Saturday Feb 14, 2004

No Icons, Please

Do not lionize, idolize, or make well-known figures (this list includes all those who may reject or accept your art) into icons of perfection whom you deem as essential to your work; this corrupts both you and them.

When, for example, I was in Hollywood, I saw many worthy film deals fall through because the producers, attempting to obtain financing, made a name actor (or director) an indispensable part of the package, which was a huge mistake—this gave too much power to the actor.

It is much smarter to say: We’ll have this actor, or someone else of her caliber. This takes the edge off and allows maneuvering room for the screenplay, which is the true star of any movie. While negotiating contracts, if the “essential” actor bailed, the producer’s had no deal. Artists, stars, prima donnas, museum directors, gallery owners, art publisher and poet laureates, are but only people after all.

As Mark Twain observed: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”»

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