The calvary isn’t coming


SXSW wrapped up a little over a week ago and this marked the second consecutive year that I wasn’t able to make it down to Austin. Changing jobs and having a kid will do things like that. Even though I wasn’t there, I have been trying to catch up on presentations and keynotes from the conference. One speaker from SXSW 2015 that I particularly enjoyed was filmmaker and actor Mark Duplass.

Duplass gained early notoriety as part of the “mumblecore” indie filmmaking movement and is probably better know for his movie like “Safety Not Guaranteed” or his HBO series “Togetherness.” I first learned about Duplass when I started watching the sophomoric fantasy football comedy “The League.”

Duplass’s speech wasn’t about marketing per se. Rather, it was about the challenges of being a filmmaker in today’s environment, but I thought it was relevant to anyone in a creative oriented field. (I’ve always subscribed to the art-and-science philosophy behind marketing – that’s my father’s influence on me.) I think that many of the points Duplass talked about will resonate with anyone that is trying to tap into something artistic.

  • Trust your gut.
  • Bootstrap projects by yourself instead of waiting for the calvary to save the day.
  • Pay things forward and support your community.
  • Focus on improving your craft rather than chasing the paycheck.

Are these points a bit idealistic? Sure, but they also ring pretty true. The video clocks in at nearly an hour but the keynote itself is only about 25 minutes of so. Duplass is sincere, funny, realistic and encouraging. It’s definitely worth checking out.


(Photo courtesy of Geoff Livingstone via Creative Commons license.)


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