD that you won’t see for a few weeks anyway.  Why not distribute your music over the internet, for free?  That’s what we intend to do.

Also, we’re going to offer free video content on here as well.  You’ll get to sample many varieties of shows, and the most popular ones will become regular series.  This will begin soon on this website.  And at no point in this process will you need to pay us anything.

Not to mention, that this site will become a valuable source for writing content.  We’re going to show off the best young writers and give them a showcase for developing their talents, and an audience as well.  There will be original short stories, poetry, e-books, whatever the writer wants.  And once again, this will be free.

My eventual goal with this website is to provide a primary source of entertainment for people who want it, and to inspire other people to do the same.  I hope that up and coming artists will find the information that I provide to be valuable, and I hope that the common visitor finds value in the entertainment that we will provide.  And we are not in this venture to make tons of money.

We are in this for the love of creating.

 

You Need To Provide Value

But enough about this website.  What about you?  Are you more focused on making money than providing value?  There’s nothing wrong with making money.  Don’t get me wrong.  We gotta have money to get by, and if you were able to make a living off of your blog, then you could focus on providing value to your readers full time.  I know the argument.  Personally, I don’t buy it.

If you’re not inspired to provide value to a small group of readers, in your free time, then how are you going to get inspired to provide it to a large number of readers once you have more time?  It doesn’t make sense.

From day one, your number one goal should be to provide value, and not to make money.  People don’t care whether or not you make money.  We, as human beings, are motivated for selfish reasons. We want to feel like we are getting a good deal when we go online.  When a visitor goes to your site, and the first thing they notice is affiliate links, ads out the wazoo, and posts titled “How I Make Money Off Of My Blog” do you think that they are going to stick around and read your site?  Probably not.

 

Passion

When you create a blog, you need to get across how the visitor is going to benefit from being there. When people browse the internet, they are looking to fulfill a need.  It’s YOUR job to fulfill that need, not to make money.  Be one person’s hero.  Be exactly what someone is looking for.  Create passion in one person.  They will spread their passion to others, because passion is contagious.  But you know what’s NOT contagious?  Greed.

 

Greed

Greed is what you are focused on it you see blogging as just another trend that you can make money from.  Your visitors will see right through you if you are in it for the money.  Even if your number one motivator for starting a blog is to make money, you don’t want your visitors to know that.  You have to honestly have passion for what you are doing.

 

In Conclusion…

So the morale of the story is that if you are not passionate about what you are writing, then you probably won’t make money.  At the very least, you will most likely make a lot more money if you are passionate than if you are not.  And life is way too short to be living a life that is without passion.  That’s what your visitors are going to think, so why not adopt the same philosophy?

Beginner’s Guide To Movie Making

 

Originally Published On February 3, 2009

 

Everyone Has Two Careers. Their Career, and the Film Industry

Ok seriously, who here hasn’t considered making a movie before?  Unless you come from a country that doesn’t have the luxury of watching motion pictures, I defy anyone to honestly tell me that they’ve never once felt the urge to make their own movie.  If you tell me that you haven’t, then I don’t believe you.  Simple as that.

The desire to make movies is in our genetic makeup.  It’s the modern day equivalent of story telling.  There has been storytelling as long as there has been human interaction, and there always will be.  Movies just happen to be, arguably, the most popular form of story telling around today.

Making It Happen

However, there’s a lot of distance between the eager young film buff with a handicam and a book off of the shelf of the local bookstore, and the director of the latest 100 million Hollywood Blockbuster.  Sadly, the stark contrast between the common person and the A List of the Entertainment Industry causes a lot of people to chalk up the desire to make movies as a mere pipe dream.  Well, let me tell you that it is NOT a pipe dream.  The difference between you and most of the people in Hollywood is that they wanted it bad enough to pursue it.  If you want to make a movie, then you have the right to!

Learn By Example

Don’t think that you need credentials or tons of experience to make a movie.  This is a defeatist way to look at it.  If you truly want to make a movie then just do it.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re chasing an unattainable dream.  Take Christopher Nolan, the director of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight for example.  He had a tangible love for film making and story telling, and did it out of passionfor his entire adolescent life.  He directed his first feature film at the age of 26 on the weekends with a humble budget of $6000.  This film, which was called “Following” led to him being tapped to direct his phenomenal project “Memento”, which led to “Insomnia” which led to “Batman Begins”.

What can you learn from Mr. Nolan?  Just create.  Learn from your mistakes.  Have others critique your work.  Align yourself with motivated people.  If making movies is truly in your blood, then don’t wait for permission to do it… just do it.  Much like how the storytellers of yesteryear didn’t need written approval from giant corporations to tell campfire tales and bedtime stories, you don’t need anyone’s permission to sit down and make that first movie of yours.  You have to start somewhere and sometime, and you’re never going to become a talented movie maker until you become a movie maker in the first place!

Make It Worthy Of Being Watched.

As far as making a quality movie, what is truly important is content.  If you have good content, it doesn’t matter how it’s presented, as long as its presented clearly.  Good content is the most valuable asset you can have when you make your movie.

The Saw franchise was started by newcomer filmmakers James Wan and Leigh Whannell, on the strength of a 9/12 minute short film which was reportedly made for around $7000.

Clerks, which catapulted writer/director Kevin Smith out of obscurity and jumpstarted his highly successful movie career was shot for $27,575, of which he financed himself.

Looks Can Be Deceiving

While these numbers may not seem low to you, please note that when these numbers are viewed as investments, they are actually incredibly lucrative.

