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What Creative People Could Learn From Alex Chilton

When Alex Chilton died last week, there was a short flurry of activity about it on social networking sites and a few articles in the mainstream media, but the attention disappeared pretty quickly due to the fact that most people (including those in creative fields) had only a vague notion of who he was.

And that’s a real shame, because I’ve been listening to a lot of Chilton’s music lately and I’ve become convinced that if those of us who are employed in creative businesses started acting more like him, we’d make better work and we’d be a lot happier.

Here are five things I’ve learned from Alex and his music

1. Get an early start and master your craft.

Alex was a rock star when he was 16 years old. He sang for hugely successful teen heartthrob band (the late 60’s equivalent of the Jonas Brothers). But by the time he grew tired of the bubblegum circuit, he was a seasoned veteran. The lesson is you can hone your craft even while you’re working for the man.

2. You know you don’t have to. You can just say no.

That’s a line from my favorite Chilton song. It’s a simple sentiment, but I think it’s something people need to hear over and over. We all have responsibilities. Mortgages, families, car payments. But your job is where you spend the majority of your waking hours and unless you’re absolutely happy with your circumstances, it’s not worth it. Make yourself happy and you’ll find a way to feed your family, believe me.

What Creative People Could Learn From Alex Chilton

abstract wallpaper I wish it was that easy. But unfortunately we will have to wait a few more months. I used to look forward to spring, but this winter has been so crappy that now, I just want summer.

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What Creative People Could Learn From Alex Chilton

hukilau It’s no surprise that we’re passionate about the film business – after all, it’s what we do. At T2 + Back Alley Films, we’re a collection of storytellers, myth makers, image builders and artistic people who love all forms of media. And we love indie filmmakers. It takes both talent and passion to make a film — and incredible persistence to get it seen by anyone other than friends, family and the “crew.” That’s why it was so great to read a recent post from Mobile*Local*Social about Hukilau, an innovative company that is crowdsourcing filmmaking and making the route to success for filmmakers that much easier.

The short version of the story is that Hukilau identified a problem that exists for many indie filmmakers. That problem is that they had a vision, created a film, took it to a studio, only to have the studio buy it. Sounds like good news, no? But, the rest of the story is that it is not uncommon for the studio to totally ruin a great film by changing the story line to include insipid love stories, uninspiring scenes and things that totally changed the whole original concept of the piece. Or they go the film festival route — fun, but usually not financially rewarding.

Hukilau offers services to filmmakers that essentially crowdsource the funding, staffing, distribution and even marketing services for filmmakers – for both new artists and established ones. As someone who has routinely been involved with not only the production of a film, but with the marketing and distribution as well, I know firsthand how awesome this kind of opportunity is for filmmakers.