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In any performance arts field, being original makes the artist stand out. If you want to be a highly successful entertainer, you have to be original. This article explores 10 ways entertainers can be original.
Many pure artists have a singular perception of originality and feel being original means that you have to be unique in either technique or the final product (performance or artwork).
But, what many entertainers fail to see is that there are many facets to being original. This is why many purists often create original techniques or products that tend to have little mass AKA commercial appeal. They forget that the rest of the world (public & media) have other views of what is original.
There are in fact many ways that performing artistes can be original. Here are 10 ways an entertainer can be different:
Finished Act/ Show
This is the most common and obvious way for an entertainer to be original. Developing and presenting an original show on multiple levels is the goal of all serious entertainers. While it takes hard work and time, this goal is achievable for most dedicated artistes.
Jerome Murat, A unique Living Statue Artiste, www.jeromemurat.com
Superior technique can help an entertainer stand out. While this is a coveted goal of many pure artists, superior technique at the highest level can only be achieved by an elite few. Many times innate talent, physiology, genetics and natural ability are what allow the elite few to achieve superior technique. So, superior technique may not be attainable by everyone. The good news is that there are many more ways to be original and stand out in the commercial marketplace.
While the actual act or routine that an entertainer presents may not be original, an original presentation can make the act completely fresh, different and appealing. With effort and by putting in time to write an original presentation that touches an audience on multiple levels, this goal is achievable by all entertainers.
Showcase Your Art in Non-Traditional Markets
Find a new market to showcase your art. This may be a venue or market that your art is typically not presented in. For example, the corporate market offers different opportunities and corporate clients are always looking to create new experiences for their customers and partners. If you can come up with a way to use your art to add value to a corporate event, you can capitalize on an untapped lucrative market.
Bring a Unique/ Non-traditional Character to the Art
Personality is a very strong differentiating and branding tool for an entertainer. Personality can be conveyed in how you present yourself on multiple levels on and off stage. A different personality that is not seen in your field can draw media and mainstream interest in how original you are.
Publicity & Promotions
Innovative ways to create hype, publicity and awareness about your brand will make you appear original in the marketplace. “Stunts” that create public interest in you or your art require a high level of creativity but can have a huge payoff.
Showcase Your Art in Different Mediums
With the advent of new media opportunities from video sharing to social media platforms, entertainers are finding new ways to showcase themselves and their art. While video might seem like the most natural way to showcase your art, try to think outside the box. You can extend your brand and art through different mediums like podcasts, photographs or written text as well. Always keep a lookout to see what others are doing and see if you can be the first one in your field to showcase your art in a new medium.
Collaborate with Non-Traditional Partners
The most common collaborators that performing artistes partner up with are directors, producers, choreographers or other artistes in their field. Think of ways to collaborate with a non-traditional partner to create a something new. What could you do with a chef, a novelist, a sports athlete, a blogger or a dog trainer?
Import Ideas from Other Industries to Your Art
Look at ideas, business models or strategies that work in other industries. Import the ideas and tailor it for your own niche industry to create something “new”. For example, the popular Japanese “sushi train” conveyor belt system was imported from the assembly line production from factories, first invented by Ford. This created a “new” novel and efficient way of serving customers. Not invented but still original!
Look at advertising and promotional ideas from other industries. See what has not been done in your field before and apply it accordingly.
Work on Showcasing Originality over a Body of Work/ Period of Time
It is impossible to be original in every aspect of your work. As an artist, your work will likely be built on the work of those before you; after all, we stand on the shoulders of giants.
For example, if you are a music composer, it is almost impossible to come up with a completely new sound, melody or instrumentation. However, there may be a bridge or chorus in the song that is distinctly different. Or, you might write a part of the arrangement in the song that does not follow the typical structure of a song.
Do this for a number of songs and you would have showcased original elements over a body of work and will be recognized with originality. Hopefully, these original elements in different songs will be noticed by people.
Look at any season of “American Idol” or your country’s equivalent. While the contestants all sing covers of known/ existing songs, the ones that get lauded for originality or innovation are those that add little touches and changes to make it their own. They did not write the songs (invent) but still made them original.
Creative individuals will be able to come up with another 10 ways to be original. In fact, entertainers can also combine any of the above ways in different permutations to create even more ways to be original.
While there are many ways to be original, a performing artistes must also work within their strengths and strive to be original in that area. Many entertainers fail to be recognize this fundamental principle and therefore work in areas that they cannot excel in.
Those that recognize their strengths and are creative in being original based on their strengths generally start on the right track towards being commercially successful.
If you think you have created something original, do your homework to ensure it is original. With the Internet, it is easy enough to find if something has been done before. If not, ask people in your field who are knowledgeable and experienced.
If you do indeed seem to have something original, shout about it. Let people know about it. If you have inadvertently replicated someone else’s idea, you will no doubt hear from him/ her very soon. If not, the likelihood is that you have something original, so people should know about it; especially if you are a performing artiste.
Over time, if you can replicate your originality and prove you are not a “one-hit wonder”, your originality will translate into commercial value for you.
One final note:
Being original does not mean that the quality of the end-product can be low. The high quality of the end-product is a given and must not traded in for the sake of being original. No point having an original end-product that sucks.
So, how can you be original and different?