Monday, March 5, 2012

4 Myths About Making It

Hollywood Walk Star image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture production blog
Many artists and musicians have a dream of "making it." Usually that means having some measure of fame and enough money to not have to worry about the bills yet have enough left over to be able to buy a few things without having to worry about not eating for the next week. If you want to reach the highest heights of stardom more for the celebrity part of it, then read on, because fame and fortune may not be what you might expect them to be.

Here are the 4 myths about "making it," based upon the number of people I've met and worked with over the years that can be said to be in that position.

Myth 1. You'll make lots of money. It's possible, but it's also likely that you'll work really hard for many years, grossing what seems to be a fortune, only to see the great majority of it paid out to taxes, expenses,  money managers, accountants, attorneys and managers. In fact, there have been lots of case studies that found that you can actually make more working flipping burgers sometimes. Read this famous one from producer Steve Albini for an eye opener.

Myth 2. Having money will make your life easier. Maybe, but probably not. Anyone who has money and hasn't been born into it knows that having a lot of money really makes life more complicated. For one thing, you're always worrying about keeping what you have. That means keeping it away from taxes and investing it wisely, two things that can take up a lot of your time even with the best consultants and money managers. Second is that you'll begin to have people trying to get a bit of what you have, either as a loan, investment, or a handout. You'll soon have relatives you never even knew existed coming to you with their hands outstretched. Life without money will seem so peaceful and easy.

As an example, I once had the singer of maga-selling band tell me, "I own 3 houses now, and I can afford to live anywhere in the world in comfort, but I was never as happy as in those first couple of years of the band when I was forced to live in my car." Enough said.

Myth 3. You'll love being a celebrity. At first maybe, until you find that you have to fight for the privacy that you so took for granted before fame. It sounds great to have fans that always want to talk to you, engage with you, have you sign their gear and take pictures with them, but when it's constant and you can't get away from it, you find you're in your own personal prison. Every try to eat with constant interruptions? Ever have people checking out how much of a tip you left in a restaurant? Get used to it.

Myth 4. Your personal relationships will get better. It might sound very cool to suddenly be attractive to hundreds, thousands and even millions of fans. A different girl or guy (or more) every night is possible, if that's what you want. But you know what? That gets old after a while (trust me on this one), and then the problem becomes the fact that it's not easy to maintain a relationship when you're constantly on the road or in the studio. In fact, being a musician on the road is the greatest killer of relationships there is, assuming that you're lucky enough to get into one that you consider long-term. If you think a relationship was hard work before, just try doing it under these circumstances.

Most real musicians just want to be comfortable enough to make the music that they feel in their hearts. Fame isn't what they really want, just the ability to connect with as many people as possible. If you're in music for fame and fortune, you may be in it for the wrong reason. If that's the case, be careful what you wish for - you just might get it.

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1 comment:

fReinKo said...

I really enjoyed the piece. I agree most with the part mentioning people and family seeking handouts and loans. The more money you have, the more complications others will cause on it's behalf. Everyone wants a nibble. In the end it's true...
Mo' Money Mo' Problems.

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