So with a little over a week to digest the “results” of my 30 in 30 project, I thought I’d share with you some insights I picked up, and an easy place to check out all the offerings for something that might catch your eye.
• Actual completion of the project. I’m not gonna lie (stupid saying, maybe the stupidest ever — anyone you trust wouldn’t need to say they aren’t lying, and anyone who was planning to lie to you wouldn’t call attention to their level of honesty), there were times where my not-quite-best laid plans had fallen all to hell and I didn’t think I was going to get anything out on a given day. Somehow this never happened, though I couldn’t say to you with a straight face that everything I posted was of equal quality.
• It got me doing. A shortened version of a big philosophy of mine is that the action of doing something that you are passionate about is often a greater success than the actual product you create as a result of that passion. That is to say, the very fact that I was able to force myself to make time in my life for creation again was in-and-of-itself a better accomplishment than any of my rambling writings, poor cover songs, etc.
• Networking. No, really. For as much as social “networking” is all the rage, if we’re being honest very little (if any) social networking is actually networking related. More often it’s trying to track down the hot co-workers’ bikini pics and avoiding finding out which of my friends go engaged most recently. Or maybe that’s just me. But what 30 in 30 was able to do was really open my eyes to the resources around me in terms of areas where I lack expertise (photography, directing, etc.), and force me to network with people who are actually good at those areas where I’m even more lacking than usual.
• Sleep and stress. Whether or not it came across in my posts, lots of what I did was at the sacrifice of decent amounts of sleep (even by my six-hours-a-night-is-plenty standards), and having some of my more grandiose ideas fall apart at the last second added a bit more stress to my days than they would’ve had otherwise.
• Unscripted. It never dawned on me until I sat down to start writing that posting a few pages (or even all) of a script or short I’d written was not going to be interesting to pretty much anyone. This is a con because a big goal of 30 in 30 was that I would produce more scripted material to have on hand, but my time was such that most days I could’ve either put together a post for 30 in 30, or write a chunk of script, and I didn’t want to sacrifice my public accountability of creativity to work on script stuff. So while I don’t regret how I managed my time, in the future I think it will be good to have that expectation/realization going into things.
• Product. A big gripe of mine with myself (and believe it or not, I have a ton of them) is that the “Artist Dustin” doesn’t have a stock product to produce or peddle. Sure, I’ve done some acting with a modicum of success, but I can’t exactly go door-to-door and say “Good afternoon, sir and/or madame, would you like to rent an actor for the day?” Although I hear that’s how Tom Green got his start. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a few things published over the years, but as far as being a “writer” goes, I don’t have any sort of “next great American novel” idea brewing that I can shop around. Somehow I was hoping the benevolence of the art gods would give me a product — something tangible — that I could start making or schlepping around to comedy clubs or agents or something. But who knows, maybe this will come with time.
• Ambition is a bitch. When I first concocted this idea for a project in late August, I had some spectacular ideas (and I have the 3am scrawlings in my notes app to prove it), everything from short films, to comedy sketches, to live video podcasts, to a contest drawing to win a day of me coming to do laundry at your house (not making those up, way to go, 3am Dustin!). In execution though, it became apparent that someone who works 40+ hours a week doesn’t have the time to produce a full video shoot, crank out original script ideas, or coordinate logistics for a shot-for-shot remake of Charlie Sheen’s final scene in his awful sitcom. Also, as a project that was funded solely on passion and the desire to create, vs, you know, money, it was hard to get other people to volunteer their time and/or resources to the cause (cameramen, directors, additional actors, podcast costars, etc.). I sometimes forget that my idea of fun (being extroverted, showing off and generally being obnoxious) isn’t necessarily everyone else’s, especially in a town where the wannabe-actor-to-citizen ratio is less than the 1:1 it is in LA. In the future I would either need to do a much better job of planning the bigger ideas/shoots in advance, or just acquire a ton of funding somehow (unrelated, what’s the security like on the 7/11 in Gahanna?).
• Space to create. I live with two teachers and a brother who regularly gets up before they start serving coffee at Starbucks (poor bastard). Selfishly, this means that when the inspiration to narrate a Michael Bay explosion scene strikes at 3am, it’s probably not realistic for me to start yelling and screaming at the top of my lungs (at least not if I want to avoid waking up to an eviction notice). For the next round of my forced creation, I would probably try to track down a space where humans wouldn’t be subjected to me trying to sing a high Bb for a cover song after midnight.
• Budget time for life. In the midst of fighting off creative resistance and logistical avalanches, I found that I hadn’t really allotted myself for those silly little things like, you know, doing laundry, running important, errands, previously-scheduled travel, etc. When every hour of free time was at such a high premium, having to spend chunks off my off days running to Target and the like was maddening. When I try this sort of thing again, I will either hire a maid or go showerless for a month (also known as tour life).
I had fun, I learned a little bit, and I forced myself to be motivated even when it was the last thing I wanted. In the end, that’s all I really wanted to accomplish. But the real win for this sort of thing will be if I can take this “all day, every day” mentality and continually apply it to the other, less public projects I have going on in my life, or my pursuit of life as an entertainer/actor/writer/whatever. Which means the real benefits of having completed this project may not become clear until five years from now. Which is good, because if I’m still single five years from now, I’m gonna need all the benefits I can get. Wink.
In any event, I thank all of you for your time, even if it was just a moment to skim something and roll your eyes, and I hope you continue to give Dustin-flavored projects a chance in the future. You guys are my heroes. Like Enrique Iglesias.
The 30 in 30 Project: