#AreYouSatisfied? Gosh, I hope not.

A new USA show called Satisfaction teased the start of their season with a serial add campaign around the city that included slogans like, “Is there such a thing as happily ever after?” and “Can an affair save a marriage?” and then the hashtag, #AreYouSatisfed.  There was no title of the program it was pitching.  No network affiliate.  Just a super expensive on-the-sides-of-telephone-kiosks teaser campaign.

But it did get my attention.

That doesn’t mean I watched the show.  Looks a bit too Desperate Housewives for me.

However, I did start thinking about their question (questions in ads, especially direct response email, are great – because they force the reader to think – and if you know what the answer to the question is before you ask it, well, then, you can stir your reader to act).

I didn’t think about it in terms of marriage, or a happiness quotient of any kind.  I’ll leave that stuff to Dr. Phil and the other sofa-sittin’ daytime talk show hosts out there.

I thought about it in terms of artists.  And producers.  And entrepreneurs of all kinds.

The greatest artists and entrepreneurs I know are never, ever, EVER, satisfied.  They are always looking for something new.  They are always looking for a way to improve.  They are always looking for a way to invent.

That lack of satisfaction is in fact, the defining characteristic of what makes a great artist or producer.  What you have done already, is never enough, so you strive to do more.  And do better.

Ironically, your job is actually to satisfy others . . . your audience, your investors, clients, even your family.  But not yourself.

So as you go about your day today, for the love of all that’s holy, don’t be satisfied.  Great art has never been created by satisfied men.


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  • Solange De Santis says:

    I like your post, but … only men? Was this a brain blip, Ken?

  • Michael DiGaetano says:

    People always ask me “what’s the best thing you’ve ever written?” And I always respond “I haven’t written it yet”

  • Like the show, btw. In my opinion it doesn’t really have a “Desperate Housewives” vibe. It has an original style to it.

  • The trouble with always reaching for greater perfection is this: you never have a final
    draft. And if you never have a final draft, you’ll never be tested out in the real world. where
    people want only final drafts. There has to come a point, Brian Friel perhaps accepted,
    when you hand over the play and say: “This is what I had in mind, more or less.”

  • Ken, you are spot on, when you say ‘great art has never been created by satisfied men’. We could even leave out the word ‘great’, and it would still be true.The artistic types whom I know, including myself, keep at it, hammer and tongs, not even waiting for one project to finish before dreaming up the next. But, a lot of people, maybe the majority, are not like this. They seek peace and comfort, stillness, or amusement by others. There’s definitely something different about us. It’s hardwired, I am afraid. It would be as useless to exhort a true artist to sunbathe alongside a pool for four hours as it would be to tell a non-artist to get stuck in and write a song. Do you think there is a biological explanation?

  • senorvoce says:

    Harper Lee.

  • “Great art has never been created by satisfied men…” or women! 🙂

  • Thomas says:

    If one is in the Arts (the artist), I don’t believe their “job” is to satisfy others. I truly believe that they are trying to satisfy their need to express what they feel inside. Which can only be expressed creatively, through painting, writing, music, dance, stage work, etc.. One’s own satisfaction can be accomplished. And with that satisfaction, one moves on to create more works of art.
    (If one is in the greedy rat race of the 9 to 5, then their job is to satisfy others)

  • Judy Sizemore says:

    One of my favorite posts from you, ever. Thanks!

  • Talk about the power of a blog… We were struggling with what to put on our t-shirts for the opening of our new play BEDROOM SECRETS with regards to tagline, logo, what combo?

    Daryl our Casting Director said the answer is in Ken’s blog. And so it was… And now the front of our shirts simply say: “Do you really know who you’re sleeping with?”

    Thanks for the serendipity Ken that got us our answer. And to answer yours… As playwrights, we have to say we’re satisfied when let hand over our work to a publisher. But satisfied in terms of what’s next? NO, we’re never satisfied…. Too much fun to be missed if we did that!

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