Where’s the line between being yourself and playing to the larger audience? For some writers, artists, filmmakers, etc., I think it comes naturally. You and the person you are often lines up perfectly with what the readers, aesthetes, and moviegoers of the world are looking for. For others, it might not be so easy.
Disney (which, if you haven’t figured out by now, is definitely a fandom I’m a part of) is a great example of a company that is in touch with the world around it. Sure, the folks at Disney have ways of testing the public climate, but when it comes down to it, the House of Mouse is just really good at tapping into the talents of skilled writers, directors, actors, make-up artists, and so on. There are few things that are consistent enjoyments to me – coffee, Super Smash Bros., friends, my girlfriend – and Disney 100% makes that list.
For myself, I feel as though I can hit on the principle thought of my core audience a lot of the time, but never all the time. In the writing industry today, for instance, there’s a big shift happening on the subject of swearing. I can hear the voice of my readers speaking in a quizzical tone, “Swearing, you say?” Swearing, or using ‘curse words’ as some might say, is something that has been in writing for ages, but never quite as fluently as today, I don’t think. So how does one handle this? I know writers who’ve never sworn in their life, but if their character is a pirate, then their character is gonna swear like a pirate!
Anyway, I digress… I believe it’s Truman Capote that’s quoted as saying, “You can’t blame a writer for what the characters say.” Whether you’re a writer, an artist, or a filmmaker, this quote is important. Be bold. Be brash if need be. Bend to the characters, story, and setting of your piece. Let your work lead you. The Bible says that from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. But I also believe that from the abundance of our art, our hearts speak.
To close my rant: be yourself, and let your art be itself.