Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Loose Ends"

I love loose ends…(SING)…and they love me.
A reader, who’s e-mail has disappeared so I’m unable to acknowledge their name, related one of my posts (“An Ice Cream Flavor of a Lesser Popularity”) to the post immediately preceding it, (“Show Business Has Changed”), suggesting by this association that having a minor-appeal talent benefits from the availability of a now expanded number outlets and opportunities. I agree.
To a point.
The point is the one I made in “Show Business Has Changed.” You have an un or under-appreciated ability, which due to technological advancement or expanded opportunities can now by-pass the traditional gatekeepers and go on to a previously unavailable level of recognition and success. I’m all for that. Let everyone have a chance.
Who does. Something. Skillful.
And does it. Exceedingly. Well.
What’s unacceptable to me is the expansion of the definition of “talent” to the point where the concept has almost entirely lost its meaning. Today, the idea of “talent” seems to encompass anything a movie or broadcasting entity believes an audience wants to see. And I mean anything.
A female celebrity gets famous, or at least virally more famous, stepping out of a limousine wearing a skirt and no underwear. Is that a talent? Or is it, “I forgot to do laundry this week.” Or is it a worrisome display of exhibitionism requiring immediate professional intervention?
To me, “talent” involves a specific skill that you practice and perfect, and then present to the audience. Talent takes, well, maybe it starts with an innate ability, but then it requires training and time and dedication and persistence. I listed a number of what I consider to be “talents” in “Show Business Has Changed.” I add to that list anything in the circus, including the animal acts, unless you’re offended by the animal acts, in which case, excluding the animal acts. Although, if they could talk, the bear who’s been taught to dance might tell you, “I can’t say I cared for the training methods, but look at me, I’m doing the merengue. And I’m a bear!”
My blog post point was in no way, “I’m opposed to less than mass appeal talent.” If that were the case, I’d be opposed to myself. The distinction I made was asking the, admittedly rhetorical, question: “If everything people want to see equals ‘talent’, what happens to the value of actual, ‘I-dedicated-my-life-and-worked-my-butt-off-to-learn-this’ talent?
Anyone can step out of a limo with no underwear. It just takes a limo and no underwear.
But call it what it is:
A mesmerizing embarrassment.
And leave “talent” to the people who work at it.
Moving on…
Also in response to “An Ice Cream Flavor of a Lesser Popularity”, Ger Apeldoorn relates the problem of “coming up with tv and stage ideas that sound completely salable”, and then writing them in an original manner “making them absolutely unsalable.” Which leaves him to wonder, “Is it the fact that I am not in tune with common taste? Or do I, for some subversive reason, not want to do things the way they are supposed to be done?”
That one hurts. I can feel the frustration right through the screen. Every writer agonizes over why they’re not connecting. It could be “not being in tune with the common taste.” It’s also possible the offering is being sabotaged for “some subversive reason”, though venturing down that tortured trail would be less my department than Dr. M’s.
Maybe you’re not ready. Maybe you’re ahead of your time. Maybe you’ve got something, but you’re not presenting it in the most propitious format, or to the most appropriate outlet. Maybe – I think you’re from Holland – you need to try Belgium.
Maybe, for a fun experiment, you should do one the way it’s “supposed to be done”, and perhaps realize that the accommodations are fewer than you imagined. Maybe you need a taste-and-tone-balancing partner. Maybe you need better representation.
Maybe you’re closer than you think.
In the end, it comes down to this:
“Is this worth the struggle?”
If, as in Singin’ In The Rain, you’ve just “Gotta Dance!”, then you just gotta dance. And dance. And dance. And dance.
And just hope the wheel of good fortune eventually spins in your direction.
I’m pullin’ for ya. Now, as they said in She Wore A Yellow Ribbon,
Get ‘er done.

1 comment:

PG said...

Could you possibly be referring to Bristol Palin's latest stunt?
How exactly is she a STAR???

Does having a teenage pregnancy make you a star these days?
She would never have made it to American Bandstand in the 60's!
Why doesn't anyone ask who is taking care of the kid while she is sprintzing on TV?
Earl, you may regret giving up your Canadian citizenship one of these days.