Neil Gaiman recently gave an address to the University of the Arts graduating class of 2012. If you haven’t seen it yet, be prepared to be inspired like never before.
We’re in a transitional world right now. If you’re in any kind of artistic field, because the nature of distribution is changing. The models by which creators got their work out into the world and got to keep a roof over their heads and bought sandwiches while they did that. They’re all changing. I’ve talked to people at the top of the food chain in publishing and book selling and music and all those areas and no one knows what the landscape will look like two years from now. Let alone a decade away.
The distribution channels that people have built over the last century or so are in flux. For print, for visual artists, for musicians, for creative people of all kinds. Which is on the one hand intimidating and on the other, immensely liberating. The rules, the assumptions, the now-we’re-supposed-to’s of how you get your work seen and what you do then, they’re breaking down. The gatekeepers are leaving their gates. You can be as creative as you need to be to get your work seen.
YouTube and the web, and whatever comes after YouTube and the web, can give you more people watching than all television ever did. The old rules are crumbling and nobody knows what the new rules are. So make up your own rules.”