Hi Optimal friends,
Our apologies for being out of touch, but it has been a busy few months for us.
As we officially come to the end of Summer here in Cape Town, busier than ever – we find ourselves more determined to keep our momentum going.
We have a lot of lovely highlights blessing our resume recently, and we promise to share them with you by updating the blog more often. Also, writing from a more personal perspective as I feel the things we experience daily could be great to share as it resonates with the artist in me and might help someone else struggling with the same issues.
It has been a whirlwind of extraordinary and unexpected events that have brought us to the heading “We mean business”. From starting out in one direction with the simple vision of doing what we have always done – supply dancers and entertainment. But it has been the gift of opportunities piled upon us that has shown us what we are truly capable of.
After being asked to merely supply dancers for International music videos, we realized our true potential when shoot day 4 came around and the reflection of our hard work and attention to detail had shown itself off to the International client – and before we knew it, our team were fully producing and providing services such as supplying transport, choreography, location scouting, managing schedules, doing hair, make-up and styling, lighting, camera work – you name it. It was a tough week, as with any shoot, but we have never felt such a sense of accomplishment. That job was the inspiration of our new company motto “They ask us what do we do – and we say WHATEVER IT TAKES!” . We have agreed that from that point on, no job was too big or too small. We would always do a flawless “Yes Man” job and go over and above the clients expectation because (and this is a little lesson I learnt in the dancing and acting industry) you never know who is watching, acknowledging and appreciating your hard work and skills, and who may open the next door for you. The reward for a job well done is the opportunity to do more I always say!
Same as the unexpected event that led to us expanding our behind the scenes portfolio. What started out as a favour of designing, hand making the costume and doing hair and make-up for a high-profile client of ours two days before a major themed event – led to her gratitude being displayed in the most generous way… recommending our services to all of her friends and contacts. Our phone was ringing off the hook, and now we can add all these incredible things to our portfolio! We didn’t mean to branch off in the directions that our adventures have been taking us, it is just happening. I have spent a lifetime working to be good at artistic and creative subjects, but not having a place for any of it. When I left school, I wanted to be a fashion designer. I was an art student. But all my life, I had been a dancer and I was told you could either do one or the other. Not all. Back then and even today in some households I think – it is hard enough trying to convince a parent that you wish to go in the direction of something arty! You may get away with being a fashion designer OR a make-up artist OR a dancer OR a set designer OR a painter OR a costume maker OR a business woman, never more than one. Well, luckily this company has given me a place for my gifts and I’m so grateful.
My team, my partner and I keep growing each day, with a strong desire for one thing – to keep learning! Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been all sunshine and roses. We’ve learnt a few other things too, like how malicious and unnecessarily competitive this business and industry is. Or the sad lesson that those who you thought would be happy for you, aren’t. Those who you taught a few things to over the years, now look down on you. Those who unethically did you wrong, conveniently forget that if the shoe were on the other foot now, they’d be very angry. These happenings have caused us to take a step back and evaluate, and it has made us realize that you can’t please everyone, no matter what you do, somebody is either going to be offended or threatened enough to do something stupid. And artists, please – lose these people. Lose people who aren’t genuinely happy for you. They are stunting your growth.
Let me just say, that if anyone is threatened by small fish in this local pond, and threatened enough to try and jeopardize your journey and what you have going on, simply – their ambition is not big enough and you shouldn’t even waste your energy further. If anything, you shouldn’t even be aiming to compete here, your mind should be on a grander scale! And this goes for models, dancers, directors etc. Aim higher! Look further ahead, not “Who is my biggest competition here in my town, or who is my enemy”. And trust me, once you look further, and on a grander scale, you’ll see the caliber of certain accomplished individuals and come to this conclusion – we are a mere dot on the radar that is life. You cannot compete with everyone. It is is impossible. The will ALWAYS be someone who is better, more flexible, gets more jobs and so on. But then again, realize that you can’t compete with people who don’t even know you exist. You can’t because you are unique and that is your power…. YOU are your only competition. Your MIND is your only enemy, especially if it is not in the right place. Your mindset can destroy you. It can create situations that aren’t even there, and pull you off track.
So us, as artists need to get our mind right. Tunnel vision, focus on your goals, focus on being a better version of yourself. Be fearless. Spread positive energy and knowledge along the way. It doesn’t hurt. You were there once, looking for answers. Light someone else’s flame, your flame won’t shine any less bright by doing this. Believe it or not, there is actually room for everyone at the top.
AND STAND UP FOR YOURSELF! It took me many years of being walked all over , and things or jobs being taken from me in this industry, and me not saying a thing (all for those same people to forget what they did) to learn this. They forgot because I let them forget, without addressing it. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean you should go around holding on to grudges or harbouring negativity or cutting off everyone. I just mean you have to forgive, never forget, learn from it, let them know, and move on. If they do it again, then snip snip snip. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice… well, you know how it goes.
THIS YEAR, CHOOSE YOURSELF guys! Know who you are, what you want, what makes you happy, and what you will and won’t stand for. And once you know this, NO ONE can touch you. Once you are confident in yourself and your brand, no one can compete with you. Do not let people take things from you. Do not let people think its okay to treat you the way they wouldn’t want themselves to be treated.
And so in closing, I want to leave you with this. Believe in yourself, because if you don’t, who else is going to? Don’t ever think you can’t do something just because of the way someone else has made you feel. American actor Will Smith had a life changing monologue in The Pursuit of Happyness movie, and I feel it was inspired by the quote of George Bernard Shaw. It simply says “Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those who are doing it.” This is our inspiration moving forward, living without fear or regret. Taking every opportunity. Doing whatever it takes. Delivering, no matter what. Like I said, “We mean business”. Join us in this life hack.
Until next time. Keep pushing, and keep shining!