I want to talk about conduct in artistic industries, and the nature of competition, and competitors versus allies, and that kind of thing.
I’m getting REALLY, REALLY into online video these days. I’ve vlogged daily for months weeks now, and I have a long, long list of topics to talk about in future videos, so I feel pretty confident saying that this is something I’m going to be doing for the forseeable future.
In addition to the vlog, I’ve got this podcast and my other podcast, and then my online distribution of my books. So I’m involved in a filmmaking community, the indie author community, the podcasting community and now the online video community.
In every single one of these communities, I’m seeing a single successful pattern emerging.
Stop thinking of your competition as competition.
Listen, we talk all the time about the signal to noise ratio. Everyone out there only has so many minutes during the day that they can spend watching, listening to or reading your art.
As a consequence, it’s easy to think you’re competing with others for the attention of your audience.
But I think that this attitude is a holdover from the “Big Six” mentality. Both the film industry and the publishing industry have had “big six” institutions for a while, the big six studios or the big six publishing houses.
They had to compete with each other because they were creating spectacle, and they needed EVERYONE IN THE WORLD to buy their book or movie instead of the other guy’s, or they’d go broke.
But now, we’re all niche artists. The Big Six haven’t realized it, but it’s the truth.
And part of being in a niche is making sure that you can be found by your audience, wherever they are — and being okay with the fact that the majority of people you reach won’t be your audience. That’s fine. By definition, that’s what niche means.
So everyone else out there who’s doing the same thing you are is an ally, not a competitor. They’re someone who’s also trying to make it, just like you are, and they have a different audience than you.
They have that audience’s ear, and they can lean in and say, “Hey, I know this girl who makes some pretty awesome films about BLAH. They’re not up my alley, but she’s a good girl and they’re good films. If that’s your kind of thing, check her out!” And some small percentage of those people will become YOUR fans as well as his.
Every fellow artist that you ally yourself with gives you more opportunities to reach more people in your niche.
Work with them.
See if you can do projects together. If nothing else, hang out.
And TELL YOUR AUDIENCE ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE THAT THEY MIGHT LIKE, for God’s sake. Other artists WILL return the favor.
It’s the right attitude in today’s day and age. None of us out there are competing with each other. We’re all one big happy freaking family, and we all want each other and ourselves to succeed.