Everybody is guilty of being a snob when it comes to art. After all, Susan Sontag, one of the most important literary theorists of the 21st century said, “Intelligence is really a kind of … taste in ideas.”
So when an artist puts out music that they’ve poured hours into working on, only for it to be treated with contempt is absolutely devastating. It’s an attack that hurts you as a person, that invalidates your intelligence, emotions, identity, nearly everything that compromises of who you are. It’s the worst kind of pain to feel–a pain that degrades you.
Then there is Troll 2, one of the worst movies of all time, with some of the worst dialogue, acting, directing, special effects, etc. It’s almost impossible to create a worse movie than this. Yet…none of the actors are particularly depressed at making such a bad film. In fact they think it’s kind of cool to make one of the worst movies of all time.
Take Dr. Hardy a dentist by trade who decided to act in this film (he’s the dad who tightens his belt in the video above talking about hunger pain for some reason.) Now the guy could have aspired to be the next Marlon Brando, he could have better taste in movies than anybody you, or I know. Yet he’s a dentist, and he auditioned for the role as a spur of the moment thing to do because a patient suggested he do so.
So watching this interview, first thing to notice at 5:19 when he talks about watching the film, the cringe he has at recalling the movie. Something that every single artist has when they look back at earlier work. Now every single person making art imagines themselves–at one point in time–making the next big thing, only for it to end in utter disappointment. Imagine getting THE LEAD PART in a movie. I don’t care what it is, those fantasies of being the next Hollywood Superstar is going to be floating in your head. So when those fantasies turn out not only to be false, but to be completely misguided and completely wrong–it’s going to be a rough emotional rollercoaster to ride.
So when Troll 2 is declared the worst movie of all time, how does George Hardy react? With a smile. He’s glad he was apart of something (even if it was terrible) that people enjoyed to watch.
Time heals all wounds. If you don’t make it now, or you just continue to make music eventually you’ll get better, and if not who cares? Seriously. Unless you’re a Chris Chan nobody is going to care whether your art is subpar. And if you make great music that nobody has heard of, because you haven’t gotten your big break, imagine your reaction in 20 years. If George Hardy can smile at making the worst movie of all time, then surely you’ll do more than smile.
The moral of the story is, don’t beat yourself up at being an underground artist, who hasn’t made it to the mainstream. Being in the underground is cooler anyways, we’re like rebel insurgents against an evil Corporate Empire of mediocrity. Even the indie network of blogs, radio shows, promotional events, labels, etc. have proven themselves to be dishonest con artists–which every underground musician has had experience with–imagine how much worse it is at top.
So with that I say, just have fun. You’ve got nothing to lose, and all to gain. Even if you waste some money, or spend years grinding away only to get nothing in return; at least you’ll be interesting. I mean I’ve seen alcoholics, and drug addicts bounce back (unless you’re a drug addict/alcoholic making music in which case I gotta say, “What the fuck man haven’t you watched any VH1 Behind the Music specials?”) So remember kids just have fun, fuck the haters, and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make it.