Altogether, the Saw franchise has gone on to generate $548,874,868 worldwide, 78,410 times the initial investment cost.

Kevin Smith has gone on to direct 8 films since Clerk, and has made tons of money.

Afraid Of Criticism? Suck It Up!

I won’t lie to you.  There is a section of viewers who will judge your work based on whether or not it looks like a multi-million dollar movie, but that section is getting smaller and smaller every year.  Nowadays, content is what sells.  And besides, behind every successful person lies a pack of haters.  Nothing that was ever worthwhile escaped criticism.  If you are afraid of being criticized, then you are afraid of living.  I can’t put it any more blunt than that.

Now’s the Time To Make Your Dreams Come True.

With more and more highly successful movies being made on low budgets, and increasingly big bucks being invested into making movies look amateur, there’s no reason not to get into the game with your own movies.  You may end up being the best thing to happen to the film industry in years!  Just think about that.  You may end up making a nice living off of creating.  All those years of going to movies will have paid off, and the next time you go, it could be YOUR name at the beginning of the opening credits when it says “Directed by”.  YOU can make it happen!

Why Some People Are Scared By Horror Movies And Others Aren’t

 

Originally Published On 10/16/09

Be Afraid.  Be Very Afraid.

Who can resist a good horror movie?  Not a whole lot of us, that’s for sure.  There’s just something about the adrenaline rush and the objectifaction of the absolute worst aspects of humanity that appeal to a lot of us.  As a matter of fact, horror movies are very interesting to me, because how someone reacts to a horror movie says an awful lot about the type of person that you are.

The Two Types of Horror Fans…

Horror cinema is an interesting thing.  It seems to be mostly kept alive by two groups of people.  The first group goes for the thrill of the scare.  This group is not ashamed to be afraid of what’s in the movie, and enjoys the adrenaline rush of the terror that they expeerience.  Then you have the second group, who are all to eager to point out how they are never scared by movies because they aren’t real, and are eager to look down on those who are scared.

Many people have come to the conclusion that it all boils down to being desensitized.  These people argue that if someone is raised on horror, then they are more likely to get used to it as an adult, moreso than if they rarely or never watched it growing up.  However, science has found links to suggest that the difference in people’s reactions to horror movies may be genetic.  Some people are more prone to anxiety, which from an evolutionary point of view, would prevent them from acting reckless in a high danger situation, such as being confronted by a dinosaur or something.

Certainly, people definately have much different reactions while watching horror movies.  Some people consider “The Exorcist” to be true terror on celluloid, while others actually find it to be humorous.  Me, I rank somewhere in the middle.  While I don’t find the movie to be terrifying or anything, and can easily watch it by myself at night,  I do find the subject matter to be quite dramatic, and I don’t consider the movie to be hokey or anything like some other people do.

But Why The Snobbery?

So, it’s understandable that some people are just genetically predisposed to not be scared by images on film.  That much I can understand.  What I don’t understand is A: why these people even watch horror in the first place, and B: why they have to look down on people who do enjoy getting scared.  These types of people seem to always think that being scared during a movie is some kind of weakness or something, and that it’s more admirable to sit and find pleasure in watching simulated images of people being chased and disemboweled.

As you might guess, I fall into the category of people who are genetically evolved and am capable of being “scared” by horror movies.  Now, I know that they’re not real, and I’ve always know that.  While I think that horror is a genre that more people should enjoy, I also think that it smacks of lousy parenting when a child doesn’t realize that the events that take place in any movie, horror or otherwise, are not real.  The type of trauma that a child could possibly endure if they come to get attached to movie characters that will eventually meet a bloody demise is reason enough that they should be well aware that movies are not real, including horror movies.  And that’s my point, all people who watch horror movies should know that they aren’t real, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t ever get scared!

Okay, look.  I’m not ignorant.  I’m aware of the groups of people who watch horror movies for reasons other than the scare factor.  Often times, they enjoy the outlandish premises, the makeup, the lighting, the music, the special effects, and all of those things that you only get with the horror genre.  I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with that.  However, some people take it way too far, and actually get a kick out of watching people get brutally slaughtered.  These borderline masochists will sit and watch horror movies for hours, for no other reason than for the blood and gore, most likely inducing violent fantasies of their own.

Because of the emergence of this type of horror fan, the genre has changed quite a bit from what I consider to be the golden age of horror which was based on psychological terror.  Often times, a horror movie with a PG-13 rating will automatically get overlooked, because some people are prejudice about the fact that a horror movie can’t possibly be good if it doesn’t have enough gore to warrant an R rating.  This, in a word, is just stupid.  Horror, by definition, has to do with provoking fear, and has nothing to do with violence.  A lot of film makers are realizing this, and lately the horror genre has gone through numerous trends depending on the success of recent horror flicks.

Blast From The Past!

The big trend lately has been to remake old horror movies that were successful in the past.  After all, with advances in modern technology, if a movie was good in the 1980’s, it will be ten times as good in the 2000’s, now that we have better actors, better sound, 3D visuals, CGI, and multi-million dollar budgets to work with, right?  That seems to be the thought process behind the decision to green light so many remakes and reboots of series instead of working to create new storylines and new characters.

Personally, I usually don’t see horror movies that I know to be remakes.  I’ve been burned way too many times with that.  There’s been a handful of horror remakes, such as The Ring, and The Hills Have Eyes that I enjoyed, but most of them smack of lazy filmmaking, and are just plain-old, not good.  Speaking of which, if you want a good laugh, go rent the remake of the horror movie “The Hitcher”.  I swear that it is one of the worst horror remakes of all time, and in the category of mediocrity that is horror remakes, that is saying something!

Thrill of The Chill

Tis the season to enjoy a scary movie or two.  In my opinion, if you’re not getting scared every once in a while, then you are not living.  I truly feel sorry for the people who aren’t evolved enough to get scared from horror movies.  I really do.  It’s one of the greatest rushes that you can ever feel.  It’s like riding a roller coaster or something.  I don’t ever see myself getting tired of the feeling of terror that I get from a good horror movie.  As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s how I go out, with a heart attack at an old age from watching a really scary movie.  And you know what?  That’s just fine with me.

Vampires Are Real, Read Why!

 

Originally Published 10/10/09

Vampires are very real.  They are not just fictional creatures.  They are a metaphor for people who will suck the lifeforce right out of you if you let them.  I refer to negative people as vampires because that is how I see them.  These people live for no other reason than to go around sucking the blood from other people, and infecting them with their disease, creating more vampires in the process.  People who insist on being negative are never satisfied, and they seem to want nothing else than to bring other people down with them and infect them with their negativity.

How To Spot A Vampire…

Known to be suave and sophisticated, vampires are known to be deceptive to their victims, hiding their true nature.  On first impression, vampires can be mistaken as charming and personable.  It is only after the victim lets their guard down that a vampire shows their true nature.  At this point, the vampire will do what it does naturally, and attempt to feed off of your blood, or in this case, your personality.  For once you allow a vampire to come into your life, you will be fighting an uphill battle to not become one yourself!

Of course, once vampirism has seeped into a person’s blood, they are no longer at liberty to fight who they are.  It is very difficult to turn away from a mindset of negativity, as one gets to urge to live his or her life feeding off of other people.  Vampirism, just like negativty, is highly contagious, and can very easily spread from person to person.  Before you know it, you have an pandemic on your hands!

Don’t Make Yourself Vulnerable!

The real clincher about vampires is that you have to invite them into your home.  You must welcome their presence before they can proceed to suck your blood.  If you refuse to let a vampire inflict you with their negativity, then they can never do you harm.  However, once you invite them into your house, you are now fighting an uphill battle to keep them from feeding on your blood.  The way that you invite a vampire into your home is to simply cave in to the negativity that they bring and allow yourself to become a negative person as well.

How To Defeat A Vampire…

Luckily, vampires have a weakness!  The weakness of all vampires is sunlight, or positivity in this case.  By allowing sunshine and positivity into a room with a vampire, they will be weakened, althought beware that before the vampire is vanquished by your positive outlook, they will become hostile and belligerent.  However, don’t doubt that sunshine and positivity can weaken even the most hardcore of vampires!

Sunshine, however, only prevents vampires from getting too comfortable.  In order to break the curse of vampirism, you have to kill the head vampire, meaning you have to stop the negativity at the source.  Negativity creates more negativity.  It’s highly contagious.  It’s not good enough to stop the negativity of one person unless they happen to be the one who influences others to be negative.  This is evident when an employer decides to fire an employee to create better morale at the workplace.  If the person being fired isn’t the source of the bad morale, then firing that person will not do any good at all!  The head vampire must be killed, or fired in order to cure the disease.

Vampirism Is A Disease

We all know a few vampires.  Maybe you, yourself are a vampire?  Only you know for sure.  And while the spell of vampirism is strong, you can overcome it for yourself.  If you decide that you want to stop being a vampire, then you must kill the head vampire.  You must stop the negativity in your life at the source.  If you cannot convince the person who is creating this disease to cease their wicked ways, then your only option is to get away from this person so that you can begin your recovery from this horrible disease.  And if you yourself are infecting other people with your negativity, then only you have the power to stop and to adopt a better philosophy.  Of course, it’s not easy to break an addiction for blood, but it can be done!

If you won’t do it for yourself, then do it for your friends, family, and colleagues.  Don’t infect other people and create more vampires.  Stop the cycle, and create some positivity in your life.  Start looking at the glass as half full, and stop complaining all of the time!  Despite how the movie industry glamourizes vampires, and how Anne Rice and Stephanie Meyer make a living off of writing about them, there is nothing cool about being a vampire!  Quick living in the dark!  Quit sucking people’s blood!  And for goodness sakes, stop infecting other people with your disease!

Treat Your Blog Like A Living Thing

 

Originally Published On 10/3/09

It’s Time For Halloween!

Fall is now upon us an the Halloween season is upon us!  I figured that I’d have a little fun with this site and do a quick redesign to celebrate the Halloween season.  Let’s face it, Halloween is fun, and all throughout October, I’ve got several treats for you, including Halloween and horror themed articles planned, as well as four tracks for you to listen to that should put you in the Halloween spirit!  But without further ado, let me get to the main point of this article.

See, my introduction IS relevant, because what I am doing with my blog is fairly unique.  Not very many bloggers take the time to “dress” up their blogs for the holidays, but why not?  Your blog is a reflection of you and your perspective on things, so why should it always look and behave in the exact same way.  You don’t go out into public dressed in the exact same way every day do you?  Of course not! (Unless you’re weird)  So why not let your blog “change clothes” every once in a while?  Even if you’re just changing the colors around a little bit, just give your blog a little personality.  Start treating you blog like a living thing!

