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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Success ?



To all purposes, being a dancer in SL is easy.  Jump on someone's HUD, line up, start dancing. People dancing in synch look cool.  Admit it!

It's not like you have put in years of training in tap, ballet or modern jazz, torn your ligaments and your ankles, damaged your knees and your back learning this stuff. The people who model for your MOCAP dances probably did.  But hey, this is SL. This is what it is all about, having fun and realising your dreams. No-one says it has to be hard work.  It's not real life....right?

Much like any other interaction in SL, dance is an emotional and creative response; an outpouring of energy that results in something that could be a cabaret, a striptease or even a piece of performance art.  Doing it WELL is a personal choice. Your child's finger-painting may not be a Rembrandt but the intention behind it is just as important to the recipient of that gift.

Let me just say, I am NOT criticising anyone for their method or level of involvement. Dancing, like any other creative pursuit should be personally rewarding above all else.  If it makes you happy then all is good.

Performing for other people "professionally" however, is another matter.   Making something that other people want to not only watch but appreciate takes a bit more effort.
"Oh yeah, you mean all the scenery and costumes and stuff, right?"

Nope.

Whilst all of that is part of the package, I am talking about attributes and traits that you need in spades if you want to achieve something WELL.

When we do the Sinner's Shows, we get a lot of people saying to us "Wow, I would love to do what you guys do.."  Like the picture above they are only seeing the tip of the iceberg which has been polished until it shines like a diamond!

So lets have a look at some of the bits underneath that make the difference:
(and these principles work for just about any project you can mention)

Dedication/Motivation

You really have to WANT to do something to make a success of it. That hunger is all important.  It doesn't have to be there 24/7 - we all have off-days, but it needs to be there sufficiently and consistently enough that you hang on to your idea and see it through to the end.   You have to believe in it too.  That's quite hard in SL.  You aren't going to get rich from it, you are not going to become a celebrity.  You do it because you believe it's important, if only to yourself.
The easily distracted need not apply...oh and it's not for quitters.

Sacrifice

There are times when I would much rather be hanging out with my friends and having a good laugh.  Recently  have forced myself to take breaks and do that for my sanity's sake, but there have been lots of times when I have had to say "No, I can't, I'm working on something".  You might want to spend all your lindens on shoes but your budget is up the creek because you had to buy things for your set or new dances.  Be prepared to be single minded sometimes.

Hard Work/Persistence

Are you prepared to do something over and over again until you get it right?  You can sit for hours perfecting something and maybe you are just at that point where you have to finish one bit before you can leave it alone for a while.  Going that extra 30 minutes when you have been sitting working on something for 2 hours can be a pain in the ass (literally). More importantly, taking the time to LEARN something like The Artiste or other tools thoroughly; know what they can do and what is the most efficient way of doing it.  You don't learn things like this overnight.  It takes time.  I have been learning for over 3 years and I still don't know the full potential of the HUD.  I still have to think hard about how to implement things properly  AND I still have to kick myself up the ass sometimes to get on with it.  No-one is perfect!

Disappointment/Frustration/Failure

Guess what?  You don't always get what you want and especially not when you want it.  Browning said "a man's reach should exceed his grasp". Wanting things that we can't quite reach can keep us on our toes.

Sometimes we suffer frustration trying to get something to do what we want. SL may offer us the possibilities to do a lot more than the real world, but there are still restrictions and all you can do is try to circumvent them.

As for Failure, it is only a matter of perspective. As long as you learn from what you have done and it allows you to do something better next time then where is the problem?

Good Habits

You want to minimise your chances of frustration?  Get some good habits.
(put the nuns down, Yummy)

1. Have a realistic idea of what can be done:
That means what YOU can do. If you want to feel an achievement, do it yourself. If people want to help you out that great, but don't base what you are doing on what other people are good at.  This doesn't mean you can't ask for help.  Sharing the burden is another good habit, but support is not the same as foundation.

2. Keep it SIMPLE:
Not all good ideas have to be complex.  In fact even the complex ones follow the same rule. It's called Occams Razor - Google it!

3. Break it down into  s m a l l e r   b i t s:
Don't think everything has to fall fully formed from the head of Zeus. Take baby steps, both in learning and planning.  Make sure you understand the basics before you rush into advanced techniques. Remember that quote? Well if you reach too far you fall over...flat on your face.

4. Pace yourself:
Never rush things. Plan your time properly.  Try to do little bits everyday so you are constantly moving forward but also leave time for you to put the project away for a couple of days and look at it fresh.

5. Don't say "Oh, it will do":
Best maxim ever "if a job's worth doing, its worth doing well"  'Nuff said.

6. Be true to yourself:

Does it matter what other people are doing?  Listen to your heart. Let it guide your imagination to a place that is original and yours.  Just because Josie Bloggs is doing a killer routine with 20 dancers in the club one sim over, don't think that's what you have to do.  Learn to appreciate what other people do without judging yourself against it. You are your own person.

Now go Boogie!