Approaching a New Project: Four Questions Worth Asking
The weekend came and went and you may have wondered if I wandered off. I’m going to try to keep my weekends free for myself. If I get an inclination otherwise, you’ll see the words flying like sparks from a stone. This weekend, I let the words bounce about my mind and kept them largely to myself. I dealt with the look of words. The places and spaces they need to fill to be of the most use when playing Agents of Oblivion. There is no dearth of information. There is no lack of words. Only, it seems a lack of space, so the distillation process continues, and I could let myself get paralyzed in the maddening maelstrom of choice. This is the life of the creative: ever facing choices and choosing what to do, what to place in, what to leave out, even, though this may cause some to gaze enviously, even what to work on.
Making choices is easy for some, difficult for others, but we are inundated with choice every day. Each move we take opens up some door, closes others, and so on with variable permutations and combinations really too numerous to count. Ultimately, you have to go with your gut, but what do you do to hone your intuition?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when approaching a new project.
Is it going to be fun?
Passion, as we discussed last time, is going to be the fuel required to take you to the finish line. Smaller project? Less passion required. Still, more passion generally equates to better quality of work, regardless of the project’s length.
Am I able to do this project justice?
Some might consider this the same as “is this project going to overload me?” And I see false protestations of people claiming to take on too much. If you’re a professional, you really know your limitations, and something about the project incentivized you. Focus those energies on getting the work done and less on saying you took on too much. In a hundred years, if apes haven’t taken over the world and we haven’t hit the singularity point where immortality awaits, no one is going to care. The work will be judged on its own merit, not a swirling cult of transient personality. Save the drama for your podcast and/or biopic and keep things in perspective. The takeaway: professionals don’t complain, at least not publicly, they get the job done.
Am I going to learn something?
This is not any sort of imperative, but I like to push my boundaries and gain some knowledge about stuff along the way, be it a new system, a new structure, a new approach, interesting, obscure facts, or something to improve myself and my craft. Fate doesn’t always line up with this, but it generally does. Does this help (many) fuel passion? Of course, creatives like to learn. It’s applied passion when you integrate stuff into your work.
Is there a decent return on investment?
The return may be, but doesn’t always have to be, financial renumeration. There is the currency of good will. There is lending a helping hand. There is good karma. There is broader exposure. There are a hundred other things. You don’t necessarily have to do things for free to break through, and many people who have broken through speak against the devaluation of giving away your work, but there are those who do. Not everyone is out to get over on everyone. There are times when lending a helping hand helps you out in return. And even if it doesn’t, you’ve still learned something. Of course, those with established track records are more able to get gigs, but everyone somewhere along the line has paid some sort of dues. Only the disingenuous say otherwise.
Now go mull these thoughts over, and do good things.
Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!