Dear People Who Love the Arts but are Overwhelmed Right Now,
Firstly, thank you so much for valuing what we creative people do.
I’m sure you’ve seen many artists in your social media feeds freaking out about having zero gigs over the coming months. Needless to say, we are so stressed out right now. (Not even joking, I have broken out in hives for the first time ever. Not a big deal in the scheme of things, but still...hives.)
I’m sure you’ve also noticed that many of us are trying to do what we do and be creative and optimistic and find new ways to make shit happen: Patreons are being launched, new content is being created, PayPal links are being posted, pleas to buy merch are coming forth, and more, and more, and more… the level of need is overwhelming. And here’s the thing: no matter how much YOU might WANT to help artists, it’s hard to get your head around why you SHOULD do that when there are so many far bigger concerns right now. When people’s lives are at risk, when statistics are increasingly terrifying, when small businesses are closing their doors, when people are losing their jobs, when supermarkets aren’t stacked to the brim like we’re used to, when, when, when… support artists? It doesn't even enter the radar really.
And I want you to know that we, as artists, actually do get that. We get that no matter how convinced you might even be that we NEED the arts and all it brings us - relief, amusement, colour, beauty, introspection, insight, laughter, tears, escapism and more - it’s nonetheless almost impossible to think about that as a real NEED to support when we’re otherwise worried about life and death and livelihoods and the future and what the heck is happening to our world.
We get it.
But, I’m going to bet that during this time of social distancing and self isolating and the rest, you’re likely NOT going to isolate yourself from art. In fact, I’d guess it’s quite the opposite.
Films, shows, music, comedy, podcasts, documentaries, books, video clips, live-streams, filmed concerts… I’m willing to bet that most of us (myself included) will be consuming even MORE work made by artists than we normally would, albeit in an almost exclusively digital medium. But... to ask you to PAY artists for this at this very moment in time feels too much. It’s too hard. It’s too overwhelming. We get it. So… while you consume more of our art (which is excellent), and we continue to make more of it (which is also excellent, not the least reason of which is for our own mental health!) might I suggest some things that you could do which could: a) Make you feel better about being able to actually help, without overwhelming you; and b) Genuinely ease some of the stress for the artists you love? Here’s the idea: Pay Artists HOW You Can. 1. Cash If you are one of the lucky folks whose income is unaffected by current world events, and you can afford to support artists with coin, that’s amazing. Please find our Patreons, where to buy our merch (most artists will have it on their social media pages and/or websites) and get behind us. Also please, even if it’s a tiny amount to you, it’s a big deal for us. If all my Facebook fans put $1 a month into my Patreon, I’d breathe a LOT easier. There’s honestly no amount that doesn’t help. But if you can't, please... 2. Become a Social Media Champion You may not even know this, but in the entertainment industry, the number of people you have following you online makes a difference to people offering you work. An agent once told me his advice to actors (yes, after doing the classes, etc…) was to work on building their Twitter profile. He wasn’t being funny or cynical. He told me that often when it comes down to a choice between two actors for a show, the number of followers they have helps make the final decision. So... if you can’t contribute $, that is a-ok, because you’ve got a secret weapon we could really use: your time online. You’re already spending way too much time on the internet and so am I. So why not put it to good use and help the artists you love get in front of more eyeballs? Who knows? You might actually help an artist connect with so many more fans of their work, which, when the gigs start happening again, might make a huge difference to their career. So: a) Make sure you "Like" or "Follow" Us on All Your Social Media Channels b) Hit “Like” on the Stuff We Share It’s a click of a finger to you, but to the algorithms of Facebook and the like it means more people get to see our stuff. Please do this. It really does help. Bonus points if you click on the heart emoji or the laugh emoji or just any of the OTHER emojis because apparently that makes you even MORE visible. c) Comment on Our Posts Did you laugh out loud? Tell us. Speaking as a comedian, it’s particularly disconcerting to be creating online comedy when you can’t hear or see the audience response. If you enjoy it, please tell us to keep going… we need the encouragement at the moment! Plus there's that whole algorithm/more-people-seeing-it thing. d) Tag Friends Liked a particular post? Tag a mate who would dig it too. Help us grow. e) Share our Work Share our posts/videos/livestreams on Facebook. Retweet on Twitter. Repost on Instagram. Send a link of that podcast episode to a mate. This is honestly one of the hugest helps to an artist and actually IS contributing financially, as it’s actually giving us exposure to people who we couldn’t otherwise reach unless we paid Mark Zuckerberg. Which I doubt many of us will be doing for quite sometime. Poor Mark. f) Write a Review Loving that podcast? PLEASE take a few minutes to write a review of it. Surprise an artist by writing a review on their Facebook page. Even find us on LinkedIn if that’s your bag. It helps. g) Ask Us To Make Something You’d Like to See! Got an idea for a video idea you’d like us to try? A subject you’d like that writer to blog about? A song title? A live-stream concept? A challenge of some sort? Let us know. Not only does it give us extra ideas but it gives us encouragement, knowing that you actually give a shit what we’re doing. Because that’s the thing. I get - WE get - why it’s a huge ask for artists to request your financial support right now. We really do. But it’s also a very fine line between knowing that there’s bigger fish to fry, and feeling like nobody actually gives a shit if we keep creating or not. Please tell us you DO care. That while the earth still turns dealing with this unimaginable crisis, you DO still value the art that you’re consuming to help get you through it. Cash may be king, but it ain’t the whole kingdom. Please. Pay HOW you can. PS I was gonna write “Please help us with your fingers” but I won’t. Namely because: a) it sounds filthy; and b) #socialdistancing PPS And yes. Please share.