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Insider Interview with Macklemore — Staying Independent, Humble + Going Quadruple Platinum

As many of you who are regular readers know, I am longtime friend (and fan of course) of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Ben (Macklemore) and I get coffee at the same joint. He has played dinner parties at my studio and he and Ryan deployed a magical performance on chasejarvisLIVE among other things over the years. But it is with a special appreciation that I’ve been attuned their meteoric rise to the top of the musical charts in the last six months. Quadruple MF’ing platinum, that is. For those who are counting, that’s 4 million copies of “Thrift Shop” alone… all without a label. Not only do these guys represent a great new era of conscious hip hop, but they represent the opportunity of the future for independant artists everywhere And I can say these guys are hard working, humble and dedicated to their craft.. unabashedly this success couldn’t have happened to better people. Well, last weekend those cats achieved their dream of being the musical guest on Saturday Night Live (video above). A few weeks ago, just a couple hours before a sold out Red Rocks show in Denver, my homie and manager Jerard sat down with Ben and his manager Zach Quillen (also a stellar gent) for an interview. Enjoy. -Chase

[Interview has been edited and shortened for print]

CJ: Can you tell us a little bit about this time in your life right now? This album’s only been out for five months and has sold hundreds of thousands of downloads. Thriftshop is double-platinum. You’re blowing up. (chase’s note… this was a month ago, and it’s already quadruple platinum now…)

Macklemore: It has completely exceeded my expectations of what I thought the project would do and what I hoped it would do. We sold 78,000 our first week. We were expecting to sell around 25,000 to 30,000.  It was a lot bigger than any of us anticipated.  Coming in at number two on Billboard independently is something that we are all really proud of. We decided to put out the album ourselves. And it kind-of worked. And we didn’t know if it was gonna work; we didn’t know what the, you know, what the reaction was gonna be.

I think that you have, on one side you have things like numbers that mark how far you’re going up, like, the hierarchical ladder of success. And you also have something which is the art. And wanting your art to resonate with the people that are hearing your art. The people, the fans that were there, the people that are hearing you for the first time, you hope that you have an album that garners critical acclaim as well as selling units. And you hope that you have both. And I think that, with The Heist, it turns out that, you know, we’ve had success in both of those areas. But the most important, for me, is the art. And that’s something that I am very proud of on The Heist. And I’m not saying that to be like, “Look what we’ve done. Ha!” I’m saying that because I’m still really fucking surprised that has happened. And you know, when we made “Thrift Shop”, we made the album, I didn’t think there was any chance that we would have a shot at commercial radio whatsoever. Like, if we didn’t sign a major label deal, literally in my head I didn’t think there was a percentage of a chance that it would take off at radio.  It’s weird to be recognized in public as kind-of like the “Thrift Shop Guy” right now.  I didn’t anticipate that. And once the record kind-of takes off to the level where it has, to where you’ve sold, you know, you’ve gone double platinum and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down… it’s very exciting but at the same time it’s a little bit scary. Like, “What the hell did I sign up for?”  “I can’t turn back now.” It’s a transitional period. And also life feels completely the same as it did a month ago or as it did three months ago. But in terms of where I’m at in my life…everything’s the same. And yet, the attention is such a different level and you’re still the same person. And yet you have the number one record in America. That’s bizarre and strange. So I’m adapting to that.

CJ: I like what you said about underneath all that recognition, for you, is really the art. And you first came to my attention through Chase. Back in 2009 or so you were on his show Songs for Eating and Drinking and you did a song that, at that point, was called “Air Jordans” and that’s actually on The Heist as –“Wings”.  You put your heart and soul into this album. Starting way back then, really busting this song out for, what I assume was, one of the first times.

Macklemore: It was THE first time. [I recall] I had forgotten about the event and I woke up from a nap and it was like fifteen minutes until it started. And I printed off the last thing that I had written which was “Wings”, which was then titled “Air Jordans” ‘cause I had just woken up from a nap and had no idea what to call it. Yeah that was the first time.

CJ: At that point, you had turned the corner in your career. You were a professional musician. You’re…

Macklemore: Nah, I was fresh out of rehab, living in my parent’s basement.

CJ: Okay, we’ll go back to that, but you had made a choice to be a musician. You were pursuing your craft full time.

Macklemore: Drugs and then art. [laughs] Nah, I at that point, yes, I had… you know, stopped smoking and drinking and I was just trying to get kinda get back on my feet.

CJ: The transition from that point to today is… is rather dramatic. Today you are double platinum (see earlier note) and then you were waking up from a nap. But underneath it is really your art and your craft. And I think that’s important for you know people who are interested in you and pursuing their own work That here’s Ben saying, Macklemore is saying, “Hey, even when you’re at the top you still have perspective on that.” Now lets take it back to your parents basement and how your work pulled you out of that time period in your life as well.

Macklemore:  To go back even further, I think I was then, and always have been the type of person that would have no moderation with drugs and alcohol.  Ever since I first started at fifteen years old. I also wasn’t the type of person that could create while being, you know, high on weed and drinking alcohol. And I smoked weed, once I was smoking weed it was like a wake-up-in-the-morning-’til-go-to-bed-and-pass-out thing. Wake up the next morning, smoke the roach, call the drug dealer and wake him up at nine o’clock. It was just that type of cycle. And so I wasn’t making music, and it continued to get worse. And I went to treatment, got out, and it was really kind-of a rebirth for me. I got another shot at this. And I thought, if this doesn’t work now, I’m gonna have to go and pursue something else. That’s a scary place for an artist to be. I always had this faith.

Somebody asked me recently, “What was it that kept you going when it wasn’t popping off, when you were broke? What was it that kept that artistic spirit going?” And for me it was this thing that if I did get sober, if I could get sober, that I knew I would have a career making music. I didn’t know that it would look like this; I didn’t know that it would look like what it looked like two years ago. But I felt like I could sustain myself off of my art. But getting out of treatment that was gruesome, dark. That  was a very dark and depressing time.year. It was very much, “If this doesn’t work I’m gonna go get a nine to five and do something that I probably am gonna hate doing and resent a good portion of my early twenties for not handling my shit.” And, very blessed the fact that it worked out.  And that’s when Ryan [Lewis] and I were making the verses to EP.

