“Art suffers the moment other people start paying for it. The more you need the money, the more people will tell you what to do. The less control you will have. The more bullshit you will have to swallow. The less joy it will bring. Know this and plan accordingly.” Hugh MacLeod
This post is dedicated to my daughter, Jenna aka Jenna Marbles, the YouTuber. (If you know a girl between the ages of 13 and 20, they probably know her.) Here’s a NY Times article about her.
Jenna has always been a free spirit who found a way to cope with ‘regular’ life. She made some videos in high school, but she wasn’t a ‘theater kid’ and never had aspirations of ‘fame’ that I know of. So when her video, “How to Trick People Into Thinking You’re Good Looking” (warning language) got 5 million views in its first week, you could say she ‘stumbled’ into making videos for a living.
The fact that she single handedly writes, films, stars in, edits and uploads a new video every week (and has for 4+ year) is amazing. SHE HAS NEVER MISSED A WEEK — that’s 215 video in 215 weeks! 1.5 Billion views. Many people think what she does is easy. Try producing original content every week for 215 weeks. But there’s a story beyond that, that’s even more impressive (besides how much she cares about the people who support her.)
She understands who she is and what she wants. In the quote above, MacLeod talks about how money influences art. Jenna wants creative control and isn’t willing to let the bullshit run her life.
I am immensely proud of her for that.
Carl HoffmanOctober 7, 2014
I am a sucker for success stories. As an elementary school age child I was enthralled with the story of Abraham Lincoln. I have been a viewer of your daughters channel almost since the beginning. What I like about her besides her talent is her integrity. Her viral video was no accident. She earned her place because she paid her dues by making videos for years prior to this video. A good metaphor is abstract art. Everyone thinks they can do it but when they try they usually fail miserably when they can’t become consistent with making good art. I have a YouTube channel and in 10 months I have produced 68 videos with about 6000 views total. It is hard work. So for those who think her daughter was simply lucky they are wrong. She just was adequately prepared when the opportunity including the right timing presented itself. I know that from personal experience. The reason I admire you is you provided the fertile ground for her talent to flourish and you come across as a nice person. Reading your excellent blog has provided me some insight for my transition to successful retirement. From the bottom of my heart I thank you. I thank her because she inspired me to color outside the box.
DeborahOctober 8, 2014
Oh Carl Thank you so much for such a lovely compliment. You are the inspiration! Trying new things… 6000 views! 6,000 people who may not have been inspired!
I appreciate your support more than you know. Deb