Should I take this job?

Should I take this job*? A common question among creatives. Whether it’s an internship, a long-term project or a one-night gig, here’s my advice if you need help to decide.

A creative job can have three key factors: fun, experience, money.
Your job should at least have two factors. Three is perfect, one is not enough.

If you take a job, that is fun and gets you money, boom, you’re a lucky one. Do it! But after a while of enjoyment and spending that cash, can you find a task you can even learn from, devote yourself, generate something productive and gain in depth experience?

Blessed are those, whose job gives them experience (or exposure) and money. Congratulations, in a world of eternal interns, you are being paid to learn! Take that money and experience, hang in there, and eventually run to a job that will also bring you joy.

I used to be a dj. From the start it was fun, instructive and lucrative. Eventually, I was booked so much, that I didn’t learn anything more, which was fine. It was a professional comfort, I worked hard for. At some point I djed so much, I lost the initial spark of joy. So I stopped djing and looked for another task. Saying no to a job you don’t like anymore is deliberating.

If you get a job, that is fun and instructional, great. Just keep an eye on that bank account while you gather your experience cuz you can’t buy a sandwich with just that. And once you got enough expertise let people pay you for your skill. Do not underprize yourself once you are at a certain level. Do not support companies that make you work like a dog and pay you like a puppy intern. If you don’t know what to charge, the internet delivers lots of comparable wage charts.

It’s a running joke in Germany that Berlin Comedians don’t make money. We do have many unpaid shows. But we also have the most innovative comedy scene in Germany. And that’s interrelated. By having so many for-free-shows a creative potential could develop – a petri dish independent from money interests. We’ll start charging soon so come watch us now while we’re still affordable ha!

I get it, sometimes you just gotta pay a bill. And there’s nothing wrong with taking a money job, set fun and experience aside and save up for the future. In general, there is nothing wrong with just choosing one of the key factors – for a while. But getting no money for your art ever is not idealism, it’s exploitation. Loosing yourself in not having fun results in misery. And not getting experience becomes chronic boredom. Those are the three negative factors on the other side of that job coin, the opportunity costs of your creative lifetime. Remember why your are creative in the first place and what you initially wanted to achieve. Then do just that.

Do you have any comments on that? Is this helpful or common sense duh?

I recently rediscovered this “business ingrid” collage that I made during a long period of misery, exploitation and boredom…

 

*(This is strictly for creative freelancers and artists, who sometimes have a hard time deciding what job to take. Of course, this is no in depth economic analysis, just common sense: often it’s the clarity and simplicity of a problem that helps us decide. We struggle, but we’re also in a privileged position being able to apply our talents. I know there are many hard working people out there, who face different job difficulties. I know there are many people, who would have wanted a creative career but didn’t have parents to support that tenth unpaid internship. So this really is just for creative freelancers and if it helps you as well, that makes me happy. Let me know, if you agree or disagree or if you have another advice to share.)

How to deal with artistic rejection

How to deal with artistic rejection is the topic of my newest comedy bit since my favorite comedy is rooted in truth and sadness. In my bit I exaggerate and make fun of rejection, whereas in real life it is sometimes hard to do just that. As long as you make art, you will be rejected. The only way for no one to hate you is to leave the paper blank. How can you keep on making art with all the scars rejection has given you? I made these guidelines and posted them on my instagram stories some weeks ago. I got lots of feedback for it so I’m posting them on here too. They’re a hybrid of personal insights, all those self-help books I once read and good conversations with artist friends. Thanks for that.

