Thursday, July 16, 2009
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It's SENSATIONAL, as in "sensationalism", that is. I got home from my first visit to the gym in far too long. I'm nursing an ankle condition, but, while my workouts slowed to a screeching halt, my eating has stayed the same (gaining a short burst of momentum, even, last week when my family was in town), so I've gained a few pounds. Anyhoo - I got home from the gym, flipped on the TV so I could listen while I was making dinner. "Access Hollywood" was on (or maybe it was "Extra"), and they introduced "the next Susan Boyle". Excuse me? What happened to the first Susan Boyle (of "Britain's Got Talent" fame) to make us need another one? Then they showed a woman who appeared on "America's Got Talent" last week. Her name is Kari Callen, she was born witha cleft palate, and though it had long since been surgically repaired, she had faced a lifetime of having her vocal abilities (homegirl can sing!) overlooked, dismissed, and rejected because of her looks. She sang, and, of course, reminiscent of Susan Boyle, the audience and the judges went wild.
I am glad that both Susan Boyle and Kari Callen are getting exposure and recognition for their respective talents, but in the lauding of their talent, there's a murky undercurrent of surprise that they actually have talent, or any value at all, really.
After Boyle didn't win "Britain's Got Talent" suffered an emotional breakdown and had to spend some time in the hospital. We have heard little about her since then (hopefully she is well), and now Ms. Callen is being touted as "the new Susan Boyle", the former one discarded like trash.
So what's an artist to do?
We have to think of our talents as "products", find out where our particular brand fits into the marketplace, advertise, and deliver upon demand. Though artistry is personal, and requires that we give of ourselves, we have to understand that showbiz is not at all personal, and we should not look to the industry for validation of our worth. Not even if we are making a million a movie. Not even if we are making movies for free. Not even if we are not making the rent.
Sensationalism sells, and the industry is set up to make money. If money can be made off of you, you will be sold. You will make MORE money if you sell yourself. Yourself as a product, that is. Study the business. You decide what you have to sell, and how to package it. Whatever you can't afford to lose - keep safe.