8 Steps to Becoming a Rock Star: the Angora Method
Jobs and unemployment are both seriously overrated–you might as well become a rock star. Instead of wasting your valuable time poisoning all the other applicants for the last remaining MacDonald’s position in Lakewood, become a rock star. The economy sucks and you’re going to be living off cat food for the next year anyways, why don’t we turn this period into what inspired [insert rock band name here] to make the dark, pivotal album that launched their career (instead of it being the period right before you got that job as a dental hygienist), shall we?
Donnybrook knows all about dreams. We are living the dream. Shit, we are supping the nectar of dreams from God’s gigantic DD dream-breast. Who better to life-coach you than Donnybrook?
This method goes for other dreams, like becoming a Broadway dancer or, God forbid, a writer. So whatever your goal, whether it’s photography, stripping, or rock stardom, here’s your potential character arc for the next 3-5 years:
1.) Coming out of the closet.
You’ve been secretly developing your craft, and now it’s time to show it to the world. This is tough for some people. “Hey friends, family, and coworkers: my deepest passion is to become a puppeteer!” You’ll worry that people will balk at your dream, or think you’re crazy, or say you’re horrible at it, and they will. Just the other day Angora was talking to the film director Bob Byington about Donnybrook and he said, “I admire your devotion to something so arcane.” But she just laughed, because it was actually kind of funny.
Don’t worry if people think your dream sucks, or you suck. Bob Ross’s paintings always look like they’re going to suck until the very end when you’re like, How did you pull it all together, Bob? I thought you ruined everything by putting the tree in front and now it looks so amazing!
You might also feel like a fraud at first, and you probably are, a little bit. Fake it till you make it.
The exception to this rule is our friend Dainon, who we got to know first and then found out he’s been an Elvis impersonator for a really long time. That was actually kind of a cool reveal. So it’s up to you if you wanna do the secret life thing, I guess.
2.) The orgiastic bubble of communal inspiration.
These are the golden years, my friend. Find your scene and launch yourself into it without thinking. This could be a college program, roller derby, or rock shows if you’re trying to be a rock photographer. Just show up all the time and start making friends; even if you’re a total creepo, people will respond well to someone with mutual interests. Think about it…we have tons of friends who are total creepos in our scene. I won’t name names. But we don’t hold that against them.
You’ll naturally be drawn to interesting, creative, and highly attractive people of course, and then one moment when you’re doing car bombs with your fellow career enthusiasts, it will dawn on you that drinking with your friends counts as “working” or at least “networking” and you can even write it off on your taxes someday. That’s awesome!
If you’re a misanthrope, a loner, or don’t like to deal with “bullshit politics” of the scene, this is tough for you. You can get your product to the masses via the internet, but you’ll find the same bullshit politics there, or wherever people preside. So maybe you’ll just have to be a Van Gogh and get appreciated after you’re dead. Sorry, too depressing?
Some argue it’s inauthentic to make friends in order to further your career; but if it feels that way to you, you’re in the wrong scene. You shouldn’t force yourself to make friends with people you don’t actually like. The goal here is to find people like you, who are going through the same thing as you, who can support you and you can support them, and it’s all supposed to be a lot of fun, blah blah blah. This is not rocket science.
Also, don’t forget to keep developing your craft.
3.) The ‘getting completely fucked’ phase.
You can bitch all you want–that’s what Myspace/LiveJournal blogs are for–but you can’t escape this phase. I posted an ad for an internship at the record label a few months ago and got angry emails about the immorality of unpaid internships. WTF?
If you’re going for your dream job here, it’s probably in an industry that everyone wants to be in, and let’s face it, it might be an industry without any money (like the music biz, for example). There are a lot of favors-as-currency situations going on even up to the tippy top of the company. My boss’s boss does shit for free, and he broke the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ career. Do you think you’re too good to be doing things for free? If you don’t like it, try being a blogger.
In a creative industry, many jobs are there for the taking if you just create them for yourself, but you can’t sit back and hope they’ll recognize what a special little snowflake you are. Create your own salary by finding ways to bring in money, or start your own company. This is life’s version of the teacher who was really mean on the first day of class to scare people away; it sorts out the truly passionate people from those who think it sounds glamorous.
If it’s been four or five years and you still can’t get any cash money, then you’re being taken advantage of. Use this inspiration to make better art and develop your craft.
4.) The false break.
Ah. Love this one. You’re going to get your lucky break, your big shot. You’ll call all your friends and relatives, especially the ones who doubted you (I’m looking at you, Byington!), and you’ll feel like this legitimizes everything. Only ten seconds into your new found success, you’ll realize it’s only the beginning of a very long road, and you are no where near quitting your day job. You can still brag a lot about it though!
