Back when I was a half-assed celebrity I used to travel with a celebrity basketball team to help out charitable organizations. We would travel wherever and play a basketball game against the home team, who which was made up of representatives of whatever charity or organization were were raising money for.
It was a lot of fun and, even though I wasn’t very good, I felt like a star player just because people would cheer for you for the smallest achievements – which included running without falling down. The bar was set pretty low.
All basketball aside, my favorite trip was to St. Louis, MO. I was a last minute addition to the roster so I wasn’t clear as to who or what we were raising money for, I was just happy to be going. The game was fine, raised a bunch of money, but what I remember most are our travels around the city. We saw the riverboat casinos, experienced how all Anheuser-Busch beers were only $1.25 vs the $4.00 and up of any other kind of beer (I grew a taste for Bud Light), and our adventures with our host – whose name I cannot remember.
Sometimes my memory, or lack thereof, can be a real disservice. He was a celebrity tap dancer who danced with his family. He was kind, quiet, but also very charismatic. The night after the game we went out for dinner and then visited his dance studio where he, his family and the members of our crew who could dance all showed their stuff. It was kind of like being live at “So You Think You Can Dance.”
During the dance party our host’s daughter kept getting frustrated because she didn’t have her tap shoes. Her dad told her, “Don’t travel without your guns!” That idea stuck with me more than almost everything else from that trip. It’s such a simple lesson for creative types.
When your job is being an artist, or any kind of creative, there are typically special tools that you require. Just like a lumberjack needs an axe or a saw or business people require computer power we need our tools too. And because art can happen at any time it’s always a good idea to be prepared. Thanks to smart phones and constantly updating technology, being an actor/filmmaker is as easy as having my phone in my pocket, writers can write on the fly and music can be created and played in an app. Admittedly this doesn’t work for everyone, but I hope I’ve made my point.
In a world where being and artist and making a living as a creative is becoming more possible, this lesson is truer now than ever before. Things like Vine and Twitter
make sharing to an audience an instantaneous act. The power of the internet can reach audiences world wide. A kid with a guitar can have a viral video on YouTube
and make a living – but you have to have your “guns.”
Since that trip I’ve always kept something with me to take notes. In the 90s it was a PDA, after that it was a Blackberry, and now a combination of iPhone, iPad and Moleskine pocket journals. Even though I don’t create as much as I’d like, there have been plenty of times where an idea has at least been recorded in some way lest it be lost forever to the aether.
So I put it to you, what are your “guns?” What tools do you use that you should always have handy? Tell me in the comments!
See you next time.