Wednesday, July 03, 2013

If Moments Happen, It's A Great Show

"Religion is a theological insurance scam." Memorable line from Stephen King's interview on Fresh Air. As usual, it got me thinking. Religion is an attractive proposition because everything comes built in. Faith. Belief. Community. Ritual. Tradition. Answers. Meaning. What’s not to like? It’s the perfect system for satisfying our essential human longings. I get it. And frankly, there are times when I wish I was part of it. Life is so much easier when you think someone else is doing the deciding for you. The problem is, I'm too rational, too much of a critical thinker and too agressive of a skeptic to buy into religion. 

"I started to see that there was a new way to live, a day job with a steady stream of new challenges." Just finished Questlove's new book. Awesome read. I especially liked the chapter about how he got a day job after fifteen years of solo work. Sounds like my life. Minus the afro and millions of dollars, of course. Point being, there's something so refreshing about having a place to go every day. You can only spend so many years staring at the living room wall. 

"If moments happen, it's a great show." Whether you're doing standup, performing magic, singing karaoke or delivering a client presentation, it's all about making moments. Choreographic attention. Intentionally creating a physiological response from the audience in the form of a gasp, a laugh, a nod or a fist on the table. That's the difference maker. Talent and skill are the price of admission. The performers we remember forever are the ones who pepper in the theatrical and practice real showmanship. Inspired by a podcast with Billy Crystal.

"They didn’t wait, they showed up and showed us what was possible." That's how David Karp described his advertisers on Tumblr. Which doesn't make me despise advertising any less, but I can appreciate the spirit of that approach. If I were in ad sales, I wouldn't sit back hope to get picked. I'd find a cool way to paint a picture of the world I hope to create and make prospective clients feel like temporary citizens. That way, I might actually get an appointment instead of a dirty look.

"Starting work without a contract is like putting a condom on after taking a home pregnancy test." Brilliant insight from one of the best presentations I've seen in years. Looking back, I probably lost twenty or thirty gigs in my career, solely based on my contractual negligence. We trust each other, no need for an agreement. Bullshit. Cross my palm with silver or go find someone else. I've been stiffed, scammed and screwed over too many times. Lesson learned.