Forcing Familiarity

“Read it!” The author said to the stranger.

Anytime you release a creative project – be it a novel, a film, a product, or an idea – you must take into account the realistic reception it will most likely receive.

It is naive and ignorant to anticipate the masses will flock to view your work because of its “masterful composition.” Any creative individual seeking external validation has signed up for disappointment.

The most common misconception of any artist is that the quality of their work will be instantly recognized upon its release. This is because the human mind does not operate that way.

Let’s say you decide one fine Sunday to read a book that has 0 reviews and no prior purchases.

Despite the fact you do not know the title of the book, nor it’s contents, nor its subject matter, you have already made an assumption about its overall quality. You are picturing novel ripe with plot holes, poorly applied research, and quite possibly grammatical errors. Why? Because you are looking for a reason to explain why the novel is a failure. It has thus far been labeled a failure by the rest of society, therefore you must examine it to figure out why.

This is no different than how we judge our fellow brethren and sisters. When we meet somebody new we ask what their occupation is shortly after introducing ourselves. In a job interview we provide a chronological blueprint about our prior life experiences in order to vouch for a job. In other words, we validate individuals, materials, and philosophies by first examining how they have been validated by others.

Now let us pretend on this fine Sunday morning that you have purchased a Stephen King novel instead. Perhaps you have never read any of his books before. What angle do you approach the pages with? You seek to discover why he is regarded as one of the all-time great novelists. You will study those pages and analyze the story in order to find the recipe to success. You are ready to receive his book with high regard and it will take work to change your opinion.

What’s the point of all this? To reassure any person out there who is trying to introduce something new to society that they are not falling short because of their skills and talents. That plays a role (the biggest in the long run), but it is not 100% responsible for the reception it receives. As a brand new novelist, your work will still be compared to Stephen King’s for examples of what not to do.

So what’s the point? Why even try? How can this hurdle be overcome?

You must continue to market your work even after learning it is not the masterpiece you once thought it to be. You must continue to defend yourself even after your weaknesses have been exposed. You must become a sales person who realizes that the consumer will not buy their product unless they are convinced it is a worthy investment.

The more you expose your imperfect work, as gut-wrenching as that may be, the more the public will find a sense of familiarization with you, the individual. Where at first they said no, they may eventually say yes – and only because they have been exposed to your brand multiple times. This is why advertising exists, after all – we’re not running to Mcdonalds every time we see a billboard. However, we may just feel like a McGriddle when we head into work the next day.

If you’re interested in my imperfect work, please check out my short film below and feel free to leave me a comment: