© 2020 By Luciano Giarrano
Used by NARIP with permission
We are excited to have Luciano Giarrano – co-founder of Immersive Atlanta – guest along with Adult Swim Talent Booker / Radio Personality / Brand Ambassador Mara Davis and Paste Magazine’s Josh Jackson at NARIP’s Taste Makers Round Table: Music Trends & Opportunities panel this Wed Jan 15, 2020 in Atlanta. He is active in Atlanta bringing new music talent to light. #NARIPtastemakers
Here are his excellent, time-tested assorted aphorisms on creativity as a career:
- Creative block is a misnomer, our resting state is block. Inspiration does happen but you can’t count on it if you are making your career out of being creative. It takes consistent hard work. Find a daily routine that works for you and don’t break it for anything.
- Keep a notebook with you at all times. Always be on the prowl for ideas. Write them down when they come to you and attach a date for context. At the end of every week organize and triage your scribblings. It’s proven that writing is more effective than typing at improving cognition.
- Self-edit. The photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson said, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” Ansel Adams said, “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” Not everyone needs to see or hear everything you create. Sometimes it sucks to “kill you darlings” but it’s worth it.
- Be proud of your work but not obnoxious. Confidence sells, arrogance is a turn-off.
- Be genuinely interested in people. Mamet talks about never having met an audience that wasn’t smarter than him. Everyone (nearly almost everyone) has something of value to share and it’s up to you to find it via conversation. Being genuinely interested in unraveling that mystery makes talking to people easier and that genuineness will most likely be reciprocated.
- Don’t underestimate the value of finishing something. Finishing means catharsis which in turn means dopamine and/or serotonin release. It thusly makes follow-through addictive. That in turn makes us more motivated and more productive. In addition you learn more from finishing something than giving up, even if it’s a beat or a song no one will ever hear. Lastly, finishers are respected and it is a trait people want to support.
- Be constructively critical of art — others and especially yours: Whether it’s a pic on your IG, a snare hit or song lyric, don’t just ask if you like or don’t like it. Ask specifically why you like it or not. Then ask yourself how you can re-create what you like and avoid what you dislike. If you’re aware and asking those 6 questions you’ll make quicker progress towards consistent quality.
- Balance giving your time to others with giving the same amount of time to your passion. I recently interviewed the artist Breeze DaVinci and asked him how he balanced his day job with his hip hop career when he was starting out. He said he reached a turning point the day he asked himself why he was willing to give 8 hours a day to someone else’s dream but not his own. Some days that means going to bed at 4 in the morning. That is the mentality you need if you really want it.
- Strive for self-awareness. Obviously this is perpetual in nature but self-awareness is what balances our happiness as we head towards success. It allows us to be healthy and awake to accept creative opportunity. It gives us the peace to be present in the moment and enjoy the process. Take time every day to ask who you are and who you want to be. Then ask where you want to go and how you want to get there.
- Goals need to be specific and time bound, aggressive yet realistic and measurable and verifiable. (Watch John Doerr’s TED Talk on OKRs)
- Hold yourself to the standards of the greats but know that the greats weren’t that way overnight.
- Understand what success means to you. I remember Dave Chappelle discussing being discouraged early in his career and his father asking him something to the effect of, “Are you able to pay your bills doing the thing you enjoy?“ Dave answered in the affirmative. His father than replied, “Well, then you are successful”.
- Innovation often happens at the convergence of seemingly disparate ideas so be a scholar of everything. The spark for an idea usually comes from somewhere unexpected so be open to looking for it anywhere, especially where you least think it may lie.
- Be kind. You can’t do it alone so even if the motivation is out of self-interest, be kindly. What you put out there always comes back in the end.
- Read, write, exercise, eat healthy and sleep well every day. It’s that much more difficult to be creative if you’re not taking care of yourself.
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About Luciano Giarrano, Co-Founder, Immersive Atlanta
Luciano is the co-founder of Immersive Atlanta, an online publication with the goal of documenting, connecting and amplifying Atlanta’s creative culture and community. He was founder and producer of The Cottage Recording Company and CEO of MASS Collective and has served on numerous non-profit boards in Atlanta including ArtsAtl and Murmur Media. Passionate about community and connectivity Luciano has used his wide range of experience in entrepreneurship and production to develop brands from the ground up, all the while advocating for artists and organizations often overlooked.