CJ: The guys here at The Business of Fun have this analogy that’s called the aircraft carrier analogy.  That there are five thousand guys that run an aircraft carrier. There only a  hundred pilots. But there’s this huge support system behind any of the things that are out front, the people that are out front. So you and Ryan are out front but your manager Zach is sort-of in the boiler room sometimes. It’s relevant because when you have a passion for something, you don’t necessarily have to be the MC; you don’t necessarily have to be the double platinum artist. There are people behind the people.

Zach Quillen: What Ben and I have in common there is that I was never gonna be satisfied or happy with a nine to five–a traditional nine to five. I got fired from like every job I had in high school for having an attitude problem. And it ultimately was that I didn’t wanna work for anybody but me. And always had a passion for music but not, you know, not necessarily the other things that you need talent-wise to be out front, be up at center. So this was as close as I could get. I wanted to stand as close as I could to people like Ben and use the talents that I had developed over the years to help them achieve what they want to achieve. And ultimately achieve what I wanted to achieve alongside.  I never saw any other option. And if you know anything about getting into the music business it’s, especially at first, there’s nothing glamorous about it. While Ben was performing in front of eight people in Omaha I was making like $22,000 a year living in New York City, barely coming up with money to buy groceries. It’s a similar path in that way – where you just have to love it. It has to be everything for you. I was totally fine to be broke in New York as long as I got to stand next to these super talented people that were making music, that were changing people’s lives. I didn’t care about really anything else.

CJ: There’s this perception of the glamour of it, but really there’s a grind. Whether it’s sport, or art, music, photography, how are you gonna be committed to it when the work  is really kicking you in the balls everyday?  And you guys both went through that.

Macklemore: That process it doesn’t stop. It… that never lets up.  I’m off like an hour of sleep right now coming from New York. And we do Red Rocks tonight, fly out at six o’clock in the morning which means that we’re back at the airport at four o’clock in the morning to catch the flight. It’s more of a grind than it ever has been. A lot of it isn’t fun. Still. But it is my life’s work. This is what I’ve always wanted. And you need to constantly be reminding yourself that as you evolve because, if you’re not grateful in those moments, like, sure I might’ve got an hour of sleep last night but I was on David Letterman. And I never thought in my life I would be on David Letterman.

CJ:  Can you share with us some of those influences today, and some of the things that helped bring you up, that you really paid attention to?

Macklemore:  I try to pay attention to art outside of hip-hop. I don’t do a very good job of doing that. But when I am paying attention to art that’s not just hip-hop, I am often times inspired in a way that I can’t get if I just go to like the same like four hip-hop blogs that I go to everyday. Yesterday I watched a concert film from David Byrne of The Talking Heads. And it’s this show that he did probably like in the eighties.  I didn’t know anything about David Byrne of The Talking Heads. Like I recognized some songs as I was watching this film, but… You know, he comes on stage with just like a boombox and presses play. And it’s just him with the boombox. And as the show goes on, you know, he adds a bass player, and a guitar player, and some dancers, and a drummer. And it turns into this whole, huge set–a huge production. And it’s watching things like that. Like great, great minds–people that are thinkers–that wanna challenge what a show looks like, wanna challenge the audience to really be engaged with them, with what they’re performing. And thinking about it in a different way. Like I think that, you know, I’ve been thinking about our show and not really happy with the show that we put on. I’m really happy with what we can deliver but I think we can do better. And I don’t know that I could do better if I’m only watching, if I’m only checking out hip-hop blogs. ‘Cause for the most part, like, rap concerts suck. You need to be inspired by other mediums. When I was writing The Heist I was taking walks in graveyards and trying to write at the art museum. Buying books and reading a couple chapters and putting it down and picking up a different book. Just trying to constantly be inspired by culture and just trying to get that spark that can lead to a new song. ‘Cause if I’m only listening to hip-hop music, if I’m only living my day-to-day life the same every single day, constantly, there’s no fuel to create something brand new. And that’s how I stay inspired.

You have to be able to experience life to have something new to write about. I don’t wanna write The Heist again. Like The Heist was a moment in time. I am a very conceptual writer. I can’t write those same songs again. I need to have new experiences to draw from to be able to put into my art.

CJ: [Question from live studio audience] If you could choose one song out of any of the songs that you have written for the world to hear, what would that song be and why?

Macklemore: I’d probably say, right now–and hopefully it will change ‘cause I write new songs and it evolves–but in 2013 it would probably be “Same Love”. THat song carries a message that I want to be heard around the world. And I think it’s an important message. It’s a message of tolerance, of equality, of compassion, of understanding, of pushing ourselves and our own bias and our own stereotypes. And I think that that’s my highest potential as an artist is to write songs–anyone’s highest potential–is to write songs that have an impact on society, have an impact on people’s lives, that can create dialogue within other people. You know “Same Love” is not a song that’s like you listen to it and I want you to immediately agree with everything that I say in the song. I don’t want you to feel that way out of any of the songs that I write. Everyone interprets music differently and messages differently. But what I hope is that it facilitates dialogue, that people listen to “Same Love” and then have a conversation. Or re-evaluate the words that they use, the language that they use. Or their, potentially their own, um, their own set of beliefs and retrace the lineage of why they are the way that they are. That’s essentially the greatest tool of music, is to… for us to examine who we are, find our truth, and evolve. And I think that “Same Love” falls into that category.

CJ: [Audience Question]Malcolm Gladwell talks about how if you really dedicate yourself to something and invest 10,000 hours you cmaster your craft. But he also really connects that blood, sweat, and tears, the passion, with kind-of this serendipitous opportunity, if you will, like a moment, a magical moment where the universe aligns and allows you commit to that craft.  Was there a moment or a period in your life that holds true to that ideal for you?.