Treat It Like A Living Thing?

Yes, treat it like a living thing.  Treat it like your kid if you’re really close to it.  Or at least treat it like a pet.

This is the exact same advice I’ve offered to people who are learning to edit video or produce music… treat your creation like a living thing!  But what do I mean by this?  I admit, the concept is a little vague, so let me delve into this subject a little deeper, and we’ll explore the things that living things need in order to survive and to be happy.

Your Blog Needs To Breathe

Every living thing needs to breathe.  We all need oxygen to live, which is the very most basic need that all living things have.  Oxygen is needed to metabolize and to creat new cells, and without it we will die.  So if we’re to treat our blog like a living thing, we need to make sure that it is breathing!

Simply put, you need to update your blog on a regular basis.  If a living creature suddenly decided to stop breathing, it would eventually die, and the same is true for your blog.  It will die if you don’t provide regular updates.  The more regular they are, the better!  And likewise, your blog doesn’t need to hyperventilate and “breathe” excessively.  Just make sure that you are providing regular updates at a predetermined interval, and your blog will be on it’s first step to living!

It Needs To Be Fed

Food is necessary for living things to obtain nutrients that the body needs to live and grow.  Without food, we wouldn’t have any energy to do the things in life that we want to.

So in order to “feed” you must strive to have a ready supply of “food”.  Your blog craves information as a source of nourishment, so make sure to constantly be reading and learning about the niche that you write about so that you can write more and more intelligently on your subject, and always try to read as many points of view as possible so that your blog can “grow”.  As the cliche goes, we are what we eat, so if you are constantly feeding your blog high quality information, then you will find that it will grow into a source for high quality information!

It Needs To Drink

Water is necessary for live for a variety of reasons.  For starters, it helps to break down food and move nutrients around, which in your blog’s case will help to circulate it’s information and ideas around the blogosphree.  Water is also necessary to flush out and cleanse our digestive tracts, so the same is true for our blogs.

So how do we “water” our blogs?  By providing regular maintenance and making sure that your HTML, CSS, and plugins are all working to the best of your ability.  Coding errors can hurt our blogs and stifle their success, so make sure that you stay it and always be striving to improve on the way that your blog is built and ran.  This includes the usage of plugins, which have the ability to either improve the functionality of your blog, or slow it down.  And having too many plugins slowing your site down is the equivalent to having a digestive tract that desperately needs to be cleansed!

It Needs To Be Socialized

No matter what your existantial beliefs are, you will probably agree that all living things are designed to be social.  It’s no coincidence that the survival of living for almost all living beings depends on sexual reproduction, meaning between two creatures.  Very few living things reproduce asexually (which means having one parent)  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that your blog needs to go out and get laid, but I AM demonstrating that socialization is built into the fabric of living things!

So make sure that your blog is getting socialized.  Get out there and comment on other people’s blogs, and discuss the ideas that those blogs are bringing up.  Maybe some of those other blogs will “come home” with yours and they’ll be nice enough to comment on your articles.  And after a little bit of socialization, who knows where the new relationships will go?  If your not out in the world meeting people and finding others to bond with, then you’re not living much of a life.  The same is true with your blog.  I would however like to point out though, that Swollen Thumb Entertainment is not currently looking for any serious relationships.  It’s just looking to have a little fun right now!

It Needs To Have Fun Every Once In A While

And speaking of fun, most living things need to have fun as a form of stress release.  After the basic needs of a living creature are met, the next thing on the agenda is recreation, so maybe it’s time that you let your blog have a little fun every once in a while instead of always being so serious?

Just like most people who are overly serious don’t come across as attrative, blogs are the exact same way!  People like people who have fun, and they like blogs that have fun as well!  As far as what it takes to have fun, I can’t answer that for you.  Everyone has their own definition of what they consider to be fun, so every blog will have it’s own definition as well.  Maybe allowing the blog to “dress up” for holidays like mine does, or putting out a silly article every once in a while?  Whatever you do, just make sure to have fun doing it!

And It Needs To Have FreedomFreedom!

And finally, one of the most innate needs that all living things have is to be free of bondage and to have the freedom to do the things that it wants to do.  There are many different theories concerning why we seek freedom and aren’t simply content with having our basic needs met, but it is a simple fact that human beings and animals all desire to roam free and to not be confined to a small space.

So don’t isolate or confine your blog.  Let it stretch out and have room to grow.  Let it explore and possibly “find itself” in the process!  Don’t pigeonhole your blog into a small niche if it wants to experiment with other topics.  Don’t give your blog too many rules that will prevent it from maturing and becoming great.  Don’t try to be a control freak and moderate and censor all of the comments that other bloggers leave on your blog!  Simply put, don’t try to control your blog too much.  Allow your blog to grow into the blog that it was destined to become, and not the blog that you envisoned it to be when it was born.  Like I said earlier, treat your blog like you would a child, and respect the direction that it wants to take in it’s life.

Living Life

Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to rethink the way that you treat your blog.  So many of us take such a boring approach to our blogging, and aren’t using our creativity and our wits when we sit down to create content.  But not only that, but sometimes, like any other art form, the answer is to just let the blog become what it is going to become.  Painters don’t always have a clear cut vision of what they want to paint, scuptors don’t always know exactly what their statues are going to look like;  musicians are known to improvise when the inspiration kicks in, so why should your blog follow a linear path?  Simply put, it doesn’t have to!  Let your blog live it’s own life, and try to learn to respect that.

