Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for August, 2009|Monthly archive page

American Arts Education Needs Change. (Audio Recording)

In Author: Jim Hart on August 31, 2009 at 12:36 am

Jim Hart, founder of The Hart Technique, proposes a new standard for arts education. This podcast was originally recorded July 14, 2009. James Hart (Jim), founder of The Hart Technique

American arts education is largely ALL arts technique and no REAL business technique. Our artists are trained to create works of art, but not to market and profit  from their creations. This standard in the American arts educational offerings leads to wide-spread under and unemployment. It is a system that dis empowers our artists and pushes them to rely on others for nearly all of their creative and professional opportunities. We need change.

Jim Hart

Listen to this AUDIO PODCAST 

Jim Hart is currently founding Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts, a full-time study in entrepreneurial arts training. ACPA will open doors in August of 2010 and will have a foundational philosophy in The Hart Technique. For more information, see

Where You Stumble, There Your Treasure Is.

In Author: Jim Hart on August 30, 2009 at 10:45 pm

I built a school in Oslo, Norway called The International Theatre Academy Norway, which begins its 6th year of operation this year. The school is entrepreneurial arts training for Theatre Artists.

One of the unique components of the school, and which I will incorporate into the new curriculum at Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts (ACPA), which opens in Austin in August of 2010, is that students build original projects, which they implement in the community, outside of the school environment. We push the students into the market and the develop a professional network, while still in school.Where You Stumble, There Your Treasure Is.

I would give students the assignment that they must create a one-person show. The stipulation? They could use NONE of the school’s resources and had to produce the work in a professional or semi-professional space, outside of the school and in the community. They would then have to:

•    Write it
•    Direct it
•    Produce it
•    Act in it
•    Budget
•    Fundraise
•    Allocate funds
•    Generate all resources necessary
•    Negotiate and sign contracts for space, technical needs, etc.
•    Market their show
•    Generate press via radio, papers or TV
•    And finally put butts in seats (who paid to view their show) and profit.

In brief, they had to be largely self-sufficient and had to stand on their own legs, creatively and professionally. They had to be the engines for their own creativity. You can imagine this assignment was both exhilarating and terrifying.

I would tell the students, “The point is not to be as brilliant as Ibsen, though that would be great if you are, though it is improbable that you will be. Genius comes with time. The point of this exercise is to complete it”.

Some excelled in their process. They not only went through it, but generated large audiences, a good deal of press and made a profit.

Others fell squarely on their faces.  They felt the bitterness of defeat and humiliation. In conventional thinking, they “failed”.

But did they?

The failure of these students was equal as a learning experience as those who succeeded. In fact, in some cases, I think those who failed, learned more than those who “succeeded”.  Experience is comprised not only from our success, but our character-building failures.

For most of us, our fear of failure and judgment is what most impedes our action.

We must accept that we cannot always win and that failure is inevitable.

If we don’t try with all of our effort, wits and energy, we will never know what our potential might be. If we allow ourselves to fail before we complete our effort—to fail at, “I am not as brilliant as Ibsen” or “I am going to look stupid” or “I can’t do this…because I have never done it before”, then we are destined for a different kind of failure. This kind of failure is a failure of spirit. It is a failure of imagination. It is a failure of not heeding the call to adventure. In this type of failure, the world will never know what potential we posses, for we have not allowed ourselves to discover and express it. This type of failure is worst kind of all, as it is a failure towards our selves, rather than a failure of accomplishment.

Failure towards our selves can eat at our confidence, spirit, and sense of self. It is a weakening failure.

Failure of accomplishment—of having tried our hardest and of coming up short, can serve as a foundation for learning. This type of failure is a positive failure and is a stepping-stone, upon which to stand, as we build our next endeavor.

The hero’s journey is not one of following paths; it is one of making paths. Sometimes the hero stumbles. If they give up on their adventure at hardship and go home, the direction from which they came, they are no heroes, in fact. To quote from myth and Joseph Campbell, “Where you stumble, there your treasure is”.

We must learn from our failures. We must use our failures and we must expect failure, to some degree.

The exercise I gave my students, of being more self-sufficient, of being the engines of their own creativity, had a far-reaching effect for most. The effect was the realization, the illumination of, “I did that. I can do that”. This is a hugely empowering realization, for when they realize that they can, they do.

Jim Hart is the founder of The International Theatre Academy Norway (TITAN Teaterskole), The Hart Technique and Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts (ACPA).  Jim Hart (James) can be contacted at  or

What is Takes to Succeed

In Author: David Cutler, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on August 30, 2009 at 2:28 am

What does it take to succeed as a professional?  This is a question I’ve posed to several groups of young (college age and emerging professionals) gifted artists from around the country. Some of the points they have identified include:

  • Talent
  • Excellence
  • Professionalism
  • Reliability
  • Dedication
  • Flexibility
  • Likeability
  • Networking
  • Luck
  • Passion
  • A solid plan
  • Determination
  • Time management
  • Versatility
  • A good resume
  • A website
  • Money

Each of the aspects above is indeed important. 

Now, just because they made our list doesn’t mean that everyone in the room was actively prioritizing them.  But, at the least, one of the attendees knew enough to submit the concept. Someone was at least contemplating the weight of these issues.

Far more interesting to me, however, are the absolutely critical aspects that failed to make the list.  This means not a single participant had even a peripheral awareness that these kinds of priorities would help them thrive.

