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Ze Frank – Thoughts on the Creative Career

posted in: advice, musings | 0

Ze Frank is some kinda genius, and you know I have linked up several of his videos on this blog in the past (um, even just this past Monday folks!). This video blog is about pursuing a creative career, and touches on some amazing points Ze says he wishes someone had said to him when he was starting out.

I love every little thing about this, but here were some particularly poignant parts I think students of the dance will appreciate and relate to, and hopefully Ze passes on to you (all of us!) that wisdom he so wished he had when he was at the start of his creative journey:

“(it helps) to realize that when I am in the beginning of learning something (and the beginning can last a couple years, by the way, not just a couple weeks or months), in that time you don’t really have to worry about finding your own voice. In fact, that kind of gets in the way. You can copy people–sometimes that comes naturally when you just read someone, for example, you just start using their voice. Try reading Voorhees, for example, and not writing like him for the next two days.

And this brings up another point, which is you should consume a lot of things that you like. This is something that’s particularly hard for me because the second that I start doing stuff, I become insanely jealous of other people’s work, and I think it’s going to perturb me, or send me off in a different direction, or start to make me adopt someone else’s style. But the truth is you organically have your own style that’s gonna come out even when you copy other people, especially in the beginning. And the end result is that you get this amazing amalgam of all the people that you respect. And it comes out in amazing ways. 

To think otherwise, to think that you’re somehow pure, and your voice is independent of all the others, is probably a little grandiose.”


“…I think that the real challenge is getting your work in front of people who you really respect and have a lot of responsibility towards, and seeing what they say.

The art of taking criticism is a craft in and of itself, and it can take a whole lifetime to learn. And one of the things you should know is that when you get a criticism, you don’t have to take all of it or none of it. You get to piece it apart, and take the parts which you think are valuable and throw away the parts that you think aren’t really worth it, or are a reflection of someone’s bad day, or some weird pre-judgement.”

Really I could just transcribe this entire video and say “YES! THIS!” But instead, go watch it and enjoy it.

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Shay Moore is the director and primary instructor at Deep Roots Dance in Seattle, WA. She loves writing, movies, costuming, knitting, cooking, and bellydance to the moon and back again; and loves her amazing husband and doggies even more than that.

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