THE ARTIST ENTREPRENEUR: MAKING IT AS A PERFORMER BY MIREK HAMET

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Mirek Hamet of Eden Creative shares with us his top tips for making it as a performer. Mirek had the rare opportunity of working as a recruiter in the creative industry before launching his career in the arts with Eden Creative. Some of the big questions he delved into with our residents on Circus Island Nicaragua were..

WHAT ARE PEOPLE LOOKING FOR WHEN THEY’RE LOOKING AT AN ARTIST’S PROFILE? WHAT’S THE BEST APPROACH WHEN YOU WANT TO PROMOTE YOURSELF AS AN ARTIST? THE DEATH OF THE ARTIST AND THE BIRTH OF THE CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR

First of all, Mirek says that we need to shift the mindset of the “starving artist”. In the last 50 years the artist profession has evolved dramatically and we now see artists taking the reins for themselves. For the performer we must leverage the changes in the industry to discover how to represent ourselves and how to be our own agent.

It is widely considered that the market is saturated with artists. This is just not the case. There are a lot of demands for artists, the difference is that most artists are not applying for jobs. They are creating jobs. This means that we have to be entrepreneurs.

The way you market and brand yourself has to be as innovative/creative as the original work itself. The creativity has to breathe in every aspect of the artist’s business.

“WE CAN’T OPERATE IN SET CONVENTIONS AND EXPECT BREAKTHROUGH RESULTS.”
-JEAN-MARIE DRU

1. CREATING OPPORTUNITY

That’s right, the contemporary artist is not looking for gigs, they are creating their own opportunities. They are delivering something new to the market that did not previously exist. How?

Constant practice and sharing.
Create a constant flow of creativity and be religious about sharing it. If you wait to share your art until it’s finished, it’s too late. If your art is rendering graphics, then create a new one every day and post it to an instagram account dedicated to your art. Once you do that, then share it across all of your social media channels. If you are a flow artist, then take videos of you in flow and share them. Become known for your consistent stream of creativity towards your art.

Multiply exposure (virtual vs. real life)
You need to have a dual identity: your virtual identity and your real identity. Never underestimate the reach potential of your online persona.

A healthy portfolio.
Invest in a professional website. It does not have to be large or dynamic, but you need a professional link to a landing page that showcases some high quality images and video footage of your art. Period.

Become a leader in your field.
Make the effort to get seen and network with the right people in your field. Go to events, connect on social media and be an active member of the community.

Focus and diversify your activities.
In every moment ask yourself: how does this get better? How can you optimize every second of every day. Never become stagnant in your art.

Plant seeds.
Not only live and breathe your art, but consider how you can use it as a tool to deliver a message. What message do you want to send with your art? This will set you apart from the artist next to you.

2. INITIATE A DIALOGUE

About you.
Understand what makes you unique and build on it. Have your sales / elevator pitch ready so you can communicate to anyone in one paragraph what it is that you do, and back it up with photos, video and business cards.

About the other.
Listen to your client and go beyond to understand who they are and how you can contribute to their project. Keep the dialogue running both ways and tune into the power of seduction. Your client wants to build a partnership with you that will promote their own brand and identity. Cater to that.

Don’t be afraid to be BOLD.
Nobody cares about education or for how long you’ve been practicing. Recruiters want stories that resonate with what they are looking for. Be provocative and have at least one high quality photo on hand at all times.

Form a relationship.
Refrain from talking about money in your initial interactions. The relationship needs to be formed on vision and creative synergies. Money will come later. If a recruiter / promoter sniffs that you are just in it for the money, you will immediately diminish your chances. Promoters want to help you in your personal journey; share with them how they fit into that.

3. SEALING THE DEAL

Trust goes both ways.
Protect yourself with contracts. Always.

Contracts.
They can be informal conversations, messages, emails. They can also be boilerplate contracts or release forms. If you have communicated a deal by conversation, always take the time to write out a summary of the conversation and send it in writing.

Negotiate.
Make it your standard practice to negotiate everything. The difference between the artist who has off site  accommodations vs the one camping in the festival ground always boils down to the power of negotiation. You won’t receive what you don’t ask for. Pro Tip: Ask for 15% more than what you expect.

“SUCCESSFUL NEGOTIATION IS NOT ABOUT GETTING TO ‘YES’; IT’S ABOUT MASTERING ‘NO’
AND UNDERSTANDING WHAT THE PATH TO AN AGREEMENT IS.”
-CHRISTOPHER VOSS

Learn market values.
You don’t want to dilute your brand value. When you downgrade yourself, it brings everyone down.

Deposit.
Always take a partial payment prior to the gig. 50% prior, 50% after contract

Remember:

  • Only you can determine your value.
  • Understand your market (how much are the DJ’s paid?).
  • Payment for a gig is not limited to money.
  • Know what you want and when to negotiate.
  • Understand who has the biggest leverage; who wants the deal more?
  • Be aware of time and fatigue.
  • Always draft the first version of the agreement.
  • Be ready to walk away.
  • Don’t get hung up on one issue.
  • Get help if needed.

4. SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND.

Be generous.
PROMOTE before, during and after the event.

Be absolutely professional in every aspect.
This includes being autonomous, understanding the roles and the hierarchy of the production, being a role model and being above the crowd, but down to earth backstage.

Make the most out of your gig.
Bring your own photographer + videographer to capture the moment and always show you are an active performer.

5. MULTIPLY YOUR REVENUE STREAMS.

Become a teacher.
Host classes and workshops in your art. When people see you in your element, they want to follow suit. Show them the ropes.

Events are marketing for your product.
Everytime you are on stage, you are at your marketing peak. This is your chance to sell your clothing line, props, studio space, performance package, etc. Think how you can optimize every detail.

Get on Patreon.
If your art is unique and you gain a following, get on Patreon. This platform allows your community to show their support and help fund new projects in your art.

Continue to evolve.
Listen to your audience and evolve within your unique artist framework. Create experiences that go beyond your product.

 

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