The Pre-Post-Graduation-Panic

Graduation, to me, feels like being the arrow in a crossbow. Finger on the trigger, you’re going to go somewhere far from where you are now – if you aim properly. The better the aim, the more practice you have, the more accurate the shot.

What do you do if you can’t find a target?

Jacks of all Trades, our generation. Magicians, athletes, poets, rock stars, moguls – lofty ambitions that the gods have decided will be accomplished by what’s in our pockets (or our friends pockets – the more pockets, the merrier; this is capitalism, after all).

Where was I going with this? Oh yes, ‘To Sell Out, or Not Sell Out’.

This one is particularly stingy to the art majors out there. For a sliver of hope, I turned to the Commencement Speech made by Neil Gaiman entitled “Make Good Art” (available on YouTube).

His wife, Amanda Palmer, is attributed to one of my favorite quotes, “My overall business model has always been to ignore reality, do what I want, and hope that I get paid… which usually works.” [‘How does a statue become a Cabaret star?’ Jan 8, 2014; ABC News Australia] Her TEDTalk, ‘The Art of Asking,’ explains her Boston beginnings as said statue, which she would exchange not only money for a flower from the 8 Ft Bride’s Bouquet, but a moment of genuine human interaction for people who may have gone months or years without it. Most likely a day or two, but that’s not the point.

The point is what do I, as a theatre major, have to offer the world at large, and where am I best suited to do what I do? Do I even have to move – can I just make YouTube videos on the weekends with my friends (who may or may not also have the experience needed to participate successfully in such a collaborative art)? Most importantly – how to do I get in a position where people will pay me to make things? Do I just wait for a commercial deal?

When Tim Minchin was discovered, it was because he was already a ‘finished product’. Art is Idealistic, yes, but vague notions drawn on bar napkins and karaoke slips aren’t going to sell – unless you’ve done all the work needed to make it presentable to an audience. You don’t go on Etsy and sell disassembled birdhouses, unless you’ve taken the time to include instructions and alert the buyer that is what they’re paying for.

It seems there really IS no wrong answer, except taking ‘no’ for an answer… meaning ‘refusing to take the ‘no’ and find another person who will say ‘yes,’ rather than badgering.’ Economics, ‘A Beautiful Mind’-style. I think that has something to do with the Law of Attraction, too.

In any case, even logically meting this out makes it no less intimidating. You’re strapped in, you’re about to go hurtling into the sky any minute.

Breathe.

Aim.

Let it Fly.

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