Is Music Getting Better Or Worse?

Originally Published On February 15, 2009

 

“Who needs new music?  We all know rock music attained perfection in 1974.  It’s a scientific fact.”

-Homer Simpson

“My Music Is Better Than Yours!”

It seems that every generation becomes attached to the music that they grew up with.  I dare you to find a group of people more sentimental than 50-something adults and their early 70’s rock, or the 30ish population, recently deprived of their youth, clinging to the simpler times of big hair and high hopes of the 80’s.

Even the MTV generation is starting to go all “grandpappy” on the young-ins, remembering a time when the stars of the 90’s made their living with songs about complete and total apathy, as opposed to the emotional ranting of today.  I imagine that in a decade’s time, we’ll have a new generation that will long for the times when every young minority, either rich or poor, could make a healthy living by being a rapper, and when emo music was still considered “cool”.

“They Don’t Make Music Like They Used To…”

I doubt that there’s a lot of people who would take a stand and definitively say that “yes, music HAS gotten better”.  After all, where is the caliber of musicians nowadays to compare with the likes of Elvis, The Beach Boys, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, The Beatles, etc.?  Well, I take a different stand.  I say proudly that music has not only gotten better as time has progressed, but it’s gotten exponentially better.  What I mean is that music is as good as it’s ever been, and it’s only going to get better.

Gone are the days when a consumer’s choice of music is limited to whatever bands that a few greasy-headed, white collar executives happened to be giving favors to.  And gone are the days when artists refuse to make music for less than a lucrative contract.  There is an overabundance of music out there nowadays, made by artists who receive little more than the rush of performing It.  Make no mistake; there are plenty of quality musicians out there with zero desire to “make it big”.  And there are countless musicians who want nothing more than to make a living off of what they love to do, make music!  These are the musicians who grew up listening to the likes of Elvis, The Beach Boys, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and The Beatles, and others.

A Vehicle For The Advancement Of Indie Music

One of my favorite sites for up and coming music is www.amiestreet.com.  Here is a site that is completely dedicated to helping break up and coming artists.  All music on Amie Street starts out free, and goes up in price as it becomes higher in demand.  And not only is it good for independent musicians, but it’s good for fans of independent music!  Amie Street users buy credits, which can be used for any music on the entire site, instead of having to purchase individual downloads.  And users are encouraged to seek out and expose the cream of the crop by recommending high quality songs.  The sooner you recommend a song, the better, because recommending an unknown song that blows up equals more credits for you to spend as you wish! Please note that I don’t benefit at all from you visiting that link.  I’m not an affiliate of theirs.

As the era of the record label comes to an end, we will see more and more sites like Amie Street.  We are coming into a new age when the people are directly responsible for an artist’s growth and earnings.  The corporations are learning that, contrary to what they have long believed, the common person IS smart enough to know what he or she wants, and now they want in to reap the benefits of the indie scene’s hard work.  I just hope that we’ve learned enough in the last few decades to not let the big corporations pull the wool over our eyes.  We know that they’re not looking out for our best interests.  They want, above all other things, to profit, and they get by with providing as little value to the listener as they can.  So forget them, and start trying to support the up and coming artists.

What Niche Do You Fit Into?

Ultimately, the outcome of having so many types of music to choose from in this day and age means that there have become many niche markets, to appeal to every possible type of listener.  This is a good thing, not a bad thing.  There will be some types of music and musicians that you won’t care for, and some that you absolutely despise.  However, as we become more comfortable and self confident of ourselves as a society, I believe we will learn to be more tolerant of each other.  And I believe that we will learn to be more tolerant of the music of the new generations, regardless of whether it’s getting better or worse.

The Definition Of Artist

 

Originally Published On February 21, 2009

 

“Those who dance are considered insane by those who can’t hear the music” – George Carlin

At one point or another, I’m sure you’ve debated with someone or yourself over what an artist really is.  What is the definition of an artist anyway?  Don’t bother picking up the dictionary and trying to look up the definition of artist.  I’ll save you the trouble.

Defining The Word, “Artist”

art•ist

noun.

1. One, such as a painter, sculptor, or writer, who is able by virtue of imagination and talent or skill to create works of aesthetic value, especially in the fine arts.

2. A person whose work shows exceptional creative ability or skill: You are an artist in the kitchen.

3. One, such as an actor or singer, who works in the performing arts.


Okay, so there’s the definition.  I guess I can stop writing now.

On second thought, the problem with trying to define the word “artist” is that, while it is possible to define, it can only be understood by other artists.  People who are not artists simply cannot understand art and why people are driven to create it.  They wonder what the big deal over art is.  How can one define a purely right brain function like artistic ability, when the concept of defining is done purely in the left brain?  It’s like trying trying to explain to the Sun what darkness is.

Through The Eyes of An Artist

When you are artist, it affects everything you do.  It would be a stretch to call every movement that an artist makes a work of art, but I would consider everything that an artist deliberately does to be artistic.

● An artist approaches a situation like arranging furniture differently than a non-artist.

● An artist is more likely to create an image for himself or herself than a non artist.

● An artist has a unique perspective on the world.

● An artist has a strong drive to share that perspective with other people through “works of art”.

Whether or not the actions of an artist are worthy of being inducted into a museum is irrelevant.  If that is your response to what I am writing, then you are missing the point.  I’m not trying to define what a “work of art” is. I’m trying to explain what an “artist” is.