  1. Don’t let it break you. Keep on doing what you love! Remember why you’re creative in the first place. Don’t stop.
  2. Don’t change your art for people that don’t matter. Let’s say a certain institution rejects you. Ask yourself, why do you want them to accept you so badly? Do you really fit in there? Would you have to change the core of your work for them to like you? That’s the artsy equivalent to angsty teenagers doing shit to be friends with shitty people. Don’t do that. Find a way to get appraisal from the right institutions.
  3. Rejection means: people see you and your work. Just keep it up until the right people see it. Seek people that like you and not just tolerate you.
  4. Keep praise from friends and fanmail in a feel good folder. Go through it when you think everyone hates you. Because that is never true!
  5. Not everyone will love your art. And that’s good. If you really want to appeal to everyone, you’ll eventually water down your art and it will be printed on cheap postcards at tourist shops. The more specific your art the more specific is your target audience. Finding that is hard, as I can tell you gladly with my three fans.
  6. Feel the pain somatically. Can you turn it into creative energy? Like make a sculpture with a buzz saw, draw a watercolor with tears and mascara, go on a gun rampage with a paintball gun, write a funny diss track? What do you feel? Anger? Anger can paint great paintings, write deep jokes and beautiful songs. I don’t glorify pain, but often today’s tears become tomorrow’s soil.
  7. Remember your work is not you. This is especially hard to acknowledge as a stand-up comedian. When the audience hates you, they hate your essence. Still, I try to separate Ingrid from stage Ingrid, an even more brazen, ballsy, callous version of me. Keeps me sane.
  8. Many others get rejected, too. You’re not the only one experiencing it. Don’t feel special, ha! Read biographies of famous artists. Which hardship they went through to follow their dreams. (I don’t know if this is just the urban legend of Arles, but apparently, Van Gogh has never sold one paining in his lifetime). By sharing your own story you can connect with others, who feel the same. Just don’t get dragged into an unproductive, downward spiral of lamentation and self-pity. Lament and then get back to work. These jokes don’t write themselves.
  9. Spoil you inner child. Remember what makes you happy. Now do that! That chocolate cake, a warm bath, a visit to the circus? Do it!
  10. Can you learn anything from it? Maybe there was some tiny truth in that rejection mail from that art school afterall? Maybe there is something I can actually do better? We can often improve either our art or our attitude, after we wiped away those tears.
  11. Now, focus on your next steps, what’s ahead, the future, new goals, good people that matter!
how to deal with artistic rejection
how to deal with artistic rejection

None of the above tips work for you? Well, there is one last, tiny truth, that hurts the most about rejection:

People do not get hired based on quality. Booking is arbitrary. No matter how much in control you are about your work, at some point you run into industry walls. It is merely up to you and your personal capacity to endure pain: you either jump over that wall, turn your back at it or smash your head against it.

Steve Martin’s famous quote „be so good they can’t ignore you“ is a myth. If you are that good, you will not need them anymore. 

Institutions reject good artists. That’s a common industry practice, so their own prima donnas won’t get scratched. If a music label builds up the next star, they buy up all similar artists to eliminate competition. German has a beautiful word for this: Karteileiche („card file corpse“ – a sleeping member, no one intends to wake up). Besides that, institutions send out harsh rejections to keep up a climate of fear to hold on to a respect and artistic relevance they have lost long ago. 

So here’s my last advice: Surround yourself with good people to stay sane. Develop and take care of meaningful friendships. Painter Rose Wylie says „unsuccessfulness gives you freedom.“ Stay independent. Find a source of happiness outside of your art. Be good to yourself. <3

Neue Comedytalks online – Shahak Shapira – Jan van Weyde – Jamie Wierzbicki

Liebe Leute, die youtube meiden, wie ich Weihnachtsmärkte. Ihr müsst youtube nicht nach den besten Buden absuchen. Ich präsentiere euch hier die neuen Leckerbissen (dafür komm ich in die Hölle). Es sind nämlich drei neue Comedytalk Videos online:

Die eine Sache, die ich vergessen habe, Shahak Shapira zu fragen war: wie zur Hölle hat er es geschafft über 150000 Follower zu bekommen. Ich kratze bei Twitter ja an der vielversprechenden 225 Marke. Alle anderen Fragen seht ihr hier:

Jamie Wierzbicki und ich kennen uns schon seit dem wir vor fünf Jahren mit Stand-up angefangen haben. Seit dem hat sich viel verändert. Nur eines bleibt gleich: keiner ist sicher vor Bombings. Nach einem furchtbaren Auftritt in Monheim klärt Jamie über’s Bombing und Heckling auf:

Jan van Weyde und ich hatten ein wunderbares Interview. Er erzählt von süßen Fans, wie es ist Carolin Kebekus’ Support Act zu sein und wie er einmal ein Promovideo aufgenommen hat. Und ich freu’ mich am Ende reinzurufen, was ein Callback ist:

Einige Leute sprechen mich an, warum nicht jeden Freitag ein Video kommt. Wir kommen nicht hinterher. Wenn uns jemand Geld gibt, gerne. Machmal werden Videotermine kurzfristig verschoben, manchmal gibt’s Probleme bei der Veröffentlichung. Und manchmal müssen wir halt arbeiten. Aber das nächste Video kommt so sicher wie der Weihnachtsmann! Einen schönen dritten Advent euch!

