keep me alive, respect my art, respect my hustle.
Trying to create a career for yourself by doing the activities you love the most is difficult. We artists are crazy for thinking it is possible. Borderline insane, actually. And I mean the actual definition of insanity. According to psychologytoday.com the definition for insanity is:
n. mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior.
Us creatives can't distinguish between the reality of having to make an income to feed, clothe, and give ourselves a place to live, and the fantasy we dwell on that of which thinking our creativity could actually make a living for us. It's insanity, isn't it? To think that a talent I have, something I'm good at, something I love to do, could make money appear in my bank account. It's dumb. It's stupid. It's ridiculous. It's childish.
It's insanity. But it's the most amazing form of insanity I know. I'm insane for thinking I could move to Los Angeles, CA, the home of all creatives who are just as insane as me, at 18 years old and make a living off of some hobbies I happen to be skilled at and enjoy. It's ridiculous and almost laughable for me to even consider it. But I did. I considered it and acted on it. It was insane for me to do and I still feel crazy at times thinking that this is actually going to work out. Or at least it's starting to seem that way.
I've been getting gigs for videography, photography, and makeup more often. And most of the time they pay some pretty pennies. But then you have those people who carry that other type of insanity. The insanity that says I should work for free because what I do is just a hobby and I love what I do, so why wouldn't I jump at any opportunity to do what I love, paid or not. The type of insanity that tells me to work for them, and doesn't ask. The type of insanity that thinks editing a video takes five minutes instead of hours upon hours of staring at a computer screen to make sure their video is exactly what they want. The type of insanity that thinks photography is as easy as pointing and shooting when they don't realize that you have to consider light and shadows, depth of field, and editing. The type of insanity that doesn't realize how expensive good quality makeup is at $40 for one color of foundation and $200 for high end brush sets. This is the type of insanity that keeps my type of insanity from melding fantasy to reality. This type of insanity seems to attach itself to the people who don't know how to do what I do.
To those who don't do videography, photography, and makeup, to those who don't know what it means to want to build a career out of what you love to do, to those who don't have the itch to make sure every project they work on is as perfect as it can be or don't care to make sure they're client is ecstatic with the outcome, every single time, it is disrespectful to me as an artist for you to demand work from me and without pay. My art is me, it is my being, it comes from within, a part of my heart, mind, and passion are put into every project I work on, and it is hurtful and disrespectful to be demanded that who I am, should be used for free and without asking.
On behalf of my heart, mind, creativity, passion, $700 camera, $500 lens, $300 editing program, $1,000 mac, $100's of makeup, $200 brush set, and my hours of work put into making sure your project is up to par, please remember to ask me, not demand me, and to not ask for free work. Yes I enjoy what I do and if I didn't have to make a living it would be a hobby I would do for free, but this is life and we have to pay for the necessities of life. So help me stay alive by respecting my art and my hustle.
xoxo, Spencer Lee