Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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« Any advice on choosing a guitar? | Main | Any tips for shy or nervous filkers? »

Why doesn't the filk community notice/appreciate me?

From Erica's excellent LJ entry (and accompanying comments), posted here with permission:

"Folkmew did one of those anonymous posting things on her journal and someone posted this:

I feel envious, green with envy when other filkers are guests, have concerts or put out a CD. I'm happy for them, but want the same thing for myself. I feel like what I do in the community isn't noticed or appreciated. Most of the time I have these feeling under control, but sometimes I just want to stomp my feet and yell. Childish yes, but there it is.

I started writing a really long answer in response and decided to pull it over to my journal. Note that this is mostly geared towards people who are performers (or want to be!) I agree that we're not always good at recognizing our background people either, and I have thoughts about that too. But it sounded to me (possibly wrongly) that this person was a performer of some kind but was frustrated with the opportunities he or she was getting.

Guesting is unpredictable, and I don't have a clue how people become guests. Sorry - I'm no help there. But as for the others:

[Obligatory disclaimer: I am not a filk publisher nor do I run filk programming at any cons. However, I've done a lot of concerts in a lot of places, been on filk concoms (well, technically I'm on one now), and have personal experience in being really shy and trying to figure out how to get noticed. But this is just my opinion and experiences.]

If you haven't done many (or any) concerts before, try asking. If it's a big con like OVFF, they may not have a lot of room - and the schedule may be arranged many months in advance, so it might not be possible to get something close to the time. *But* other filk cons and general cons with filk tracks are often easier to get in. A local general con with a filk track is a great place to start concerts, if you have one near you; it's a way of getting your name out and getting people to think of you...and you can probably figure out who to contact, because it's probably someone in your area.

Because, frankly, if you're not getting concerts it may just be that people don't think of you - not that they're actively ignoring you. If you need help putting yourself forward (like if you don't know who to talk to or are intimidated or whatever) feel free to come talk to me and I'll see if I can help somehow! I don't know everybody, but I probably know someone who knows someone. *grin*

If you *have* offered repeatedly and been turned down, see if you can find out why and figure out what to work on. I've known people who didn't have enough material for a concert who did a joint set with someone else and kind of alternated songs; this also works if your material is narrow in range and you're worried about having too much of it all at once ("They'll kill themselves laughing - what should I do?") If you're worried about your performance abilities, try a Juried One Shot or even just getting someone who you trust and tell them you want an honest long as you can handle it. (For what it's worth, I'm happy to do this, too.)

As for a CD...have you tried talking to someone who puts out CDs? I basically only did my first one because Phil and Lissa Allcock (hmm, and I think Annie Walker, come to think of it) listened to me going "Well, I'd like to do one, but I don't really know how or who to do it with" and they said "Oh, we can do that!" I'm doing my second one with Dodeka because I floated the idea to Bill Roper (several years ago - I didn't say I was *fast* at doing these.) So think about who is in your area that does CDs (again, I might have some names, if you have no clue) and try approaching them - it's not terribly likely that they'll wander up to you someday and say "Please do a CD with us;" you probably need to talk to them first.

Even if they turn you down, you might get some ideas as to why - are they worried about your material? Do you not have instrumentation and they're worried about an a cappella CD (didn't stop Seanan - she got people to help her!) Do you need backup singers but don't know how to get them? Trust me, we can solve this problem. (Oh, pick me, pick me! I'll sing for anyone! *grin*) Once you've broken the problem down, it's much more solvable - the trick is sometimes in figuring out how to get the input you need to get a handle on the problem. And then you may be able to approach them again, this time with a possible solution in mind - which may give you a better chance.

Don't feel like you need to stomp and yell - let me help! I agree that people sometimes need to be hit over the head so they notice others...and I'm happy to hit people over the head on others' behalf. Honest. I do it all the time - that's why I'm a teacher. *grin*"

Some related FAQ entries:

Tips on making friends at filk conventions?
Tips for shy or nervous filkers?
What is a filkhog? How can I avoid being one?
What are one-shots?
How can I get the most out of a filk convention?

Reader Comments (1)

[...] Why doesn’t the filk community notice/appreciate me? What is a ‘filkhog’? How can I avoid being one? Any tips for shy or nervous filkers? [...]

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