Macklemore: Woah, yeah, That’s a great question. It kind-of gave me like a, uh… it brought up some emotion actually. There was a moment. I was, um, I was in treatment. I tried, as I said before, I tried my whole life to get sober. And I didn’t know how to do it. And always felt that I had  words to share with people. I didn’t know on what scale that would be. I didn’t know if that was like a hundred people or a hundred thousand. I didn’t know what that meant but I felt in my heart that I had something to share.  There was a monk And in treatment I had this moment. I was accumulating these tools to stay sober and part of the guy that was kind-of leading me through the steps in treatment was a practicing Buddhist monk. And we went to a monastery. And we were doing this kind-of this chanting and walking in a circle, walking in some figure eight circle. And you know earlier in my life I, when I got out of high school I couldn’t get into any colleges. No one would accept me. I cheated in school on math from sixth grade on. So I, when it came down to like the SAT’s, it’s a lot harder to cheat on the SAT’s. Looking over your friend’s shoulder doesn’t exactly work the same. I don’t recommend anybody doing that. I couldn’t get into  any schools. So I went to I went to India for a couple months when I graduated from high school. And I had this experience there of, I was like meditating on top of–this all sounds like really “Losty” and like very hippie but it’s just the truth. So I was meditating on top of a hill and I had this very serene peaceful moment. I meditated. And it was the first time I had ever done it where there was like no thoughts in my mind. It probably lasted for like two seconds, but I did it. And I’d been trying for a while. Mostly through hallucinogenics I was trying and that didn’t work.

So I finally like hit this point naturally and the first, thing that kind-of brought me out of this state of, you know, two seconds of kind-of just serene peace was this thought of, like, “This is so incredible. This is so amazing. What I’m feeling right now is the truth. This is my highest potential…” And then, “but you’re gonna go back to using drugs and alcohol.” And I was eighteen years old at the time. And it was a very depressing way to kind-of exit out of this moment. And I knew it. I was sober at that moment, but I knew I was eventually gonna go back to Seattle. Or it was gonna be a couple days later or whatever and I was going to go back. And when I was doing this chanting, you know, some, you know, probably eight years later, I had that exact same kind-of moment. And it brought me back to that place. And I was like, “I don’t need to go back anymore.” And then, “That’s it.” I didn’t come out of that like meditation space as I did before.  “I’m gonna go back. I’m gonna fuck up again. I’m gonna be a drug addict.” My thought was, “You don’t have to do that. And it’s your choice.”

That was my moment that I turned around. You know, since then it hasn’t been perfect. If you’ve heard the song “Starting Over” that’s obvious. But, my life changed in that treatment center. You know, I really have my life and my craft, and my art, everything that is good in my life, my relationships with my girlfriend and my family and my manager, and being present in this moment right here is all do to the fact that I’m sober.

So that was that moment.

CJ: Great question, awesome answer. I think we actually have to take you guys back. I think you’ve got something to do tonight. Thank you so much for making the time to come and talk to us.

Macklemore: Thank you. This is fantastic. I appreciate everyone for coming out.

ZQ: Thank you.

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[To see the video of the above interview go here]
And check out the folks who made this interview possible (doing some very cool things) at The Business of Fun

Join Me! LIVE in a Google Hangout from Aspen Talking Photography, Music, SXSW and more…. with Robert Scoble & Chris Davenport.

UPDATE: here’s a recording of our chat…above! Thanks to all of you who watched live.
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LIVE today at 9:30 PDT, 10:30 Aspen, 12:30 NYT, 17:30 London right here on the blog or on my YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/chasejarvis.

I’m smack dab in the middle of shooting next year’s campaign for Aspen (last years BTS video here with octocopers and wicked visuals) but had the morning off and managed to wrangle a couple friends for a live Google Hangout to discuss a bunch of questions that have come across my desk in the last week about the Aspen/Snowmass campaign (helicopters and photography), my new favorite music, the democratization of technology and a few other odds and ends that you will find of interest. Joining me is one of the key talent for my Aspen shoot, one of the world’s best skiers, Chris Davenport, the tech guru Robert Scoble (fresh outta SXSW) and the digital maven here in Aspen, David Amirault.

Let Go of Fear and Find Your Art — Without Failure, We Don’t Know Success

Death Do Us Part from Ian Ruhter : Alchemist on Vimeo.

In six short years, my friend Ian Ruhter lost some of the closest people in his life. This video is about finding the strength to move on from the past. As Ian explains to us “I got to a point where I had to let go of the past in order to move forward into the future. I reached the point where I had to let go, was no other choice. “. This story follows Ian, his assistants, and that same incredible wet plate mobile camera-truck we had here in my Seattle studio on chasejarvisLIVE. Check out the episode here.

“Death Do Us Part is the fear of letting go of our past in order to reach for the future. When we take this leap of faith we decide to let go of our fears. We begin free falling with nothing to hold on to. These are the rare instances that we are actually living in the moment. Your support is the driving force behind our project. We could not have done this without you. We have made it this far because you shared and supported us through our social networking sites. We were able to connect with the people in this film because of the internet. Every time you share or like this project it brings us one step closer to photographing your town, people you know, possibly even you. Become a part of our journey.” -Ian Ruhter

Legendary Celebrity Photog Chris Buck + Musical Guest Hey Marseilles on cjLIVE – [RE-WATCH]

In this episode of chasejarvisLIVE I sat down with legendary photographer Chris Buck and hosted special musical guest Hey Marseilles.

Chris has taken the concept of “celebrity photography” and flipped it upside-down. By applying a playful, twisted fine art mentality to celebrity photography (and his commercial work) Chris has created some of the most interesting work I’ve seen. He is truly one of my all-time favs. We talked about everything under the sun, including his work with editorial giants like GQ and Esquire and what it’s like to photograph President Obama and what his life is like as the photographer of a good 100 or so of the top celebrities in the world. Never afraid to push the line – Chris often erases it, which is why he’s been one of the most powerhouse photographers of the past decade.

