Creating Promotional Materials & Creating a Non-Conventional Career: the Art of Freelancing: Thursday 10/25/07, 10:00am Paola Prestini Funding for the Bootstrap Music Series comes from The New York State Music Fund, established by the New York State Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.
Don’t Forget the Blog assignment! What one idea will you implement from this webinar and why?
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Bootstraps Session 3. C reating Promotional Materials & Creating a Non-Conventional Career: the Art of Freelancing This session will cover the basics of self-promotion. How to create contacts and maintain them, creating promotional brochures, and tips on how to develop and survive in a non-conventional career.
The Beginning who I am…
Then…1998 VIA began as a school project in 1998, with performances held in dance studios. VIA won an interdisciplinary grant from Juilliard which funded the first VisionIntoArt public performance at Lincoln Center Institute. The following year VIA went on to perform at key note performances at the Council on Foundation, North Carolina School for the Arts and Dickinson College.
Now…2007 VIA has performed over fifty trans-media performances in festivals, halls, museums, theaters and clubs across United States, Europe, Eastern Europe, and Mexico.
The Art of Freelancing
If you are interested in multiple areas, are organized, have the ability to multi-task, and enjoy inter-personal relationships, then a freelancing career could be right for you. Balance is the name of the game, and you will need to remind yourself often of your goals. As you prepare to freelance, remember that all these steps can cross-over to help your artistic path. These fields do not have to remain mutually exclusive; in fact, the work you choose can make you more desirable as a 21 st century artist.
As an artist--the most successful choice is to build a career that suits your personality. I knew from early on that the artists I collaborated with were going to be part of my career trajectory. So, while still an undergraduate student at the Juilliard School, I co-founded VisionIntoArt Presents, Inc, a non-profit performing arts organization.
The work I have done over the years has
spanned from teaching artist at the New York Philharmonic, to Education Director at the American Composers Orchestra.
I have produced websites and projects for organizations such as Carnegie Hall, and have written article for organizations such as New Music Box (of the American Music Center). If you are interested in teaching, teaching artistry is a good way to teach and yet have flexible time.
All this work has broadened my vision of the field I work in; it has helped me make useful contacts, and has allowed me to continue my passion as the director of my very diverse group.
I have always been driven to create a safe community for the artists I work with, and all I’ve learned so far has helped me make informed and intelligent opinions.
The key to freelancing is organizing your time. Make sure to look for options that allow you a certain amount of flexibility so that you can continue to pursue all your dreams, and then, make a schedule for yourself.
Do not take on too much at once--it takes time to learn how to multi-task without being overwhelmed or distracted from your long-term goals.
Begin by assessing your skills. A well-rounded musician today has interests in multiple areas: education, administration, production, publicity, and countless other creative outlets relevant to your craft (i.e. a composer can receive work copying music).
Assemble a list of contacts you have in these different fields. Always begin with contacts that are closest to you and then spiral out from there. If you do not know many people, then it’s time to do some research. Look online and create a database; it should include service organizations, educational institutions and foundations as well as the directors, assistants, mentors, and teachers who populate them.
Whether your freelancing work is short term or long term, remember to be positive and to choose a situation you can learn from. These skills should be applicable to your long-term goals. All work places in the arts are populated by emerging artists who are multi-talented and who are working to support or enhance their crafts.
John Zorn, record label owner, composer, venue owner Kronos Quartet, string quartet, performance organization, foundation starter, trend setter Philip Glass, composer, business owner, record label owner Liz Lerman, Dancer, Choreographer, Educator, Dance Company leader, social activist Liz Lerman Dance Exchange Artists with Multiple Roles
Once your list is assembled your goal should be to meet with as many people in person to ask for advice. Email introductions can work, but a direct phone call is always better. These meetings are the best way to learn from others’ experiences while letting people know you are seeking work.
Do not be afraid to ask for introductions that can potentially open other doors and opportunities. I found that most influential figures are often generous with their advice and time. They will admire your effort, and it will remind them of the paths they once took.
You will need to create promotional materials. These will help acquire all type of work. This is how you market yourself, so the language you use and style you choose is very important.
The topics can be modified for personal or organizational use. Remember, it is important to begin somewhere, so don’t be discouraged if you do not have material to fill out the topic fields below.
Philosophy is equally important, and as long as you keep it succinct, supplement the fields with short philosophical statements about the direction you are headed in. There is only one way to grow and improve, and it’s by trial and error!
Trial and error…
Begin by making a brochure. Take your time with your answers and be aware that they should evolve as you grow in your profession. This will be useful for employment opportunities, as well as for your performing careers: for producers, curators, and grant-makers.
