Wish I'd known that...

A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring;

- Pope

Monday, January 25, 2010

Finding Your Audience

If you sing a silly song and children laugh and clap with delight, you've found an audience.

If the comedic recounting of your first anal experience fails to delight and entertain, you've not found an audience. And if you're trying out on the same audience who went for the song, you are in big trouble.

Your creative impulse is seeking an outlet. As detailed above, that outlet can manifest itself in a variety of forms.  The creative spirit can find issue through divergent channels. One artist maybe seek expression simultaneously in Music, Dance, Pictorial, Writing. Another through different aspects within a single art - playwrite, screenwriter, short fiction,(gasp) poetry. 

My creative impulse periodically asserts a need for an outlet in Performance. And I have unleashed the spirit at various points along the performance continuum - starting close to home by "cracking-myself-up", through being the center of attention/life of the party (acting out) up to performing onstage before a paying audience.

I discovered that your acceptance by an audience, how they embrace you and for what, may not be entirely under your control.

Going back to the earlier two examples, children's song and anal comedy, an audience, even a receptive one, may not accept a particular performance from you. They may be a comedy club audience, who have showed up for "filthy night", your material may be as ribald and naughty as any, yet they don't accept it from you. You prepared, did your homework, worked on the content, the jokes and the delivery but somehow it doesn't work coming from you.
Something about you and the material, the genre just don't click. When you find your material and your VOICE brings it alive for others, you can feel it working and it's a beautiful thing.
Maybe it's the difference between creating for the sheer joy of it and creating on-demand, even if it's on demand for yourself.

If you are creating to a purpose, most likely a commercial purpose, identifying your audience may be a more murky matter. In the example above of the children's song, make it a children's book, who would you the author logically assume your audience to be? Children? More likely an associate editor in her mid-twenties with a master's degreee in Literature and ambitions to shape the culture as a gatekeeper of what reaches and influences little minds.

Finding your audience always starts with you, with what moves you and in the performance thereof what is most authentic to your strongest impulses.

Here's a quote from Emerson:

"The reason why any one refuses his assent to your opinion, or his aid to your design is in you: he refuses to accept you as a bringer of truth, because, though you think you have it, he feels you have not given him the authentic sign".*

I guess wherever your authors voice finds it's truest efflorescence, it'll mean something to someone.

your pal, roger

*Emerson : New England Reformers


  1. Anal humor all day long if you ask me!

  2. Your voice makes me want to read more of what you have to say.