When we rang in the New Year I suggested a Resolution for everyone in a very simple tweet: “For 2015, resolve to take a risk, something you’ve thought about but never thought you’d do. It’s fun.”
Lee Ann Womack said it well in “I Hope You Dance.” “I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance, Never settle for the path of least resistance, Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’”
For some reason when I look at risks, usually BIG risks, and I always see the opportunity. I’m aware of what can happen if the risk doesn’t pay off, but the opportunities for success are what intrigue me. The fun factor is also an influence. I mean why do something if you’re not going to enjoy it? It might stressful as all hell, but if there’s some fun to be had in the risk, well that is something to be considered. I’ve been really quiet on this site, the Creative Cow and many others because I’ve been working hard towards a great risk that comes with some incredible rewards and a whole heaping lot of fun. After I finish my 8 hours or so at the office, I spend another 5 hours or so working on “the risk” and on weekends usually at least another 8 – 12 hours. So when I think about writing articles and doing tutorials, well I’m plumb mentally exhausted.
We’ve heard for so many years, “Content is King.” Well now, especially as we move into 2015, “The Content Creator Is King.” No longer are we beholden to the “established networks” and their need to shock the maximum audience size they can at 8pm on a Thursday night. No more being rejected because the people in your pilot are “too hipster.” Yes, that was a real comment from a real network on why they rejected a series. “Great show, great production value, but your main characters are too hipster for today’s audience.” If you can figure out what that means, please tell me and my agents. :) Basically if it’s not a shocking reality show or some competition show that can be produced super cheap (see: Party Down South) the networks really don’t want to touch it.
Especially in the lifestyle space, good quality edutainment is no longer wanted. Shows like “Good Eats” with Alton Brown which are highly entertaining but at the same time share lots of really useful information the audience can actually use. I can’t even tell you how many things I learned from him both as a fan and a crew member on the series. So much of what I do in the kitchen and on the grill is still influenced by what Alton taught me. So what the broadcasters don’t want, opens an avenue in the digital world.
Sure you know about YouTube but other distribution options that you might have heard mentioned are MCN or OTT. Multi-Channel Network and Over The Top. Essentially building a television network minus the cable and satellite distribution ecosystem and costs. I first learned about this in early 2014 as I was researching to launch a channel either via YouTube or Vimeo. I had never heard the terms MCN or OTT until a former colleague took me to lunch one day and in about 10 minutes it made total sense. The technology and resources were already in place to build something so much larger than a simple YouTube or Vimeo channel. Sure those would still come into play as marketing elements, but I can literally launch an entirely new type of “television” network using off the shelf components.
Yeah it sounds easy, and now that I’ve got all the pieces in place, it really IS surprisingly easy, but getting to this point and getting it launched as you can imagine involves a great deal of risk on my part. And the part of my lovely and patient wife. You’re looking at someone who’s never really put together a serious business plan before, hired folks to run financial projections, gone after investors, put together an executive team and all the things that go with launching a major venture. I’m a content creator, I can design and oversee 12 original series simultaneously without much thought. But putting together an investor pitch for a “shark tank” type of presentation and I’m sweating bullets, completely out of my element.
So I had to look outside my normal circle, my comfort zone and find the right people to surround myself with. The only way to do that is to simply ask your network of friends and colleagues for help. Some false starts along the way and fast forward to November and January and suddenly I’m in those “shark tank” moments actually enjoying the chance to present and asking people to give me money to launch a new venture. Boy, that’s a long way forward from a video editor in 1990 at CNN to standing in a room full of investors as Founder and Executive Producer of Contemporary Living Network.
I learned a long time ago, I can’t be afraid to Dance. When an opportunity is presented, or I see the chance to create an opportunity I don’t let the possibility of failure stop me. After consideration, if there is a good practical reason not to proceed I don’t. But if “the possibility of failure” is really the major reason not to do something, I have never let that stop me. From making career choices, to expanding my operation to taking on the role of Executive Producer. There’s a confidence that comes with taking risks and even failing in those risks. Because from failure comes the lessons to move forward and be successful tomorrow.
In 2015 resolve to Dance. I’m not saying to go out and take a huge risk, but do something you never thought you would do. Write, Direct, Photograph, Dance, Draw, Paint whatever. Get outside your comfort zone. You might like it and those baby steps can lead to larger opportunities. And if it doesn’t work, learn from what went wrong, dust yourself off and move forward. Never stop moving forward, never stop learning and never stop believing in yourself.
“I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
Dance….I hope you dance. “