Drawing on ipad with apple pencil and procreate

I don’t like digital art. I like my art dirty and raw. The smell of paint makes me high. The thick layers of a Van Gogh painting make me hungry for mud pie. Painting is physical. Imagine the expressionists painted on computers, they’d all have chronic back pain. Painting digitally is lacking coincidence. Coincidence paints the best pictures. Cry on paper and you can paint a mascara watercolor. Cry on your ipad and you cry more because it breaks because it’s not waterproof.

I sound like a curmudgeonette who hates anything digital. Fine, but with all things that I don’t like I try them out at least once. The ipad now joins me trying rotten Swedish fish and sport. So for this drawing experiment, I used an ipad with an apple pen and the app “procreate”. This is how it was for me:

The best part about drawing on an ipad: it’s fun.

You can eat while doing it and not worry about accidentally swallowing paint. Also, people are often afraid to draw or write the first word on a white paper. Perfectionism kicks in and you end up not drawing anything leaving the paper blank. Doing that digitally helps, because it’s playful, you can erase quickly and no pile of tossed paper reminds you of your failure.

The worst part about drawing with an ipad: you have to buy an ipad.

The ipad is just too expensive for a toy. The app “procreate” is cool but definitely has too many brushes to choose from. It’s like looking into a make up artist’s work place and getting all insecure because I only own a chapstick. To get used to the mechanics I did some free hand drawings and then just drew over photos of mine. Which felt lazy but it’s a good exercise. Drawing on my ipad feels generally like cheating. Before that, I had to mix colors (and often messed up) and now I just klick on lavender-blue. I have to wash my hands afterwards, not because I’m dirty but to wash off the guilt of not really having done anything real. My plan now is to really get to know the app and see how I can use it for comedy too.

So here are some studies I’ve done while watching bumping mics on netflix, how do you like them?

even though i like the overall picture, my face still looks too stiff ..and, well, digitally drawn from a photo.
i like this one cuz it’s playful and simple.
me imagining my snappy face on a big canvas
“me and my cacti” – this is drawn after one of my favorite polaroids
This is how I draw all day. I’m one brush stroke away from a pinched nerve.
practice makes perfect so i draw me as often as possible
i’m a baseball clown who are you?

Comedy Talk – Two Comedians in a Bar Drinking Coffee

Comedy Talk Youtube
Ingrid beim Comedy Talk Intro Filmen in der Kupferbar Berlin

 

Comedy ist nur was für Leute, die Humor hassen.
Es gibt keine guten, deutschen Comedians.
Deutsche Comedy ist nur Witze erzählen.

Comedy heißt immer nur andere schlecht machen.
Alle Comedians schreiben Witze von Facebook ab.
Comedy ist niveaulos.
Seit Loriot gibt es keine lustigen Comedians mehr.
Deutsche Comedians klauen alle von US Comedians.
Youtube ist nur was für unlustige Selbstdarsteller.
Jeder Affe mit ‘nem Mikro hat ‘nen Podcast.

Ich kann’s nicht mehr hören. Ok, außer das mit dem Podcast stimmt.
Dass es nämlich auch anders geht, versuche ich beim Comedy Talk auf Youtube. Die Comedy Konterrevolution:
Jede Woche* unterhalte ich mich eine gute halbe Stunde mit Comedians über Comedy. Wir gehen’s in Detail, was Comedy angeht und streifen alle anderen Themen, die uns spontan einfallen: Comedy als Handwerk, die ersten Schritte, glorreiche und schmerzhafte Auftritte und welche Tipps sie gerne am Anfang selbst bekommen hätten. Just two comedians in a bar drinking coffee. Ich hoffe euch gefällt’s auch?

Hier ist das aktuelle Video mit Maxi Gstettenbauer:

Und alle Videos gibt es hier:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSoyoGalEnHmXc3XybPUTVQ

Die kommenden Wochen kommen jetzt immer neue Videos. Wen sollte ich auf jeden Fall noch interviewen? Am 26. Oktober ist ja Dave Chappelle wieder in Berlin, vielleicht hat er ja Zeit für uns?

Comedy Talk Youtube

Some Behind the Scenes und dabei ein big shout out an Christopher von Comedy247 für’s Filmen, Schneiden und Organisieren.

 

*also immer so, wie wir Zeit haben, da wir dafür keine Kohle kriegen.

Comedy Talk mit Stefan Danziger

Comedy Talk
Stefan Danziger und ich beim Comedy Talk (c) Comedy247 Christopher Stein

Vor zwei Wochen habe ich für Comedy247 und RTL104,6 spontan den Komiker Stefan Danziger interviewt. Das Video von unserem Comedy Talk ging heute online. Wenn ihr Feedback habt, immer gern her damit!

