Fighting Obscurity

Obscurity. This is a perpetual demon digging its claws into my shoulders. Relative obscurity prevents me (and, to be sure, others like me) from getting more work than I do; people who don't know about you can't exactly hire you, right? 

It also prevents projects from being more successful. Launching a game is hard, and experienced though I may be, even I have trouble earning eyeballs when I launch a project all by my little lonesome, without the resources and backing of a Sony or a Channel 4. Getting an audience is probably the single hardest thing for any artist, whether the work you're making is an ARG, a book, a painting, a film, an album... you get the picture.

So how do you fight obscurity? Unfortunately, the only functional method is also the least comfortable. You have to put yourself out there. For transmedia, this means blogging like you think you're some kind of expert, nominating your projects for awards, promoting your work tirelessly on your social media presence and at conferences. It's tiring, it's tacky, and it feels... well... kind of rude. 

Worse, it can feel like a violation of artistic integrity. I mean, if your work was all that, people would just find you, right? Cream rises to the top!

Except it really doesn't. Not always, not uniformly, sometimes not ever. The truth is, the media landscape we live in is so cluttered and noisy that even nuggets of pure genius will sometimes be lost in the chaos. You can put yourself out there and hope somebody notices, but sometimes shouting is the only way anybody will really hear you.

That's the original purpose of my blog, and -- full disclosure, here -- I admit it's a strong reason I continue to bring the ranty pedagogue to an RSS reader near you. It's essentially the Make Andrea Famous to Keep Her Functionally Employed project (and I mean, I'm doing OK, so the plan seems to be working.) 

I also sign myself up to do talks and panels, and almost never turn down requests for interviews. Whenever possible, I write papers or bloggy guest posts and have 'em published. I do everything in my power to puff myself up like a little bird trying to impress everyone. If I knew other things I could be doing, you can bet I'd be doing them, too.

But it all feels terribly... tiring, tacky, rude. And that, my friends, is why I try to make such a big point of shining a light on my Creative Spotlight artists, why I try to make introductions between people at every turn, and why I talk at such great length about hard-won things I've learned along my way that might also help you and your work. 

I'm over here jumping up and down and flapping my arms like a fool trying to get your attention, sure. Damn skippy I want that succulent attention for myself. But if I can help others to fight obscurity at the same time, and if I can bring amazing work to my audience, and help them to make more and better work of their own, then it makes it feel less shameless and icky. 

Because then it isn't about me, anymore. It's about us. Me and you, kids. Let's fight this thing together.

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