Today it is my true delight to share with you a startlingly simple set of steps to unlock some hidden value in your art-making processes. After concluding this exercise, you will be well on your way to discovering brand-new revenue streams for your art, income which is tied directly and organically to your company's mission, all the while engaging and activating your audience in ways that should be satisfying for both artist and art-appreciator.
Answer the following, either as a solo artist or as part of a collective/organization: (Stolen Chair's answers in parenthesis)
- What are my "works of art"? (We make original works of theatre)
- What is unique about my artistic process? (We research our work exhaustively and develop our ideas collaboratively with an ensemble of performers, designers, and dramaturgs)
- What are 12 steps I take in the creation of my art? (Can't disclose all of these--trade secret! One thing we always do though is a movie night where we screen clips from thematically/aesthetically linked films)
- Which of these steps could be informally shared or formally presented for an audience/observer? (Our movie night is easily shareable. Oh, and we could make popcorn! Oh, make that truffle-sage-parmesan popcorn!)
- How much would it cost me to share this stage? (Well, we already have donated wine, a projector, and a screen and popcorn is cheap, so I guess it's just space rental and labor. Oh, and most of the labor has already been put into curating the films for my creative team)
- Who might be interested in this stage? (Definitely anyone curious about how Stolen Chair begins new plays. Also, I suppose, anyone interested in the specific themes and aesthetics of the specific project.)
- How can I reach these people? (I can definitely use our newsletter, Twitter, website, Facebook, etc. I can also target cultural partners invested in similar aesthetics and themes. Oh, I can also recruit some "boosters," Stolen Chair fans with wide social networks, both digital and live)
- What is the value of this stage to potential audiences? (I think that if I could attract the right people, they'd probably be willing to pay about $20 for the experience. Films, wine, food, and discussion. That seems like a fair price.)
- Are there other stages which I can share? (Yep. Repeat steps #4-8)
- Plot the results of step #9 on a calendar. Be realistic. (Oh, nifty: looks like we have an event approximately each month for 9 months, culminating in the first public performance of our show)
- Add up each iteration of step #8. Multiply times your expected audience. This is your projected income. ($8k. Not bad!)
- Add up each iteration of step #5. These are your projected expenses.
- Subtract #12 from #11. This is your project budget.
- Go make art. Repeat as necessary :)
If you wanna see how this all plays out in practice, join us for the launch of PlayGround 2011, Stolen Chair's Community Supported Theatre program. Nov 21. 7pm. Free wine. Gourmet themed snacks. And the earliest stages of one scrappy theatre company's theatrical process! All the info is at http://communitysupportedtheatre.org.
See you there!