There’s a fantastic podcast going on at the moment called The Bestseller Experiment which i urge you listen to. It’s two guys looking into how to write a best selling novel in one year, which sounds cynical andall about the filthy lucre on the surface, but it’s more about looking into writing craft, its business, and creativity in general.
Anyway, last week I was listening to the episode with Brian Cranston. Cranston had written screenplays, which was the link, but the conversation quickly turned ot creativity and artistry in general, and something he said stuck out to me. Cranston was speaking about an early audition he had and the advice he was given was ot give the interviewer what they want to see, and he said no, you give the audition the character deserves. And you may not get the part, but you will be remembered.
And I think the reason hat stayed with me was interviews with other artists I read as a kid that I still carry around with me now, and those were with James Hetfield of Metallica.
Whenever I’m asked my influences – which happens believe it or not – I include Metallica, and that always takes people by surprise. Not that this mild mannered chap would listen to such brash music (god help them if they ever see my CD collection*), but that a writer would list them as an influence. But the thing is Metallica came out fo nowhere in the 80s playing their own style of music. When everything was just getting faster, yellier and more distorted, they took their love of Euro glam rock and played their own version of it. Their love of their own art showed, and spawned a hundred copycats, but the point is they went against the grain. They ignored the market and played the music they wanted to.
They played it, and they did indeed come.
And that’s a lesson I take to writing – pay no mind what’s popular, ignore the zeigeist, write what you love. If you love it, there’ll be more. Trust me on this.
*For the kids in the audience, CDs were like tiny, limited MP3 players that doubled up as chicken hypotising discs