art commerce


I don’t know if people would be so interested in diversity if it wasn’t a hashtag. It’s not a hashtag in my life. It is my life. It’s something that I know people of color talk about all the time. It’s not just a hot topic. People of color are part of the human experience, too. Art has got to reflect life or else it’s not art, it’s commerce. It’s filtered, watered down kind of art. What I want to see is the truth.

I don’t know if people would be so interested in diversity if it wasn’t a hashtag. It’s not a hashtag in my life. It is my life. It’s something that I know people of color talk about all the time. It’s not just a hot topic. People of color are part of the human experience, too. Art has got to reflect life or else it’s not art, it’s commerce. It’s filtered, watered down kind of art. What I want to see is the truth.


It is a total dichotomy. On the one hand it’s the most meetings and auditions you can have about great projects, it’s rife with opportunity, and so part of me get’s really excited about that. But the other part is that Hollywood is where entertainment and art meets commerce, and I think you can feel that as well. It’s a business. It’s not just artists roaming around, creating stuff they love, it’s thinking about box office and thinking about audiences and the ability to get in magazines and all of these kinds of things which in New Zealand hadn’t occurred to me.

Hello everyone! It’s #optomstudies here again with another study tip on Part Time Work! I received the following asks from anons, thank you for prompting this! :) I’m by no means an expert, but this is the advice that I gained while looking for my own job. 

hey, i recently finished reading all your study tips so far and i just wanted to let you know that they’re super helpful!! i’m starting uni next month and im soo glad that i came across your series bc now i feel less anxious about starting!! if you have time, i would love it if you have any tips about getting a part-time job in uni? like yourself, i didn’t think that i could manage high school + part time job so i would rlly love some advice from you again if possible! 

Realise that you can juggle part time work, but don’t bite off more than you can chew. Working more than 2-3 days a week will stress you out, as you won’t have time to complete both uni work and enjoy a little destressing time. I’d advise max 1.5 days a week for a 5 day degree, and that’s if you use 80% of the remaining time studying. Count any other commitments as part of these ‘work’ hours too - if you have church, younger siblings to cook for, etc. Most unis advise 2 hours of self-study per contact hour at uni for degrees like science/engineering, and up to 4 for arts/commerce degrees! So factor that in when you’re planning. 

Research an entry level job that relates to your degree. The best types of jobs would be those in which you are assistants to the position you want to work in once you have graduated. Just ensure that the position promises you on-the-job training, as most students likely have limited employment experiences outside retail and tutoring. 

Research how to write a great first resume and practice interview skills. Your university careers website will contain plenty of information, as well as templates for your first resume to highlight your strengths. There is a wealth of information out there regarding the actual process of CV-writing and interviews, so refer to those :) Make sure you research the company you want to work with, their values and also personalise your resume and cover letter to highlight why you would be suited for that position and what you can bring as an employee. 

Hand in your resume personally to each store you apply to. Politely ask if you can speak to the manager, dress in business clothing, introduce yourself in a friendly manner and ask them to consider your resume if a position ever opens. If it’s for an advertised position, call back in 1-2 weeks to check up on them and thank them for their consideration. Even if the position is filled, you can still gain valuable information by asking them why you weren’t hired (politely of course), since you have nothing to lose. They may have noticed something about your cover letter or resume that put them off choosing, or they might let you know it was fine but they just had a more qualified individual applying. 

Prepare for common questions on interviews, and just be yourself. My manager, who was so kind as to give me a chance despite not having much work experience, told me that she liked my honesty and enthusiasm which is why she hired me. Most of the time for an entry level position, they aren’t looking too much for technical skills as they are looking for personality (well at least for retail positions anyway) and transferable skills like communication and interpersonal skills. 

I hoped this helped everyone! I do have an #employment tag but tips don’t float around the studyblr as often as posts on study methods (please send me links if you find anything, thank you!! :D) so I’ve just linked the posts here:




A small list of Egyptian deities

After a good look through Conway’s Little Big Book of Magic I found this wonderful list of deities from the Egyptian pantheon that I just had to share with you all. 

AMEN/AMUN/AMMON - God of reproduction, fertility, agriculture, prophecy. 

