No, this isn’t an article about Johnny Depp but more to do with his persona as the loveable Captain Jack Sparrow in The Pirates of The Caribbean franchise.
We all seem to like a good, mischievous pirate and why is that?
Because pirates can give the current establishment a metaphorical kick up the backside.
Having a rebellious streak coupled with a laissez faire attitude of not giving a flying caboodle is something pirates are very good at doing.
And this is a method by which every artist these days should adhere 2, including actors.
Pirates were really agents of change not of chaos – disrupting the status quo which is exactly what artists are meant to be.
So, below are several ways for us artists to implement the pirates way in this day and age:
Pirates live on the edge
The great thing about pirates is they lived on the edge and therefore were more innovative in their way of doing things which eventually evolved in becoming popular and ended up influencing the mainstream. Look at Steve Jobs, who pioneered the iPod, iPhone and the iPad. He himself said that it is better to be a pirate than to join the navy.
Pirates don’t set out to change the world. They just want to change their world. Sometimes imagination compounds and good ideas that are formed at the edges find their way to the centre and change everything. What ideas can we share that will create waves to cause an effect on the middle? We don’t want to just cause trouble, we want to caused good trouble.
The challenges we face in our lives aren’t going to be solved by doing things the way we’ve always done them, because that’s precisely what got us here in the first place. It’s no longer enough to resist; it’s time to rebel.
So, commit to making good trouble on a regular basis and you can trust that big change will soon be knocking.
Pirates are adept storytellers
They mastered the art of storytelling and were the first to bring into light the idea of branding. (Skull and crossbones – jolly roger anyone?)
Banksy used his way to tell stories to change the world. He is a master amongst modern pirates, changing people’s perceptions, mocking the Establishment, altering institutions, amassing legions of followers and opening up new rules for art.
His work criticises practically every institution you can think of from military to the monarchy to the police force.
His use of the rat in most of his drawings may be the anagram of art while others believe it’s a representation of Banksy himself, as the animal that emerges at night to cause a nuisance.
Banksy has stood up to so many aspects of the status quo, created a following, a platform and a movement. He is a pirate of the highest order and in his own words he says ‘The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules.’
Pirates look for fairness and inclusion
The pirates had an enlightened approach to power distribution which states that you must fight for what you deserve and expect: equality, a fair share, reward for risk and a commitment to avoid exploitation. They made sure that success and failure was a collective act, a powerful technique to align a team and harness the ideas of fairness, self direction and purpose.
Don’t aim for big, aim for connected. Find or build a community of other artists who care about the same things and ideas you do and act together to create, produce and release.
Treat every artist as an individual and afford them trust.
Pirates are comfortable at being uncomfortable
To be a pirate you need to be comfortable at being uncomfortable. It’s drawing strength by standing up to the Status Quo. Get ready to break conventions and get used to being scared by what you want to say and then say it anyway.
The right level of piracy artistry should scare you just enough to make you feel alive but not so much that you are frozen. And when the deed is done, the email to the casting director sent, the audition for the role delivered, the phone call to the agent made, even if nothing changes immediately, you’ll know your act of rebellion was targeted enough and you’ll feel a little taller for having stood up for what you know is right, against that which you knew most thought was wrong.
Pirates are ready to catapult their ideas into the stratosphere, they are ready to open up and unleash their creativity whether it’s frowned upon or not. Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.
It’s important to understand that doing something new, challenging something old or creating any degree of change can feel uncomfortable, scary and hard for most of us. We’ve been hardwired to avoid discomfort and that can easily get us discouraged at the first hurdle or when things just don’t fall into place as we expect them to.
But we need to learn to embrace this feeling. Becoming a little bit anxious or scared means you’re probably doing something right. Make the mess your friend and get cosy with a little chaos and understand that these are helpful and positive parts of the process of creating change.
Start to take action with small, strategic pirate moves, designed to hit where it hurts. Develop a monologue, experiment with other actors, test out a sketch or a scene and share it with the world (ala youtube).
The more you develop, experiment, create, test and share with the world, the stronger you’ll become and the quicker that pirate patch on your eye will find its mark.
So, lets Be More Pirate mateys – Arrrrrrr!