It's No Last Supper

On his blog, actor/writer/director Zach Braff talks about how his new movie, The Last Kiss, didn't do as well at the box office as they'd hoped. Reviews from his blog readers were mixed and it seems Zach had read many of them. Pretty impressive considering one post gets upward of 500 comments. The man is all class, let me tell you. He thanked everyone for their support and welcomed all comments, good and bad. He addressed a few of the concerns of people who were disappointed in the movie. This particular passage really resonated with me.

"There were people who said things like; "It's no Garden State...". Well firstly, I didn't write and direct this movie, and secondly; not every film I set out to be a part of is going to take on as much as Garden State aspired to take on. I am so grateful that movie resonated with so many people, but I hope that you will come along with me as I try many different things. The next film I have coming out in the beginning of next year, "Fast Track" is a broad physical comedy with Jason Bateman and Amanda Peet. And the next film I'm thinking about directing, "Open Hearts" is so dark it'll make "The Last Kiss" feel like "Naked Gun". I always want to be trying new things; that's the fun of being creative. I'm sure you all can relate."

*Raising hand.* I can relate! My first solo novel, JINXED, received glowing feedback from reviewers as well as readers. It was even nominated for a Reviewers Choice Award. It was funny and sweet. My next book was funny too, but maybe a little less 'sweet'. My third book contained humor via secondary characters, but the featured hero and heroine were gritty as was their story. My fourth book wasn't even contemporary, but historical western! Though I do believe my 'voice' rang clear and consistent in all these books, none were a carbon copy of the one before. All received 'glowing' feedback from reviewers and mostly readers seemed pleased, but there is always that fear of current works being compared to past. And, fact is, it does happen. As I've stated before, a reader posted a negative comment to Amazon rearding SEDUCED, basically saying, it's no JINXED. Can't argue that. It certainly isn't. And I can't say I'm sorry.

It's human nature to compare. As an artist in any medium, I think you have to accept this as something that comes with the territory. That fear that niggles you when you're working on a new project, the fear that your audience might not like this creation as much as the one before. One must strive to ignore that fear or it will paralyze you. You will forever second guess your work. Artists change and grow and are often driven to try new things. ALL ABOUT EVIE is different for me. The majority of the story is written in first person. Like Zach, I hope that fans of my previous work will come along as I try new things.

After reading Zach's post, for some reason I flashed on someone viewing Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa and saying, "It's no Last Supper." Well, no, it's not. It's something entirely different, but equally as beautiful. But wait. They do have something in common. Something very important. They're inspired creations from the artist's heart. Where there is passion, there is art.


Oh boy can I relate to this one! All my books have been well received, but the numbers are telling me they sure as heck ain't Layover, LOL!

After I literally sat down and added everything up, it did paralyze me for a few weeks. Suddenly the numbers became more important than what I was working on and incredibly excited about. I'm trying things I never imagined I'd have the guts, the imagination or the know-how to pull off, and during those few weeks I really, really doubted my ability to do exactly that.

Eventually I got over it and opened up the document again, but it was a struggle. Now I'm back to where I was before, enjoying it, and not thinking about whether it'll boost my ratings, because I do know for certain that if I tried to write something I didn't feel passionate about, it would definitely tank. At least this one stands a chance!

Good post, Beth!
As long as people HAVE opinions about my work, I'll be happy. Like the old saying goes, it's when they STOP talking about you that you should worry.
Anna Lucia said…
Don't worry, Beth. We're along for the ride, whatever you choose to get creative with.
Brooks said…

"Where there is passion, there is art." - Beth Ciotta

That's a quotable quote for the ages.
It's going into my book of inspirational quotes immediately.

You're on a roll girl friend.
Jordan Summers said…
Great points, Beth. I'm sure every artist can relate to these concerns. I have no doubt your readers will follow you anywhere you choose to lead. :D
Beth Ciotta said…
Oh, Ann! I so know what you mean. Numbers (sales numbers, whether they be on a royalty statement or the ranking at an on-line book store) are, shall we say ... meaningful for a whole lot of different reasons. But to obsess on them--if they're not as high as we'd like--can, absolutely, be paralyzing. I'm glad you found your way back and are once again focusing on 'the words' and allowing your imagination to run free. :) Go with the passion!
Beth Ciotta said…
"Like the old saying goes, it's when they STOP talking about you that you should worry."

Ha! That's right! Forgot about that one, Toni. Will keep that in mind. LOL
Beth Ciotta said…
Anna and Jordan, thank you for the vote of confidence! It's something I wish for you and all other artists as well. The couarge and freedom to create from the heart.
Beth Ciotta said…
Brooks! *sniffle* Knowing you, I take it as a great compliment that you're adding something I said to your book of inspirational quotes. Makes me all fuzzy like the time Elsie cross-stitched something I said on a heart. :)

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