Photo of my place while writing this show (okay, actually some Steve’s Quest background art)
Watching a few seconds of my show (which you’ll be able to do very soon!) will probably make it clear that I didn’t write the piece with any particular “market” or “demographic” in mind.
After all, the main character is a software engineer in his early to mid-twenties, and most of the other characters are in his age range. However, the show’s music is deeply influenced by rock music from the mid-to-late ‘80s — around the time people in their twenties today were being born.
That is to say, I didn’t try to tailor the music or the content of the show to people in the age group of the main characters, or people of any other age, race, gender, income, IQ, shoe size, or anything else. I wrote the piece purely based on what I see as entertaining and meaningful.
Strangely Enough, I’ve Been Doing Research
The funny thing is that, even though I set out to do this project solely to please myself, I’ve found myself doing a lot of “research” while writing the show — listening to songs from other musicals, reading excerpts from sci-fi novels, watching animes to get a sense of the art style I want, and so on.
As long as the research I’ve done has been in the service of getting my own, unique message across, as opposed to making sure I appease this or that “demographic,” it’s been surprisingly easy and even fun to do.
On the other hand, if I’d gone into the project with the goal of getting lots of visitors or ad revenue or some other measure of internet success, or modeled the songs or plot on past hit musicals, I probably would have felt too much resentment to stay as motivated as I’ve been.
Market Research and the Inner Sulky Teenager
I think the reason is this: whenever I do anything from a place of trying to get approval, some part of me instinctively rebels. There’s a part of me that knows I’m okay whether or not people like me, and that part gets annoyed when I lose sight of that truth. The result is passive-aggressive sluggishness.
Maybe there are people who don’t feel this kind of resentment, or are able to just muscle through the part of them that hates approval-seeking. But my sense, from just being with myself and talking to people, is that the best way to stay motivated in working on a project is to do something that would be compelling and exciting to you even if the rest of the world ignored it.
What do you think? Is all this totally unrealistic or does it make sense?
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