Making a brochure is also a good floor plan for your future website!
How to organize a Brochure…
Your mission statement should be concise and should state who you are and your activities. It should additionally highlight a value or specific artistic trait that makes you recognizable and unique.
State your past in paragraph form and list all your past performances and activities, grants, mission and philosophy. Do include readings and workshops if you are just beginning.
Again, short highlights from your career are good. Include awards, prizes and notable events. You should have a CV readily available as well.
If you do not have reviews from well-known critics, ask mentors or artists you respect to review a concert or work of yours. These are important validations of your person and career. Get to know reviewers by visiting their websites, blogs, and by emailing them. Many of them are the ones who will release your press releases…
Press releases should be sent one month in advance, and then again two weeks prior to your event with a follow up call and email.
What a VIA press release looks like… The essentials need to be there: Time Date Location Price Details Contact (for more info, and your Website) We like to add visuals and a quote. Anything to differentiate you from other releases is a good strategy.
LISTING YOUR EVENTS
Below is a selection of area publications. To list your exhibition, send complete information including name of exhibition, dates, times, name and address of gallery with cross streets, nearest subways, telephone number.Most publications require this by Monday 6pm (2/3/4 weeks in advance as indicated by each) and none of the below will accept incomplete information. Several also cannot accept attachments, so if you have an image you would like to include, it's a good idea to contact the editor and find out what the requirements are. Be aware that many listings editors are inundated with requests, so don't be disappointed should your efforts not find themselves in print.
THE NEW YORKER 4 to 5 weeks in advance
Fax: 212-286-5024 EMAIL: [email_address]
NEW YORK MAGAZINE 4 weeks in advance using Traditional Mail Practices
New York Magazine 444 Madison Avenue, 14th FloorNY NY 10022
THE NEW YORK OBSERVER 2 weeks in advance
Sara Vilkomerson, calendar editor 915 Broadway 9th Floor New York, NY 10010212-755-2400 (ext. 2389) [email_address]
THE NEW YORK PRESS 3 weeks in advance
Jessica KoslowArts & Entertainment Editor
New York Press333 7th Ave. 14th fl.New York, NY 10001212-244-2282
THE NEW YORK SUN 2 weeks in advance
Culture Editor: Pia Catton [email_address] 105 Chambers Street 10007-1093
THE NEW YORK TIMES
229 West 43rd. Street New York NY 10036212-556-3904
TIMEOUT NY 2 weeks in advance
Fax:: 646-432-3010 email@example.com
THE VILLAGE VOICE 2 weeks in advanceArt Editor: Bob Baker [email_address] Listings Editor: Keisha Franklin [email_address] 36 Cooper SquareNew York NYCalendar/Listings
Current Projects and Season
This is where you want to share season dates and upcoming projects. Presenters are always looking for innovative programming, projects and collaborations.
You can list proposed projects, but in general it’s best to list projects you are already in the process of trying out and that have a completion date. This is what open rehearsals are for: they allow you to experiment in safe settings.
I encourage any artist or group to open up rehearsals for constructive criticism, and for potential engagements with curators or presenters.
This is an interesting category. Presenters and grant-makers want to know about your programs, or main interests, as a way to understand your goals and direction.
Even if you are starting out, this is a constructive way to clarify and codify your patterns and interests. Remember these are broader categories that summarize your main activities.
if you are a composer, you may want to list your broad interests as:
Music (your musical work related activities)
If you are working within an ensemble, the following pages are how we describe our activities…
As an example, current programs for VisionIntoArt, are:
1. VIA Thematic Performances (works presented in theatrical venues)
The development of interdisciplinary work with resident artists in an arduous, process based fashion resulting in one large multimedia work/year
These multimedia performances are presented more often on tour in national and international venues such as Teatro Manzoni in Italy, MACO in Mexico City, and in NYC at venues such the Whitney at Altria, and Symphony Space.
2. VIA Medleys (shows presented in museums, halls and clubs)
VIA Medleys are non-thematic shows that feature the ensemble collaborating with visiting artists to VIA-they are our playground for new ideas. These shows are presented in clubs such as Joe’s Pub, the Stone, Bam Café, and the Whitney Live series in New York City.
These performances are generally $12 and under or free, and generally attract a younger, club going audiences who follow the music and spoken word scene. Audiences: students from our education programs; fellow myspace bloggers; diverse audiences from all New York boroughs.
3. VIA Education
VIA believes the future of new art lives in education. All VIA artists are experienced and committed teachers. VIA has taught and conducted education residencies with organizations such as, the Whitney Museum in collaboration with Youth Insights, the American Composers Orchestra, Presbyterian University, Dickinson College, and Etna Fest in Italy. Each VIA Project has a designed education segment offered for elementary school through college.
