Everyone knows Roscoe P. Coltrane.
And sometimes being a celebrity is like being a sports star, you only have a finite amount of time to earn money and a lot blow what they are getting paid and end up back where they’ve started and struggling financially.
I think the most important thing to do if you are making money in the public eye in any way, especially as a creator or actor, is to re-invest some of your money to stay in the public eye using PR. Many people just don’t know or even want to pay a PR agent no matter if it’s a small or large one but it’s essential to a long career in anything that has a modicum of fame attached and to also gain earning power.
There’s different forms of PR too. Good ideas and application of them, not just interviews in magazines etc. Millarworld was and is a rather ingenious one.
Many people who get into the arts often don’t want a “career” because they associate the word with the kind of 9-5 they feel no affinity for.
They often not afraid of hard work or sacrifice, both are a feature of working in the arts, but they only do them when doing the art itself.
That’s true, plus I think many people who do get into any creative arts will struggle with turning the thing you love into a job or thinking about it that way and that can hold some people back. It’s better to love what you do, of course, but losing the ability to do something just for the love of doing it can be a real struggle for some.
I think in any part of the arts there are a handful of people earning huge bucks. It’s slightly distorted because a lot of their shows are made by independent producers but the BBC have to name their top earners over 250k now as a transparency thing and there’s a lot of household names not on the list, that millions of people watch or listen to each week. Many likely on what we’d consider very good wages but not a fortune and it’s hard to stay at that level for a full career, that DJ on national radio may well be on a local station in a few years and I know a guy from Swansea Sound purely because he worked part at time at the call centre I was working in to give himself a living wage.
I know in books there are a few crazy rich people and a whole load subsidising a fairly basic wage with talks and creative writing classes.
I think in many ways it’s always been that way and we just get blinded a bit by the ‘100 richest’ type articles the magazines like to sell to us.
It’s why a lot of SF actors do the con circuit as well - selling autographs to pay the bills.
A few people I like on YouTube and Twitch with relatively small followings - like 100,000 - 200,000 subscribers have told stories about being recognised in bars or when going to the cinema.
And when a bunch of us were out in London last year with Mark, he got recognised
I have a close friend who’s a comedian who can’t go anywhere without having to pose for selfies because of a viral video but struggles to get gigs.
Part of that, though, is the fact that Northern Ireland is a septic tank of creative community cliques where the big fish in a small pond can’t get any further and are complete wankers to anyone coming up behind them.
That right there is why they fail. That’s real 1800 theater thinking. It never works and just poisons a community. I’ve been involved in maybe a half a dozen project that never got a full greenlight just because one single person (cast or crew, didn’t matter) was an asshat. One mark of a good producer; you get a bad apple like that, best weeded out quickly.
(Being totally unimpressed by money or “celebrity” I managed to get my silly self into two gnarly situations. One I dang near ended a celebrity career after observing some bad behavior - which the person ended up getting away with but it crashed the production. The other I got to escort a was-up-and-going-down-fast person right off the lot by a thumb. Remarkable how people cooperate when one has full control of their thumb.)
I wish it were just one person but it’s institutionalised into every facet of creativity here. Those at the top of the tree help others, but it is transparently an effort to help themselves because they can see they will get something or other out of it. And don’t get me started about those in Belfast think of anyone outside the city and how they treat them. It disgusts me. I’ve seen talented people broken in half.
Basically the only way out is to jump it like a hurdle. Theres a friend of mine who is a blues artist, Dom Martin, that I’ve written songs with in the past who was basical ignored for years and is now playing on Radio 2 and in the US, I’m not sure if he’s ever even been supported in Belfast, I can’t even remember a gig he’s played there never mind one he’s gotten based on talent.
I saw horror author Ramsey Campbell give a talk and he took a job at a book store less than 20 years ago.
He got a book out of the experience of course.
He’s been writing for decades and sells a decent amount of books.
I met Campbell many years ago, around 1988 so before his bookshop gig, he was on a panel my mother arranged at a Cardiff literary festival with 4 authors who were known to me. Wiki says he’d published 12 books by that point and he still had to go back to a day job later.
One of the panel, Terry Pratchett, went on to make a fortune with 60 million books sold, he had just had the confidence to end his job at the gas board at that point.
The other 3 are like most authors probably subsidising with other work along the way. That was just the fantasy and sci-fi panel, there were likely a hundred more authors across the weekend at the event and only Sir Terry made big money.
Geoffrey Owens’ situation puts me in mind of the supporting casts of many television shows. For example, the US version of The Office was extremely popular, but most of the cast fell off the face of the Earth when the show ended. I can’t recall seeing the actors who played Oscar, Creed, Phyllis, Stanley, Angela, Roy, and Jan on the big or small screen since then.
Really looking forward to this. Hope they do it justice.
Good luck to them, I enjoyed the first book the most, but I’m interested in how they adapt the other two.
The third one is going to be the real challenge I think.
I’ve enjoyed adaptations of it before - I thought the first movie was ok, and I loved the two-part theatre adaptation - but this feels like it could be something special.