The Artist’s Life

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Risk. Risk in regards to the entertainment industry, boy, where to begin with this. I guess I can start by saying, every time we produce something whether it be in motion pictures, for the stage or the page we’re taking a risk. And often it’s a big risk.

First and foremost there is the financial risk of it all. And of course there are no sure bets in the entertainment industry. It’s always hard to say what will hit with an audience and become a financial superstar. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is a great example of a ‘who knew’ moment. Of course most stories told about weddings or getting married tend to have a built in audience, that’s why there are so many of them. The “built in audience” is mostly defined when you base your film, tv series etc. on material that was successful in another medium, like “Twilight”. The hope is that everyone that read the book will want to see the movie. So that some revenue seems assured, helping to minimize your financial risk.

But enough talk about money. I think that financial risk is pretty obvious to everyone. What gets lost in the shuffle is the risk that all of us on a personal level take every day, as we try to make something we truly believe in as artists. We risk almost everything. We risk our futures, both financially and personally. We risk our current relationships, our future relationships, our sanity and our overall integrity as people just so that we can do what we love. And in many cases what we feel driven to do, which is tell stories that we hope enrich people’s lives in some way or another. Is it a good risk? Well, I guess only us as individual artists can answer that.

I learned the other day that Leonardo da Vinci spent his whole life working at what we like to call a “day job” just to make ends meet to support his art. Da Vinci punched a clock in between the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. In all honesty, I still can’t figure out if this should make me feel better or worse about the risk I take day in and day out. Could my life be less risky if I settled into a 9 – 5p job behind a desk, no longer worrying about whether I’ll get to make this project or that project while settling into some sort of financial stability? Well, maybe. But would I be happy? Happiness is the one thing I’m sure we all can agree is always worth the risk.

Photo Credit:tatianabarbie

About The Author

TINA CESA WARD is a writer and director for film and new media. Her short film In Their Absence has screened in over a dozen festivals around the world and was awarded five times both domestically and abroad. And was named one of the best short films of the decade by Festival de cortos MíraLes in 2011. For three seasons Tina was the Executive Producer/Writer/Director of one of the most beloved independent scripted dramas on the web, Anyone But Me. Anyone But Me has reached over 35 million views and has brought home several industry awards highlighted by Tina (along with Susan Miller) winning the first ever Writers Guild Award for Original New Media. Nomination highlights include Webby nominations and Streamy Award nominations. And in 2012 Tina (along with Susan Miller) took home the International Academy of Web TV award for writing in a drama. Tina has been nominated several times for her directing, and in 2013 won the International Academy of Web TV Award for Best Directing in a Drama. In 2010 Tina directed the successful branded web series Bestsellers. In 2011 Tina debuted the critically acclaimed Good People in Love, which DIGIDAY calls “...a new milestone for online video series.” Tina hard at work on her new series Producing Juliet which made its world premiere at the Raindance Film Festival’s WebFest and is now currently in release. Tina is also the creator and writer of the comic book series Guards of Dagmar, which is published digitally through Comixology.

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