Associated with the ram and the goose.

ANUBIS - God of endings, wisdom, surgery, hospital stays, finding lost things, journeys, and protection. Considered a messenger from the gods to humans.

Associated with the jackal and sometimes the dog.

BAST - The cat-headed goddess of all animals, but especially cats. She symbolizes the moon, childbirth, fertility, pleasure, joy, music, dance, marriage, and healing.

BUTO - Cobra goddess of protection.

HATHOR - A mother and creatress goddess, protectress of women. Symbols include the moon, marriage, motherhood, artists, music, happiness, and prosperity.

Associated with the cow, the frog, and the cat.

HORUS - God of the sun and the moon, he stands for prophecy, justice, success and problem solving.

Associated with the falcon and the hawk.

IMHOTEP - God of medicine and healing.

ISIS - The supreme Egyptian goddess, who was honored for 3,000 years. In later times, her worship spread to Greece and Rome. Meanings include magick, fertility, marriage, purification, initiation, reincarnation, healing,
divination, the arts, and protection.

Associated with the cat, the goose, and the cow.

MAAT - Goddess of judgment, truth, justice, and reincarnation.

Associated with ostrich feathers.

NEITH - A warrior goddess and protectress, she represents magick, healing, mystical knowledge, domestic arts, and marriage. Two arrows were among her symbols.

Associated with the vulture.

NEPHTHYS - The dark sister of Isis. Magick, protection, dreams, and intuition. The basket was one of her symbols.

OSIRIS - The supreme Egyptian god. Fertility, civilization, agriculture, crafts, judgment, architecture, social laws, power, growth, and stability.

Associated with the hawk and the phoenix.

PTAH - God of artisans and artists, builders and craftsmen.

Associated with the bull.

SEKHMET - The dark sister of Bast, a lion-headed goddess. Physicians and bonesetters; revenge, and power.

Associated with the lioness.

TA-URT/TAURET - The hippopotamus goddess. Childbirth, maternity, and protection.

THOTH - God of books and learning, and the greatest of magicians. Writing, inventions, the arts, divination, commerce, healing, intuition, success, wisdom, truth, and the Akashic Records.

Associated with the ibis.

Art and OUAT

I’m grateful to Adam & Eddy for blowing up the myth of the Auteur with 50 tons of ACME TNT.

Previously, I thought there were Artists-with-a-capital-A who Arted, Artily. And then the Big Bad Studio *MINOR CHORD KEYBOARD SMASH* comes in with their Notes and Interference and Focus Group Suggestions and tries to ruin everything because capitalism, or something.

“Art!” yells the Artist, frantically trying to Art Under Duress.

“Commerce,” hisses the Studio, slipping $100 bills into the Artists’ pockets while they smash up the workshop with a baseball bat.

But that’s not what led to OUAT’s fall from grace, is it? I bet ABC put pressure on certain storylines– for instance, I’m pretty sure the original plans for Dark Swan in 5A did not involve talking about, and to, a plastic mushroom for five episodes– but overall it seems like what the showrunners wanted, they got. The problem was they couldn’t handle what they had.

The problem is one of STRUCTURE. The writers set up things that they were unwilling or unable to follow-through on starting in S5: Dark Hook, Merida’s revenge, Guinevere/Lancelot, Merlin’s prophecy, Hero!Rumple vs. Dark Swan, Dark Swan vs. her family incl. Regina, Hades’ motivation, Zelena’s beef with Regina, Land of Untold Stories, EQ vs. Belle, Rumple x/vs. EQ, Hero!Hook, Charming vs. his father’s killer, Gideon and the Dark Realm kids, Belle vs. Black Fairy, Black Fairy’s motivation, Zelena’s magic, Emma and Hook’s 2 day break-up, Black Fairy’s curse, What are the stakes for the Final Battle, Author!Henry’s seizures, Emma’s Jazz Hands of Doom, Tiger Lily vs. Black Fairy, etc.