Mit Stefan rede ich über seine Auftritte im Ausland, Autogramme im Wald geben, wie es beim RTL Comedy Grand Prix war, Michael Jackson, die Magie von offenen Bühnen und welche Sprache er eigentlich spricht. Besonders stolz bin ich auf ein Wortspiel von mir und dass ich am Anfang einen Monolog halte, der eigentlich nur für’s Radio gedacht war, aber den die Kamera anscheinend schon aufzeichnete. Nächstes Mal schau ich dann schon mal in die Kamera : -) Wenn alles gut läuft sogar schon nächste Woche Freitag.

Und jetzt viel Spaß beim Comedy Talk mit Stefan Danziger:

 

 

 

Shred your Fear – Push Any Button feat. HAW Hamburg & Thalia Theater

“The Last Action Heros”: Our artist group Push Any Button did a “shred your fear” ritual for the Hamburg University of Applied Science.

On Sunday morning, the Hamburg University of Applied Science welcomed almost a thousand new students at Thalia Theater and I hosted the event. Together with PUSH’s Regina and Martin, we collected the students’ “fears” and transformed them into confetti for a fresh start. Also, president Prof. Teuscher gave a speed speech, the HAW choir sang, former student Steve Fotso performed a poetry procrastination slam, I interviewed four amazing international students and afterwards, Thalia’s Thore Strothmann invited the new students for coffee and pastries to the theatre’s club Nachtasyl. I wished I would have had such a semester start (maybe then I would have finished my Masters, ha)! Thank you for everyone involved and all the best to the new students <3 !

Push Any Button says “thank you and bye” and now takes a creative break (which has, btw., nothing to do with the shredder breaking on stage).

All photos shot by Paula Markert and taken from HAW’s facebook page:

The first time I saw the Thalia Theater from this point of view (c) Paula Markert
When I walk into the club and pretend I know someone (c) Paula Markert
Zoom in for a tear of joy (c) Paula Markert

Improv Comedy: Oh! Kult!

Improv Comedy is my quirky balance to stand-up comedy. It’s like creative cooking versus strictly following a baking recipe. And at the end, it turns out to be a drink. With a fancy straw. I learned it in San Francisco. And my improv buddy Regina in New York. Together we are Push Any Button Improv from Hamburg.

Before I reveal some news about projects this year, I wanted to share some pictures with you from one of our past performances: Oh! Kult! One afternoon in late fall, Regina and me sat in an underground cave in Hamburg’s artsy district Gängeviertel at Urbane Kunstkammer Festival. Foods, music, arts, exhibitions, urban culture and us. Yeah I wrote Foods first, cuz that’s all I think about. And us last cuz I’m polite. But also, because we were in the darkest and most mysterious corner:

Guests explored the narrow and dingy underground hallways. Neon lit art and dj sounds guided them to us: two mediums (the third one, Günther, couldn’t come cuz he’s a truck driver and was, at that time, on Autobahn 2). We invited all interested guests to take part in our Silly Séance with creative tarot cards. Playfully superstitious, never serious but always sincere with our guests. Everyone experienced an entertaining and friendly fortune-telling session. If the cards weren’t right enough, we interpreted the shapes of our lunch box tin foil. 

The result: an extraordinary, individual improv performance. And everyone got a personalized tarot card to take home:

Thank you Stefan Karstens, Stimmungsfänger, for coming by to take our photos!

 

Ingrid and Regina welcoming their guests inside the cave at Urbane Kunstkammer (c) Stimmungsfänger

 

Artsy Tarot Card Reading (c) Stimmungsfänger

 

Exhibition of some of our hand crafted tarot cards. Most popular was the glitter Arschkarte.

 

This photo was taken during a short Oxygen break (c) Stimmungsfänger

 

And here are some of the results: These are the hand made cards we crafted for our guests (1/2)

 

(2/2)

 

Further reference in German: Urbane Kunstkammer More photos: here

 

 

 

I’m not a real Dj

I’m not a real DJ. In fact, I’m a fake DJ. Just don’t tell anyone, will you?

 

I just casually wear my headphones to look like a DJ.

 

Let’s say your profession is a technician. Strangers walk up to you and say „you’re not a real technician“! How would you react?
— „You’re right, I’m not a real technician, I’m actually a hair dresser and you’re the only one who noticed.“

On a somewhat regular basis, party guests tell me (or yell at me) that I am not a „real DJ“. Often, it’s the first thing they do when they enter the club. It’s their version of saying hello. And they don’t even need alcohol for that! And mostly, it’s men. I blew their mind by being a DJane. I don’t get it. It’s 2017. Everyone is a DJ. Everybody has a playlist and an opinion. And thanks to the Internet, everyone now thinks their opinion matters. If there was a DJ university, I would do my PH DJ. Just to show critics my sweet DJ Diploma. But the reasons for being a “fake DJ” are numerous, as I explain later.