Also featured in this episode was some incredible music. Remember more than a year ago when we brought you LIVE to our humble little show bands like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (now #1 in the USA, double platinum, and headed to perform on this week on SNL – March 2) and The Lumineers (nominated for 2 Grammys) long before they were blowing up? Well we did that same thing again for this show. Hey Marseilles, brought us a full performance. Thanks for tuning in if you caught it LIVE and if not tune in for the next episode of chasejarvisLIVE for yet another conversation with the most fascinating people I know, who are doing big things in the world – coming April 3.

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Special thanks to our sponsors who help make this show possible – please follow them and let them know you appreciate the free content. #Respect.
Help us welcome new sponsor Borrowlenses.com to chasejarvisLIVE and follow them on twitter @borrowlenses. They are helping make the world a more creative place by supporting the show and supplying gear to photographers and filmmakers everywhere who need a gear solution TODAY.

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From Obscurity to Internet Sensation — How Creatives Can Win the PR Game with Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday is a media genius who promotes, inflates and hacks some of the biggest names and brands in the world. He’s also the Director of Marketing for American Apparel. Oh, and he’s just 25 years old. His point-of-view is enlightening when it comes to understanding today’s complex media landscape. You might remember that I had him on chasejarvisLIVE last year. Since then his book ‘Trust Me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator’ has become a bestseller and his secrets have become well known. After dropping out of college at 19 to apprentice under the strategist Robert Greene (who appeared on another super popular episode on chasejarvisLIVE here), he went on to advise many bestselling authors and multi-platinum musicians. He is the Director of Marketing at American Apparel, where his work in advertising was internationally known. His strategies are used as case studies by Twitter, YouTube and Google and have been written about in AdAge, the New York Times, Gawker and Fast Company. Ryan is back in Seattle teaching for creativeLIVE (happening today and tomorrow here) with a course on PR for artists, entrepreneurs and businesses where he will be going deep with some of the topics we touch on in this interview.

CJ:I believe that this is the most exciting time in the history of mankind to be an artist. And I’ve heard you say that we’ve entered a “new economic model.” Do you agree with the fact there is more opportunity for creatives right now than ever?

RH:I totally agree. Look, you could post a video online tomorrow and it could get a million views within 24 hours. You could email a link to your product to a blogger and it could become a major media story within minutes. And what does all that cost? NOTHING. It’s amazing. I don’t think those things were ever possible before, or if they were, you’d have to retain enormously expensive agencies and professionals to help you. So yes, it’s a spectacular time to be a creative. HOWEVER, it’s not always as simple as just posting a video or emailing a link. Look at the people who have managed to have repeated success online–there are methods and tricks and processess that make this replicable and possible and that’s what I’ve spent my time studying, implementing and writing about.

CJ: You are a well-known voracious reader. What books could you recommend for people who are interested in growing their PR and Media efforts?

RH: Believe it or not, I think some of the best books about marketing don’t talk about marketing at all.
I like the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, I think Saul Alinsky’s books on community organizing are AMAZING (Rules for Radicals and Reveille for Radicals). I would also suggest people read Clay Shirky’s book about Here Comes Everybody and the book Blue Ocean Strategy (which is easily translatable to marketing and positioning your creative business). And of course, Seth Godin has laid out probably the best basics in terms of understanding marketing and business in Purple Cow, Permission Marketing, The Icarus Deception and all those books. I tried to write my book to fill in the gaps

CJ: What is the first step for a creative to get their work noticed… from someone besides their mom?

RH: I’d say hold on a second. People think about marketing too early and too late. Before you think about, I want creatives to be POSITIVE their work and business is ready for lots of attention. If your website sucks or your distribution is disorganized, do you really want anyone other than your mom to buy from you? Getting in the New York Times would be a disaster. So hang on a second and make sure your house is in order (and this is something we’re going to talk about in the creativeLIVE class today and tomorrow.
Then I would say: are you ready to be a full time marketer? Because marketing is not something you do two weeks before the product comes out either. It’s a lifestyle. You have to think and breathe it constantly. You have to know the influencers in your space, create messages and content they can spread. You have to bake that into your product. In other words, campaigns take time and resources and unless you’re going to dedicate yourself to doing it–it won’t happen and you won’t get results.

CJ: What are the tools you could not live without in getting your job done?

RH: There’s no question the single most effective tool in marketing is relationships: who do you know? Who can you reach out to to share your message? If you don’t have any answer to those questions it doesn’t matter how many great apps or tools you have. So I want to recommend that people spend less time obsessing about technology and more time with people, building connections, friendships and reciprocal relationships. But personally in terms of tools, I’m completely dependent on Google Docs and Basecamp. It’s how I collaborate with my employees and keep all my research and contacts organized.

CJ: Who are the people you really admire in today’s over-saturated world of noisy content? Who is breaking through that noise and more importantly,why are they able to?

RH: Joey Roth, who I’m going to have on during my class is an amazing example of what a talented, driven person can do–how one designer running his own small business can get more PR and publicity than he knows what to do with. And he gets it for the right reasons: he makes a great product and connects to the right influencers to share it. I’m going to talk to him and get him to share his secrets with everyone in the class.

The term PR is a slippery one these days. There is this blurry line between PR and Marketing now — but it really seems to put the individual creator at an advantage. What is efficient PR in 2013? Is there still a place for Edelman and giants of the PR world? Or are they on their way out in this time of the creator taking control?

RH: To me, PR and marketing are the same thing. And they all come down to a single principle in today’s attention economy: doing interesting things. Businesses need to be create content and messages that facilitate their customers talking about them and their product. That’s PR–giving the public something to talk about and relate to. Obviously there is still a place for PR giants because giant companies have totally different problems than entrepreneurs and growing companies. But if I had a choice, I’d much rather be a creator–operating on a small scale, able to do exciting things and quickly getting my message out.


