ASS ON THE LINE (Read time 1:37)
I stand humbled in front of the artist who faces the challenges of money, time and responsibility, yet still refuses to give up on her impossible dream. I bow in respect to the entrepreneur who risks it all just to forward his company one more foot closer to the goal, and I salute the creative person who doesn’t “flinch” in the face of doubt, resistance, fear and uncertainty. Others can’t appreciate the barenaked courage it takes to put your ass on the line and step in front of a billion, self-proclaimed critics around the globe and give your acceptance speech, all waiting eagerly for you to blow it. And most scowl with snide skepticism when a nervous CEO, with a quivering tummy, puts her ass on the line and tries to explain why the company will have to “cut back” this quarter. Still others allow the distractions of a noisy, crowded bar to pull focus from the fledgling songwriter who puts his ass on the line and steps up to the mic to sing his newest offering...with heart pounding and knees knocking.
Oscar winning Actor, Michael Cain said: “Artists are like ducks, calm on the surface, and paddling like the dickens underneath!” And he’s right. Sure you can complain that some are rich and famous, “what do they have to worry about?” If you’re a pro, you know the answer to that, Plenty! While YOU may be battling to get there, THEY are battling to stay there. Doesn’t matter if it’s Clooney, Scorsese or Adele, they hear the same critical voices in their heads as you do. And that skirmish always takes place on the inner battlefield. Whether you’re a composer or a CEO, you both confront the same demons of doubt, fear and ego every single day of your career. And it will never stop—from your very first gig to your final farewell tour.
|Posted By j Michael Dolan|
| The Facts |
Greetings to all of my crazy readers and genius tribe! After reading the string of comments to this particular blog I feel compelled to set the record straight. First of all the name of my website is "Blogs & Stories for Artists & Entrepreneurs." It's not for "Nurses & Firemen." I'm married to a nurse and have the greatest respect for those who are called to a higher purpose. Secondly, the reader named Michael who responded to the comments by Catman Cohen is not me. When I choose to comment I always use my full name (so you know it's me). Finally I respect and appreciate my readers so much that it would take an extraordinary circumstance for me to ban anybody from stating their opinion. Hope this helps.
|Posted By JJ Biener|
| To Catman: |
I was surprised to see your posts here, but since I know you and your music, I was not surprised by the content. I was, however, a little taken aback by your tone. As the husband of a nurse, the brother of a nurse and a nephew of a nurse, I understand their importance as well as that of many other professions. I respect you for supporting them and making that your cause. That said, I don't really feel it was relevant or useful for you to post such an angry message in this context. For all the good works and value the people you champion provide, they don't experience what Michael described. A nurse isn't confronted by the "doubt, resistance, fear and uncertainty" that most performers have to deal with everyday. There is something heroic in fighting through one's personal demons to get up in front of an audience and perform, and it is just as important as those you mentioned. The vast majority have no more chance of becoming icons than a nurse or a firefighter does, but they still sweat it out every night. FWIW, Lady Gaga (for lack of a better example) didn't just teach herself an instrument and jump on stage. She started playing piano at age 4. She started writing music at 13. By the time she broke through, she had been studying, practicing, composing and performing for 18 years. You don't have to like her music (and I don't particularly), but her effort and her dedication shouldn't be denigrated.
|Posted By Michael|
| response to Catman - 1 more time |
I beg to differ with your explanation of education. Many musicians strive to perfect their craft by education. I myself went to Berklee College of Music in Boston. My son, an upcoming film scorer w/ a Masters in Music and a graduate of 2 film scoring programs, has a ton of debt - the part that we couldn't pay for. In today's music biz, an education may not be required but is certainly NOT the exception to the rule any longer. If you're going to be political, at least try to get your facts straight instead of talking out the side of your mouth. Yes, that's $75,000 of 'unnecessary' music education debt talking.
|Posted By Louisa|
| paddeling |
Sometimes it's hard to conceal my calmness on the surface as I paddle like the dickens underneath. But that doesn't stop me from paddling on...
|Posted By Greg Shea|
| Ass on the line |
thank you MIchael, every day, every time. Catman, the difference is that all those working stiffs you champion get paid every day, maybe not as much as they should be, but the get paid every time they go to work. We don't. You try it, ace. next caller.
|Posted By Rachel|
| Between the line... |
I think it's a major accomplishment just staying normal... Have a great day! Rachel
|Posted By Nelson|
| AOTL |
This is a powerful article we can all get something out of. Both Michael and Catman make good points, and I don't believe Michael's praise of "risk takers and artists" was a slight on anyone else. These two well-spoken gentlemen sing a similar song in fact. Simply, let's not forget what it takes for any one of us to get out of bed and go do something every day. The person next to you, whether an acclaimed author or a nurse, has burdens of their own. Remember that; humility carries much weight.
|Posted By Tye Banks|
| Thanks |
Thanks for those words of encouragement. You're defiantly right we all hear the same doubts but what we decide to do is up to us. Tye WWW.Tyebanks.com
|Posted By Rick|
| Thanks |
Catman Cohen, what are you doing here? Go back to the political party that dropped you. Kiss my ass on the line!!
|Posted By Stephanie Simon|
| Ass On The Line |
You are so right on! It's not logical, it's purely a necessity in creative souls to keep on persevering whether their asses hurt or not. It's like their gifts and talents have momentum of their own,
|Posted By Kingvegas|
| --- on the line... |
Thank You so much, Michael! Your posts are often timely for me and inspire me to focus and perservere despite the doubt associated with the lifestyle of an artist! In this day and age many folks in many disciplines are "working in fear" and wondering where next months rent might come from. I try to put myself in the shoes of an entrepreneur to keep my head in the business and the music. I don't have problems making music- the struggle is making money. It's funny that if you don't make money there are folks that would consider you deluded and lazy and if you are financially successful then you are deemed undeserving in light of those that serve more "practical" purposes to society. I guess putting our blinders on and focusing on what WE need to do to achieve OUR goals is as important a skill as any for us to become successful despite those that would have us do otherwise- even ourselves...
|Posted By Art Z.|
| A** on the line... |
Yeah!!!!!Going to make that call today, hey I might get rejected, but I might not! To my fellow artist out there, be blessed!
|Posted By Missy B.|
| Wow! |
Great post Michael. As usual, RIGHT ON TIME.
|Posted By Stig Skovlind|
| Thank you Michael |
|Posted By x15|
| ass on the line |
yay Catman Cohen
|Posted By Michael Warner|
| Ass on the line |
I was particularly impressed by the observations of Catman Cohen who commented on the unrecognised heroes in society in roles of much greater social importance than artists. I am intensely aware of the drama of doubt and the strength and persistence required to see a project to fruition. I think encouragement is wonderful and the like the comments made by Michael about not giving in to doubt and recognising that people put their Ass on the line constantly. But balance is vital. While passionately committed to my artistry, I endorse Catman Cohens comments to not lose sight of the social value of the arts versus infrastructure roles.
|Posted By Jennifer Muhawi|
| love it |
Thank you, Michael, for reminding us that we're not alone... Sometimes when you put yourself out there in front of all the critics (which is really everyone these days), you can sometimes forget that there is reason for your art, your voice and all your efforts. And this love is common among artists - we're all in it together. Cheers, J JenniferMuhawi.com
|Posted By Reggie Walton|
| Choking |
I feel lost in the ethos almost every day. Mostly because I have a big family to care for and the income keeps sliding, as the expenses keep rising. However I will never give up my dream of quiting my job and doing my music full time. Thanks for the support Michael.
|Posted By Sophie Moon|
| Support |
i hope your entire tribe appreciates your super support of all artists. I know I do. When I read through all your blogs it's evident that you have a close kinship with artists and entrepreneurs and I'm not surprised. you've been both all of your life. I'm honored to be part of our tribe Michael Dolan and I'd love to meet you some day.
|Posted By siavash|
| why we need to constantly tear them down, invade their privacy, expose their frailties, and attempt |
"why we need to constantly tear them down, invade their privacy, expose their frailties, and attempt to break their spirit, is beyond me." "We always say horses are so graceful lovebirds are so beautiful but we never see vulture in anyones cage" Sohrab Sepehri, Iranian poet People: Lovebirds are beautiful No matter what race, Ethnicity, Color or religion. Appreciate them before you loose them.
|Posted By Maggie Z.|
| AOTL |
I love that acronym... yup, bear it and put it on the line- once again, thanks MJD
|Posted By Natasha James|
| ass on the line |
Great to hear the compassion and understanding in this thought bite. Thanks, Michael
|Posted By Gunnar|
| ASS |
Unreal how the majority will never get it; the frustrations an artist goes through to create, produce, promote...usually with little to no financial reward at all, for same amount of effort most others do at their "work" and get financial reward...however fair the compensation is for anyone, for artists there's little "happy medium" it's do or DIE
|Posted By Janice|
| AOTL |
I feel like I live every day with my "donkey on the line." Risk and doubt have become a part of the DNA of my career. I'm a makeup artist (in training) and have been on 7 movie locations. The problem is, I never know when (or if) the next one will come. But that's part of the movie business and I've learned to accept it. Bottom line, I absolutely love what I do and I will continue to fight the demons in my mind that tell me to find a steady 9-5 job. Love your blogs.
|Posted By Rami|
| battle-down! |
This blog blew me away! it is so right on and so perfect timing in my life right now. I get so frustrated (and exhausted) batteling the voices of doubt in my head. You're right, the big successful rich and famous artists also fight the same voices that I do. How could they not! Like all of your blogs Michael, this inspires me to continue to fight for my dream no matter what, again and again and again! Thank you so much!