To whom ever receives this message:

Just doing a little surfin' and came across your website. I'm currently studying art video, here at Syracuse University in Central New York, but I'm not getting what I want out of life at the moment! What's that? -- well that would be experience. School just isn't doing it for me. But I suppose the degree will help at some point. Anyway, I was curious if anyone out there could offer me some advice with my little problem. . . I would truly appreciate this!

Thanks for your time


Getting experience is difficult and easy at the same time. Often then people ask me for experience what they really mean is experience at the top. The principle of experience is that it is always EARNED. It's not something that is given to you. You earn it with experience, education and most importantly-- credibility. If you can't demonstrate ability to me I just can't trust you with a project which requires ability. If you tell me how talented you are, but can show me nothing to back it up then I'm forced to go with the person who can show me his capacity. The world is filled with people who have capability and desire but few pay the price to really prove it.

Experience is EASY to get if you start at the bottom and work up. This means student projects, your own experiments and looser shows. Eventually, as you grow in capacity, you will be recognized and earn bigger and more challenging experiments. People who not only show talent, capacity and ability, but show leadership ability almost always end up in management positions. Keys to your success are 1)starting young 2) Having a true passion for your art. Which in turn translates to 3) Having solid experience (even if it is self created) and 4) A strong portfolio.

In regards to school. That is your decision, you may want me to encourage you to quit, but I don't know your instructors and program. You would do well to stay in school until you had a real plan. Anyone's future looks bleak when there's no plan. Do what I did when I was in school, contact a dozen of the most successful (Moral and Business success) people you know. Go in and interview them and find out exactly what is required. Study their success and make a plan for yourself that combines their best advice and your own good judgment. Unless you want to teach don't spend much time seeking the advice of professional students. Most academics are not qualified to council people about the "real world".

The best quality you can have for a successful career in your chosen field is discipline. Discipline is the ability to delay gratification. A person who is self-disciplined can the ability to go without today's rewards so that he has a much greater reward later on. When you interview successful people you will discover that each has at least two qualities, discipline and integrity. Both qualities seem to work hand in hand. If you are honest with yourself you will have the ability to be realistic about the future. Discipline also gives you the ability to do difficult things, such as be honest with someone when it is really tough. Success in your career (and your life for that matter) depends a lot on doing things you don't want to do, but you know you must do in order to succeed.

It's truly remarkable how much time we spend working to develop our careers only to discover we are suddenly just like everybody else in our graduating class. It's funny how we put incredible amounts of energy into being just like everyone else. I grew up in the sixties and I remember the emergence of the first "Long Hairs". These were the guys who really trying hard to not be like everyone else, the problem was that with long dirty hair, a smelly body, a bad complexion and a burned-out brain, they were very much like everyone else, because going nowhere was very much the fashion of the time. Sometimes all it takes to emerge a full head and shoulders above the competition is to just have something remarkable about our personality; like discipline, focus, the ability to work well with others or the ability to complete a project without external pressure. Try to discover the qualities that your industry needs most and work to develop them. In my industry the two biggies are 1) the ability to work hard without quitting and 2) The ability to work without supervision.

Well so much for the sermon, I hope it helps.

Please let me know what happens, or rather, what you make happen.

Steve Biggs