Entertainers: Steal to Start

I don’t believe intellectual property makes sense.

The way our intellectual property laws are set up are kinda crazy. I make money off IP from the movies and TV I’ve done, but I don’t think it’s an equitable setup. When napster came out it made me think, “Is it right to treat songs like commodities?” …and it had me questioning how do we draw the lines between creative works.

It’s all kinda slippery.

  1. what’s stealing?
  2. what’s inspiration?
  3. how much does someone own an idea?
  4. aren’t good ideas more valuable when shared?

I want entertainment to move at culinary pace

The culinary arts progress so fast. 20 years ago, it was hard to find a great restaurant. Now, most restaurants are pretty great for what they’re trying to do. Chefs share ideas with cookbooks, and doing someone else’s recipe is not called stealing. It’s called cooking.

There is some IP in the food world ( eg: Coke’s Secret Formula) but sharing and recreating are much less taboo.

When I started, I stole

Originally, I was doing magic shows as a kid. The routines and tricks i was doing where from all over the place. It didn’t make sense as a whole and I would do a very serious routine followed by a routine that sounded like a funny grandpa wrote it (because he did).

I stole a lot. I didn’t understand that there were rules against it. I went too far with it and finally got caught doing it for money. That, I felt, was too far – not because I was caught, but because I definitely could have made my own stuff work by then.

Stealing teaches from the shoes

There are a million decisions that go into to creating the tiniest pencil drawing, or writing a paragraph. When you copy, you inherit those decisions.

As you create your own stuff, you will be clad with more deliberate intention knowing that that’s the force that you need.

Stealing teaches complexity

When you copy, you also realize immediately how difficult it is to copy. Even when all the work is done for you, pulling it off isn’t a cake walk.

With standup, I listened to the same comedy albums over and over again until they were memorized. I tried reciting them, but immediately noticed I didn’t have the timing, or the energy, or the intonation. I had to listen more. I had to keep trying.

When it was time to create my own stuff, I knew that there were no limits to the ways I could improve.

Stealing teaches the importance of source

If a 70 year old man wrote Harry Potter, I don’t think it would be the same phenom. Stealing someone else’s work shows you how much it doesn’t quite work for you the same way. I wouldn’t call it authenticity, but there is an alignment with the identity of a creator that’s crucial to the product.

This knowledge can give you confidence to inject your identity in your work even when it’s not what you’ve seen before.

Stealing teaches the feeling of success

If you code a video game that’s an exact replica of Zelda, you will know what it feels like to code a successful video game. You didn’t make all the decisions that it took to make the original. Not even close, but there is something amazing about this feeling of completion and knowing that completion is in the right place.

Steal generously

It is generous to work hard training for the big time. It is not generous to steal for audience applause, money, accolades, or social media following. In fact, it’s not useful to yourself either.

Steal in secret for your education. Paint the Mona Lisa a thousand times and burn it. Then, go out and make something amazing.

Written for folks who want to attract and energize groups

Scot Nery is an emcee who has helped some of the biggest companies in the world achieve entertainment success. He's on an infinite misson to figure out what draws people in and engages them with powerful moments.

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