I used to build these little PAC MAN figurines out of glossy card stock, glue and yellow paint when I was a grade school kid. It was so awesome to finish one, though it took days to cure, set and dry. It wasn’t that the time made me appreciate it more but rather because it was more durable and it looked better when it took more time to build.
Damien Riley is a blogger and podcaster who writes a column at RileyCentral.net once a week. He has an MA in English from California State University, Fullerton, he married a princess (now his queen) and together they have 3 children.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day” is a tried and true aphorism. Even still, we forget the simple rules of building something and many times, we build crap. This happens in our passions and in our ordinary lives. Why are some of us in such a hurry to get something made? If we identify what we want to achieve through goals and pre-defined knowledge, we can measure our progress and make changes along the way to building our own private Frankenstein. These days, my Frankenstein has been my blog film critic podcast, “Talking Stars” that I’m building with 3 other blog film critics.
It’s a proper challenge to get listeners for a podcast, especially now that everybody and their brother seems to have one. I barely have time to visit and comment on the blogs I follow, much less to listen to podcasts that are often over an hour in length. Still, it’s a challenge I am up for. Darren and I started the podcast in May. We got to know each other through our common interest in movies. We’ve learned to go back and forth in sync with style and sound. I pick up on his cues and vice Versa. This process has taken months. There was a time in fact when I thought we wouldn’t keep going. It turned out we both enjoy having dialog about films and now after 6 months, it feels like we know what we are doing.
We added 2 other blog film critics: Kira and Becky. They bring more dynamics to the show but again, we have to learn how to interact on the show as well as through planning off-line.
Our show is by no means successful in a commercial sense. I say we’re doing well because we get along and we’ve created 20 episodes. If you have a podcast, you may agree that is an accomplishment. This is our first year and I don’t know if it will last. Still, I try to not focus on the visitor counts and instead focus on making a tight, concise product. I would imagine in time we would benefit to limit our focus to a niche. I have no idea how to do that since talking about stars and movies is about as saturated a niche as is extant.
The bottom line is, if you’re going to make something: cool your jets. Stop thinking you’re cute and such and pay attention to the foundations. Do you have the time to set aside? Do you know your niche? Do you have the strongest materials to build your foundation? MOst importantly, do you enjoy the thing and do others enjoy it with you? Before you build something, count the cost. Don’t do something because it sounds cool. That fades very quickly. You will need to call upon your under strength soon so if it isn’t there and you need a pat on the back, you might as well pass on the venture. Those things may come in time but do it for the intrinsic rewards.
Would you want to be a hit for a week and be toppled or a moderate success, maybe a hit, then a household name? Don’t take shortcuts to simulate success. You’re not fooling anyone and you are the victim in the end.
To the youth looking for a career I say this. Find something you are very passionate about and then interview people who do it. If, after doing that, you are still passionate, follow it! Go to school to do it better than anyone. Do work in the field pro bono. In doing that, you become an expert little by little. Get experience in other passions as well. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Most of all, move toward your passion. You will build your Frankenstein along the way. That nugget you create will grow to something big, your own personal huge-ass Frankenstein. Be able to take or leave it and your monster will always be there to have your back.