On Reinventing Yourself

A few weeks ago I saw this mural by Wrdsmth and Brett Crawford in Carlsbad, CA.

This is a great message, but the truth is I’m always afraid of reinventing myself.

I’m sure a handful of people out there somewhere are wondering when I will make a new Sir Millard Mulch album. I wonder that, too. What would have happened if I had continued on that single path? If I had moved out to L.A., joined an established band that I liked, did wacky bass clinics, built something on the micro-success of the How To Sell… record?

But it’s just… not what I wanted to do. I found myself pulled towards other things. To be honest, I would feel deeply unsatisfied with my career if all I could do was play music. And, the lifestyle of a musician would drive me crazy.

Still, I struggle with this deep (false) belief that’s difficult to overcome: that I must pick one thing, commit to it for the rest of my life, and become the best in the world at it.

I don’t know where that belief came from. I love multiple art forms, and how they can be combined. Every “department” I’ve worked in (graphic design, animation, writing, videography, video editing, composing music) informs and reinforces the others. For instance, music scoring became “unlocked” for me after a decade of editing videos. I never thought I could do it, but then realized one day: “oh, this is just video editing, but in music!”

I get kinda good at things. But the self-criticism and guilt and fear set in. I will spend a couple of years intensely focused on classical orchestration, get good at it, and then shift gears to animation. I constantly worry that I’m too unfocused in my overall career path. That in all that time I could have gotten REALLY GOOD at just one thing. “Maybe I should have stuck to writing movie trailer music.” My mom thinks so, anyway.

Here’s the good news. There is a macro-art that can contain all of these disciplines. Filmmaking.

It allows me to put it all together and do all those things I enjoy.

At this point I’ve made some documentaries and animated pilots, and the brutal lesson is this: screenwriting is the core. If I can “master” that skill, the rest will be easy for me. (Relatively speaking).

So that’s what I’m currently obsessed with. I’m hoping my next project will be the same leap in writing skill that That Monster Show was from Oracle of Outer Space.

I spend hours a day analyzing film and TV writing. My goal is to write a great screenplay in 2022. I don’t know what it will be. Maybe a new animated series, maybe a live action drama. In the meantime, I’m following my own personal path of creativity and learning.



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