  1. An entrepreneurial mindset.  The ability to problem solve and create opportunities.
  2. Creativity. To my great surprise, creativity is often omitted.  A creative approach impacts every aspect of your career: artistic, marketing, projects pursued, etc.
  3. A strong brand. A brand is much more than your name and logo.  It is the sum total of how others perceive what you do.  What makes you stand out from the pack, and how will potential clients know that?
  4. Risk taking. Many artists are terrified of failure.  They play it way too safe, buying into the myth that anything less than perfection reflects poorly upon them. Unfortunately, an overly safe approach often results with a failure of the largest order—artistic and professional goals. If you want success, be willing to fail.
  5. Financial literacy. Prospering financially doesn’t simply mean raking in piles of cash. Success requires a deep understanding of the money game—earning, spending, and saving.
  6. Research skills.  The most successful musicians do not constantly reinvent the wheel.  Instead they take advantage pre-existing resources. They establish relationships with mentors, embrace artistic modeling, follow helpful blogs, visit libraries, and devour relevant magazines/books.
  7. Internet savvy. Most artists understand that without a website they don’t exist, at least not in the eyes of the world.  But the Internet offers many other incredible opportunities through social networking, blogging, podcasting, viral sensations, etc. And it’s not enough to simply “do” these things.  You must find ways to use them strategically.
  8. An understanding and interest in the world. Only those who are engaged in the challenges, values, and realities of their communities are able to create products and services that resonate with others. Successful artists are relevant.
  9. Leadership. Those with the courage to lead will be rewarded with success on many levels.

Artists who aren’t even aware of these paramount issues operate with a severe handicap. They attempt to play the game, but don’t know the rules. Obviously, this makes the probability of success exceedingly difficult.

That’s why I’m calling (along with many fellow bloggers on this site) for a new breed of artist—one who thinks bigger and broader and deeper and harder. A savvy artist, if you will…


Visit for information about David Cutler’s book (now available!) The Savvy Musician: Building a Career, Earning a Living, & Making a Difference. It addresses the types of issues addressed here in great detail, along with many others.


A REEL Short Post

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton, Current Events on August 29, 2009 at 5:09 am

Greetings Friends and Neighbors,

Sometimes it’s fun to have a blog to just be able to share some good news and today I’m pleased to announce that Blue Damen Pictures is honored to be presenting our newest film “The Visionary” at the Chicago REEL Short Film Festival.

September 10-13, 2009 at College Row Cinema, Chicago, IL

We submitted our previous short film “Persephone” to Chicago REEL Short Film Festival two years ago  but we weren’t selected at the time so it is very exciting to be a part of this year’s festivities.

If you haven’t heard of Chicago REEL Short Film Festival before now, this is your chance to get in on the action. About one hundred short films will be screened in three days. Now THAT is entertainment that should satisfly even the shortest attention span and it’s only $20 for a weekend pass ($7 for an event ticket) which, these days, isn’t much more than a normal commercial movie ticket except you’re getting a whole weekend’s entertainment out of it!

For more information on the festival you can visit

For more information on the film “The Visionary” you can visit

7 Ways Potters Can Use Blogs

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Marketing, Money, Networking, WEBSITES & BLOGS on August 28, 2009 at 5:59 am

Musicians? Artists? Dancers? Actors? Film Makers? This post, 7 Ways Potters Can Use Blogs, that appeared today on Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship, will FILL YOU UP with ideas!potters

Thank you Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship GCCE for adding us as a link to your blog! What a terrific resource GCCE is for ETA readership.

Let me introduce myself

In Author: Linda Essig, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on August 28, 2009 at 1:18 am

Because this is my first posting on the entrepreneur-the-arts-blog I thought I would take up space this week with some introductory information. I also want to lay out some of the questions that keep me awake at night.

I’m a lighting designer, I’m an entrepreneur, I’m an educator, and I’m a researcher. There are other descriptors too, but they’re probably not relevant to this site! I smiled when in yesterday’s posting, Jim wrote “When I was active as an actor in New York, following graduation from Yale School of Drama,” because I date my own interest in entrepreneurship to “when I was an active lighting designer in New York, following graduation from New York University [then YSD’s main rival in theatre design education].” I probably didn’t even know what the word “entrepreneur” meant at that time (and who does now – but that for another day). What I did know was that I was creative, had ideas, and needed to get producers and directors to recognize me. In other words, I needed a launch, a boost, a kick in the pants to get me moving forward on a creative trajectory. Fast forward 25 years and that’s what I try to do as an educator: give smart creative young people a launch or a boost – and sometimes a kick in the pants – to get them moving forward in their creative lives.

In addition to directing a large interdisciplinary school, I lead ASU’s arts entrepreneurship initiative p.a.v.e. (the performing arts venture experience). The program includes a student arts-venture incubator. Funded in large part by a grant from the Kauffman Foundation, we’re able to provide creative students with that launch or boost that they need by providing seed money, mentorship, and office space. The first question that keeps me up at night is “What is the efficacy of this program over the long run?” Now in its third year, we’re seeing some positive results, as well as some enterprises that have failed to meet their potential. Thus, I wonder too, “How does the efficacy of this program compare to that of other arts venture incubators?” This latter is the subject of my next research project, so if you have benefitted from an arts venture incubator, I would be really interested in hearing from you.

The really big questions that keep me up at night are about public funding for the arts. I’m really intrigued by libertarian (my description) economist Tyler Cowen’s call for an arts agency that can “offer support to individual artists on a relatively arbitrary and indiscriminate basis” with far less accountability than the NEA has now. He even writes “Direct subsidies have worked best when accountability is absent.” (both quotes are from Cowen, Tyler (2006) “Good and Plenty” Princeton University Press, p. 134)

Here are a few other questions (it’s a miracle I sleep at all):
Is some artmaking fundamentally incongruous with environmental sustainability?
Can one teach “innovation?”
How does environment and geography affect arts entrepreneurship?
How can we get students more engaged in (arts) entrepreneurial activities?
Does the traditional definition of “entrepreneur” really fit the arts?
Is there a “right balance” between the new and the traditional?

That’s enough for now. As I consider these and other questions related to entrepreneurship and the arts, I’ll share my thoughts with you. I’m sure I won’t have any definite answers, but the musings will hopefully be interesting.

Ten Steps to Finding your Artistic Voice.

In Author: Jim Hart on August 26, 2009 at 6:14 pm

Ten Steps to Finding your Voice.

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves”. — Carl Jung.

This is such a wonderful quote and is one of the keys towards finding ones voice as an artist.