This is what we call “fodder for future press releases.” Do not fear. You can use the crap out of this new break. You should mention it at parties, use it to get laid, use it to get jobs, make people jealous, and make people realize you’re legit. Most people weren’t taking you seriously when you said you were a writer. Well, now they will. You can even use it to get a better job that’s completely unrelated: Angora once scored a high-falutin’ job at a swanky skyscraper downtown solely because of how impressed they were that she wrote for Westword (thanks, Dave!). The new job involved no writing, save that she worked on Donnybrook eight hours a day instead of actually working, while making the best salary she’s ever made, with benefits!
Also, don’t forget to develop your craft.
5.) The downward spiral–not the fun one with excesses.
Cheer up then, it’s not so bad! OK, it really is pretty bad. You want this so badly, yet the Universe is being a stingy bitch. No one will come to your shows anymore. Your opportunities seem to have dried up. In the beginning, everyone was super supportive, but people are people. They can only see the same show over and over so many times, no matter how much they love you. You need to move up to the next level but you don’t have the bandwidth to do it yourself. It feels like you’re running on a hamster wheel. In fact, you can’t even envision a way out of this. You’re so in debt that it will be physically impossible to keep doing this next month. You’re fat and have been smoking too much. You somehow got uglier. This is the period when all those writers killed themselves.
Here’s how you get over this. Are you ready?
You care too much. The American Dream dictates that you can accomplish your hopes and dreams if you just want it badly enough. But people can smell your desperation a mile away, and it’s not pretty. The Universe likes to remind you on a regular basis that what you think you need is not what you really need, and thus it will be repelled by your dreams if you are clinging to them white-knuckled. If a god or supernatural force exists, it sure as hell ain’t gonna defer to your little human plan, Tom. ‘Oh, Tom, what a good idea, I hadn’t thought of that. I’m only God, but no, you’re totally right. You’re right, go ahead, TOM.’ No, the Universe is going to wait until you don’t care anymore to make things happen. To shake things up. Either that or there is no God, no plan, and you just have to wait it out till the random roulette of nature strikes in your favor.
While you’re waiting, keep developing your craft, and start working on caring less. Often it happens organically, because you get so angry at your dream that you stop caring. But I personally suggest:
6.) Become a Wild Card
Use your failures as an artist as inspiration, start drinking a lot and cultivate a cynical edge of rebellion. People will think you’re dangerous and really cool and mysterious. Plus, people don’t like happy people–they like sad interesting people with crazy stories. Wild card people. People who don’t give a fuck. Become a rogue wild card maverick. Send the Universe on a wild goose chase by carrying out some grand gesture in the wrong direction, like starting a fashion line. This crossing of boundaries might actually be the key to your success; people like crossovers because they’re new. And keep doing what you’ve been doing the whole time, developing your craft, but do it in a devil-may-care fashion. Start cutting your own hair. Wear lederhosen. Show up to shows looking haggard but deeply satisfied on the inside. Do things that make you deeply satisfied on the inside, like flipping people off, skinny dipping, or throwing breakable things off of roofs*.
People will be in awe of you, and will start talking to you in a different, more reverential tone (like they’re a little bit scared of you). You might even get groupies. Then one night when you have three groupies hanging off your arm, some guy with a ponytail (!!!) who looks really out of place (!!!) will walk up to you after the show (!!!) and say he wants to “talk” sometime. Congratulations, this is a music industry professional!!! This is really really your potential Big Break. Really. You could quit your day job if this pans out–But wait!
7.) Cheat on the bitch
This is super important, and where most people fail. You need to be an opportunity philanderer. When an opportunity rolls in and you’re waiting to hear back, NEVER sit and wait; this should launch a flurry of activity on your part, as you desperately attempt to cheat on that opportunity with as many other opportunities as possible. Apply for jobs you don’t care about! It’s the rule of the multiple girlfriends. When you didn’t have a girlfriend, you started dating that perfect girl, but she felt all weird and icky because you put too much pressure on the relationship. But then there was that time when you were dating three girls at once (the groupies, remember?), and then one of them became the girl of your dreams, remember? And you guys are married now! Wow! That’s so sweet, Tom!
Anyways, you have to do this with your opportunities. The Universe has a funny way of working; much of the time, it’s one of these other opportunities you didn’t care about initially that ends up working out. Also, don’t forget to develop your craft.
8.) Living the dream
So there you have it. You’ve gotten your big break and you’re now living the dream! The most important part of this stage is to develop your craft. Also enjoy it while you can, because you’ll be having another excess-induced downward spiral in a few years, but don’t worry, you’ll be heavily on drugs and won’t feel a thing. You can thank Angora later by getting “the Donnybrook Writing Academy” tattooed on your illegitimate firstborn child’s forehead.
*Angora is not responsible for any injuries inflicted during your “wild card” phase, nor is the Donnybrook Writing Academy