Go fund yourself (and bake cherry pie)

Finance

Bake & sell every slice of your creative pie

If you cringed at the thought of a money blog, read on. If you were tempted by the thought of cherry pie, read on.  Many creatives think money and art don’t go hand in hand but it doesn’t need to be that way. We aren’t driven to create for money but that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to be paid for our creations! Stop waiting around for Hollywood to come knocking, get savvy and learn to go fund yourself...

Many creatives are struggling in these times which has inspired us at Collab HQ to offer practical and supportive tips to help monetise creative talent. You are talented and deserve to be rewarded. As your grandmother hopefully taught you, never put all your eggs in one basket. Rather than having another Netflix binge, grab a pen and paper and draw a circle. How many slices are there to your creative pie? In each section, label a creative talent you could earn from. We invite you to take one action every day for the next 21 days to monetise your creative talent pie.

1.Examine your thoughts & money habits

This is the hard bit. Examine your relationship with money. Do you see money as negative? Listen to your thoughts and conversations about money. If you are in debt and moan about never having enough, you’ll attract more of the same. For a bit of fun, why not try Rhonda Byrne’s the Secret and write yourself a cheque for your creative projects, put it up on your fridge and manifest!

2.Reframe your money relationship

If you tell yourself your life is abundant then you might just end up attracting more money. This isn’t pie in the sky, for more motivation on earning money whilst doing what you love, check out ‘The Money Tree’ by Chris Guillebeau. Keep a ledger of your incomings and outgoings for the next 21 days (including direct debits). If there are things you don’t want to spend money on that you don’t have to, don’t.

3.Pie chart your creative income sources

Back in school we drew pie charts. Think of your creative life as a warm juicy cherry pie. Decide whether you are going to cut your pie into halves, quarters, sixes or sevens. Label your creative talents into pie portions and write down a monthly figure that your time is worth. Stick your pie chart on your fridge, alongside your cheque from the universe.

4.Develop a portfolio of creative outlets to help fund your projects

Once you’ve cut your pie, let the cherries ooze out. One of our founder collaborators is fluent in a second language and in lockdown has been tutoring via Zoom. Another member has been mentoring and coaching actors, soundproofed a cupboard and recorded an audio book. These are just some of the countless ways to get creative in ways that’ll reap rewards. If you play an instrument, can that be a slice of pie – piano lessons via zoom? Can you write for a magazine? Baking a creative pie is building your brand and showing you aren’t a one trick pony.  Get creative and don’t be shy about hustling for work and flaunting your skills.

5.Patreon your projects – it’s as easy as…pie

My dad’s an artist, always has been, always will be. Self taught, no posh art school diploma, his art was a product of hard graft, passion and grit. He painted whenever he could and built up a collection he exhibited in local art galleries. This created a fan base and demand drove commissions. A local hotel loved his work so much they filled it with his local watercolour paintings that adorn the walls today. It was hard to get creative work out there in those days, there was no social media, it was word of mouth worthiness. Today, it’s a piece of pie, so there is no reason not to be earning from your work (if you want to). All you need to do is get it out there and remember, money is applause!

Do you want to get paid for the art you are creating? Do you want to build a fan base for your work? If so, PATREON is a no brainer contestant for a slice of your pie!

In a nutshell, it’s a virtual shop/online channel to you and your creative projects. Supporters pay per post or creation, or on a monthly basis. You decide the frequency of your creations, whatever suits you. The other cool thing is you get to engage directly with your supporters. Unlike Kickstarter or Indiegogo, there is no end date, Patreon support is ongoing.

6.Crowdsource

Many members developing projects are eager to crowdsource but having not done it before don’t know where to start. On top of Patreon, you could do a one-off campaign to fund a social/creative movement, book or movie. There are many options – first off, do your homework, plan your campaign, think up rewards, shoot a short video on your phone, tell people about your project through social media, market the project and you’re ready, steady, GO!

Indiegogo – the preferred site of filmmakers. Current creative projects include writing and publishing, TV and web series, music, photography, film, comics (the list is endless).

Kickstarteras it’s all or nothing, the fees are lower than Indiegogo but there is a risk that you might not hit your goal. Another reason your marketing and social media campaign is critical to its success.

The key difference between these two platforms is that Indiegogo has a ‘flexible funding’ method so you get whatever amount you’ve raised (even if you don’t meet your goal). Kickstarter, is a ‘fixed funding’ site so if you don’t hit your goal you walk away with nothing. Remember that supporters are buying into ‘you’ so make your campaign as genuine and real as possible and deliver on your promises.

From experience, add a year to your timeframe. Creative projects take longer than you imagine and there are unexpected events like this year that you can’t foresee. Two years on, we are still editing Consequences (the novel that was one of our crowdfunding rewards). We will get it out to our backers (hopefully this year) but it has been later than planned and we really appreciate the patience of our supporters.

7.Apply for film grants, enter contests and seek charitable funding to support your work

Whilst many organisations have cut funding for the arts, some remain and you’ve got to be in it to win it. So, use this ‘indoor time’ to throw your creative hat into the ring. The BFI Fund remains. If you’re a screenwriter, The ISA has multiple contests, including the Emerging Screenwriter contest for TV pilots or features (deadline June 30th 2020). If you are telling stories that matter that reflect the issues of our time, you may be in with a chance. And, let’s remember, Film Festivals that can showcase your work like the Raindance Film Festival, established by Founder Partner, Elliot Grove.

On the theme of stories that matter, have a think about charities that might be interested in the work you are creating. If your film promotes diversity or mental health support then contact charities and ask how you might work together. If your goals merge, they might give you a mountain to shout from. Many creatives don’t get paid because people who might support them don’t know they exist. You are ‘real’ influencers, you have something to say through your creations, so it’s time to get on social media and give future generations someone to follow who can teach them something that matters.

8.Walls are tumbling down – send your work to publishers /industry and enter writing competitions

Publishers who were once closed to unrepresented writers are opening their doors to unsolicited manuscripts. You don’t need an agent to get noticed these days. Take advantage, knock on those virtual doors and submit your work.

If you’ve got any slices of pie left (are you hungry yet? I am) please offer one slice to writing competitions. There are so many out there. It’s fun, good practice and if you’re lucky you might be long or short listed or better still, win! Here’s a list of this year’s top writing competitions. Don’t be put off if they don’t bite, accolades are just applause and like marmite you’ll never be everyone’s cup of tea. Your pie is delicious whether you got paid for all of it or offered up a slice or two for free. And none of those ‘I don’t have time’ excuses, how many Netflix series have you watched this year?? Some writing contests are 100 words for micro fiction, check out Retreat West.

Conscious that many of you are keen to learn from industry professionals about how to finance your writing and movie projects, one of our favourite Film Producers and Writers, Ali Mashayekhi has accepted our invitation to the next Collab Writers’ meet-up on July 2nd to share his top tips on crowdfunding and tricks of the trade.

Tune in to hear Ali’s top tips on Thursday 2 July at 7pm BST. Till then, I’m off to bake and eat that delicious cherry pie…and I hope you will too.

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