Many artists fall into the trap of either imitating their favorite artists (attempting to serve as a cheap imitation of greatness) or by sticking too fast to their technique training they received in school. Remember that programs (meaning institutions educational offerings) do what they are called. They “program” students. It is very easy for artists to take the technique their teachers offer and become dogmatic about it, as though they have “found the answer”. Artists need to be careful that they do not fall into the trap of being “cookie cutter”.

When I was active as an actor in New York, following graduation from Yale School of Drama, I could easily tell which actors graduated from Yale, which from Juilliard and which from NYU. This is because the actors were products of their learning…of their programming and often behaved in relatively typical fashions. To the trained eye, it was easy to see.

Prior to going to graduate school, I was told by a friend and respected actor to be careful. He said, “Do not let them iron out what makes you unique”. I did not understand what he meant at the time, but view that advice now as sage.

Finding ones voice means finding ones own technique and aesthetic. An artist’s job is to experience technique as one would a buffet. Try everything. If it tastes good, swallow it. If it is not right for you, spit it out. What is ultimately your technique should be what works for you, personally. If you are like most artists of innovation, this technique will be a patchwork of many influences–not just one approach of one or two institutions.

Technique is just a means to and end. Technique is simply a series of tools that generate a result. Certainly, technique liberates art and the more talent one has, the more technique one needs. But, technique is meant to be learned and then forgotten. The function of technique is to give an artist a starting point and then a sense of freedom. It can also serve as a fallback measure when all efforts seem to be failing in the creative process.

I have no regrets about my educational choices and would likely repeat them, if the opportunity arose in another lifetime. But, it has taken me years to get away from my “programming” and to find my unique voice.

Encouraging artists to find their voice and making such practice a key element of training needs to become standard offering in arts education. Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts will do this.

How does one find their unique voice? Well, one won’t find it in most educational environments. It requires experimentation, personal meditation and assessment and can only be discovered by the artist themselves.

Here are some tips I have found useful in discovering my own voice, which I would like to share.

  1. What do YOU love? As Jung said, “The creative mind plays with the objects it loves”. Don’t approach answering this question, based on what you think you SHOULD love. What do you, personally, love? Joseph Campbell, the famed mythologist, would call this your “bliss” and he would encourage you to “Follow your bliss”. What do you most like to think about? What gives you joy? What ideas do you like to play with? What thoughts cause you to lose track of time?

  2. Be who you wish to seem. What type of artist do you want to be? What audience will you serve? What will your medium be? Will you be politically oriented? Will you dedicate your energy to the classics? Will you serve as a bold visionary?

  3. Make Choices. The blank canvas and the sheer number of choices available overwhelm many artists. Just make choices. You can always change them later. Make a choice and then make another and then another, etc.

  4. Know your history. Unless you know what has been done in the past, you are likely ignorantly imitating forms of past and present. If you know what has been done, you know if you are doing something new.

  5. Surrender a need to be “right” and “good”. Ibsen was not “Ibsen”, prior to years and years of personal development. Greatness comes with time. Give yourself time. Remember:  There is no right and there is no wrong. There is only what you create. What you create today will likely be different from what you create tomorrow. So, forgive yourself if you appear to be an ugly duckling at first. Most first efforts are not products of genius.

  6. Steal from greatness. Nobody creates on an island. We are each products of experience and external influence. There is nothing truly original and all ideas are a mixture of other people’s ideas, whether we consciously realize it or not. So, if you see your heroes doing something stunningly effective and you would like to play with that idea, choice or medium, do it. Who are your heroes? What about them inspires you? If you are into a particular artist, what about that artist makes your heart race? Be specific. Make note.

  7. Have courage. Most peoples social programming (what they have been taught is right and wrong, their social values and what they are told to do and think they “should” be doing) gets in the way of freedom of expression. We need to access our stream of creative impulses (as crazy, dark, weird or foreign as they may be) and to follow those without fear or judgment. Don’t judge your choices, as this is a form of self-censorship and does not lead to artistic freedom.

  8. Synthesize your interests. Do you have numerous interests and talents? Do you find you struggle to dedicate your energies in just one area, which causes you to neglect your other interests or passions? Find ways to synthesize those varied interests. In doing so, you will feel more whole as an artist and person.

  9. Play with your ideas, as a child plays with a new toy. Experiment. Jump off the cliff and see what your ideas generate. But, if you are truly experimenting, know what the experiment is and use a scientific-type structure. Otherwise, you are just “playing experiment”.

  10. Allow your freak flag to fly. New ideas are typically, at least at first, rejected by the general populace. The more innovative and different the idea, the more rejection the creator will likely receive…until it is proven successful. Then the idea will be embraced by all as common sense.

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. —  Arthur Schopenhauer

Finding your unique expression, form, medium or aesthetic as an artist will lead towards greater originality, potential innovation, potential happiness and artistic satisfaction. More importantly, you just might contribute towards your culture and cultural forms in profound ways.

Summary: Cast off the cookie cutter programming and embrace the Freaky Flag.

Jim Hart is the founder of Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts, The Hart Technique and The International Theatre Academy Norway.

To contact Hart, email him at

Fear Makes the Wolf Bigger than He Is.

In Author: Jim Hart on August 25, 2009 at 9:32 am

“Fear Makes the Wolf Bigger than He Is”.

This old German proverb hits the nail on the head.

Fear is the great “mind number”. This emotion, more often than not, is the greatest obstacle that prevents us from achieving our goals, dreams and potential. What this means is that our downfall or lack of success is largely of our own making and, thus, within our own control.

Overcoming of fear is what the Mythic Structure of the Journey of the Hero is about–or rather, Fear and Doubt. But really, just fear, as doubt is a derivative of fear.

The fear we often anticipate, when encountering new experience, is almost always greater than the peril the actual experience brings. In brief, we can work ourselves into a tizzy, fearing the unknown and “what might happen”. Our imaginations create monsters under the bed and in the closet. But as adults, we know that those monsters and wolves are not really there. They are self-generated.

