Almost a year ago, I was at USC’s Innovation Lab, participating in the beginning stages of an thought-provoking transmedia project. The entire experience was like a smorgasbord of ideas and possibilities, and I walked away with a lot on my mind. All these months later, I still remember plenty. Like the first time I saw the sign on the lab’s wall that said, “FAIL HARDER.”
There were a couple other surprising and somewhat subversive mantras stuck up on the wall as well, but “FAIL HARDER,” is the one that lodged itself into my consciousness. I think there are a couple key reasons for this. First off – hello, it’s only two words. For an overly verbose goon, like myself, there is nothing more beautiful than the simplicity of just two perfectly paired words. And they are perfectly paired. Together, they are a groundbreaking curveball. They speak to the very heart of what we want to become… free.
But what happens when you do encounter failure? As an artist, educator and businesswoman, there is sure to be a lot of that! What then? Does it smack of freedom, or the same pounding disappointment? I’d say both.
This past week saw The Art Grist, “FAIL HARDER.” For all of the physical and emotional energy we put into our muppet video for IndieGoGo, it was a complete failure. The audio was sad, it was poorly lit and the muppet versions of ourselves were flat. Late Friday night, after watching the video too many times, we both agreed to call it what it was, a failure.
I’ll admit, I did not feel free in that moment. Or proud. I felt aggrivated and insecure. It took a fair amount of minutes before I could move forward and embrace the sign. But I did, and we did, but not before trying to learn a little bit from our mistakes. We came up with a plan B, and moved as fast as we could to make it happen.
Plan B is an entirely different video. No muppets, no script, just us. And whether the video is successful or not, whether our IndieGoGo campaign is successful or not, I am proud of what we have done. Each failure brings us that much closer to our dream.