Watch Neil Gaiman's advice-packed college commencement address

Contributed by
Dec 17, 2012

Last week, we brought you a list of inspiring commencement addresses from 10 sci-fi greats, but the graduation day inspiration just keeps on coming. Now we can add award-winning novelist, comics writer and all-around fantasy icon Neil Gaiman to the list.

Over the weekend, Gaiman made his way out to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia to receive an honorary degree and give a 20-minute address filled with advice on how to succeed on a creative career path, in many cases using examples from his own life and career. For instance, here's a brief meditation on landing jobs:

"People get hired because, somehow, they get hired. In my case I did something which these days would be easy to check, and would get me into trouble, and when I started out, in those pre-internet days, seemed like a sensible career strategy: when I was asked by editors who I'd worked for, I lied. I listed a handful of magazines that sounded likely, and I sounded confident, and I got jobs. I then made it a point of honour to have written something for each of the magazines I'd listed to get that first job, so that I hadn't actually lied, I'd just been chronologically challenged... You get work however you get work."

The full address is filled with tidbits like that, but Gaiman's overall message boiled down to three simple words: "Make good art."

"I'm serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it's all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn't matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art."

Watch the full address below, or read a transcript here. Like those addresses we shared last week, it's filled with stuff that applies whether you're graduating or not.

(Via Forbidden Planet)

Make Your Inbox Important

Get our newsletter and you’ll be delivered the most interesting stories, videos and interviews weekly.

Sign-up breaker