Filed under: Correspondence
February 1, 2008
Ok, I am involved in the great artistic hustle. It’s a raunchy dance that has me on airplanes and sending emails and smiling left and right, writing proposals and praying at night that someone will think it is worth paying me enough money to live off to follow through on these projects i want to do. Who will pay me to go to Angola? How do I convince them? What part of them – whoever they are with money – do I appeal to? How do I cast the project in the proper light so that they think it is about something that interests them? It’s a hustle, man.
I’m here in Salzburg, Austria waiting to hear back from GOOD magazine about an updated proposal I sent them a couple of days ago. Before I left New York to come here, I met with Lindsay Utz, the woman at GOOD magazine responsible for running their web-video presence.
So the game is this. I have to figure out what’s interesting for GOOD magazine. What kinds of things they think will interest their readership and then re-draw my proposals in line with what they think they want to present to the world. The americans don’t give a shit about the Portuguese or the Cold War or Land Mines or Poor Africans or the Angolan Basketball team winning the Afrobasket tournament and going to the 2008 Olympics. The Americans care about CHINA. About the Chinese usurping our role in the world. We care about them getting the oil, teaching everyone Mandarin, and calling in our 1.4 trillion dollars in debt and sending us once and all to the poor house where all the other poor people in the world will gang up on us and kick our ass in retribution for putting them where they are in the first place.
GOOD magazine wants to represent a particular vision of themselves as Americans. They want to be the america that’s in their 20s. That is socially conscious yet economically successful. They want to be GOOD americans. Smart. Hip. Successful and on the pulse of the times. On the cutting edge. They want to have a presence on the Web, Newsstands and movie theaters. And if I want them to cough up the money to send me to Angola, then I have to be the person on the ground who can deliver them the raw material to fashion this image of themselves back to themselves and their readership. I have to do that particular hustle, boogie-woogie, shimmy that’s going to make me look like the guy they’ve been looking for although they didn’t know it. I have to write a proposal that catches them.
Now if I were hustling a Portuguese source to get me to Angola, I’d have to come at it from a slightly different perspective. Or if I were to be hustling the Angolans or the Chinese or Bill Gates or the National Endowment of the Arts or the European Union or APAP. I’d have to take a different tact. Now this is very Detroit, as I see it. Basically you want to do something (in this case go to Angola to see what it is like up close and compare it to the junk in my head and report back to colleagues, friends and audiences in Europe and the States and be loved for how good and inspiring and eye opening and whatever my work is) and to do it, you have to appeal to powers greater than thou and say what they want to hear. I want someone to send me to Angola. Who the fuck knows what I will really do there. But I have to pretend to know. So I hustle up this source and that source and wait to see if I turned them on or not.
So here I am waiting. In Salzburg, to see if anyone has been properly excited. Here I am waiting to get in a position to actually do some real work.
Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment