A few years ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find a comedian hotter than Dave Chappelle. His Comedy Central show was clever, at times completely vulgar and inappropriate, and a huge (HUGE) hit. It was certainly not a surprise at all that he came back with the cast to do a second season. Good money would have placed the bet on the Dave Chappelle show lasting many seasons, in fact.
But that’s not what happened.
When it came time for work and discussions to begin on the third season, Chappelle quit the show, left Comedy Central, and in fact he even left the country. He spent a fair amount of time in Africa, leaving many of his fans (and many other people besides) to wonder what would cause an extremely successful man to drop ship and throw it all away. Was he crazy? Was he on drugs?
Chappelle appeared to answer all of these questions in a rather unlikely place – Inside the Actor’s Studio with James Lipton. This clip, if you skip to about the 4 minute mark, is one of the most memorable statements you’ll ever hear about both Hollywood and success:
To watch the video Click Here
In case you didn’t click over to watch, essentially Chappelle makes the case that Hollywood is really sick. Really messed up. It can take people tough enough to make it to stardom and reduce them to insanity. Earlier in the interview, Chappelle said that when he told his dad that he wanted to be an actor, his father said, “Ok, but set a price you’re willing to pay, and once it goes above that price, cut all ties.” That is what Dave Chapelle did.
Sure, Chappelle had tons of success. Tons of money. But he also had strangers coming up to him quoting scenes with cuss words with Chappelle’s children standing right there. He had too many expectations. He had to give up too much of his creativity. It expanded beyond the price he wanted to pay, even with all of that fame he got, even with all of that money.
What is your price?
In the online world, we are always pushing for that online celebrity status, right? You want to be like the Brian Clarks or the Chris Brogans of the world, where you tweet something and hundreds of people echo what you said. You want to be able to earn your entire living like Darren Rouse does, based on his blog sites and the work he does around those sites, right?
Here’s the question though. Have you set a price on that kind of success? Have you established what you are willing to pay in order to get there?
Have you thought about how much time you’re willing to give to this endeavor? How many hours with friends and family are you going to pay in?
How much typing and research and promoting are you willing to do?
How many trolls are you willing to stomach?
How much are you willing to take to get that fame? And how much fame will be enough for you? When will you have enough money, enough subscribers, enough celebrity status?
If you do not have answers to these questions, you are in great danger of paying more than you are able.
The answers are all up to you
This is not a question I can dictate an answer to. At least not for you. All of these answers, in fact, have to come from you. And here’s the really tricky thing. You have to be honest with yourself. If you want to get stinking filthy rich, don’t say that you want “just enough.” And then weigh how much it will cost you to get there.
I worry that in the online world, fame seems so accessible that people are beginning to think there is no price to it. That’s not really true though. Everything has a price. Getting comments on your blog means you need to pay time, creativity, and the risk of bomb after bomb. You need to risk people saying your ideas are daft.
On Twitter, the same holds true. Building a community means chatting while on vacation, spending time helping people off the grid, and offering your ideas, which in some cases will not be acknowledged.
Are these prices okay with you or do they seem a bit inflationary?
Now is the time to decide, before you dig too much deeper. Yes, you can achieve all of your goals and all of your dreams. There’s a price to it though. What’s your price? What would make you cut and run?
Let’s talk about it.
Image by Billy Alexander. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/ba1969