Don Hertzfeldt: Advice for All Indie Artists

To anyone familiar with Don Hertzfeld’s films, you will understand why I hold them in such high regard. Not only are they hilarious and cerebral, they were made independently, and free of studio interference. And now in the digital age, free of distributors.

I came across an article in Vulture Magazine and had to steal some quotes that I love. This is advice and observations that any independent artist can benefit from, not just animation filmmakers.

“You’re just not going to survive very long in America being an idealistic fluffy artist if you’re not also watching your back. I think one of the most valuable things I learned very early on was simply how to say “no.” That probably sounds a little obvious but it’s not in everyone’s nature, especially when you’re young and there’s some sort of vague opportunity in front of you. Your human instinct is to always want to be agreeable and to be liked, and to say “yes” to whatever’s being offered. When you’re young, you feel grateful and lucky that anyone is even paying attention to you at all. But what a powerful thing to be able to say “no.” It’s one of the first steps toward realizing your worth”

Don Hertzfeld- Vulture Magazine-2019


“There are more options out there than ever before to create and show your work, but most of them are totally unsustainable. The next time you have a plumber over to the house, offer to pay them in “exposure” and see how it goes. Why are artists and musicians the only people treated this way? The one thing that will never change for an artist wanting to make a living at it is you have to get paid. And there is still no individual path to follow, or especially specific advice that I could give. Everyone is constantly still trying to figure all this out with each new release and new platform.”

One Response

  1. Good afternoon Mr. Murray,

    This sounds random and rather childish, but have you seen the new pixar movie “Luca”?, it’s really beautiful, and cute.

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