Bills bills bills
We all got them.
It doesn’t matter how successful you are, we all have bills to pay. Orson Welles was famous for taking many promo gigs in his later years because of this fact of life. Now could he have lived in his means a bit more and not needed the work, sure, but if he did that then would we have the cultural touchstone of him hawking frozen peas or him getting drunk during a champagne commercial or the many, many other commercials he had to do to keep working in the industry? Celebrity endorsements aren’t anything new, but they’re a reminder that even these people who are paid a lot of money have to take the occasional gig that is just a paycheck.
It’s easy to look at this work and think, “What a sellout.” Guess what? They get to not go into the office on Monday because they were doing a plug for a Japanese canned coffee company.
I wanted to bring this up because, as a maker, there is often a myth that you should only work on the projects that mean the most to you. Often though, these projects are speculative at best and will not turn a profit. There are volumes of these things called books that could be filled with stories of absolutely amazing projects that no one watched or cared about, much like the said hypothetical book they would exist inside of if it existed. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t do that personal project or go all out for it. Of course not, because it might hit gold, so why not? What I am saying is that we should dispel the mythos of being a starving artist because you shouldn’t ‘corrupt’ your work with paid gigs.
We must show the world that you can be a maker of original works, but taking on gigs isn’t selling out or cheapening your message. Gigs are something that keeps makers afloat and in the game. Next time you hear or see something talking about how taking on work that isn’t that major project in your heart means you’re a sellout, don’t listen. Don’t just take any gig that comes your way, make sure it’s something you’re comfortable completing, but just don’t feel like a shill. Every successful maker does this kind of work at any stage in their career.
No shame, get paid, keep making.