Here is a question for you:  In beginning a process of change, when you feel fear, what is it that you are afraid of?

If you are like most, it is the UNKNOWN. But let’s think about this for a minute. Do you ever really know what is going to happen next? If you live a predictable life, you can predict what is to happen next (and sometimes even with some certainty), but you never really know. Life is a mystery. The other thing that most people fall into the trap of, is fearing failure, embarrassment, humiliation. These words translate to mean JUDGEMENT. People will always judge–for good or bad and such judgements we have no control over. Besides, is that a valid reason for surrendering dreams and potential? Fear of the unknown (which is life) and judgement (which is inevitable)?

Letting other peoples’ judgement affect our actions is a giving over of our own power and authority to others. Why should they have that sort of authority? We each have the potential to be the makers of our own destinies and are each far more powerful than most of us even realize.

How do we overcome our fear? Experience.

Experience brings perspective and knowledge.

How do we gain experience, even though our hearts race with fear and our fight or flight mechanism is saying, “Run”?      Here it is:    Just keep going.  Go through the experience.  Allow the fear to be present and just keep going.

When we enter a spook house during the Halloween season, we are confronted with all sorts of intense stimuli. People jump out at us, we see scary sites, our fight or flight mechanism is engaged, etc. But as any person who has been to such a horror house knows, if you just keep going forward, you inevitably exit out of the house and into the cool night air, away from the illusion of mayhem.

The trick is to not just stand in place in a state of shock or to retreat to supposed safety (away from our destination or goal), but to keep going forward, putting one foot in front of the other.

Entrepreneurial Arts Training teaches artists how to succeed, despite overwhelming obstacles and teaches, via experience, how to overcome our greatest obstacle of all–our self-imposed fears and the obstacles we create for ourselves.

Jim Hart is the founder of The Hart Technique and Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts (ACPA). In the autumn of 2010, ACPA will open doors in Austin, TX. To learn more about the educational offerings, contact Hart at

Finding Your Sweet Spot

In Author: Adam Shames on August 23, 2009 at 9:24 am

“I believe it is essential that each of us find his or her Element, not simply because it will make us more fulfilled but because, as the world evolves, the very future of our communitieis and institutions will depend on it.” ~Ken Robinson

One of the goals of my work is to help you develop your originality, an essential competency of creativity, and bring it out into the world in fulfilling and valuable ways. Ideally, we would all discover our true calling–that which most reflects who we are and what we enjoy offering–and spend more of our life engaged in its pursuit.

I like to think of this as finding your “sweet spot”–which comes down to actual moments or activities during which you are most deeply and creatively engaged. Sir Ken Robinson in his new book calls this your “Element,” “the meeting point between natural aptitude and personal passion.” As I’ve described previously, choreographer Twyla Tharp calls this discovering your “Creative DNA,” and researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls this, in the moment, “Flow.” These different perspectives all help inspire and clarify.

I see the sweet spot of engagement depending on three different components, shown below, which I draw in part from Teresa Amabile’s Componential Theory of Creativity. To be in our sweet spot (marked in yellow), we do need some level of knowledge and skills and past experience of a certain subject or activity. We call this “domain” skills and knowledge. But skills are different from our “natural” talents and intelligences and creative capacities–we can build our skills in sewing, for example, by practice, but if our natural hand-eye coordination is weak, then we’re unlikely to find the sweet spot.

Finally is our own motivation. Being intrinsically motivated–driven by deep interest and involvement in the task/activity, by curiosity, enjoyment, self-expression or personal sense of challenge (rather than being extrinsically motivated by money or another person or a deadline)–is perhaps the most important determinant in finding our sweet spot. Research has shown, Amabile confirmed recently to me, that motivation at work that is primarily intrinsic results in higher productivity and increased creativity compared to a motivation that is primarily extrinsic.

So the great challenge in life should be to get to that sweet intersection, where we are internally motivated to use our natural talents and develop the skills and knowledge necessary to make an impact on the world. Go do it.

200 Resumes, $1200 dollars

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creative Support, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Marketing, Theater/Film on August 22, 2009 at 8:25 pm

For those of you who might remember, back last March, with the help of a number of supportive individuals and their businesses, a set was designed to interview and video tape artistic entrepreneurs for the new ETA website.

Since then, much to my dismay, there was a breakdown in communication between the video editor who agreed to do the editing for admittedly very low pay and myself. As everyone else on this project had donated their time, but in recognition of the fact that the editing is the most time consuming, I was offering the editor free press at the beginning of each interview, and $200.00 an edit.

So of course, as you can image, the main issue that surfaced between us was that individual changed their mind about the amount of money they would accept for editing each interview. I could not pay enough for this individual and so while we parted ways, I also became overwhelmed working on the ETA website and put the project on pause.

Well, needless to say, it’s is time to get this project up and running. So, just the other day I finished transcribing the first interview, edited it down into its essential ingredients for viewers, and then ran an ad in a local paper in search of an editor.

Here is what my ad said:

NEEDED: Someone overqualified, affordable and available to edit six interviews for $150-200 an interview for a website series on arts entrepreneurship. The footage is about an hour’s worth and we need it edited into 20 minute interviews. Speed, good communication skills and a willingness to do good work matter- All for low pay! But help us anyway because you believe in our mission.

Your name and contact info can appear at the beginning and end of each video. We have over 1000 readers daily and growing…

Three minutes after I payed my $25.00 to post the ad, and hit send, I had 4 replies. In the next hour I had 25. Within 8 hours I have had over 200 responses! And..gulp.. it has only been 24 hours. I fear how many more I am going to get.

But, so far over 200 individuals with film editing experience, in the Chicago market alone, or near vicinity, are willing to edit 6 interviews for $200.00 apiece.


I consider this REALLY low pay! These videos can take 15 to 20 hours each, EASILY to make look great.

While I wish, for the sake of these artists, I could pay more, I can’t. Nor does it make sense to when the market will bear my price– easily.