Recognizing Limitations And Opportunities

● When arranging furniture, an artist may take more stock into size, shape, and color of the furniture, and may even delve into elements of Feng Shui.

● When clothes shopping, an artist will often ask himself or herself what message a piece of clothing sends, and whether or not it is compatible with what they want to say.

● When faced with the shortcomings of spoken word, an artist is oftentimes unable to express himself or herself by simply stating his or her opinion.

● When an artist is creating a “work of art”, he or she is not discouraged by the limitations imposed.  Instead, the artist understands that true “works of art” are defined by their limitations, and instead, knows that they are opportunities.

As you can see, an artist is an artist at all times, not just when she is in front of a blank canvas.  It affects the way that she looks at the world.  For her to suppress the artistic side of her would be like trying to hide the fact that she is female (Or male for that matter).  It shouldn’t have to be that way, and it violates her right to be who she was born to be.

If it is your desire to create art, then don’t let anyone stop you from doing just that.  As I said at the beginning of this article, non artists do no understand artists.  There is no middle ground.  It is their loss if other people can’t understand your artistic side.  You shouldn’t have to live a less fulfilled life on their behalf.  There is hope though.

Anyone Can Be An Artist

It’s true.  If you want to be an artist, then there’s nothing stopping you.  If you are not used to being artistic though, it IS a skill that you will have to develop.  Much like a muscle that you would train by lifting weights in the gym, artistic ability must be trained.  You can do this by allowing yourself to fall into an artistic mindset, and to get in touch with your inner artist.  This is necessary before you can ever hope to have any artistic ability.  It has to come from within, instead of learning it from other people.

Artistic Ability is NOT a gift from God

Artistry is, however, not something that you are born with.  We ARE born without our psychological blocks that keep us from realizing our potential though.  Genetically, some people are born to be artists, but they were not born lucky.  These people were simply born with the ability to be proud of their artistic side, and the desire to embrace it to the best of their ability.

Just look at a child, and their natural desire to create art.  Whether it be via coloring books, drawing, play-doh, or coloring on the walls, children don’t need to be taught to be creative.  It comes NATURAL.

What has to be taught is how NOT to be creative.

What has to be taught is how NOT to be an artist.

What has to be taught is HOW to become an artist again.

 

The Word Actress Is Not Sexist

Originally Published On March 2, 2009

 

Some people get very riled up over usage of the word “Actress”.  They consider it to be a demeaning word, and the next logical step in the centuries long war of equalization of the two genders is to abolish the use of it.  After all, what possible good reason could there be for singling out an entire gender of people who act for a living?

Some people consider the word “actress” to be sexist.  After all, other roles aren’t gender specific.  You wouldn’t refer to a female doctor as a “doctress” would you?  Critics of the word point to the fact that the English language doesn’t have a lot of examples of gender specific roles, such as this.

Don’t Forget History

The emergence of actresses is a fairly new thing that didn’t come about until the 17th century.  Before then, acting was considered to be a man’s profession, and women roles were played by men.  Think about that one for a second.  Romeo and Juliet without any women.  Antony and Cleopatra without any women.  A Midsummer Night’s Dream without any women.  All of these are Shakespeare plays, and in the last example, the storyline goes that one of the characters, Francis Flute, is forced to play a role as a woman in a play within a play.  This was a common thing back in the day.

First of all, I think that a movement to get rid of the word “actress” would cause us to forget this history of the role.  To proclaim that you are an actress means that you are strong person, able to overcome the hurdles of modern day sexism, and that you are a product of enlightenment, and not of an era where women weren’t even allowed on stage.  The word actress is empowering.  After all, men don’t have a special word like this.  A man can only be an actor, but a woman can be an actor AND an actress.

The REAL issue at hand

Not to mention that actresses have to deal with issues that an actor doesn’’t. For example, it is much more common to hear about backstage “cat-fights” amongst actresses than it is to hear about feuding actors.  This is a double standard that often proves to be false.  This is a problem with society that needs to be dealt with. People are likely to believe stories such as this.  THIS is the type of issue that we should be paying attention to.

I don’t see the issue of the word “acrtress” as one dealing with sexism or the English language.  The word is not demeaning in any way.  It is simply the name of an occupation.  And as far as the english language goes, you’re talking about one of the most inconsistent languages on this planet!  There’s no need for every word, and ever term to coordinate nicely with each other.  This level of consistency is never going to happen anyway.  Like I said, the real issue of sexism comes into play with how actresses are regarded.  That issue will not be solved by abandoning a gender specific word.

One BIG problem With Getting Rid of the Word “Actress…

If we eliminate the word “Actress” from our vocabulary, then let’s also eliminate the “Best Actress” award.  If our goal is to lump all actors, male and female, into one unisex category, then let’s let the female actors and the male actors all compete for one single solitary award. Maybe we could simply change the name of the award to “Best Female Actor”, in which case we would be missing the point. Just like we don’t call a female doctor a “doctress”, we also don’t refer to her as a “female doctor”!

My point? There’s nothing wrong with the word “Actress”. It’s just a word. There’s absolutely no negative stigma to be attributed to the word. If we eliminate the word “actress” people will still spread rumors of catfights and other stereotypes.  There will still be a “Top 10 Hottest Actress” article published every week, albeit with a different name.  The common opinion about female actors will not change one bit.  So how about focusing some of that energy on tackling an issue that is actually a problem?

