Creative Insubordination – by Professor Scott Walters

Professor Scott Walters

The always provocative, ever intelligent and rousingly passionate Professor Scott Walters has abandoned his blog Theatre Ideas and started a new one called Creative Insubordination.

Why? Well, I’ll let the Professor tell you in his own words:

This blog is about a New Way of Thinking.

It is about Finding Another Way.

It is about Creative Emancipation.

It is about Reclaiming the Means of Production.

It is about Leading a Creative Life.

On my Theatre Ideas blog, I quoted inventor Buckminster Fuller: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”

I spent seven years fighting the existing reality.

This blog is about the new model.

Sounds rather lofty, eh?

Well check out his most recent posts here, here, herehere and here and you’ll see he’s not just floating in the ether, he’s digging in and squarin’ up. Here are some excerpts:

- Remember when you started out and you felt so much joy in simply doing the work? And then something happened, and someone told you that the real joy was not in doing the work, but in being recognized by the “right people” in the “right places.” When you free yourself from these imposed hierarchies — when you “choose yourself” — suddenly the opportunities to share the frisson of creativity become endless.

- I’ll go out on a limb and make a prediction: you can can make at least as much as 60% of AEA members. Anywhere. Without auditioning. And doing only the work you want to do. Reclaim your independence.

You may not think of anything in the arts as a factory, but isn’t it often called the “industry” or “show biz”? The theatre building is the factory, and the sets and lights and costumes the machines, and the front of house is the system. And the labor? The artists.

The same is true of your talent. The current system encourages you to think of yourself as a product to be packaged and sold. The audition process commodifies your talent and turns you into a brand. Until you change your thinking about what you do, nothing else will change.

This blog is for the impractical, if by impractical you mean innovative. It’s for people who want to take control of their own creative lives, who don’t mind thinking like an entrepreneur, who are willing to broaden their concept of how they interact with others, who aren’t afraid of doing more than one thing, who put work above prestige, who don’t want anyone to tell them where to live and when they can create, who are fed up with being told “thank you, we’ll let you know.” Creativity is a basic human right.

So if I value creative independence, I need to overcome my need for reflected prestige, develop a group of followers whom I value and who value me, and have my finances arranged so that I can survive. That last one is what some of you are reading this blog for. We’ll get to it. But the other two elements are just as important, if not more so. To be independent, you need to do the work for the work’s sake without worrying about prestige. This involves focusing on intrinsic motivation rather than extrinsic motivation. The former is freeing, the latter enslaving. And you need to develop a “tribe,” a group of people who are following your work and who you can rely on to be interested in it. Your committed audience. You need to know these people, know why they are your tribe. They aren’t generic, they aren’t “the public.” Some people derive a sense of prestige by selling their good to strangers, and they deride those who create for “their friends.” This is dumb. The key is to have a wide enough circle of friends to give your work resonance. Once you have these two things, then you can start thinking about the finances, the business models, the way to support yourself. But first things first: become independent.

Lofty? Most definitely. Impractical? Perhaps, but I think that’s the point. And bold? No doubt.

Take heed and read, LemonHeads.

Carry on, Professor.

Filed Under: colin mitchellFeaturedPonderings


Colin Mitchell About the Author: COLIN MITCHELL: Actor/Writer/Director/Producer/Father, award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Broadway veteran, Marvel comics scribe, Van Morrison disciple, Zen-Catholic, a proud U.S. Army Brat conceived in Scotland and born in Frankfurt, Germany, currently living in Los Angeles and doing his best to piss off as many people as possible.

RSSComments (4)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Thanks for the shoutout, Colin. As the blog continues, I was begin to flesh out some ideas for achieving some level of creative independence. While the first posts have focused on letting go of the current paradigm (and I suspect there will be more), as time goes on there will be resources, ideas, examples, and inspiration.

  2. Colin Mitchell Colin Mitchell says:

    Looking forward to it, Scott. And hey, can you put us on your blogroll? Always love some blogroll love.

    If you haven’t already, folks, check out the professor’s blog. Lots of good stuff and more to come I’m sure.