Stuff that was set up had no payoff (see: the entire Camelot arc, Rumple x EQ, Hero!Hook, Charming vs. his father’s killer, Dark Realm kids); stuff that was supposed to be payoff had no setup (Dark Hook, Resurrected!Hook, you can clone yourself with no magical price, pixie flowers open portals to non-magical realms, a five minute nap can break the Sleeping Curse, the Wish!Realm and everyone in it was fake until it was real). Characters were added, dropped, sidelined, and killed off seemingly at random (Belle’s favorite book had more screentime and agency than Belle did in 6B).

This is oddly inspiring, because no-one is saying Adam & Eddy don’t have good ideas– what I’m saying is they can’t seem to stick the landing. So before, if you had asked me: “Screwball, are you an Artist?” I would have immediately said: “No.” But now if you ask me: “Screwball, can you write a redemption episode where a character does something that shows they may have actually changed?” I will probably say: “Well …yes.” Maybe you don’t need to be an Artist to create Art; maybe you just need to hit your narrative targets.

Ideas are great. Characters are amazing. Art-with-a-capital-A in the Platonic sense is still real. But even more important than inspiration is FOLLOW-THROUGH. Fucking ex-e-cute. A simple idea well executed is more important to me now than a great idea that slips on a banana peel half-way through. And that is the great OUAT takeaway for me.

Mercury in Libra 🥂

Mercury in Libra lives in a beautiful crystal palace, using his brilliant ideas to light up the rooms and enchant his illustrious guests. People with this placement express themselves lightly, with a noble politeness to their tone as if to avoid being rude or creating any kind of discord in listeners; they’re easy-going and extremely interested in listening to other people’s opinions because their own values tend to be formed first by contrast and weighing other people’s judgments. They’re diplomatic when talking and avoid creating disharmonious conversations, while also making sure that their sense of justice and fairness prevails in the subjects they’re discussing.

Mercury loves to decorate Libra’s palace, and so people with this placement are usually great with words, choosing them as if they were jewelleries to wear and decorating their speech with appropriate details which help them get what they want. All of these characteristics favour this individual’s activities in business, politics, arts, commerce and law, for the mind is naturally connected to the concept of being considerate and cooperative.

Here, Mercury opens Libra’s front door, filling its beautiful domains with all kinds of people, presenting them with graceful ribbons to celebrate their social and mental union.

Care and Feeding of Writers, Part the Umpteenth

Discussions of AO3 feedback often raise the question of “do pro writers also…”  And the answer is, yes, yes we do.  But our desire for and adoration of feedback is multilayered, with the odd and uneasy reticence that art+commerce creates…

the following was taken from a discussion on my Facebook page.


I note we’ve stalled out with 24 reviews of THE COLD EYE on Amazon. They’re all wonderful reviews, so I can’t feel too bad about that, but I’m kinda hoping we can get more up there before the trade paperback edition and the third book are listed, she said wistfully…

(Goodreads has 73 reviews up, also predominantly good. I’ve love to see that hit 100)

Why is this important? Well, obviously, for my own egoboo. Never underestimate the kick in the pants a good review can give a writer to get back to writing (“they liked it! They might want more!”). It’s like a very public fan letter (I like the private ones too, yes). But even more than that, and more directly useful than that, reviews (and ideally positive reviews) are the best, most effective marketing tool anything ever gets. It’s not me you’re reviewing for, it’s the person browsing for their next book to buy. Lots of people saying “oh hey I liked this” is far more likely to push a sale, or at least get them to take a look at the book….

And the more we sell, the more I get to write, the better I can afford to do things like feed the cats and house myself, without becoming a burden on society and/or ending up living in my bestie’s basement…

(mind you, it’s a very nice basement, and comes with hot and cold running dogs, but still.)

The Emoji Movie
(And Weak TV/Movies in general)- A Entreaty to Cut the Snark

(In a public forum anyway, if you just want to goof off in conversation with friends, knock yourself out.)