What has been really interesting about this experience is my ad clearly stated to the reader I was looking for someone who believed in what we were trying to accomplish. Of the 200 who replied not a single one directly said- “I get it. I understand what you are trying to accomplish and here is why I can help you better than anyone else.” A few hinted at it- but no one out right came out and said it.

So, in essence, not a single one of the responses I received really stood out. Most of them did not even have or offer a film reel, and those who did often had dead links to them or a security password on it that they did not share. Others wrote the email to ” Whom it May Concern,” when finding my first name would have taken about a minute, and others did not even write in full sentences or wrote a novel instead of a clear 5-7 sentences about who they were and why I should hire them.

If you don’t know it by now, let me remind you:

People don’t have time to read! The average person spends 96 seconds on a blog reading and even less when reading a resume. People will, however, keep reading if you have captured their interest.

You have to capture someone’s attention quickly in a cover letter of introduction– the first sentence. Then they will read the second and the third. And by the fifth they better be ready to pick up the phone or hit send and reply. This is especially true for me– having to open 200 email responses for a job that pay $1200.00!

I did, however, get some EXTRAORDINARILY QUALIFIED responses. But considering 73 of them were technically qualified (they had the gear and editing skills required for the job), I find it pretty interesting that only 4 were worth my time. Those 4 had clear professional writing, used my first name, and offered compelling reasons why they could do the job. One even figured out I was located in close proximity. Of course these individuals are the one’s I am most interested in.

Of the 200 responses, 103 were unemployed recent graduates from film schools, 73 have been working freelance and are out of work, 12 owned businesses that were established, and the remainder had related experience to film, but not directly as an editor.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I see a long line, for anything, my first thought is ” There must be another way around it.” I usually find a way around it too because of my entrepreneurial training and experience.

What about you?

Putting the Pro in Procrastination

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton on August 22, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Step 1. Make a to do list

Break big projects into little tasks and include some dumb items like “clear off work space” and “gather materials” so that you have some things that you can be sure to accomplish in one day. The point of this step is to show exactly what needs to be done and to give a sense of how much progress is made along the way.

Step 2. Set a time limit.

On bigger tasks that are going to take up several hours, rather than trying to do it all at once and losing focus, set a time limit for how long you will work on it. An hour is a good measure- long enough to accomplish something but not so long that you’ll pass out from hunger. The point of this step is to give yourself a goal unrelated to the project to help slog through the times when you feel like you’re not making much progress.

Step 3. Get started right now.

Not after dinner, not after a TV show, not once the sun goes down. Get started right now. The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. It isn’t hard, you just have to do it. Be like Nike: Just do it.

Step 4. Don’t move your butt from your seat until time is up.

If you’re prone to procrastinating you’ll start work and begin to feel hungry. Or sleepy. Or like it is really important to alphabetize those DVD’s. That’s fine. The best way to fight the urge to procrastinate is to put it off. You can have a snack in an hour- you won’t die of hunger. You can take a nap when the clock says 6:00- you can stay awake that long. You can alphabetize those DVD’s fifteen minutes from now when you’re done working. (Be sure to go to the bathroom before getting started.) The point of this step is to keep the urge to procrastinate from becoming overwealming. Just like dieting; the more you tell yourself to avoid donuts the more you want one, but if you tell yourself you can have a donut in 15 minutes you can usually wait that long.

Step 5. When time is up, set a time limit for how long your break will be.

Ok you’ve worked for an hour. You deserve a break and you should take one- but figure out how long it is going to be and stick with it. 15 minutes for a snack? 20 minutes for a power nap? A quick half hour television show? Fine. Set a timer and put it WAAAAAY across the room so that you have to get up to turn it off. And while you’re up, now is the time to get back to your To Do list.

Step 6. Take a break.

All work and no play make everyone want to procrastinate. Take a break and don’t fill it up with work. In fact, put “take a break” on your to do list so you can cross it off. Getting away from the work helps you feel refreshed when you get back to it. The point of this step is to give in a little bit to those urges that otherwise cause you to procrastinate: eating/sleeping/relaxing.

Repeat as necessary.

Create Your Niche.

In Author: Jim Hart, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on August 22, 2009 at 1:20 am

Create Your Niche.

Our American culture worships celebrities and many young artists have celebrity as their primary goal, in way of career aspirations.

This commercial path is a valid path, but achieving sustainable success via this path, is like winning the lottery. People do win the lottery, but very few do and even fewer win an amount of any sizable worth.

One would be considered foolish if they put the majority of their earnings into lottery tickets, in the hope of getting rich. Why do so many artists do the same with their careers and energies? Many, I would argue, do not realize what potential exists, in way of career opportunities and how many ways there are of making sustainable income. In playing the celebrity lottery, a huge amount of artists get stuck in having to have survival jobs—like waiting tables, temping, cleaning apartments, etc. As we only have so much energy and time in the course of a day, these artists lose valuable energy and resources, as they are tied up in paths that have nothing to do with being a creative artist.

The problem lies in part with our culture (and its insatiable hunger for all things shiny) and in part with our educational institutions. Many of our schools are selling celebrity potential in their marketing. In the case of theatre, just open any copy of American Theatre Magazine and look at the school advertisements. There, you will see many schools, projecting a message that “we produce stars too”, regardless of how few stars the school has actually produced over the years and regardless of how the extreme majority of graduates never reach such status.

When artists are putting the bulk of their creative energies towards becoming famous or becoming a celebrity, their primary focus is on themselves. The audience they are serving is that of one. Who benefits? If the artist is working, they do and if the work they do is good, the audience or view does. If not, no person benefits from his or her energies.

If one has a principle focus of serving others and one’s audience is their community and its needs, then the community benefits from the artists’ energies (regardless of whether or not the artist achieves their goals, as they are in the act of “fighting the good fight”) and in serving the communities’ needs, the artist increases their chances of making a livable wage. Why? Because the artist is responding to a need and when one works towards filling a need, one increases their chances of making a living.

