Give Me Amateurism Or Give Me Death!

Two things happened this week that resulted in this post about a return to amateurism in my life:

  1. A friend made an innocent comment signifying a difference between the pro film crew he has been working with and the volunteer crew working on the weekends for an independent short film. While the comment was innocent and praise-worthy of the volunteer crew, it still smacked me in the face.
  2. After viewing author Jack Hitt on The Colbert Report in May and subsequently placing his book Bunch of Amateurs on hold at the local library, I was finally able to begin reading the book and be confronted with the thought that people who do one thing and eventually become known for this one thing (read this as professional), spend the rest of their careers destroying their fame and attempting to return to their roots of amateurism.

Professionalism is masked elitism

The minute a hierarchy is built around professionals and amateurs, elitism takes root and creative class warfare ensues.

Professionals have “arrived.”

Amateurs don’t take the craft seriously enough to profit from what they do.

Professionals have work to do.

Amateurs tinker in the garage when they have time.

Amateurs are in it for the love of the game

I never want to lose the passion associated with amateurism: The idealism that you could change the world with what you are doing (even if you never will). Amateurs are in the game because they love every aspect of the game.

There is an attitude of fun and light-heartedness that is replaced in the heart of the professional with the stark reality of never wanting to be exposed for what they truly are: An amateur hack that worked hard and got noticed.

I am an amateur hack

The truth is that I am an amateur hack. I always will be because I don’t want the emotional baggage of professionalism.

Being an amateur hack doesn’t mean my work sucks or is sloppy. It really is about an attitude of embracing people that are learning and journeying to the next destination of creativity and business, just like me.

2 replies on “Give Me Amateurism Or Give Me Death!”

Interesting thoughts.  I would love to hear Steven Pressfield’s reaction to this, given his manifesto about amateur vs. professional in The War on Art (and his new book, which I haven’t yet read, called Turning Pro).

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