Information and links on business plans, various contract samples, submitting quality work samples, and developing press lists along with samples releases and other tools.
A business plan allows you to set forth your goals on paper. It creates a map for your future and provides focus for your career. There are many different types of business plans and you can create your own by combining formats or borrowing a template from the web as a starting point.
All business plans address several key issues:
- What are my goals, both concrete and personal?
- How will I achieve those goals?
- What do I need to achieve those goals?
The simplest way to start your business plan is to create an outline and fill it in based on your own particular needs. For an artist, a business plan might include the following sections:
- A quick overview of your plan! Write this section after you are finished the entire plan.
- Who are you and why do you create what you create?
- Where do you want to go with your art? This can be personal (ie. I want to expand into cast pieces vs. blown glass) or concrete (ie. I want to see my work in 3 new spaces this year; I want to sell 10 works, etc.)
- How will you reach your goals?
- What kind of financial resources do you need to reach your goals? If making additional money is a goal, how much?
- How are you going to let people know about your work? What techniques are you going to use to promote yourself?
A business plan for an artist can be a very personal document. Conversely, you can adapt this format to a more business-like format if you are creating your plan for the sole purpose of securing funding to expand your business.
A multitude of resources exist for building a business plan and for thinking about your career as an artist. For a start, you may want to visit the US Government Small Business Administration site. It has a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan:
Artists Network has a primer on negotiating contracts and a sample outline.
Business in a Box has an Artist/Agent contract that you can fill in and print out from the site.
Docracy has an easy to use Design License Agreement Contract for artists.
Music Contracts 101 offers a template for those in the recording fields. It’s fairly involved, but should give you a good idea of what to look for in a contract.
Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation is pleased to offer these links as a service to our users. Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation takes no responsibility for any misinformation contained on the listed sites, and strongly suggests contacting someone with legal expertise before entering into any binding agreement.
A quality work sample is one of the most important advantages you can give yourself in the panel process. Wonderful applications have been undermined more than once by unsatisfactory work samples. In many instances, there is a large amount of material reviewed within a limited time frame – your work sample must be high quality and relevant to the proposed project/grant.
Here are some things to keep in mind when preparing work samples for panel submission:
- Images should show work – not background. No white sheets draped over chairs with your work propped up – no busy backgrounds – no shadows.
- Work should be current and representative.
- Digital images should be of the highest quality available to you. Generally, images of 1MB or higher produce excellent reproductions for viewing.
- Follow instructions for digital submission – make sure your image is the correct file type (jpeg, gif, eps, etc.), size, and is labeled according to the guidelines.
- Do not use promotional videos – they are generally not in-depth enough for panel review.
- Your sample should be shot in the highest quality available to you.
- Make sure the work can be seen. If the piece is generally dark, you may want to up the lighting for your work sample.
- Choose a sample that shows the breadth of your work in a limited time span. A piece that starts off slowly (i.e. 50 seconds of slow set-up before the actual dance piece begins) may not be the best choice for a one minute work sample. You can always ask for the piece to be shown from somewhere other than the start.
- The audio can be as important as the visual. If it is inaudible or patchy, it can reflect poorly on the sample.
- Your sample should be recorded in the highest quality available to you.
- Choose a sample that shows the breadth of your work in a limited time span.
- Be sure to indicate which track/where to begin when submitting your sample.
- If submitting electronically, make sure you are using the requested file type and that your pages are in order. Check your file to make sure it opens!
- If only X number of pages are requested, send ONLY X number of pages.
- Do not send photo-reduced copies of pages from publications; send original drafts instead. Samples should be easily readable.
- Be careful with your copies. Make sure the work is clean, the pages are in order, and the work is assembled in the manner indicated in the application materials if hard copies are requested (i.e. no 3-ring binders if the instructions say unbound.)