Art Via Committee

Originally Published On March 3, 2009

 

Into The Boardroom…

Johnny Whitecollar walks into the boardroom, carrying his leather briefcase with him as he finds his seat; a nice, comfy rolling chair with a high back.  Not any different from seven of the other eight chairs in the room, but nice, nonetheless.  Sipping on his hot latte, he quietly greets the other people in the room, until an older man walks into the room.

This man, short and balding, instantly commands the attention of everyone in the room.  A hush falls over the ten other people in the room, as they eagerly await what this man has to say.  This is obviously a man of great power.  He sits down in the biggest, most comfortable chair, so he must be the CEO.  His coffee cup is labeled “Mr. Sanders”, so that must be his name.

“We need to plan for this summer.  What kind of movies are ‘in’ right now?”  questions Sanders.

The lady to his right chimes in, “Statistics show that the cowboy genre is on its way out.  Right now, the big thing is personal empowerment.”

“What do you mean by personal empowerment?”  snaps Sanders.

“Well, people like to think that they are capable of doing anything with their lives.  Right now, people want to hear success stories about average joes who strike it rich and become successful”

“You’re right, I was reading a story about a young man who started a successful business out of his garage. Let’s make a movie about him”

Suddenly, Johnny makes his presence known. “Are we absolutely sure that we want to have another movie about a successful man? After all, ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ came out a few years ago.”

A second woman peeks up from her stack of paperwork to chip in, “Market trends indicate that the woman demographic is down.  We need to find a way to get more women to the theaters”

Flustered, Sanders proclaims “Then let’s change the main character to a broad.  That will get the chicks to come out.”  It’s almost as if he is annoyed that he has to work to get people to go to the movie theaters.  “Okay, now that we have a story, we need to find a director.  Find me the most agreeable trained monkey that you can!”

Johnny chimes in with some more of his precious wisdom, “We need to hire a writer.  Don’t forget that this movie hasn’t even been written yet”

Sanders replies “Great observation, whoever you are.  Get on the horn and sign whoever you can for union wage.  Send him a copy of the latest US Weekly, and make sure that he is able to fit in all of the actors we want.”

Two months later…

Joe the Screenwriter is sitting in his Hollywood studio apartment, watching TMZ on TV and enjoying his organic salad.  His maid brings him the phone, letting him know that it’s the movie studio.  Elated, he answers the phone, hoping that they are ready to pay him the rest of his salary for writing their newest movie.

“Hello”, says Joe.

Skipping any formal introduction, the lady on the other end launches right into the bad news.  “We need you to redo your script and add a happy ending to it.”

“Aw man!”

Two weeks later…

“Now we need to hire someone to rewrite it.”

Four Months Later, shooting has begun…

“Now, we’ll let the actors change everything about it, completely undermining the work of the first two writers.”

Three Months later, when the movie is edited together…

“Now that it’s finished, after getting some focus groups together, we’ve decided to order some reshoots, because there were certain scenes that didn’t test well.  Turns out that the audience wanted to see her get back with her ex boyfriend after she spend two years of her life focused on her career.”

“That’s not how it happened in real life.”

“Well that’s how it’s going to happen in MY movie!”

End of Story

Film is at its best when it’s less of a collaborative effort.  It’s one thing for a writer/director to work with the actors in order to refine the workings of a script, but there’s no circumstances where screenwriters should be getting advice from a board meeting.  There’s a phrase that goes “Too Many Chefs Spoil The Broth”, and this is very true for movies as well.  When a script is picked up by a talented screenwriter, then it should go straight to the director, who will make all of the decisions regarding changes or revisions.

Unfortunately, this isn’t how the real world works, and the result is formulaic movies that lack in storytelling and dramatic features.  I’m sure that if anyone in the movie industry were to read this, they would dismiss my ideas as being naive, due to the fact they “know what works” and I don’t.  However, don’t forget that the movie industry is in a downward spiral, and people are choosing NOT to give as much money to the movie theaters as they used to.  It’s time for the movie industry to make some changes, and I think that “Art via Committee” is one of the first things that they should get rid of.

The Definition Of Work

Originally Published On April 1, 2009

 

One of the greatest (or worst) realizations of recent history is the one where human beings realized that people shouldn’t hate what they do for a living.  It’s great because there’s no reason why people should be unhappy at their work, and God only knows why we have believed otherwise for so long.  Yet it’s bad because our productivity as a human race has dwindled in recent years as we have yearned for more happiness in life and less work ethic.   This is an interesting issue, and is one that I think people should be taking a stronger look at.

Let’s Look At The Positive Aspect

Let’s face it.  Life is too damn short to be spending a good portion of it unhappy.  The average person works 86,000 hours of their life, which is equal to 3,583 days.  Almost 10 years.  That’s a lot of time to be unhappy, isn’t it?  You’re damn right that it is!  Get this, if you’re married, and working a full time job, you’re actually spending more time at work then with your spouse…unless of course, you’re one of the few people to work with your spouse.

The desire to be happy in our day to day lives is a natural one.  Just take a look at any toddlers, who have yet to be instilled with the rules of the world, just observe what they do.  They do exactly what they want to do, that’s what they do!  The belief that we must be unhappy in our day to day lives, (Which is what work is, our day to day lives) is certainly not a natural one.  That is a belief that must be taught.  In our natural state, we are like these toddlers who cherish every moment and try to enjoy every day we are blessed with.

And Then There’s The Negative

Yet, so many people in the past have had the opinion that work shouldn’t be fun.  There’s a reason why there’s two separate words for work and play, after all.  They can’t coexist.  They can only exist as two different things.  There is a time for work, and a time for play!  And if you are an entrepreneur, then you’re not going to grow and learn new skills if you are not pushing past your comfort level and doing the “un-fun” things.  If you’re only having fun at work, then you are staying too far within your comfort level, aren’t you?

So are these people right?  When one person looks at the industrial age of the early 20th century compared to this age, it’s hard to argue that the human race, despite being much bigger 100 years ago, is much less productive than we we were back then.  Look at all of the things humanity has accomplished since 1909.  Companies such as Hallmark, Amoco, Hilton Hotels, Malt-O-Meal, RCA, United Artists, Merrill Lynch, BMW, Boeing, Chevrolet, Columbia Pictures, Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios were all founded during the 1910’s alone.  Then the with the 1920’s came movies with sound, the emergence of radio, enclosed cars, penicillin, and long distance phone calls.  These advances came through hard work and innovation, not treating life as one giant playdate.

But What Are We Working Towards?

After all of our advances in quality of life, architecture, food, electronics, computers, entertainment, and everything else, people aren’t working any less nowadays.  If anything, people are working more than ever.  And not only that, people are working more shifts.  We’re sacrificing our home and social lives so that we can continue to plow away at our jobs, day in and day out.  Some of us work day AND night shifts.  Some of us work multiple jobs.   Some of us are forced to look for multiple revenue streams.  Not everyone who sells items on eBay do it because they are bored, after all.

So what is it that we’re trying to work towards?  The human race is a giant ant colony on this planet of ours, and just like ants, we refuse to slow our pace, and we refuse to stop working toward this eventual destination that we aspire toward.  We are marching forward to our destiny, blissfully unaware of what awaits us on the horizon.   We are building the future, and yet we have no idea what that future is!

Here’s My Interpretation

I believe that the very meaning of life is creation.   We are on this planet so that we may create.  It is in our genetic makeup.  It’s what makes us sexual.  It is what makes up wake up and punch the clock five times a week.  It’s what makes the amateur musician spend his precious spare time making music and performing in nightclubs.  It’s what makes life worth living.  It’s the fuel for all of our ambition.  It is what drives us forward toward our eventual goal.

It is this unwavering desire for the human race to continue to create things that makes me believe that we all have a greater purpose.   We have a greater purpose together, and we have a greater purpose individually.

Your Greater Purpose

The definition of work is the pursuit of realizing our greater purposes.  For some of us, it will take more time and effort than for others.  However, we are all on a path toward our destination, and we will not get there automatically.   Whether our jobs involve providing food for each other, or entertaining each other, we are simply programmed to be at our happiest when we are on the path toward our greater purpose.   This is why I believe that work should be fun.  If it’s not fun, then you are not on the right path.

 

Identifying Your Target Audience

Originally Published On April 3, 2009

 

Don’t Skip This Important Step!

It’s important before you produce anything that you know who you are trying to market your product towards. Not everyone shares the same definition of value, and if you are expected to provide value to your audience, then you must pinpoint what group of people has a need for your product or service.

Now you might be saying “I’m not trying to target anyone in particular. I’m just being true to myself, and I want people to like my work for that reason”. I hate to tell you, but that is simply a cop-out excuse. It’s a reason to be lazy. You can still be true to yourself without sacrificing the necessary steps to finding your target audience.

A Real Life Comparison

Look at it this way. Do you always act exactly the same way around different people? I’m sure that your mannerisms and attitude changes around different people depending on their age, race, religion, or gender. There’s nothing wrong with this. We all do it. Of course, it’s better to not change around different people than it is to be a completely different person. And maybe you don’t change who you are around people of a certain type, but just depending on their personality.

What I’m getting at is that when you’re making these subtle changes to fit in with the people around you, you are adapting your “socializing strategy”. Now imagine that you decided to socialize with one certain type of people more often than others? You might do this for any number of reasons. Most likely because you felt most comfortable socializing with those people. The more you hung out with those people, the better you would get at talking to them, and you’d probably make a lot of friends.

It works the same way in the business world. It makes no sense to try to market to everyone, and to try to please everyone.

In My Case…

Take me for example. My target audience with Swollen Thumb Entertainment is young people. I don’t have an exact age, but it’s anywhere between 15 and 30. Now, if people younger or older than that are interested in what I’m doing, that’s great. However, I’m not going to chase after those demographics because they most likely won’t understand what I’m trying to do. I also don’t distinguish between males and females, because I don’t feel that the entertainment that I want to provide is polarizing like that. I’m also not too concerned with pinpointing or excluding any races.

Finding YOUR Target Audience

Those are all things that you should take into account. There is no shame in saying that you want to target… let’s say black females between the ages of 40 and 60. Maybe your target audience is white men between the age of 25 and 35. Or any combination of race, gender and age. The thing is, maybe your product or service would be best marketed in this way. One thing is for sure, you have to narrow it down as much as you can, so that you can directly seek out and speak to the people whose lives are incomplete because they have yet to discover or comprehend the value of what you are trying to sell them.

And that’s what it boils down to… value. You have to provide value to your target audience. That must be your number one goal with any business venture, because that is how you establish a business. Customers or clients have no problem giving you their money, as long as they are getting value in return. But what is valuable to one person is less valuable to others. This is the purpose of identifying your target audience. Because the ultimate, number one, best definition of a target audience is a group of people who share the same definition of value. It is your job to find that target audience, and give them your product which will fulfill that value.