So, if you’re drafting your scathing tweet for whatever the current week’s freshly released and much hated property happens to be:

Please don’t. Take Emoji, for example. First off, I didn’t work on Emoji. I have many friends that did during my time at Sony, but this essay isn’t for their sake. I would have worked on Emoji if offered for reasons I’ll get to later, but for now let me start with this:

None of the respectable artists that worked on the film wanted it to turn out how it did. Business people with only a secondary interest in art controlled a product, with which they hoped to make money, and guess what, it worked. I’m not trying to throw executives under the bus here either. Executives, whose job is to make money, not to make “good” movies, don’t always the time or budget to assure quality. And honestly, even for the world’s best filmmakers, with infinite budgets and complete control, quality is never a certainty. So, especially in a time crunch, with a full slate, and unproven filmmakers, quality is not necessarily the best business plan for execs. At least that’s the perception to many of us working on a project, and I can see from their perspective the logic that stance. It’s a, “I don’t care if the fart joke is stupid, kids will LOVE it!” kind of thing. Often, sensationalism and even bad press can actually be a good business plan, because that assures the movie won’t be buried. Kids like poop jokes, and adults want a ticket to the train wreck. The decision-makers on the film probably leaned into the low brow as an allure for the marketing campaign, making it a far more visible film due to all the negative buzz surrounding it. The producers don’t care if they’re serving McDonald’s or filet mignon, they’re playing a completely different game, and it’s about getting butts in seats at any cost. Incredibly talented artists fought hard to make the most of a bad situation, and as is usually the case, were outvoted time and again by money, because money had completely different goals.

I’m in no way advocating an acceptance of mediocre filmmaking, or a lowered set of expectations for your media consumption. I am, however, trying to make a case that the culture of snottiness, and smug, side-mouth “witticisms” is one of misspent energy, presuming your goal is to help contribute quality art to the world. 

The reason I say not to waste time crafting some cutting diatribe is, the public negativity won’t ever hurt the execs, they won’t see the criticism, and they don’t care because the movie did fulfilled its financial responsibility as a product. But the artists who try and fail to make good movies take the brunt of all the negativity and snark that gets thrown out there. Even though filmmakers will likely never see your specific post, every bit of nasty amateur commentary contributes to a general culture of creativity-stifling artist bashing. Although we should always hold professionals to the highest standard, you have to try and be realistic about the amount of control they have on a project like this. This is not to say you shouldn’t recognize crappy choices for what they are, go ahead and notice what doesn’t work about a movie. Professional reviewers can and should dissect a work’s failing. But, there’s no point in taking so much glee in throwing rocks in the town square. The world just really doesn’t need another sick-burn Tweet featuring your “hot take” on the movie. We get it. You’re smart and the filmmakers are dumb. Your opinion is the same as everyone else’s, but you worded it slightly differently, so that 160 character Twitter review that starts with “Apparently…” and oozes smarm from there is better off left in the drafts. This type of schadenfreude is among the nastiest behaviors to which creatives regularly subject each other.

To be working on a very visible project means that almost every artist on that film or show has legions of fans that adore their original work, and an entire industry to speak to their talent. Yet so often I see the artists themselves, and not just the one work, lumped together in the public eye as “the idiots who made that bad thing.” You might ask, “Why would they take that crappy job then?” For the same reason people who haven’t make it into the industry yet take jobs bagging groceries: to pay rent, to support their families, to pay for classes to improve themselves, or just to get them through to the next, better job. It’s not every day that the Iron Giant or Finding Nemo is staffing up, and you never know what kind of project a movie is going to turn out to be going in. So many huge successes fought their way to greatness after an incredibly rocky start. And many movies at a promising studio, with a great premise and solid leadership, end up being terrible. There’s no way to know going in. If you truly think you’re the exception to that rule, take out a loan and open a small studio, because you’ll be the most successful figure in Hollywood history if you can predict a hit every time.

