A beginning and an end or: how I learned to stop worrying and love the change.
A still from Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (1964).
“How has your work changed from your first conception to now”
I ask this question to a few of my subjects on On Their Way, but this week I really took some time this week to consider it for myself. How has WGC changed from the first time it ever entered my fifteen-year-old head till now? The short answer is that is has changed a lot.
Originally a blog where I documented my musings on entertainment trends, WGC is less than two weeks away from debuting its first non-fiction podcast. WGC has changed in content, medium, mission, and vision from the first time I thought of it till now. And one thing that really surprises me about it, is how well I adapted to the changes needed to have WGC flourish.
Focus is one of my core personality traits. When I have a vision for how something should be executed I can approach the process was a laser-like focus and clarity to ensure that my will is executed in a man that I like. I will be the first to say that focus is useful. There is no way on Earth that I would have been able to start a business, build out a long term plan, produce a podcast in three months, and maintain my personal life if not for this focus. But focus can also be detrimental. After all, if a person gets too hung up on their own ideas they become obstinate and unable to pivot. Finding this balance is a process that I am still working on, though I think I am improving as I face with more decisions.
Ultimately I believe there were two things that made it harder for me to pivot and embrace change when it came to WGC.
I believe in the vision I have created, and I believe my ability to execute it. I sincerely trust that I will be able to do all of the things I see for WGC and that if I don’t know how to do something I will either learn it or hire the right person. I think self-confidence is good. I think it is necessary. But I also think that it can breed a stubbornness (like it low-key did in me). It’s really hard to admit that you can’t do something when you’ve put in so much work and time and emotional effort into it.
When I first started WGC, I was deadset on creating choose-your-own-adventure audio dramas in the vein of Witchever Path or Civilized: An Improvised Podcast. I love content where the community gets to influence works and I was so certain that that was what WGC was meant to do. And because I had the confidence that I could execute that, I started working on it.
The story I for sure thought would be WGC’s flagship show was called Small Victories. Small Victories was a half-hour dramady about a drug addict who was trying to get her life together. It was going to have a total of 21 episodes. The summer of 2019, I worked on this show for hours. For weeks, I literally woke up at started writing at 8 am and ended writing at 8 pm. I ended up writing 112 complete drafts for season one of Small Victories. As we speak I have 14 episodes written and ready to be recorded. Even now I am still really gobsmacked by the amount of work I did for a series that isn’t going to get made the way I wanted it to.
It took a lot to push Small Victories to the side. I remember crying in my dorm, as I told my Mom how badly I wanted to make this show. But a lot of that, I think, wasn’t about the show at all. Of course, some of it was, I created a strong story with characters I love, and knowing people won’t see it for a while is hard, but a lot of the devastation I felt had a lot more to do with how it would reflect on me. I felt like I was letting myself down by quitting, even though I wasn’t quitting as much as I was taking a pause to reassess and plan.
To accept my change of focus I had to have a serious talk with myself about why I was so upset and what I would really lose by indefinitely delaying the production process. Once I realized that I wouldn’t lose anything, and the show would be better in the future anyway because I would have more experience under my belt, I brightened infinitely. I also had to take to the time to feel upset. It didn’t take ages, only a few days, but by letting myself be disappointed I prevented that disappointment from permeating my future plans for the work.
I am a young black woman and, on some level, I am aware that some people won’t take me as seriously as a result of one of those demographics that I fall into. Changing my ideas or plans can feel like an admittance that I’m too young to know what I am doing. For this, I won’t do a whole "story time" but I will share with you something that always makes me feel better (plus it’s Florida related so that’s fun).
A Feel Good (Florida-Adjacent) Tale:
Disney is one of the largest and most dominant entertainment companies in the world. The mouse is everywhere and it knows all. People love the Disney brand like it was a family member. It owns Marvel, ESPN, HULU, it’s own properties, cruise and hotel lines, acres of land, It’s a true titan of industry, which is why when I consider that Disney was founded after he was commissioned to make some Alice in Wonderland shorts, I feel inspired.
Now I’m not saying I want WGC to grow to the proportions of Disney, in fact, I think that WGC’s commitment to community couldn’t exist in such within such a large business, but I am saying that when Walt and Roy created Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, there was no way they could have anticipated the direction their business would go. I mean, they even changed their company name a few years after they started it just like WGC did!
They had to change because they couldn’t anticipate their future, and their changes only made them a stronger, sturdier, company. Their changes showed that they were paying attention to the market and their place in it. Not changing would have been their undoing.
So to get back to the title, how did I stop worrying and love the change? Well, I am still working on it, but right now the way I am learning to embrace the change is by recognizing that I don’t know everything.
It’s actually very comforting to know that I don’t know everything, because if I knew everything that would mean that the decisions I made would be permanent with no chance for appeal or turnover. The uncertainty means the business decisions I make today may not matter the same way tomorrow, and that, to me is a freeing concept. A change may be the end to one idea but it can also be the beginning of another and beginnings are beautiful things.
Jade Madison Scott is the founder of WGC Productions