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.