Richard Taylor on the Passion of Making Things

Last month, I volunteered at the Calgary Expo. There were many exciting panels offered, which sadly, I was unable to attend since I was volunteering in another building.

However, thanks to Flipon.TV and the Calgary Expo, most, if not all discussion panels were filmed and archived. They are available with a Calgary Expo Archive Pass for only $14.95 CAD.

I recently watched the Middle Earth panel that included LOTR/Hobbit actors Craig Parker and Mark Ferguson, along with Sir Richard Taylor and Dave Tremont from WETA Workshop. Not only was it informative but a lot of what WETA co-founder Richard Taylor said really ties nicely with any of the creative arts, including music.

One patron asked what advice they could give to those aspiring to break into the industry. Taylor listed WETA's hiring criteria in order of importance:

  1. Passion
  2. Enthusiasm
  3. Tenacity
  4. Talent

He said that you can't expect to ride on talent alone. Your passion to create fuels your enthusiasm, which helps propel you into action. Tenacity is what  helps keeps you going when the going gets tough.

Any creative endeavor, to be good at it and to be recognized for it, takes hard work. The going gets tough. A lot.  Your favourite actors, writers and musicians will tell you the exact same thing.

If you invert that list, Richard Taylor said that you'll just be creating "hollow opportunities". A cheap plastic creation.

"You're weaving a tapestry," he said. "No matter how pale or how thin the thread that you're given in your needle to weave into that tapestry — if you don't weave it with care and thoughtfulness, creativity and passion — in some way, the tapestry will be threadbare."

Have you listened to someone perform a song who hates the song? Or doesn't know it well? Now compare that with someone who performs a piece they know extremely well and are giving it their all. There's a huge difference.

As a musician, you are weaving a tapestry with sound. The notes, rhythm, dynamics and phrasing are just some of your threads. Whether you are in the practice room or on stage, at a school talent show or a music exam, weave your sound pictures with care.

Weave with not just your fingers and your feet. Create with your ears and your brain. Listen!