Are you a Performer or a Creator?

Nikon D750, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 12800, ƒ/4, 1/250

Jeffrey Masin is a one man band that entertains New Yorkers down in the subway stations. I ran into him a few times while in NYC.

The reason I am using Jeffrey as a point of reference is because his performances are stopping folks and they not only listen many of them are posting videos of him on their YouTube channels. Isn’t that what you want your work to do to make people STOP and LISTEN?

Here is a taste of his music:

Here is another music performance, but this is by a band The Queens Cartoonists. They too have audiences STOPPING and LISTENING.

Nikon D750, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 12800, ƒ/8, 1/160

I guess you want to hear them as well, so here is a clip of them playing.

What is important to realize is they are both entertaining and yet they are very different. From a purely economic perspective I doubt that the Queens Cartoonists are being tipped in the subways all that much more than Jeffrey Masin.

Just doing the simple math you can see that there are now six verses only one person. For the Queens Cartoonists to make a similar living to Jeffrey Masin they need to book bigger venues where they are not relying on tips. By the way when you Google both of the groups you quickly understand that is exactly what appears to be happening.

The Queens Cartoonists are getting paid to do commercial work for recording and play in clubs.

photo by Jeff Raymond

Today I am a multimedia storyteller. The hats I am wearing are like looking at Jeffrey Masin the one man band. I am the producer, camera guy, sound guy, lighting director, editor and marketer for many of the projects that I am working on for my clients.

You see they too love the sound of the six piece band, but most of them cannot afford to hire that size band as compared to hiring me. You see you need to figure in expenses on top of the creative fee. Just factor in the airfare for six people, meals, hotels, cars and many of the other typical expenses and that can get out of hand.

But just like The Queens Cartoonists, Jeffrey Masin stops the crowds on the subways of NYC and get their attention.

By all means you need to learn to collaborate and work with a team to get the best quality of product, but you also need to know how to do it all yourself or you might not be working that often.

Nikon D750, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 4000, ƒ/4, 1/60

To make music you don’t need to play every instrument but for the most part those songs that really resonate with people are often stories. In this way if you are aware of the storyline you can as a producer figure out how to tell that story with the abilities that you have.

The key element that really separates those working regularly and those who are always begging for jobs in the industry is understanding of what is a story and how to craft a solid storyline.

This year I will be teaching this skill in Nicaragua, Hawaii and Honduras. The Honduras trip still has openings. Go here to learn more about how to do storytelling and do it as a one man band, because many that will hire you just cannot afford the expenses of a larger band.

Gary S. Chapman is the other instructor on the Honduras trip. Gary works with NGOs and other organizations helping them to tell stories. Some of Gary’s clients include Delta, World Vision, Atlanta Mission, National Geographic publications,  National Geographic TV and TOMS Shoes. Check out Gary’s marvelous work on his website

What do all these musicians above have in common with me?

We are all not just creating great content, we are fully responsible for the performance and finding our audience.

What do musicians and photographers not working have in common?

I would say that the main thing that I am seeing from my perspective is they are all calling up other groups and asking if they can join them. They are not really storytellers. They are technicians wanting a storyteller to hire them to help that storyteller tell a story.

Just look at the tens of thousands of “performers” who have been on the TV shows The Voice and American Idol. The overwhelming majority of them are just technicians. They are not the songwriters. That is why you might think they sound good performing another writer’s song, but you don’t see 99% of them making a living in the industry.

Most every successful photographer, videographer, and writer that I know has taken on a personal project where they are producing their own content and finding the audience.

I can never do all that

If you are saying this I understand. I too felt that way. If you come with me to Honduras, Gary and I will walk beside you and help you navigate the deep waters of storytelling. Register today!! Come with us and learn how to become a creator of content and not just a performer.