Today the world awaits the second installment of ABC’s new prime time soap, “Nashville.”
As a resident of greater Nashville, I am interested in how the TV show will effect our economy. It is said that 125 to 150 people have found steady employment on the production and that, better yet, if a full season is shot here (hoping that last week’s pilot and it’s 9 million viewers keep coming back for more), $44 million dollars is expected to be spent. Also, according to Sunday’s Tennessean article by Jaquetta White : “So far, (the) ‘Nashville’ production has involved 350 to 400 Tennessee vendors, according to an assistant to the show’s producer. That includes transportation, construction, design, cleaning and just about any other type of company that comes to mind.”
As the pilot’s storyline portrays, the real Nashville is filled with people who have moved their lives to this great Music City to fulfill dreams of being a star. The problem is the industry has a very narrow view of who’s an investment-worthy new act. Its all about how quickly a company can return their investment and start making a profit. If your song moves up too slow or stalls somewhere on the chart without establishing you as a star, your probably going to return to the line of starving artists, hoping for another shot.
Being a song writer myself, I can relate. The music business has changed dramatically since the digital revolution, and even the stalwart “Big Three” music conglomerates haven’t seen profits like they used to back in the boom days. The game is tougher, meaner and potentially leaves more souls in the dust.
Being creative is a faith game. We write songs, books, screenplays, or whatever, without any guarantee that they’ll ever see the light of day. We can only do our best and keep writing, re-writing and editing so that, hopefully, someone will see what we see in our work.
For twenty years I’ve been waiting at the curb four times a year for that royalty check from which comes a diminishing amount of money. The faith it takes to keep writing and creating is too costly for many. Its not uncommon for those who moved to town in the boom days to head back to Indiana or Louisiana, in hopes of finding a different line of work in a less competitive environment.
Its kind of like Noah in the Bible: We keep building something for which there is no apparent reason. A voice in our head says, “Build it and the opportunity will come.” But there are no clouds in the sky! As a creative person, I can’t let the discouragement freeze me out of doing what I love. Living in Nashville among other artist creates camaraderie…we all cry on each other’s shoulders. The best we can do is build the finest “boat” we can while waiting for the rain. There’s something to be said about being ready when opportunity strikes!