Remaining Consistent After Success

What about success changes people?

May 20, 2019

Did anyone watch the finale of Game of Thrones last night? Doing my best here to not give away any spoilers, I will say that I was disappointed. The ending felt... off-brand. And I wonder about how these things could happen, because I've seen this a lot in the entertainment industry. A franchise, artist or creator will gain success for a particular reason or style, in this case Game of Thrones was well known for it's ability to not follow the normal path.

With the killing off of its main characters in the early parts of the show, it was clear in the beginning that this wasn't a normal Hollywood story. So it felt clear to me why the show became so popular. It was doing something and pushing boundaries that not other shows were willing to do. And as a fan of doing things differently, I very much enjoyed the show. 

But this last season felt off. I understand it was their goal to tie up all the loose stories so that they could have a "finale", but the whole thing felt rushed. I liked Game of Thrones because of it's real-world approach to story telling. In real life, life isn't fair. The hero doesn't always survive. The villain doesn't always die. 

Again, without ruining the show for anyone, let's just say the finale felt like a bunch of executives gathered in a room and said "how can we please the fans".

I guess that's not a bad thing, but as a fan and an admirer of the show, I felt like that was the wrong approach. It didn't feel like art, it felt like they took things people liked about the show and wrote an ending based on that. But the problem with that is, the people don't want to see what they want to see. What made the show great was their ability to do things differently. Following not the right path, but the realistic one. 

But again, it's not the first time I've seen this happen. 

So, what about success changes people?

I've noticed this in the music business too. Often times I'll listen to an album that is just amazing from start to finish. And then you can pinpoint exactly where the artist went main stream and their work suddenly falls off and sounds just mediocre. What made them great was their ability to stand out from a sea of musicians. They had to take risks and do things differently and then they lose that hunger or they're afraid of losing what they've built up. So instead of trying to be inventive they just give the people what they ask for, which to me often times feels like a lazy attempt at art. 

It's something as an artist that I try to be conscious of. I know it's impossible to please everyone, but if I placed myself in the shoes of these people, how could I navigate it differently?

Also, what can be learned from the people who never waiver. Who never disappoint. Who remain consistent throughout their careers. What is their secret?

As a solo creator, I think the trick is to just stay focused on YOUR ambitions. And do things you want to create regardless of the hate, love and feedback you receive. Because at the end of day there is always going to be someone who hates it, so just don't let that person be you. 

Waldo
(wal•do) — Person
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