My goal as an educator is to do just that–to increase artists’ chances of making a living, to give students a competitive advantage. Entrepreneurial Arts Training, such as is offered via The Hart Technique and Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts, both do this.

The best way to increase one’s chances of making a living is to perceive gaps in community cultural offerings and to work to fill those. In filling those gaps, one has the potential to create a niche. In creating a niche for oneself, one dramatically increases their chances of making a living and of achieving a sustainable creative income.

James Hart is the founder of The Hart Technique and Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts (a new professional conservatory with a primary focus of Entrepreneurial Arts Training).

The Institute For Arts Entrepreneurship- Opening Fall 2010!

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Marketing, Money, Music, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on August 21, 2009 at 11:07 pm

InstArtsEntrep_BoldIn the fall of 2010 The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship will open at 3020 N Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.

As an independent but collaborative effort with Jim Hart’s Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts, IAE will be devoted to the development of the artist as entrepreneur.

Lead by my vision and passion, The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship will be seeking applicants from any artistic discipline. Requirements for enrollment will be a minimum of a 4 year degree–a bachelors degree– in an artistic discipline. The program will be a two year program that is focused on artistic venture creation and servant leadership. It will begin as a school in the fall of 2010 with full accreditation. Auditions will begin February/March of 2010 for all interested applicants.

For more information about enrollment or if you are interested in partnering with either Jim Hart or myself, in some way, please email me.

Batteries Included

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Music, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on August 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm


While there are lots of ways to feel like your batteries are super charged in life, I think the only one that really works is following your heart.

Unlike your camera, computer, watch, or the clock you own that needs batteries to run, you are self-empowered and come with a life long battery included.

You see your heart never needs a new battery to super charge your life. Nor does it need the thrill of riding on a mechanical horse, or zooming around on the wings of a battery powered bug, or the jolt of a pill to get your juices flowing.

If you think you need any of those things to jump-start your life, your taking your one ever-lasting battery for granted. Don’t do that. It won’t stay super charged anyway for very long if you do, unless you give it the energy it really needs by fueling your life with passion.

Yeah, I know. We have talked about this a few times before: passionate pursuits are never easy. It sounds great to pursuit what you love, doesn’t it, until you find yourself riddled with moments that don’t seem passionate at all- times when you simply are grateful you do come with a battery included so you can just keep on running.

Sure we all have moments like these on the road to our adventure. But keep your eye on your vision, pursue your passions, sleigh your dragons anyway, beat back the bushes with your home made machete, and be the first to walk where only your dream can see.

After all, this is why you do come with batteries included…

Contestant #2 Donna Kemmetmueller

In ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, The Entrepreneurial Artist Competition on August 21, 2009 at 7:23 am

Entry to the Entrepreneurial Artist Competition, Round II

“Are you going to be an artist when you grow up?” I remember distinctly these words, spoken to me by a classmate in the first grade as we hung our crayon self-portraits on the wall of the classroom.

Art has always played an important role in my life…

As a child, my mother instilled in my siblings and me the value of creativity, and led us in play that was dependent upon our imaginations. During my teen years, I began to explore and develop skills in fine art and craft, and opted to study art at the university level. As a form of human expression, art fascinated me, it helped me to better know myself, and it linked me to others. I discovered that its capacity to evoke powerful emotions – from a calm stillness elicited from the beautiful, to a shudder at injustice conveyed — make art a powerful tool. I learned and experienced personally that those who come to ponder a work of art bring with them portions of themselves that contribute to its interpretation and meaning. As I grew, so did my appreciation for the richness of art, this creative expression that has always played an important role in my life…

…As has community.

My hopes of communicating goodness and a message of hope in a broad way were cultivated in the various positions to which I was assigned during a period spent in a religious community of Catholic sisters. Working in the design department of a publishing house owned and operated by the sisters allowed me to apply and build upon the skills of my education. As a graphic designer, I communicated with other artists from across the country to formulate a message that was distributed just as widely through the printed material. Connected to these artists and to the members of the religious community, my creativity was engaged in complementing the editorial text and communicating visually its message. As a team, the sisters, other artists and I, worked to reach out to the broader community with images and words that inspired faith and hope, justice and peace. I realized that my creativity, in this role that ignited my passion to serve the broader community, is a great source of energy that makes me happy and alive. Its force comes from within, and from beyond, the source of Life itself.

In my current job I am connected to local artists that are striving to build and maintain creative and viable businesses. Their eagerness to contribute their treasures to the community, not without personal risk, have attracted my attention, as have their struggles to survive financially. Realizing the mutual benefit art is to artists and to the general public, I have begun seeking a way to be a bridge between these two worlds.

I have an idea…


I’ve started job searching. Currently, I am looking for a company or organization that helps artists be creative with their marketing, while assisting corporations in expanding their markets to a broader portion of the population: art, with its innate capacity to connect people in human experience, is a powerful marketing tool! My graphic design skills, backed by a degree in fine art, are a toolbox with which I will serve my community. I will put my design skills to work for the cause of bridging the artist world and the general public. I present here my business idea, springboard to a potential career.

Here is my plan: with business training provided by a community organization in my area, I will develop a business plan that articulates my mission of bridging local artists and the broader community. I will explore areas of the market within which each artist I work for would like to expand, and seek out companies that wish to expand their markets with the nuances of creativity. I will offer marketing packages to local artists: a survey of what artists need will come first, as well as free services for a few artist friends in exchange for the time given to help me develop my business. I will imagine and assess potential areas for artistic contribution in the corporate world: marketing divisions of companies will be targeted with proposals to integrate local artistry into product lines and services. Appreciating the value and importance of those on both “shores,” I will work as a bridge builder between them, connecting the artist world and the corporate world with my own artistic and creative skills. This is my idea…

…And I could really use some help.

My business is still in idea form. I hope to deepen my connections in the artistic world, and form relationships within the corporate world so to be an effective bridge that truly supports an exchange of mutual benefit. In the process, I intend to develop a business that is affordable for local artists, attractive to corporations, and self-sustaining – so as not to fall prey to the very thing (financial struggle) it intends to work against. The resources (prizes) awarded to the winning contestant are a dream opportunity that would allow me to bound ahead with my entrepreneurial venture.