CJ: Lets assume, with the help of your methodology and a lot or hard work, a creative achieves a level of success. They get the business, the attention, some audience. How do they take it to the next level?

RH:Marketing is how you scale–as they’re calling it now it’s a form of “growth hacking.” At the end of the day, the whole point of market is to drive new business right? So if you’re not doing that with your marketing its just an art project. For me, as I’ve grown my business, I’ve tried to bring people along with me. I am always training new people, teaching them what I know so they can come along and grow. I want to take on new clients so I can give them (and myself) an opportunity to try new things. I think creatives have an obligation to pay it forward and give the same training and advice that people gave them. To me that goes hand and hand with scaling up your business from a one man shop to a two man shop to a many-person shop.

CJ: Final thought: What are the opportunities that you see creatives missing? The things right in front of our faces that can make a massive difference in success that most people walk right by?

RH: The web is infinite. There’s no limit to the amount of content it can produce or the amount of posts that a blog can publish. So stop thinking that getting press is hard. People WANT to write and talk about you. So give them what they want! Stop sitting around and waiting for them to come to you. Embrace this awesome opportunity and use it to your advantage.

Check out Ryan on this week’s creativeLIVE workshop here.
Ryan Holiday currently lives in New Orleans with his rebellious puppy, Hanno.

What You Need for Your Photography Business – [Guess What? It's Not a Camera]

chasejarvis_ramitsethi
Put bluntly, if we creatives want to make a real livelihood with our work – we need to realize that the business end of the stick if we’re holding. And while you know I’m always up for the occasional rant on this topic, I today decided to save myself a few blood vessels and some hot air, and instead passed the baton over to my homie, best-selling business/finance author and master of psychology, Ramit Sethi. I’ve said this before in public – Ramit taught me more about the business side of art in 30 minutes than I’d learned in the previous 5 years. As such, if you listen to one person about this shiz, I suggest you listen to Ramit. – Chase

Thanks Chase.

Let me start by asking you a couple questions.

Do you need the latest camera or software? Will it help grow your business?

Or is it more likely that the latest shiny equipment is distracting you from finding clients who will pay what you’re worth?

Today, as in right now, creating a framework to think about whether buying the latest equipment will actually help you grow your creative business and earn more money. Here’s how this came up: I was in San Francisco, shooting a day of video, and on a break I overheard my crew talking about whether they should buy a $70,000 camera to grow their business.

My ears perked up. I asked them why they would buy it. Their answers were wishy-washy and vague: “Well…it’ll help us get exposure…” So on the spot I suggested a framework to use when deciding whether to purchase new equipment for your creative business.

You might be surprised to hear what I suggested.

1) There’s a time and a place when buying the right equipment will help grow your business
2) But surprisingly, most clients don’t care about your equipment
3) If you can figure out what they value, you can save tens of thousands of dollars on equipment and actually make your clients happier — at the same time.

Put another way: I’ve hired many photographers, videographers, writers, and designers in the last 3 years. Can you guess how many times I’ve asked what camera or software they use? Answer: Zero. I’ve spoken to Chase about this as well. How many times do you think he’s been asked about his equipment unless it’s a super elite, over the top shoot. His answer is the same: zero. Put simply… buyers simply don’t care about that. And usually that equipment won’t help you make the thing you need to make.

Now, there is a time and a place to invest in the right equipment. You can become the ‘specialty guy or gal’ at this or that, but I bet dollars to donuts that we’re not talking about what you need NOW. When you’re growing your creative business, here’s a little video to guidance how to know whether you should invest in new equipment…or decide to first focus on other areas of your business….

By the way, in the video I mention deeply understanding your clients to figure out what they value. (This is how you can find better clients, charge more, and work with the people you want to.) If you’re curious how I study my own clients, here’s the actual survey I’ve used to generate over $100,000. Feel free to use it for your own business.

I now return you to your regular programming. [Thanks Ramit! - chase]

The Lumineers Perform ‘Ho Hey’ on chasejarvisLIVE at the Capitol Hill Block Party [2013 Grammy Nominees]

If you’re a regular reader you know that I’m a big Lumineers fan. They’ve been on my radar for a while and are one of my favorites right now. My friend John Richards from Seattle’s KEXP first brought The Lumineers to my attention. John, along with their manager Dave, gave me the head’s up that these guys had the special sauce. So we had them on chasejarvisLIVE back in April 2012. It was a very special episode and clear to everyone on the set that we were witnessing something extraordinary.

Not only did my friends assure me they would be great – but the band also had a story of following their dreams and mixing their enormous talent with a lot of hard work. Tons of hard work makes the “overnight success” happen. The results have taken the world by storm. Shortly after appearing on chaesjarvisLIVE they went on to do Jay Leno and then David Letterman. Then they were back in Seattle last summer for Capitol Hill Block Party and gave another amazing performance that we filmed and that I’m sharing with you today.

Survivorman Les Stroud: Produce the Creative Work & Life You Want

chasejarivs_lesstroud

UPDATE: The LIVE broadcast is TODAY January 30th – 11am SEA time (2pm NYC -19:00 London) – mark your schedules and flip your dial to http://www.chasejarvis.com/live.

Les Stroud combined his love of the outdoors as a professional survival instructor with a passion for film and photography and created a new genre of television with the highest ratings in the history of both OLN Canada, the Science Channel US, and among the most popular shows ever on Discovery Channel US. But more importantly he created the life he wanted to live through his own creativity. As the only producer in the history of television to produce an internationally broadcast series entirely written, filmed and hosted alone, Les is a seriously accomplished creative. And obviously, when he is alone in the wilderness, life hangs in the balance of good decision making. One wrong decision can make the difference between living and dying. The consequences are well-known to Les, who has spent a lifetime surviving everywhere from the Amazon jungles to the vast Arctic tundra. But what about the decisions he has made as a creative? What decisions did have to make to pursue his dreams and share his vision? Tune in to find out.

