How To Be Discovered And Make $15 Bazillion (Plus Royalties)

MikeachimBlogging, Writing12 Comments

Fevered Mutterings image - 1.21 JigaWatts! by Mike Behnken - Flickr

Hi Mike,

My name is Steve Spielberg – you may have heard of me from such films as ET, Close Encounters and the recent Indiana Jones film I regret letting George Lucas write. (Seriously, the fridge? Well, anyway.) Like many people in the entertainment industry, I’ve been reading your blog (trying to distract myself in the nerve-wracking run up to the Globes. Did you see Lincoln? No, wait, you’re in the UK, you guys are decades behind us over there. Go see The Goonies. I wrote that. It’s just as good as Lincoln.)

The thing is, Mike, I love your blog and I want to make a film (a blog film) from it. No, the hell with it, let’s go plural. You know the Harry Potter franchise? Too small. You know how The Hobbit is one small book turned into 3 films? I’d have turned it into 20 films. (Peter Jackson blocked me on Twitter after I said that to him. Not a big thinker, our Jacko.) I want to take your North York Moors misadventure and turn it into Helm’s Deep meets The Ten Commandments meets Rain Man. (No offence.) So that’s film number 3. We can talk about the pacing later. I’m just ranting. So excited!

Anyway, I appreciate you probably need some funds to tide you over while we get production underway, so I’m transferring $15 bazillion ($15bz) over to you, any way you wish. (Plus royalties later – that’s another conversation.) I’ve had problems with PayPal thinking I’m a spammer when I’ve tried to move $bazillions to bank accounts in another country, so I recommend a BACS transfer. Or I can just fly the cash over in a private jet – not a problem.

Oh, and what’s the bandwidth allowance for your blog’s hosting package? Because . . . you’re gonna need a bigger boat.

Yours excitedly,

Steve.

If you have a blog and want to have a career as a writer, photographer or publisher of some kind, you dream of being Discovered.

It’s a totally valid dream. You could be Discovered. It happens. In the last few years, I’ve had minor moments of being discovered (small ‘d’) where freelance work knocked on my door. And I’ll confess – I have dreams of Joss Whedon reading one of my wretched quips, laughing in a genuine, non-pitying fashion, and pinging me an e-mail. (“Hi Mike. Name’s Joss. Campaigner for the zombie apocalypse, loving husband, professional killer. Let’s do funny things together. Not that way. J.”)

Problem is, this is a disastrous business strategy.

I have a friend who actually does use this as a business strategy. He figures that if people aren’t approaching him with offers of work, he needs to up his game, and it’s a strategy that is clearly working for him — but he earned it by working his ass off for years and years. For anyone who isn’t yet established and doesn’t have a portfolio that groans with entries, waiting to be discovered (or Discovered) is almost certainly business suicide.

If you want to work with people you admire, spend half of your time trying to meet them halfway. Be cheeky. Be helpful. Connect. Don’t tell those people you’re an admirer of their work – prove it. Don’t tell your potential audience you’re up to the job – do the job. Don’t wait for lightning to strike — stand on a hillside in wet copper armor and shout “all gods are bastards.”

This is a well-known part of the successful freelancer’s code: you seek out work while other work is seeking you out. What I think is less apparent for bloggers and anyone who uses social media is that “raising your profile” or “building your following” can easily be another form of waiting to be Discovered. What are you building your followers for? What happens when you have double the Fans on your page? When does stuff actually happen?

The answer is almost always this: stuff happens when you reach out for it.

So make sure you do that as soon as possible.

Image: MikeBehnken
  • cj

    How?

    • Mikeachim

      Who do you want to attract the attention of, emulate or work with – and why?

      • cj

        I’m sorry, I withdraw the question. I read your post, and my immediate reaction was that even if I had a “product” to offer, I have not the first idea about how to go about reaching out to (or even knowing of) someone who might be interested in it. I thought this might be one of those increasingly common occasions when something is so staggeringly obvious to everyone except me that it goes without saying.
        I now realise that this is not the case.
        I think that I need to go back several steps from the position that your post addresses and work a lot of things out before even thinking of asking this question again.
        Thank you.

        • Mikeachim

          Hey cj,

          No need to retract anything, it’s a good question. And what I’m talking about doesn’t have to be to do with “products” or even business at all. It could be an idea you’ve always longed to discuss with the right audience, or some question you’ve always wanted answering by the right person. It can be anything you want. ..

  • Love it!

  • : )

    i think if you do the work that you love and pour your heart and soul into it…

    they will come to you…

    maybe not right way.. but they will..

    and in case they don’t, at least you didn’t fake it ; )

    it all takes time .. luck has nothing to do with success..

    Passion, Honesty & Hard Work

    • >>Indeed. Hanging in there, working hard and accepting random opportunities without relying on them….but mainly the hard work and the hanging-in…

      Were there any moments when you doubted if you wanted to be an actress? Or rather, if you ever doubted you wanted it *enough*?

  • The harder you work, the luckier you get….

  • Dear Mike,

    Brilliant site. You make me laugh every time I read it, and that’s hard to do from where I currently reside.
    Just one teensy thing: My book, “The Hobbit” was a prequel to my trilogy “The Lord of the Rings,” which was, indeed, three books. (“trilogy,” and all that.) Why Jacko decided to do those first, I’ll never know. But now we’ve come full circle and we’re about to get the backstory in “The Hobbit.” One book; one film (so far.)
    Just thought you might like to know.
    BTW: Give me your Paypal info and I’ll send you a quadrillion or so. Lord knows I don’t need it now.

    All the best,
    JRR Tolkien

    • Yo JRR,

      *ZOMG*. Best day ever. I will print this comment thread off and then have it turned into a full-body tattoo so I NEVER FORGET THIS DAY, especially when I’m naked.

      I’m a bit worried about whether Jackson is going to do The Silmarillion next, and then follow it up with all the Lost Tales, which if you don’t mind me saying, sir, do rather go on somewhat. (Been reading Tom Clancy, by any chance? Or the later Harry Potter books? Well, just wondering). If he starts on those, it’s at least 20 more films.

      Something I’ve always wondered, while you’re here: Tom Bombadil. Why? No, that’s my question – just a simple “Why?”. I always imagined a slightly younger version of the lead singer of Slade, with a hint of Adam Sandler mixed with Wurzel Gummidge. See, that’s not a great experience to have in the middle of your favourite book. Tom was your very own Jar Jar Binks moment, wasn’t he? Those brainstorming walks you took in the hills above Malvern…well, maybe they should have been a bit longer. No offence.

      PS. If you’re still in touch with your Estate (printing rights, and all that), I’ve got this terrific idea of a sequel to Lord Of The Rings. Goblins invades the Shire and a band of teenage hobbits find a secret stash of wizard wands and fight for their freedom at all costs. I call it “Hobbit Dawn”. Sound good? Pull some strings. Thx so much!!!

  • Sharon Miro

    Hollywood is watalways searching for talent. Twitter is the new Schwab’s.

  • You’ve made no mention whatsoever of working on your gag reflex. What gives?