Art and community are positive and powerful themes in my life, and I believe this business idea is a logical result of my desire to be engaged in both. If you agree that the work of such a business venture is important and needed, I welcome your comments, ideas, and assistance. In developing the business skills necessary to reach my goal, for the benefit of artists and the broader community alike, I am certain that I, too, will enjoy a mutual benefit.

Written by Donna Kemmetmueller

Average Student, Entrepreneurial Student

In Author: David Cutler, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on August 21, 2009 at 6:59 am

School is back in session! If you’re a student, consider your own approach to education. Which type are you—an average student or an entrepreneurial one?

An average student believes:

An entrepreneurial student understands:

School is preparation for their career.  School is an early phase of their career.
Music school is in charge of what they will learn. Learners create their own education.
Good grades are the goals of education.  Good knowledge is the goal of education.
The most talented and accomplished musicians will be the most successful ones.  Creativity, interpersonal skills, work ethics, and the willingness to take chances are just as important indicators of success, often more.
School will teach them the important answers.  School can help them figure out the important questions.
Curriculum represents a series of hoops to jump through. Curriculum represents a series of opportunities for growth and the development of skills.
The curriculum has far too many requirements. The curriculum has far too few requirements.
Studies should focus on developing strengths.  Addressing weaknesses is equally important.
School will help shape their personal identity.  The importance of actively shaping the school’s identity as well.
Professors are solely teachers.  Professors will also be future connections, colleagues, and friends.
Classmates are merely other members of their class. Classmates will become some of the most important relationships imaginable.
Rules must be followed at all costs. 


While breaking rules always has consequences, every true visionary has broken rules.


David Cutler balances a varied career as a jazz and classical pianist, composer, arranger, educator, and conductor.  Visit for information about his book (now available!) The Savvy Musician: Building a Career, Earning a Living, & Making a Difference, a Resource Center with 1000+links, and much more.

ETA Competition Deadline Extended

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Artist Contest Contestants, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on August 20, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Ok, So we have extended the deadline for the ETA Competition to December 31st, 2009, Midnight.

There is now almost 1000 of you reading this blog daily and only ONE of you, so far, is brave enough to share what is in your heart? Don’t you want FREE help and national exposure to bring your ideas to life?

We want YOUR entry to be the winning one but we can’t give you the prize unless you enter. So WHERE ARE YOU??

What’s your E.T.A. to join our tribe?

Learn more about the competition

Read Eli Epstein’s winning entry from Round I

Read all of the entries from Round I

Write your Entry! Hurry up! It’s ONLY 1000 words or less. Have a little faith in yourself and share your ideas with us.

Rodney Hatfield, Artist- His Story

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Leadership, Music, Risk, The Idea on August 20, 2009 at 3:05 am

"The Girl from Someplace Else"
I love Rodney Hatfield. I bought one of his paintings when I was in Santa Fe this past spring at my favorite gallery- Selby Fleetwood. His work, The Girl From Someplace Else, hangs over my desk and I just love her binocular view. She is my entrepreneurial gal- always looking for opportunity through the multi- lenses she sees through…

Here is a link to a video about Rodney’s story. Check it out. You’ll like it.

Want to Become a Teaching Artist? Here is your chance!

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on August 19, 2009 at 12:09 am

15Community~Word Project is currently accepting applications for our 2009-10 Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program (TATIP). This is our 10th year of offering this comprehensive professional development and internship opportunity to teaching artists of all art forms and experience levels. We offer three levels of training, an Advanced Level for artists who have been teaching their art form for at least two years, a New and Beginning Level for artists and MFA students that are newer to the field, and an Undergraduate Level for artists who are currently enrolled in an undergrad program.

The applications are due September 21st, so there’s still plenty of time to apply. Please visit our website for an overview of the program or to download the applications:

CWP’s Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program

Please feel free to forward this information out to any interested parties.

Community~Word Project’s Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program (TATIP) for the 2009-20010 School Year
Would you like to have the opportunity to:

~ gain the skills to be paid to teach your art form to students in public school settings?

~ learn how to transform your creative practice into teaching tools to integrate the arts into the public school curriculum?

~ experience first-hand how the arts can be integrated into public school classrooms through our internship program?

~ join a community of artists that are interested in using their creative skills to reach out to underserved youth in NYC public schools?
We are pleased to announce the 10th year of TATIP, which offers practicing artists and MFA students the opportunity to transform their creative process into teaching tools to integrate the arts into the public school curriculum. Through this program, participants gain skills that enable them to reach out to underserved youth while gaining experience in NYC classrooms.

This training gives participants the opportunity to identify and explore their own creative and thinking processes and then to transform these processes into effective teaching tools. These tools become the foundation from which one can build and implement a meaningful curriculum. Throughout the training, participants will gain real-life classroom experience through our internship program as they assist experienced Community~Word Project teaching artists.

*PLEASE NOTE: There is a $75.00 tuition contribution fee payable upon acceptance to the program. Scholarships will be available; details and procedure for requesting scholarships will be forthcoming with notice of acceptance.

Application Deadline: Monday September 21, 2009 10:00am

The application is due September 21, 2009 and can be downloaded directly from our website.
Early applications are encouraged. Applications must be received in full by the deadline in order to be considered. Late or incomplete materials will not be accepted.

There are three levels of training offered; one for beginning and new teaching artists, one for advanced teaching artists that have at least two years experience working with underserved youth in the public school environment, and also an undergraduate level for individuals currently enrolled in an undergrad program. Applicants will be notified of acceptance before September 25. Please view the “Frequently Asked Questions About TATIP” document on our website for more information, or contact us with any questions about the applications or TATIP.