Everybody knows now that the Emoji Movie is bad at this point. Any of the slew of amateur ”reviews” now will just be a race to the bottom, another rotten cabbage to throw at the guy with his head in the pillory. In these situations it feels like all the sassy internet hecklers, many of whom have little or no relationship with the process of actually making films, are lining up to kick a downed opponent, and make themselves look like a tough guy. Each slam is looking raise the bar on the new meanest possible insult, “_____ (movie) was so terrible it made me want to kill myself with my own ticket stub through a thousand tiny paper-cuts”.  The desperation of scrambling to find a “hot take” on an exhausted property is palpable. So many Facebook Status “Film Gurus”, Youtube Movie Ranters, and the ever scholarly forum commentators, are always at the ready to weave a mixture of diatribe and condescending, film-school-freshman lecturing. There’s this ever present tone of “if they only knew these obvious filmmaking truisms, they’d be smart like me, and make better movies. Please, please when will a producer drift into this forum, recognize my intelligence, and give me movies to make instead?” They then usually proceed to lay out some “rules” they’ve read from various screenwriting books. Rest the rules, because I guarantee you that the artists involved in these films read the same books. The filmmakers are just as big of film buffs as us, they watch all the same shows and movies, and they study filmmaking theory through books, blogs, criticism, and movie absorption the same way we do. Yet, with all their knowledge, you still get this kind of “bad” movie, which just shows you how hard it is to make a movie work. There is a harsh reality to showbusiness’ balance of commerce and art: a businesses’ goal is profit, and Hollywood Filmmaking is a business. Here’s a shortened example of what it might take to get a “good” movie made:

1. Someone makes it through the long and cut-throat-competitive thresher of endlessly pitching their ideas. For the sake of condensing many steps, we’ll cut to the part where the project is the 1% that makes it through development hell, and we’ll say the filmmaker survives their 50/50 shot of being replaced by the studio for someone they like better. 

2. The filmmaker convinces the studio that “quality” will be a factor that earns money for this movie, and not one of a many possible marketing directives. 

3. The filmmaker is also able to assure those footing the bill that they can achieve quality, and in the process get enough creative control to make the thing work. That often includes either convincing a studio that your ability to execute a vision is superior to theirs, or tricking them into thinking both of your visions of the movie are the same, and quietly seeing how many of their notes you can hide under the carpet while you and your trained creative team actually make it work. (On rare occasions execs are either excellent collaborators, or trusting enough of filmmakers to let them do the creative work they were hired to do.)
4. Assuming the filmmaker is able to settle the control issue, and wrestle the steering wheel from the people whose money they are spending, then the filmmaker must then have been correct about their vision being a good one that will work on screen. 

5. Finally, if the stars align, then the millions of moving pieces that make up a film/show are somehow kept from falling apart. If all those fragile pieces work in unison, and nothing major changes with the leadership at studios, or the state of the industry as a whole, the project has a chance of being “good”. Even then, there’s no guarantee that “good” thing will make money. 

On every project I’ve ever worked on, even the ones I’m proud of, the whole is so much less than the sum of it’s parts. Sometimes I already follow every person I work with on a project on social media when I come in on the first day. There are usually talented people in every department, an all star team, but the project is almost never an all star result. Sometimes it’s not even something I would watch.

Due to the safety and reach of the Internet, the culture of “critiquing” filmmaking has given every basement dwelling cynic and film school sophomore an outlet for their bitter condescension. I think this has led to the general impression that the most important thing that critics do is tear movies apart. I’ve even seen actual, professional critics resort to a kind of schoolyard rap battle to see who can deliver the most crushing blow to a film. But, the most acclaimed critics in film history spent much their time championing films they love- celebrating successes rather than brutally attacking failures. People like Roger Ebert and Leonard Maltin became legendary figures in film history by using their influence to introduce the world to filmmaking that might have otherwise gone overlooked.

Hate what you want. Bash what you want. I’m not going to try and fight some crusade against internet flame culture. But, since so many of the people who so joyfully hate on films online claim a passionate love of cinema, just know that a horde of nasty tweets doesn’t help cinema in any way. Way more terrible movies are made than great ones, that’s both the law of averages, and a sad reality of the business. So, although one can learn just as much from a bad movie as a good one, keep it balanced- If you find that the goal of your criticism is to dog-pile an already hated property, I’m begging you to choose again:

-Be the bold person to articulate dissatisfaction with a beloved movie instead.

-Or champion the strong parts of a despised movie.

-Or even continue in the awesome tradition of Tony Zhou, by doing the hard work it takes to neatly point out successful things a strong movie accomplishes. 

-But most of the time, if you’re in such a bitter mood that you want to publicly slam a bunch of strangers, your best option is to bury that opinion deep, deep inside of yourself, log off of your computer, and go deal with whatever is making you so angry.