WHO: You, Me, and a LIVE conversation with internationally known ‘Survivorman’ Les Stroud.
WHAT: Interview, discussion + a worldwide Q&A
WHEN: Wednesday, January 30, 11:00am Seattle time (2pm NYC time or 19:00 London)
WHERE: Tune into www.chasejarvis.com/live. It’s free — anyone can watch and we’ll be taking YOUR questions via Twitter, hashtag #cjLIVE

Think YOU couldn’t do this or something like it? Think again. By following his passions, Les is the autonomous star of a show which is licensed for broadcast in over 120 countries worldwide and millions of people tune in to each episode. Join me n’ Les on the couch in my studio to discover:

_How to face and overcome your fears – in a survival situation and when it comes to your creative work
_What it’s like to negotiate with a cable network and the pitfalls to look out for
_Why you should pursue your creative vision and live the life you want
_When to outrun a 1500lb Bull Moose – and what not to do when you see one in the wild
_What it takes to survive for 10 days alone stranded in the middle of the Norwegian winter
_How to combine passions into your creative work

See you on the Wed the 30th. LIVE from my studio… In the meantime, here’s a teaser for Les’s new show:

JOIN US LIVE.
If you want to be part of the live, in-studio audience, send an email to production@chasejarvis.com with “Les Stroud” in the subject line. Winners will receive a confirmation email with attendance instructions. Bonus points for tweeting about the show and sending folks here.

HELP US PROMOTE THE SHOW AND WIN GEAR:

Pre-Show Contest:
For a chance to win: Send out a creative tweet promoting the show with #cjLIVE +@manfrotto_tweet + the short link to this page (http://bit.ly/WLMOLK) included.

_Les Stroud 10″ SK Mountain™ Ultimate Survival Knife – Carbontitride Titanium 440 Steel, Non-Stick Drop Point Blade, Survival Sheath with Survival Features

_Les Stroud Ultimate Fan Package:
-Les Stroud signature harmonica, Stranded DVD & Les Stroud cooling bandana.

And…
THIS IS HUGE – DURING THE LIVE BROADCAST WE’RE GIVING AWAY GOPRO HERO3 BLACK EDITION
But you’ll have to tune-in to find out how.

Special thanks to our sponsors who help make this show possible – please follow them and let them know you appreciate the free content that they help us deliver. Respect.
Manfrotto: @manfrotto_tweet
liveBooks: @liveBooks
HP: @hpprint
Broncolor: @hasselbladbron

Also, our friends at liveBooks are offering special starter package deal for a photo website, exclusive for chasejarvisLIVE fans, here. Check it out.

View Official Contest Rules here.

Survivorman Les Stroud: Produce the Creative Work & Life You Want [Jan 30, 11am PST]

ChasejarvisLIVE_LesStroud

UPDATE: The LIVE broadcast is January 30th – 11am SEA time (2pm NYC -19:00 London) – mark your calendars and flip your dial to http://www.chasejarvis.com/live.

Les Stroud combined his love of the outdoors as a professional survival instructor with a passion for film and photography and created a new genre of television with the highest ratings in the history of both OLN Canada, the Science Channel US, and among the most popular shows ever on Discovery Channel US. But more importantly he created the life he wanted to live through his own creativity. As the only producer in the history of television to produce an internationally broadcast series entirely written, filmed and hosted alone, Les is a seriously accomplished creative. And obviously, when he is alone in the wilderness, life hangs in the balance of good decision making. One wrong decision can make the difference between living and dying. The consequences are well-known to Les, who has spent a lifetime surviving everywhere from the Amazon jungles to the vast Arctic tundra. But what about the decisions he has made as a creative? What decisions did have to make to pursue his dreams and share his vision? Tune in to find out.

WHO: You, Me, and a LIVE conversation with internationally known ‘Survivorman’ Les Stroud.
WHAT: Interview, discussion + a worldwide Q&A
WHEN: Wednesday, January 30, 11:00am Seattle time (2pm NYC time or 19:00 London)
WHERE: Tune into www.chasejarvis.com/live. It’s free — anyone can watch and we’ll be taking YOUR questions via Twitter, hashtag #cjLIVE

Think YOU couldn’t do this or something like it? Think again. By following his passions, Les is the autonomous star of a show which is licensed for broadcast in over 120 countries worldwide and millions of people tune in to each episode. Join me n’ Les on the couch in my studio to discover:

_How to face and overcome your fears – in a survival situation and when it comes to your creative work
_What it’s like to negotiate with a cable network and the pitfalls to look out for
_Why you should pursue your creative vision and live the life you want
_When to outrun a 1500lb Bull Moose – and what not to do when you see one in the wild
_What it takes to survive for 10 days alone stranded in the middle of the Norwegian winter
_How to combine passions into your creative work

See you on the Wed the 30th. LIVE from my studio… In the meantime, here’s a teaser for Les’s new show:

JOIN US LIVE.
If you want to be part of the live, in-studio audience, send an email to production@chasejarvis.com with “Les Stroud” in the subject line. Winners will receive a confirmation email with attendance instructions. Bonus points for tweeting about the show and sending folks here.

HELP US PROMOTE THE SHOW AND WIN GEAR:

Pre-Show Contest:
For a chance to win: Send out a creative tweet promoting the show with #cjLIVE +@manfrotto_tweet + the short link to this page (http://bit.ly/WLMOLK) included.

_Les Stroud 10″ SK Mountain™ Ultimate Survival Knife – Carbontitride Titanium 440 Steel, Non-Stick Drop Point Blade, Survival Sheath with Survival Features

_Les Stroud Ultimate Fan Package:
-Les Stroud signature harmonica, Stranded DVD & Les Stroud cooling bandana.

And…
THIS IS HUGE – DURING THE LIVE BROADCAST WE’RE GIVING AWAY GOPRO HERO3 BLACK EDITION
But you’ll have to tune-in to find out how.

Special thanks to our sponsors who help make this show possible – please follow them and let them know you appreciate the free content that they help us deliver. Respect.
Manfrotto: @manfrotto_tweet
liveBooks: @liveBooks
HP: @hpprint
Broncolor: @hasselbladbron

Also, our friends at liveBooks are offering special starter package deal for a photo website, exclusive for chasejarvisLIVE fans, here. Check it out.

