What Viggo Mortensen taught me about blogging


You know what REALLY makes me happy as a creative person? Getting my inspiration from all sorts of places. I can't just rely on the medium that I am working in for inspiration - it ends up being too limiting. Too much of a closed loop. 

If I am looking for photography inspiration, looking only at photographers results in a second-guessing loop where I wonder if any of my ideas are original. Or I doubt that I can create ANYTHING of value.

What I need is creative sources from all sorts of different genres and mediums to inspire. And as you know, one of those is film. Film at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival). And not JUST the film but the amazing Q&A's AFTER the film.

You see, you get to meet the filmmakers and you hear them speak of their craft. The how's and the why's of what I had just seen.

I heard actor Viggo Mortensen speak after seeing Everybody Has A Plan last month. As soon as he started, I pulled out my journal and pen and madly scribbled notes, hoping that they wouldn't be too cryptic for me to read later. They weren't.

Viggo taught me two things. 

1. Prepare for when luck arrives.

I don't care WHAT your medium is - photography, art, music, design, acting - there have been and will ALWAYS be way more people doing it at a high level than there are opportunities. 

So prepare. Get your skills up. Take e-courses. Study bloggers who are better writers, better networkers, better photographers. WHY are they better? Learn that. And that other thing too.

Then you WILL be ready.

2. The bigger the budget, the more pressure to appeal to every demographic.

Of course this was in the context of big budget Hollywood films vs. smaller ones. I saw one at TIFF called At Any Price that was SO forumulaic although trying to masquerade as an indie film. You could tick the boxes as you watched - Zac Efron for the younger set. Dennis Quaid for the older set. Romance. Car racing. Fight scenes. It was trying so so very hard to be EVERYTHING for every possible viewer that it had no passion. 

Viggo's film? You'll either love it or hate it. It is THAT particular director's vision of THAT particular story. 

In blogging terms? How big do YOU want to be? What's YOUR vision for your blog? Who's YOUR ideal audience? Do you like long posts or short ones? Which photographs do you usually pick? What's YOUR style? Who are YOU? Not who you THINK you should be. Who are YOU.

I remember Jasmine Star at Alt Summit last January talking about being so "you" that people will either love you or hate you and nothing in between. Be so YOU that there is no doubt about whether I'll keep reading or not. And those who stick around will REALLY be into what you have to offer.

So there you go - happy to be inspired by other artists and creatives. What do you think about what Viggo had to say? How can you be more YOU? You know, like Gretchen Rubin says in the Happiness Project, "Be Gretchen". And how are you preparing for luck?