"An essential element of any art is risk. If you don’t take a risk then how are you going to make something really beautiful, that hasn’t been seen before?"
- Frances Ford Coppola
I recently read an article of an interview with Frances Ford Coppola, which I was very inspired by. Of course the article was written in reference to film making, but I could directly relate as a musician to almost every word.
One thing he says, is that in the beginning of the film industry, they did not know what they were doing. People were just happy to see moving pictures, and then eventually through experimentation things started to shift, and they discovered what worked. And then with money involved, the risk of experimentation was snuffed out in favor of safe ideas. Which means that if you have a new idea that differs from the proven money making ideas, then you are disregarded and passed up for the someone else cranking out the same old crap.
I believe that over time the audience is also afraid to risk. They like the same old crap, and are cautious of the risk takers. Which is why the same old crap is so profitable. People eat it up. I am guilty of this too. Sometimes you just wanna watch a movie that you know will be good.
You see, I agree with Frances Ford Coppola in that I feel the tried and true methods lack any risk or experimentation, and are therefore void of art. Or rather are a really diluted version of something that was once art.
I've had people try to fit me in a box they can sell, and its just not really what I am interested in. I play music because I love it, and not because I think I will make millions.
Sure, I like the pop songs sometimes, but my point is not that they are bad, but that our desire for money pushes the art out. We know what works, we get some skilled writers, a pretty face to represent it, and we crank out a hit song. You only really need one good song to sell a record, so no need to worry whether the rest of the album works too.
Over time, people forget that there is more than one way to skin a cat. Or to write a screenplay, or to make a love song.
Not everyone can make money with their art, and so if this is your primary goal, and you are not enjoying yourself, then why do it? I hope to live my life at my full potential, and enjoy myself along the way.
"People made money in the cinema, and then they began to say to the pioneers, 'Don’t experiment. We want to make money. We don’t want to take chances.'”
-Francis Ford Coppola