View Official Contest Rules here.

Photoshoot with the World’s Largest Mobile Camera [chasejarvisLIVE re-watch]

Last week we received an early Christmas gift at my Seattle studio. Ian Ruhter and his crew brought the world’s largest mobile camera to chasejarvisLIVE to share the process of wetplate photography with us. Ian’s project has attracted a ton of attention and is a great example of the power of personal work. He transformed his life to follow his dream to do something different in photography. He is living the mantra of doing something different not just better. Ian and I took massive tintype portraits of Seattle music legends Chris Ballew and Ishmael Butler. If you want to see something totally new (old) in photography – watch this episode.

“I decided to invest in myself.” -Ian Ruhter

Finding time to create personal projects has been one of the most valuable experiences of my career as a visual artist. Ian’s commitment to his personal work has been turning heads. A professional snowboarder turned photographer he was at the top of his game as a staff photographer and commercial shooter for the most respected magazines and brands in the snowboarding world. Then, more than 2 years ago, he had a vision of a photo that had never been taken – and he needed to be the one to create it. In a moment he went “all in” and started his pursuit of a new, completely unique, creative experience. He spent all his savings and converted a box truck into a tintype camera and started traveling around the country in his camera taking wetplate processed tintype photos – some of the largest that have ever been created. Check out the video above for a teaser on Ian and his work.

Having Ian on chasejarvisLIVE was a great way wrap 2012 for the show. He was generous with his knowledge, personally showed me how his camera operates and introduced me (and all of you) to the process of wetplate photography. It was an all-around testament to the power of personal work…and the beauty of sharing that work.

LIVE Photoshoot using the World’s Biggest Camera + The Power of Personal Work

Update: The LIVE broadcast is TODAY Wednesday December 19th. Check out the post below and be sure to tune into http://www.chasejarvis.com/live — 11am SEA time (2pm NYC -19:00 London) — and enjoy the show. See you on there.

I am an advocate of personal work. Finding time to create personal projects has been one of the most valuable experiences of my career as a visual artist. My guest on the next week’s episode of chasejarvisLIVE is Ian Ruhter. Ian’s commitment to his personal work has been turning heads. A professional snowboarder turned photographer he was at the top of his game as a staff photographer and commercial shooter for the most respected magazines and brands in the snowboarding world. Then, more than 2 years ago, he had a vision of a photo that had never been taken – and he needed to be the one to create it. In a moment he went “all in” and started his pursuit of a new, completely unique, creative experience. He spent all his savings and converted a box truck into a tintype camera and started traveling around the country in his camera taking wetplate processed tintype photos – some of the largest that have ever been created. Check out the video above for a teaser on Ian and his work.

I’m so stoked that Ian is coming to Seattle next week to share his experience on chasejarvisLIVE. And even more exciting – he will be shooting the camera with me, my team and YOU. Dont miss this. It will be LIVE, un-scripted and inspirational.

WHO: You, Me, and a LIVE photo shoot with Ian Ruhter’s wetplate camera-truck + worldwide gathering of creative people
WHAT: Interview, discussion + a worldwide Q&A
WHEN: Wednesday, December 19th, 11:00am Seattle time (2pm NYC time or 19:00 London)
WHERE: Tune into www.chasejarvis.com/live. It’s free — anyone can watch and we’ll be taking YOUR questions via Twitter, hashtag #cjLIVE

We will be giving this signed photo of Ian’s away during the show – you have to tune in to find out how to win!

Watch the show today and find out how to win a signed print this Ian Ruhter photo

As always, you can ask any question of me or Ian (@ianruhter) that you might have, as we’ll be taking your question via my twitter handle + hashtag #cjLIVE and via my Facebook page.

THIS IS HUGE – WE’RE GIVING AWAY TWO MANFROTTO GEAR SET UP.
Help us promote the show by sending a creative tweet out to your friends to help promote this show
@manfrotto_tweet + #cjLIVE [note: you must follow @manfrotto_tweet to be eligible to win]

Bundle #1: Manfrotto Bundle composed of:
_Manfrotto 290 3-section carbon fiber tripod with quick-release 3-way photo head
_Manfrotto Midi-36 LED Light
_Manfrotto Stile Bella V Black Shoulder Bag
_Manfrotto Lino Apparel Soft Shell Jacket
_Manfrotto Lino Apparel Photo Cap Winter
Total Bundle Value: $780.00

Product Bundle # 2:
Manfrotto Bundle composed by:
Manfrotto Compact Photo Head Kit
Manfrotto Klyp Kit with Case for iPhone 4/4S + ML 240 LED Light + Pocket Tripod
Manfrotto Stile Bella V Black Camera Shoulder Bag
Manfrotto Lino Apparel Soft Shell
a Manfrotto Lino Apparel Photo Cap Winter

Total Bundle Value: $ 474.98

ALSO – FOR EVERYONE RIGHT NOW
We’re working with our good friends at liveBooks for 50% off an Emerging Predesigned Package site. Use the promo code CJLIVE. The discount is good for a yearly package, expiring 12/31/2013.[You can get it for $99 - regularly $199]

Special thanks to our sponsors who help make this show possible – please follow them and let them know you appreciate the free content that they help us deliver. Respect.
HP: @hpprint
Broncolor: @hasselbladbron
Manfrotto: @manfrotto_tweet
liveBooks: @liveBooks

View Official Contest Rules here.

Creative Mastery, Power & Seduction with Robert Greene on chasejarvisLIVE [re-watch]

In case you missed the live episode last week – this chasejarvisLIVE with Robert Greene was one of the most powerful episodes to date. The feedback on the internet has been a testament to the impact of the show and Robert’s ability to help people. #cjLIVE trended on twitter! Thanks to all who continue to tune in to my experiment in live broadcasting. You can check out more episodes of chasejarvisLIVE over on my live page here. Huge thanks to HP, Manfrotto, Broncolor and liveBooks for helping me make the world a more creative place. Couldn’t do it with out these great friends.