Program Breakdown

New and Beginning Level
~ The Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program (Beginning and New Level) begins in October 2009 and goes through June 2010. It begins with a mandatory five-day institute (five Saturdays; October 10, October 24, November 7, December 5 and December 12 – ALL DAYS 10am-4pm) that will focus on transforming your creative process into educational tools, developing innovative teaching methods, discovering how to integrate arts learning into public school curricula, exploring classroom management skills and developing arts-based exercises for elementary, middle and high school public school students. The institute is based on Community~Word’s creative process exploration methods, teaching methods and philosophies.

~ The institute is followed by five mandatory monthly two-hour evening seminars (January-June, dates TBA) that focus on reflecting on your experiences and development as a teaching artist, and further preparing for the classroom.

~ Throughout the Training and Internship Program you will gain hands-on teaching experience by joining Community~Word teaching artists in classroom residencies. From November to May, trainees commit to observing and assisting in a CWP residency classroom for one weekly session (45 -60 minutes long) for a minimum of eighteen weeks. Most of our residencies take place during school hours (M-F, 8am-2pm) in NYC public schools in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan. Please know that internship assignments will not be determined until the middle of October 2009 when we are able to coordinate with our partnering schools and programs.

~ The training is open to creative writers, visual artists, media artists, theater artists, dancers and musicians who are enrolled in an MFA program AND/OR are practicing professional artists.

Advanced Level

We also offer an Advanced program for experienced teaching artists. To be considered for the Advanced Training you must have at least two years experience as a Teaching Artist (teaching your art form) with underserved youth.

~ The Advanced Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program takes place between October 2009 and May 2010. It begins with a mandatory three-day institute (three Saturdays; October 10, October 24, November 14 – ALL DAYS 10am-4pm). The institute is a condensed version of the five seminars of the New and Beginning Level program and is based on Community~Word’s creative process exploration methods, teaching methods and philosophies.

~ From November to May, trainees commit to observing in a CWP residency classroom for one weekly session (45 -60 minutes long) for a minimum of three weeks. Most of our residencies take place during school hours (M-F, 8am-2pm) in NYC public schools in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan. Please know that internship assignments will not be determined until the middle of October 2009 when we are able to coordinate with our partnering schools and programs.

~ The training is open to creative writers, visual artists, media artists, theater artists, dancers and musicians who are enrolled in an MFA program AND/OR are practicing professional artists.

Undergraduate Level
To be considered for this level, you must currently be enrolled in an undergraduate program. The $75 tuition contribution fee is waived for all individuals accepted to the undergraduate program.

~ The Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program (Undergraduate Level) begins in October 2009 and goes through June 2010. It begins with a mandatory five-day institute (five Saturdays; October 10, October 24, November 7, December 5 and December 12 – ALL DAYS 10am-4pm) that will focus on transforming your creative process into educational tools, developing innovative teaching methods, discovering how to integrate arts learning into public school curricula, exploring classroom management skills and developing arts-based exercises for elementary, middle and high school public school students. The institute is based on Community~Word’s creative process exploration methods, teaching methods and philosophies.

~ The institute is followed by five mandatory monthly two-hour evening seminars (January-June, dates TBA) that focus on reflecting on your experiences and development as a teaching artist, and further preparing for the classroom. Undergraduate trainees must attend a minimum of two out of the five meetings.

~ Throughout the Training and Internship Program you will gain hands-on teaching experience by joining Community~Word teaching artists in classroom residencies. From November to May, trainees commit to observing and assisting in a CWP residency classroom for one weekly session (45 -60 minutes long) for a minimum of twelve weeks. Most of our residencies take place during school hours (M-F, 8am-2pm) in NYC public schools in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan. Please know that internship assignments will not be determined until the middle of October 2009 when we are able to coordinate with our partnering schools and programs.

~ The training is open to undergraduate students that are actively practicing as creative writers, visual artists, media artists, theater artists, dancers and musicians.

Please visit our website for more information or to download the applications

For more information please contact Keith Kaminski, Program Director at
(212) 962 3820 ext. 2 or by email at

Lemonade Stands and Teaching Our Kids to be Entrepreneurial

In Author: Tommy Dawin, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea on August 18, 2009 at 6:16 am

Summertime is the season for lemonade stands, especially when it’s hot outside. In my neighborhood they sprout like pink and yellow flowers, advertise with markers on neon poster-board signs. Lately, they have even been diversifying their offerings. In addition to the usual varieties of lemonade, I’ve noticed one stand selling brownies and cookies, while another was selling dog biscuits (showing some astute marketing research since in our neighborhood there are a great number of people are out walking dogs).

Given my interest in how to cultivate and support entrepreneurs, I can’t help but wonder how these lemonade stands are seeds for the next generation of entrepreneurs. In an article in Inc. Magazine two years ago, George Gendron made the point that “kids with passion are our next great entrepreneurs.”* Lemonade stands are a great beginning for teaching our kids to be entrepreneurial, and for a great many reasons our kids will benefit. So, by teaching our kids to be entrepreneurial, what are we teaching them?

1) A habit of looking for and an ability to recognize opportunities, especially the ability to reframe challenges as opportunities. Opportunities emerge from the right people coming together in the right situation with enough resources to make something happen. In the process of learning how to do this, our kids will also learn to be more open minded and empathic, and will cultivate the habit of understanding others.

2) The know-how to do something with those opportunities when they are identified or created. Imagine the benefit to our kids if they learn how to use their knowledge to create solutions to problems that matter or bring meaning to peoples’ lives, pull together the necessary people and resources, and then build a plan for actually making it happen.

3) This third element is the most intangible and the most important—having the courage and willingness to act. What ultimately distinguishes an entrepreneur (in any realm) is that they are the ones who step up and say “I’ll do it.” This will teach our kids that taking on challenges doesn’t mean they should not be scared or act as if failure is not a possibility. It means that despite all this, they are willing to take the chance to start something and to see it through.

Whether our kids ever start businesses, they will start and sustain many ventures and undertakings during their lives. And, the willingness to squarely face a challenge which is at the heart of entrepreneurship will be ever more important as they inherit the world we have created.

*Gendron’s article is at