Thursday, September 26, 2013

It's been a minute...

This blog thing is hard to keep up sometimes...but it's only my third post. I think I'm okay. In four days I will officially be the blogger for, a website which aims to promote talented new musicians without the pay-as-you-go mentality. I'm pretty excited, but a bit nervous too. It makes me think about writing and how one finds their own voice through this stuff. It's not as though I'm writing a sensory-overload style of appropriate for a novel. Ultimately I suppose the goal is to captivate an audience within a couple of paragraphs without boring them, but when it comes to music this seems to be a difficult task. Reading XXL and Complex online publications has shown me that they, like me, write their articles after a couple of beers late at night and forget to spell check. They don't use the "exciting" language one might find in a TMZ article, but simply state what's going on in the world of hip-hop with the help of some well timed photographs. RollingStone takes on a much more journalistic approach but with the intent of longer form writing.

With anything in life, a middle ground must be found. The problem is actually finding it. I think I will conduct interviews with artists featured on the website, a seemingly easy source of material as well as a way to connect the readership with the website (and an excuse to travel), but after that, I will need inspiration.

AudibleDope isn't exclusively about hip-hop or beat centered but instead will try to reach across all genres. I'm a hip-hop head so it will definitely be a challenge to move across genres. When it comes down to it I will need to tap into what brings all music together: those moments where any given song hits an emotional chord that speaks to one's soul (on a non-religious level) and captures exactly what one feels in terms of what they're going through in life, who they love, or even something as simple as whether their roommate or the end of a good dream woke them up that morning.

Where do you fellow bloggers find inspiration in writing? Do you write in the voice that naturally comes into your head or do you have to constantly edit the way the letters flow from your fingers?

I'll be back soon, don't give up on me.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

From the Ground Up

To avoid being the weird guy dressed in a suit in his picture, I'll talk a little more about myself. What's most important is that I draw. It's been a hobby of mine for a while but only in the past two years have I taken it more seriously with the aim of making money. Generally speaking, selling art in the form of pictures to be hung is a difficult task, so I went a different route. I tried doing printed T-shirts. These turned out to be a successful venture in Flagstaff, where I sold about 18 shirts to a local shop on two different occasions. All of my shirts have been sold. I realized that there were a couple of challenges to this process. The first one is keeping track of expenses. When I sold my first batch of shirts I was simply excited to get them into a store. A lot of them ended up in my friends hands for free, but I made my money back quickly with a little to spare. This will be something I need to consider in the next, more official round of printing I get done. If only I took accounting...
Simple design concept, smaller than anticipated but effective none the less.

I threw my logo on the upper back of these shirts.
Once again, simple concept. This was my first design.
My first color design. This one was expensive, but so was the screen printer I was using.
The other challenge I have realized is going bulk. I have the intention of opening up an online shirt store and I'm looking to get around 200 shirts printed. I will probably scrap the hand/tree design and use two new designs that are yet to be determined. Going bulk means trying to be cost effective. On the other hand, I don't just want only white shirts, a mistake I made on my first batch, and I also need girl fitted t-shirts, a mistake I made on my second batch. How do you account for this? What are standard size distributions for male/female fitted t-shirts? And how do you choose the right colors if, as a start up company with limited funds, I want to make sure my customers can have the perfect shirt?

These questions still need answering, and I'll let you know what I find out as I move forward. This has been a learning process and there's a steep learning curve. The thing I always need to keep in mind: you have to spend money to make money. If you have any pointers I'm always open to suggestions.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Aftermath

This is what a degree looks like. It cost tens of thousands of dollars and a lot of stress; low and behold, I am unemployed and my future didn't pan out the way I was led to believe. I can't say I blame my alma mater, although they certainly didn't help prepare me for the 2013 job market. What I can say is that my generation comprises in part thousands of young adults unsure of where to go. It's not that the roads are overwhelming in number, some less terrifying than others, but rather we feel stranded in a Sahara-like desert.

Sometimes foot steps of previous wanderers appear, but within minutes a wind will cover them up, changing the landscape completely. Any direction could be simultaneously the right and wrong one to choose. At one point we were led to believe that papers like the one above acted as some sort of guiding force. Unfortunately all guiding forces are not created equal, and those Humanities-minded individuals have less of an advantage than those who majored in navigating sand dunes.

In retrospect one could #firstworldproblems this blog post and dismiss it, but when a large percentage of my peers find themselves in this very same boat, it becomes more difficult to shrug this off. Follow your dreams, they said. What does it mean when most of my dreams are nonsensical?

Have you ever seen Waking Life? It's a good 'un.