Saturday, October 08, 2005

The X Factor
there's a TV show in the UK where a bunch of pop-wannabes sing in front of a panel of pop 'experts' who then ridicule them, patronise them and insult them, picking the 'chosen few' to go on to be pop stars.
This show makes me want to smash things.
Firstly, its insulting to the contestants, who are under some insane idea that these 3 judges know what makes good music (they don't). Secondly its unfair on the music buying public. We don't need 3 self-important arrogant gits to TELL us what is good music. There is already a system for that. Its called the free market. If you sell out every gig and shift millions of albums, that's a sign you have talent. If nobody will pay to see your gig or buy your album, chances are, you suck (as far as the public are concerned).
The thing is, the bunch of wannabes that appear on this show do not want to actually do the hard work, they want to bypass the playing clubs and pubs and go directly from a job in a supermarket to megastardom. When one of the 3 judges says they aren't good, some of them look suicidal.
My advice to those people who didn't make it on the x factor is this:

grow up.

don't expect someone else to create a successful career for you. The only people willing to do this are those who want to rip you off. Write songs, and play local pub gigs. Negotiate your own deals, take the money from ticket sales, invest it in marketing on your own terms. Pay for your own music to be recorded. Sell it. Cut out the record companies entirely.

It's not entirely unlike game dev. I have always had a lot of game ideas. As a game designer 'wannabe' I could shop my ideas around the big studios, begging for a job, desperate to be one of the 'chosen few' who get to work with a famous designer, where I'd be told what to do, how to do it, and generally ignored, certainly paid poorly. I'd regularly be told my ideas were not good.
I could start my own game dev company, invest my own money to pay artists, start small and make exactly the games I want to make. When people say the indie games business is dead, I ignore them. When they tell me I won't sell any copies, I ignore them. And what's the result?
I'm not doing badly at all. I've probably made 9 games now, some were rubbish, some were flops, some are selling very well, and my job satisfaction is pretty damned sky high. Best of all I own the whole company. 100%. Nobody tells me what to do, nobody takes a cut.
Don't be like the X-factor wannabes, regardless of your career. Take charge of your career, and ignore the naysayers.

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