Six resources to know as an artist/entrepreneur

May 23, 2013
posted by sheric

Now that we have established independent filmmaking as an entrepreneurial venture where the creator will be in control of the end to end process of creation through to marketing and distribution of the work, we also must acknowledge that new skills and new tools will need to be learned. While digital tools are helpful to the entrepreneur, if one doesn’t know they exist or how to use them, they won’t do much good. Here are six resources you may not know about that can help you become a better informed artist who is finding their audience and building a sustainable career rather than a one off project.

1. Crowdfunding resource-Kickstarter school

Many artists are now coming around to seeing the benefits of raising donations for their work; artistic freedom, no pressure for recoupment, testing the marketability of the project, audience development/cultivation. But with this realization comes the panic of setting up and running a campaign so Kickstarter has set up a section of their site to walk you through the process. It will still take a small team working tirelessly to help reach a funding goal, but these tips will help in strategizing and executing the campaign.

2. Pitching resource-Good in a Room

If you plan on taking your project to a studio or even outside investors, you will probably need some practice honing your live pitching skills. Stephanie Palmer was the Director of Creative Affairs for MGM where she supervised the acquisition, development and production of feature films. She now devotes her time to teaching creatives how to clearly present their ideas in a compelling way. I receive her weekly newsletter and regularly post her blog pieces on my Facebook page.

3. PR resource-InkyBee

I’ve only recently started using this site and so far, it is very helpful. Chances are you will be doing a bit of blogger outreach for media coverage on your work, but how to build up a good database of contacts? You could hire a PR firm to send out press releases for you…or you could maintain your own relationships with writers. Inkybee allows you to identify blogs you probably didn’t even know existed, assess them according to relevance and influence, and monitor your coverage.  A 30 day trial is free and doesn’t require a credit card.

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4. Rights management resource-Movie Chainer

This tool has only recently beta launched, but will be available for subscriptions starting June 3, 2013. If sales agents, distributors and individual producers will actually keep the records accurate, this is going to be a very useful service. Movie Chainer will keep track of all rights that have been licensed or are available on your project, monies that have been spent in support of your project and monies that are due and to whom. While you could set up your own spreadsheets and do the manual data entry (or just wait for the statements, hahaha), this tool promises to take care of it for you and gives you the ability to view it any time.

5. Advertising resource-Buy Ads

While we would all like to think that word about projects will just spread on its own, it is much more realistic to acknowledge that it will need some help. You will need owned, earned and paid media to help reach audiences and drive sales. Buy Ads lets you choose which highly trafficked, but relevant websites you want to run your advertising on and see how much you’ll have to spend for placement. No bidding, no guessing, no buying into advertising networks where you have no idea where your ad will end up. Just clear instructions on the size and audience of the publication, the size of ad you’ll need, the placement of the ad and how much it will cost to run it based on the number of impressions you want or a weekly fee (depends on the publication).

6. Youtube channel resource-Youtube Creator Academy

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You are working in a visual medium and the internet is becoming an increasingly visually compelling place. Great news! But Youtube just announced new stats that show over 100 hours of video is being uploaded to its site every MINUTE! What’s a visual artist to do to reach her audience? Youtube wants to help you master its site (which reaches 53 countries in the world and has over 1 billion users every month) so they are now taking sign ups for their first ever Creator Academy course that starts June 3, 2013.  If you have aspirations of creating a web series or building up subscribers on your channel, check into registration.

Are there resources I have missed that will help artists become better entrepreneurs? Leave them in the comments.

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