Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Do you fit the Profile of a Creative Artist who will Succeed?

What is the DNA of a Successful Creative Artist?* 

One of the areas I’m working on with the next Professional Screenwriting book is helping artists achieve self-awareness while they pursue their craft. 
To that end, I believe much can be learned from studying creative artists, past and present. Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time looking for patterns that might reveal the answers to key and relevant (meaning 2016) questions concerning creativity. 
I’ve come up with more than 20 compelling elements worth considering if you are wondering whether you have... the right stuff.  
With this post I want to share 10 of those 20+ attributes I believe many successful artists have in common. With the exception of the first attribute, none of the other 9 are ranked in any special order of importance: 

1 Most successful creative artists have a history of being able to demonstrate their innate creative/artistic talent to third parties able to judge such attributes.Even "late bloomers" (those who end up successful late in life) will almost always have a history of showing innate talent early in their life. Natual talent for a particular art or craft is always a huge factor in profiling successful artists. 

2 The successful artist usually has a lifelong passion for the creative arts. 

3 Even though there may be a lifelong passion for the creative arts, the successful artist has a history of progression from being a fan of Movies/TV/Books/Media to being part of the creative process.  

4 Many successful Creative Artists have spent a lot of time, (sometimes years), thinking critically about the art and craft of movies/TV/books/media. Their thoughts are intended for public consumption and often times are paid for by a third party. 

5 Successful artists often create without any guarantee of financial compensation. Sure every artist will dream at times of a huge payday for their creative efforts, but such fantasies are often not what fuels their effort. 

6 The successful creative artist usually has an extensive early history of creativity. It doesn't have to be a prodigy situation, but we are most likely talking about an early childhood passion — shooting home movies… charcoal sketches of friends… acting in Junior high school plays… learning a musical instrument, etc. 

7 The successful creative artist is self-driven. This often times leads to becoming the originator of a movie/TV/books/media project (which involves other Creative Artists the artist may not know before the project ;and is not a vanity project meant to be seen only by family /close friends). This is all about the successful creative artist at one time refusing to wait for others to grant him/her entry into the creative club, but instead acting independantly to control their own creative fate. 

8 We’ll call this the Malcom Gladwell 10k Rule - Creative Success is achieved by spending 10,000 hours of learning a specific craft - screenwriting... directing... acting... writing.. or performing music in Hamburg, Germany until you've learned your trade. 

9 There is a distinct pattern shared by many Successful Creative Artists that demonstrate the ability to learn their craft (as an apprentice/ with the help of a mentor/ by real time experience), usually over a long educational process. The successful creative artist then has the character trait to expertly apply what has been learned to enhance their talent and creative skills. 
The ability to learn/grow/evolve as a creative artist is a key factor if an one is to eventually succeed. 

10 Strong social skills are often a very important component to achieving creative success. This is more an existential reality in the modern world of entertainment and the arts than ever before.  What do I mean by “Social Skills?” Here's one key example — the ability to express a creative vision to the other artists who will be able to help a specific project become a production reality... and a success.  

* It's fair to ask the question, what is my definition of “a Successful Creative Artist?" For this list only, I define a successful creative artist as one who has achieved positive financial and/or positive critical and/or positive audience reaction to at least one creative work, specifically created for a commercial/mass audience.