My time with Robert was priceless. The principles we discuss in this episode of chasejarvisLIVE are gold for any creative working on improving their craft – OR just trying to discover their path as a creative – period. I learned a ton and I’m betting you will too.

Tune in to hear —

_Robert’s advice if you’re feeling “lost” as a creative. How to discover your passion and pursue it
_What Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Goethe, Napoleon and other “Masters” have in common with each other and with you
_How each of us have a unique composition that is our greatest asset
_Why choosing a career path that leverages your individuality and sparks curiosity is essential
_How an apprenticeship is a necessary step toward achieving mastery and fulfillment

You’ve heard that little voice in the back of your head that screams, “I have something to say” Guess what. It’s the same voice that Einstein, DaVinci, Napoleon and Goethe heard. It’s important. It’s what makes you a creative. Robert Greene, has influenced millions of people with his work. With four bestsellers already to his name, including The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction – he is an inspiration and an intellectual powerhouse brought his new book “Mastery” to life on the #cjLIVE stage last week.

Here’s an excerpt from his new book:

Many of the greatest Masters in history have confessed to experiencing some kind of force or voice or sense of destiny that has guided them forward. For Napoleon Bonaparte it was his “star” that he always felt in ascendance when he made the right move. For Socrates, it was his daemon, a voice that he heard, perhaps from the gods, which inevitably spoke to him in the negative–telling him what to avoid. For Goethe, he also called it a daemon–a kind of spirit that dwelled within him and compelled him to fulfill his destiny. In more modern times, Albert Einstein talked of a kind of inner voice that shaped the direction of his speculations. All of these are variations on what Leonardo da Vinci experienced with his own sense of fate.

Creative Mastery, Power & Seduction with Robert Greene on chasejarvisLIVE [TODAY Wednesday, November 28th]

UPDATE: The LIVE broadcast is TODAY. Check out the post below and be sure to tune into http://www.chasejarvis.com/live — 11am SEA time (2pm NYC -19:00 London) — and enjoy the show. See you on air in a few…

You’ve heard that little voice in the back of your head that screams, “I have something to say” Guess what. It’s the same voice that Einstein, DaVinci, Napoleon and Goethe heard. It’s important. It’s what makes you a creative. This upcoming episode of chasejarvisLIVE is going to be something special. My guest, the renowned thinker, author, and speaker Robert Greene, has influenced millions of people with his work. With four bestsellers already to his name, including The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction – he is an inspiration and an intellectual powerhouse who will be bringing his new book “Mastery” to life on the #cjLIVE stage this Wednesday November 28th at 11am Seattle time (2pm NYC 1900 London). Watch the trailer above to see why the people that cite Robert as an influence range from Fidel Castro to rapper 50 Cent to yours truly and beyond.

WHO: You, Me, Author Robert Greene [The 48 Laws of Power] + a worldwide gathering of creative people
WHAT: Interview, discussion + a worldwide Q&A
WHEN: Wednesday, November 28th, 11:00am Seattle time (2pm NYC time or 19:00 London)
WHERE: Tune into www.chasejarvis.com/live. It’s free — anyone can watch and we’ll be taking YOUR questions via Twitter, hashtag #cjLIVE

Here’s an excerpt from his new book:

Many of the greatest Masters in history have confessed to experiencing some kind of force or voice or sense of destiny that has guided them forward. For Napoleon Bonaparte it was his “star” that he always felt in ascendance when he made the right move. For Socrates, it was his daemon, a voice that he heard, perhaps from the gods, which inevitably spoke to him in the negative–telling him what to avoid. For Goethe, he also called it a daemon–a kind of spirit that dwelled within him and compelled him to fulfill his destiny. In more modern times, Albert Einstein talked of a kind of inner voice that shaped the direction of his speculations. All of these are variations on what Leonardo da Vinci experienced with his own sense of fate.

Tune in to hear —

_What Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Goethe, Napoleon and other “Masters” have in common with each other and with you
_How each of us have a unique composition that is our greatest asset
_Why choosing a career path that leverages your individuality and sparks curiosity is essential
_How an apprenticeship is a necessary step toward achieving mastery and fulfillment

…and to be able to ask any question of Robert that you might have, as we’ll be taking your question via my twitter handle + hashtag #cjLIVE and via my Facebook page.


ALSO HELP PROMOTE THE SHOW, WIN GEAR
1. Score a signed copy of Robert Greene’s book, Mastery. To help us out and for a chance to win the book, send out any creative tweet that contains the URL (or short URL) to THIS post + @HPPrint + #cjLIVE starting NOW and ending at the beginning of the show on Wednesday, November 28th. Enter as many times / tweets as you like. We’ll pick our favorite and announce the winner LIVE on-air.

2. THIS IS HUGE – WE’RE GIVING AWAY TWO MANFROTTO GEAR SET UPS.
_Manfrotto Compact Photo Head Kit
_Manfrotto Klyp Kit with Case for Iphone 4/4S + ML 240 LED Light + Pocket Tripod
_Manfrotto Stile Bella V Black Camera Shoulder Bag for DSLR
_Manfrotto Lino Apparel Soft Shell
_Manfrotto Lino Apparel Photo Cap Winter

I’ll tell you how to enter, but you gotta watch to win…

3. ALSO – FOR EVERYONE RIGHT NOW
We’re working with our good friends at liveBooks for 50% off an Emerging Predesigned Package site. Use the promo code CJLIVE. The discount is good for a yearly package, expiring 12/31/2013.[You can get it for $99 - regularly $199]

Special thanks to our sponsors who help make this show possible – please follow them and let them know you appreciate the free content that they help us deliver. Respect.
HP: @hpprint
Broncolor: @hasselbladbron
Manfrotto: @manfrotto_tweet
liveBooks: @liveBooks

View Official Contest Rules here.

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