 

„You’re not a real DJ.“
„Right, I am not a real DJ. I am actually a crêpe cook and mistook those turntables for hotplates.“

 

 

 

DJane or Crêpe cook?

 

 

  • Someone always hates the DJ.

 

DJs get much attention. DJs are admired but, at the end of a party, someone always hates the DJ. If Raymond was a DJ, not everyone would love him. No matter how much I I try to please everyone, one person always hates. And since that one person recently found out that this guy at a party, who introduced himself as an artist, is not a „real artist“ and actually works at a coffee shop, and thus is inflating the title for all „real artists“, one becomes a little more cautious and investigative. I get it. Sometimes, people just start yelling, when I don’t immediately play their song.

That is why, whenever someone questions my job (or worse, existence), I don’t get offended. I simply ask them „why?“.
The answers are numerous, diverse, and I swear, not made up:

 

  1. „You’re not a real DJ because you don’t have LPs“,
    (typically uttered at a party with hundreds of guests, where I play music from gazillion different genres and decades and also respond to song requests for ten hours straight and where a box of LPs, just to prove I’m a „real DJ“, won’t get me far.)
  2. „You’re not a real DJ because you use Tractor, because real DJs don’t use computer programs.“ Yes, and real writers type on a typerwriter and not on a notebook.
  3. „You’re not a real DJ because you just play a playlist, right? Because once I also made a playlist for my grandpa’s birthday party and that party wasn’t good so yours can’t be good either“.
  4. „You’re not a real DJ because you’re using mp3s and I read on Huffington Post that David Guetta once forgot his usb stick and couldn’t dj so you can’t either.“
  5. „You’re not a real DJ but I am. I don’t get why you’re booked tonight and I’m not.“
  6. „You’re not a real DJ because you’re a woman. Where’s your boyfriend, he must be the real DJ.“ (If you’ve seen me on stage, I made an entire comedy bit on this sadly often recurrent accusation. Or is that meant to be a pick up line?)

 

 

 

“Can I offer you another pancake?” © Scandic Hotel Hamburg / Toni Momtschew

 

  • Being no „real DJ“ has changed the way I work.

 

I usually assumed a good DJ is someone, who can make a crowd work, a client happy, and a club prosperous – whether it’s LPs, mp3, tractor, female or male, electro or rock.
Nowadays, whenever I meet a client beforehand, I feel I need to say that I don’t have a set playlist. I feel the need to justify why it’s good to be flexible and thus not use LPs.
I feel the need to explain that, as a DJ for private and corporate events, it’s not about forcing my artisan music on the client. It’s about choosing the right song like a journalist choses the right word. And it shouldn’t matter if a journalist writes on paper or online.

 

(c) Demetri Martin

 

  • What does a „not real DJ“ do?

 

Being a DJ often means neglecting the perfect mix, and instead cheer up the nervous maid of honor, who’s about to give her speech.
It’s not about showing off my turntables but showing the host how to use the microphone correctly.
It’s not about playing my music but, in dubio pro festo, play what the people right now on the dance floor would like. Even if it’s I’ve Been Looking For Freedom.
It’s about asking the caterer when the food is ready so I can time the music and speeches.
It’s about clearing the packed dance floor the most gentle way, when the company boss tells me „can you make the party be over in four minutes and not make me look bad?“.

 

 

 

Dj Ingrid: distinguishing between small talk, misogyny and flirting since 2013

 

  • Guide about how to talk to a DJ (taken from the guide „how to talk to humans“).

 

Lastly, I want to give you a quick guide about what to say to a DJ other than „are you the dj?“:

  1. Smile, say hello, maybe your name, state your issue politely
  2. Don’t accuse, if you have a question ask neutrally and listen

Guess what, most DJs are kind and social (except those who became hardened misanthropes). We work with some of the most fun resources in the world: music. We love to have a good time.
We like people who give us thumbs up. We like people who say „eh, personally not my music but you’re doing a great job with the crowd. I’m a guest at this party so I don’t expect my music to be played.“ Some will be surprised when DJs answer „personally, not my music either, but that’s not what it’s about here. Cheers!“ If I write my DJ autobiography one day, it’ll be called “Privat hör ich ja was anderes”.

 

Djing before it was cool (c) my mom