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"ur the john Coltrane of newsground animation" - SpiffyFlinger

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1y 11m 27d


Posted by MistyEntertainment - April 14th, 2018


It's probably most of what I've been thinking about lately - more specifically, making music.

Not trying to whine about anything here, just sharing some struggles I've been having, to see if anyone has input.

Although I've been getting better at having fun with it, I'm kind of at a stage where the work starts to feel more tedious and chore-like than a passion project or fun self-expression. Don't get me wrong, I understand the value of doing the boring stuff. Hell, I was an animator for years.

But at some point, it all goes back to the "why" - why am I investing so much time doing this? Well, to get a good track of course. But once I've got a good track, it's kinda like, now what? I see making music as something I do for myself, but having an audience also matters, and I've been struggling to get one. I also feel like I don't really get the feeling of accomplishment or happiness that some other artists might get when they finish something big. So, the music doesn't really work as a purely self-serving hobby because I don't really feel that much satisfaction from finishing a song. And it doesn't really work for an audience because there needs to be a cohesive audience in the first place.

Hell, I've even taken online courses for this and the advice for social media marketing is a dead end. I've done some experimenting with Facebook ads to minimal results, A/B testing different things and all, but I can't tell if it's just not a worthwhile investment or if I just haven't tested enough. Some of the advice is really wack - mass following people on Twitter? Posting images with quotes of my own lyrics? No thanks.

I also haven't really found a good community for this yet. With art and animation, there are lots of cohesive communities centered around it because at the end of the day, although the approach might differ, everyone is there to do one thing: draw, or animate. Music, on the other hand, is such a broad topic that encompasses everything from gear to songwriting to producing to performing, etc. so it makes sense that I'm having a hard time finding a community that is relevant to me. Then again, I might not be looking hard enough.

With all of this being said - things are definitely getting better for me and I'm getting better too. My chemo is done in July already! I'm looking forward to learning how to walk again (the tumor messed up my balance). Looking forward to being able to eat solid food without getting so nauseous. Man I can't wait to enjoy chicken again. I can't wait until I can eat food again without having to take minute-long breaks between bites so I don't puke. The end is getting closer and closer.

If you've made it this far, thank you. I appreciate ya hearing me out.


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Comments (10)

Glad your treatments are going well and almost over. :)

Hey man, we all have moments of 'Why?', seems to come with being an artist. :P
Basically with me, I just try to remember the end goal of a cartoon. It'll be something I can show people and hopefully make them laugh. I have practically no audience, but when I show it to someone who asked what I've been up to and see their reaction; it's all worth it.

That said, even if I knew that nobody was going to watch it I'd still make cartoons anyways as it's a fun way to test my skills and improve. I'm bringing cartoon folk to life!

I'll complain in my head about something taking forever while I work on it, but when it's done it's all 'Hey, this isn't half bad.'

My advice if you're not quite feeling it is to join a collab or enter a contest.
Restrictions or a theme to follow will get your brain thinking in ways you normally wouldn't, even sometimes a little bit of pressure can add a tiny bit of extra fun.

That said, hope all goes well for you and you can find that spark again. :)

I think restrictions or a theme could do wonders for my songwriting - I've really hit a dead end with songwriting for the past year or so. I definitely believe constraints are ultimately good for creativity, if deadlines, animation tournaments, etc. have taught me anything. I agree that getting more involved with events like contests could help.

Thanks for the comment! I hope I can find the spark again too.

Regarding the reason for creating, recently read this maybe relevant post: https://gildedguy.newgrounds.com/news/post/1007578

...I'm not sure I agree entirely with his assessment, but there does seem to be some truth to it. When I'm making music it might be I'm really trying to prove something to myself. To further myself via the intentions I evoke in that which I write. To... I don't know really. Self-expression seems like a shallow reason.

As for reaching great game and fortune: how about features? Collaborating with other artists. It seems to be one common, and working, way to start garnering an audience, when you get involved with other fanbases than your own. Otherwise it definitely seems like a steady grind. Just keep improving, growing; going; getting better and bigger each step of the way! So they say....

Stay strong; good luck!

That's a great post and the message really resonated with me in the sense that I do believe the driving force of art is ultimately the need to prove something. I think that's something that I've lost lately. In the beginning when I was like 15 and nobody even knew about my musical aspirations, I had a certain drive, like I wanted to prove that, hey, I may be 15 and awkward but that didn't mean I couldn't write great songs.

Eventually I did feel like I was able to prove that. The drive was still there because now the challenge was to prove that I could do it again, and again, and again. But for the past year or so, although the drive is still there and I still have a desire for proof, it's just less.

The one thing I don't really agree with from the article is that, I don't really see much difference between

“I must prove that I am better than my peers. I will hide this motivation behind the scenes, because I don’t want to look insecure.”