VIA holds a longstanding partnership with Brandeis High School, an empowerment school in NYC. VIA focuses on teaching the principals of composition through music technology.
4. VIA Recordings
All VIA works are recorded, and all shows include electronics and recorded backing tracks that are created throughout the year. VIA works in a loft in Greepoint Brooklyn that doubles as a recording studio.
This type of documentation of the VIA repertoire broadens exposure and assures a longer "listening life”.
Describe Intended Audience
Here is where you want to address what plans you have for audience development. Curators, presenters and grant makers are interested in a clear idea of who your audience is and if you have innovative ideas for how to reach them. This is your chance to show off any marketing strategies you may have.
Another important category if you are a performer or an ensemble, is what audience your activities are targeting. This helps grantmakers and curators understand your intentions better.
VIA targets three primary audiences through its performances:
1) High School Students - High school students are highly creative, yet may be turned off by musical and artistic educational experiences traditionally offered by public schools. Furthermore, high schools are increasingly dropping funding from their arts programs, and outside programs are relied on more heavily than ever to take the place of traditional outlets. VIA is dedicated to providing students with access to high-quality art and music as a way to expand their education and involvement in their community.
2) Young Adult and Young Professional audiences - Young Professionals (25- 40) are looking for a way to connect to their culture in an authentic way, to truly enjoy a concert-going experience, and to socialize in unique settings. VIA is committed to reaching audiences outside of the immediate artistic community.
3) Segmented art, music, and film enthusiasts - When VIA was formed, we understood the need to unite audiences divided by the barriers of genrefication. The film going audience was not attending classical music events, and similarly, the music public was not necessarily attending film or poetry events. VIA's collaborative community of artists draws audiences from each discipline, creating an audience that transcends genre and allows art to be organic, collaborative expression.
By performing in different venues, museums, clubs, theaters, schools, etc. VIA continues to expand its audience base by 20%. VIA targets new audiences through myspace, various blogs, websites, and radio stations (WNYC, ASCAP radio).
History and plan for addressing issues of cultural diversity
Remember to address cultural diversity. Any kind of social responsibility that is relevant to you should be mentioned, and your projects may reflect different ideals at different times.
The VIA collective is comprised of artists from diverse backgrounds and countries including Mexico, Iran, Serbia, Italy, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Canada, and the United States. VIA collaborates with artists from around the world and this cultural synthesis helps to create works that reflect this plural understanding of American society. VIA believes this international and political bent, and inclusiveness attracts larger, diverse audiences and contributes to a larger dialogue.
The collective is not just rooted in performance, but is a community insomuch that even the creative process and the administration of VIA is a vital part of the collective. All aspects of VIA aim at collaboration and synergy across the board, as a seamless artistic expression.
VIA’s dedication remains a commitment to the values expressed in the U.S. Constitution by advancing the responsibilities of citizenship in a free society. a group of young professionals, largely immigrants who have chosen to live in this country, we take equal opportunity very seriously. Therefore, all governance, board and staff, artist selection, and audience development reflect these ideals, and most VIA programming promotes civic discourse through challenging thematic content and all performances aim to broaden new art audiences .
Advisory Council and/or Board
This is only relevant for organizations. At the beginning, an advisory council is the way to go. Ask members of your community that you admire, and who will be helpful with contacts and advice.
Your advisory board holds no official responsibilities; they should help with contacts and giving you credibility.
Websites are incredibly important nowadays, and are a good way to keep people constantly updated with your activities. All the fields above should help you build a clear website. HTML websites are usually preferable as flash can sometimes discourage viewers because of slow loading. A smart thing to do is track activity on your site with a free tracker (eg. http://www.paolaprestini.com)
This helps you monitor who is interested in you.
( a good website and blog, combined)
Remember to include photographs of your activities, (we live in a highly visual world), and provide work samples with music or film, if relevant.
As you mature in this profession, remember to keep people in the loop about your activities. Certain periods may be dry in terms of work, but if you continue to send emails, send newsletters, maintain a blog, make phone calls and maintain your contacts (without exaggerating!), work will always come.
A good newsletter: http://www.ps122.org/newsletter/ Here is a constructive site on how to build a newsletter: http://desktoppub.about.com/od/newsletters/a/newsletter_part.htm
Friendships are important-everyone you meet along your path to freelancing success should not just be considered a contact, but a window into a new perspective or world. People are attracted to honesty. Know yourself, know your dreams, and never be afraid of change. Offer people a direct view into who you are, and success will be yours.