I’ve been attending San Diego Comic-Con since it was just rows upon rows of long boxes at Golden Hall next door to the the Civic Theatre, when you could just walk up the day of, pay a few bucks and walk right in. I’m not new to this con. But these last couple of years, I’ve been seeing it through the eyes of a beginner…this time in the pursuit of being a creator in this world of pop culture, not just a consumer.
I’m not new to the struggles of starting in a creative industry, from my first career in animation to my current career in advertising. The hardest part of getting into a new industry is getting past being a beginner. You have to embrace the right of passage, there are things you have to learn, and experiences you have to experience before you’re no longer a beginner. If you can’t welcome the struggles of being a beginner, then maybe it’s not something you want to pursue.
To get passed the beginner zone I learned there are three things I need:
You know if you have a great idea or a stinker. The best stink-indicator is when you look back at your idea next morning and think, “Nope, that was dumb.” But if you’re still working on that concept and are still building it out for months, or years, without losing excitement, you can’t wait to share it, that’s passion. Don’t lose it. Without a paycheck in sight, the only thing to fuel your concept is your love for the project. Without that love it’s no longer a passion project, it’s a task. Find that passion and fuel it.
Besides wanting the hell out of something and loving it, you have to get at it. It sounds simple but so many people have the talent, the dreams, and the passion but they don’t do the work. “One day I’m gonna ______.” We’ve all heard this line, we’ve all said it. But until you make something, how do you know you can do it? How will you learn to do it and get good at it? It’s going to take a lot of self-motivated hours but if you have the passion, it won’t feel like work.
You might have been working at it for a while but you’re not great at it, yet. That’s why you’re a beginner. Have the patience to know you’ll learn, make mistakes, and get better. You’ll need that same patience as you network and build your reputation. One day you’ll get noticed by the right person to give you the shot you deserve, because you have the passion and persisted to put in the work.
Now back to my adventures in being a beginner. It’s been a long road so far. I’m two years in of researching, outlining, writing, researching some more, writing, editing, writing, outlining, writing, editing, writing terrible dialogue, sharing with my friend/editor, editing, and repeating. In that time, I’ve completed scripting three of my five-issue mini series and have the last two outlines waiting for me. It might seem slow but I have a full-time job and kids I love spending time with. But I have the passion and persistence to keep at it. Also, I’m not rushing the beginning part. I want to learn as much as I can each step I take.
At this year’s SDCC I had the opportunity to meet more people in the industry, this time I had more experience and the work to show for it. I was given the chance to share my story and show them who I am as an artist/writer.
For now I’ll keep working on my scripts, continue to learn, and hone my process. I’m making plans for my next story, to take what I learned from creating this series to make the next one even better. Hopefully, my next update will share how I got my break. Until then; passion, persistence, and patience. Goodness, do I need more patience.