"I must prove that I am better than my peers, and I’m going to do that by giving the people a damn good show. Because at the heart of that motivation is a need to rise above your surroundings, which is a need all people share. And everyone loves to see that proven."

The core need to prove something is still at the heart of these statements. I guess he just means to be more transparent about the motivation? Not sure. Thanks for sharing it though - lots of good insights to be had.

Collaborations are cool! I should definitely do more of them.

Thanks for the comment!

Hey man, I have a quitter-type suggestion here... the music? If it's causing you trouble, fuck it.
There's endless hobbies out there and they don't always involve something that falls into "art".
I've found that collecting music, listening to music...being kind of a music archaeologist is more
interesting for me than actually trying to make any myself. Maybe it's not the kind of hobby all
your pals are gonna want to come check out, but it's something that makes you happy. So yeah.

One of my main hobbies is tinkering with electronics and old PCs n such. It ain't music, it ain't fine art...but it's a heck of a lot more fun than the struggles I had trying to animate or draw comics just
because those are cool things to do. Sometimes we simply find that the arts are not in our path.
If you really don't enjoy doing it, take a break, try other things. Oh and remember, burn-out is real.

Quitting is definitely something I've been thinking about - for now I think I'll keep it going but just lower key. It's not about the "hustle" or the grind for me anymore, but rather it's time for me to take a step back, chill out and see this thing as just a hobby.

I definitely agree about diversifying and finding other hobbies, though. For too long, I've been putting all my eggs into one basket and focusing on one thing only - music - when I could've invested that time and energy into learning new things. That's definitely something I will work on.

Thanks for the comment!

I'll dump some links here.. the concept is assigning a note to the spaces of time between heart beats. The reality is, we experience things in life, stories, some long ones, some in an instant, but there's a progression there, of emotions. Telling a story through instrumentals alone is difficult, but genuinely from the heart, and should not be a burden, more an exercise in storytelling.


Ooh that's pretty neat

Maybe all that chemo is just messing with the energy required for that drive? Or maybe it fades as you grow older... I definitely feel like I had more to prove in the past. Seems easy now to accept things as they are, instead of striving to make them better, and that's one major inhibition on the road of ambition too.

Hmm seems almost like might not have attained the ultimate clarity regarding his own aspirations just yet. :) Indeed the notions of proving something to yourself, with the insecurities gained from others proving themselves first, and despite that, that others love people proving something to the world... a bit conflicting. Seems almost like he's gaining drive as he writes though; rising above his insecurities in the process... if those quoted bits were in order.

Yeah I think I'll be following his blog a bit more. Was impressed by the clarity of the writing in particular, like it's pushing me to become a better writer too; prove that I really can master that craft. XD

For sure; thanks for the follow!

Thanks for the comment!

The best advice I can give is to talk to people. Strike up little friendships. Respond to reviews, etc. You already seem to be doing a lot of that, but that and a little social media consistency will do you more good than whatever wack shit the so-called gurus are trotting out. Also, provide something valuable. That could be simple making of videos where you show in-progress work, mixing, song-writing tips -- whatever. Bottom line, people love value and engagement.

Also, regarding the lack of satisfaction and tedium, I can relate. @RealFaction also wrote a good bit of the same in his recent autobiography. It's more a symptom of depression than anything; the same happens to ball players in the NFL, NBA, MLB, etc., that climbing to the top of the mountain only to find there's nothing there, feeling. I feel like that some days -- that, or bored.

Thanks for the advice. In the past I've really neglected that aspect of it, but I've been working to improve now.

Still on NG I see. Keep up the good work.


@MistyEntertainment, hey, dw. We all have been there. Sometimes we focus so much on our content we forget that building a fanbase is all about rapport. It's also worth noting people really like music blogs today. See examples like Adam Neely and Ben Levin. Everyone gets together and does interviews, talks about gigs and their projects, etc. I'm a terrible example, myself, but that's just because I'm lazy. Don't be like me, lol.

Also, have you been feeling any better?

Yeah, I definitely put more thought and effort these days into connecting with my fanbase. And also I have been feeling better, it's been an uphill ride but it's worth it, you feel me?

@MistyEntertainment Definitely. And I'm glad. I disappeared for a while when my computer exploded, so I'm just now getting back into the swing of things. Have you got anything in the past 2 months you'd like a review on?

Ah yeah. Computer issues are always a drag.

Past two months eh? In that case, I just uploaded two songs I wrote this year! They're computer demos, since I wrote them in guitar notation software.

Queen of Hearts: https://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/803315
Are We There Yet?: https://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/803317

@MistyEntertainment Wicked cool yo. I'll open those in new tabs and check em before I head out for a job interview in the morning. :)

Sweet, thanks! And good luck on the job interview!!!