ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN PERFORMING ARTS: LESSONS LEARNT
Allow me to revisit and remind you of some lessons I learnt on 20th of April 2012 at the POWO (Poets and Writers Online) meeting held at the Pawa254 offices. It was an open forum and had guests speakers such as John Sibi Okumu (Actor, Writer) Budha Blaze (Blogger, performing arts manger, Hiphop culture activist) Number 8 (Spoken word artist, journalist) Margaretta wa Gaceheru (Professor in sociology/media consultant, writer) and Wanjeri (poet and editor of the Up magazine). The meeting was a great initiative to help people in the arts industry and performing artist to understand the entrepreneur aspect and the business side of the arts.
First thing first, the speakers clearly stated that before you start thinking about the money in your art; create value for your art. What exactly is creating value? Creating value is perfecting your art by even gaining experience in your art. Most people think money, money, money and money first when doing their art. People don’t understand that Art is not a money-oriented business but rather a passion-oriented type of business. Do the art with a passion and that is creating value and when money comes, it will definitely come by you creating value. For instance, let us take an example of a small time upcoming actor by the name Mark who came into the acting industry because he wanted the money so much and luckily he landed his first acting job. In his first job, he demands to be paid Kshs. 2,000,000 upon signing the contract. That clearly does not make any sense at all. Why? Considering the fact that Mark is a small time actor where nobody knows him or even knows if he is good at his art. No producer would sign Mark because his demands are unrealistic and chances are he is not that good of an actor because he has no passion for the art.
Watch below video of Budha Blaze giving advice on business of art.
This brings about the second thing that was said by the speakers which is becoming a product. Your creative talent is an investment and its success is a process that requires patience, time and perfection. Some actors think that they can be overnight sensations and what most of them don’t understand is that one needs to crawl before walking and Rome was not built in one day.
Yes, our speakers spoke about creating value, but,does that mean we do our art pro-bono? Now onto another important aspect which performing artist fail to understand; Negotiation. When you have created your value and your product is of high quality, negotiate for your contract. Be realistic and don’t demand too much or too little that will make you go hungry. If you think you are not good when it comes to negotiation, get a manager who would do that for you and is on the look out for your best interest.
Watch below video of John Sibi Okumu spreading the gospel of money and art.
All this was just a nutshell of what happened at the POWO meeting and so much was shared such as how time is a precious item and if you do not act right away with your creative side, it slowly dies. So much was discussed and it was truly a meeting to remember as those who attended the meet up were dazzled by Spoken word from Number 8, informative discussion by John. Margaretta , budhablaze and wanjeri.
Please visit www.powo.co.ke for more information and look out for upcoming events from pawa254 hub geared for creatives.
Written by Mark Kaiyare
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