Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for the ‘Theater/Film’ Category

Seed Grants to Student Arts Entrepreneurs

In Art, Author: Linda Essig, Creative Support, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Music, Networking, The Idea, Theater/Film on November 13, 2009 at 1:40 am

Last week, I got to do the thing that I enjoy most in my job (I also got to do some things I enjoy least, but discussing those would be digressive). My colleagues and I made six seed grants to student arts entrepreneurs. If I ever feel down and out about the future, I can go back and read the 24 letters of intent and 8 full submissions to our p.a.v.e. program in arts entrepreneurship we received this October. Reading through these proposals makes me feel that the arts are relevant, vibrant, vital, and sustainable.

Students have some of the coolest ideas. With their permission, I’m sharing some information about the six awardees with you all. Yes, it’s a little bit of bragging, but it’s also sharing some of the interesting ideas that we’ll be mentoring and supporting in the months to come. (And, yes, there were a few proposals that just made you roll your eyes, but those were very few.) A lot of proposals were for projects that could be termed “social entrepreneurship” as much as “arts entrepreneurship,” a combination I find both interesting and hopeful.
With that, I bring you the Fall 2009 p.a.v.e. awardees:
join cast clipartJoin and Cast Ventures: Two Art (Intermedia) students, Jennifer C. and Catherine A., are producing a field guide to the downtown Phoenix arts scene that is itself a work of art.
radio healer clipart copyRadio Healer: Led by Arts, Media Engineering (AME) graduate student Christopher M., Radio Healer presents mediated performances that foster intercultural dialogue in Native communities.
daht clipartDance and Health Together Awards: Led by undergraduate Dance major Mary P., the DaHT Awards is a combination of dance recognition award and fundraising enterprise benefiting the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

coop films clipartCo-op Film Productions – Film and Media Production/Marketing student Chelsea R. and her team are creating a support infrastructure for student collaboration across arts and design disciplines.
different from what clip artDifferent from What? Film Festival – AME graduate student Lisa T. in collaboration with Education student Federico W. is producing a film festival focused on films by, for, and about adults with disabilities.

scrath theory clipartScratch Theory – Filmmaking Practices major Chris G. and his collaborators are developing a software/hardware interface that will first notate and then play back via synthesizer DJ scratching.

CAEF: A**ess This!

In Author: Melissa Snoza, Authors, Creativity and Innovation, Current Events, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Music, Theater/Film, Writing on October 24, 2009 at 11:27 pm


Yesterday, I attended the second in a series of events presented by the Chicago Arts Educators Forum, an initiative started by Merissa Shunk and Nicole Losurdo and sponsored by CAPE. This community of teachers, teaching artists, and organizations explores common challenges and opportunities in arts education in the Chicago area.

This day of discussions and workshops centered around assessment, everyone’s favorite part of the process when designing an educational program or residency. Confronting the negativity that surrounds this process head-on, the organizers created a parking garage for frustrations (participants wrote their biggest challenges on sheets of paper taped to toy cars and “parked” them for the day) and an anonymous confessional that also served as the event’s video documentation.

Why so negative? Many artists and organizations view assessment as something they must do for their funders and for the public. So many of us have found ourselves daunted by the task of evaluating the same programs several different ways using the specific criteria presented by those who have provided support. It begins to feel like the process of assessment is about teaching to the test – making sure that the outcome fit the objectives set forth by the organization and its funders.

But what other purposes can this process serve? A question that became a lightbulb moment for many participants was: “Who is this assessment for?” Of course, we’re responsible to those who provide support, but the assessment and evaluation process is also meaningful tools for students, teachers, teaching artists, and organizations if done in a way that captures the depth of the work. In this way, we begin to connect our larger objectives and the activities that accomplish them to our assessment tools, rather than putting the cart before the horse by using a standardized method.

Another theme that resurfaced multiple times was the question of how to quantify social and emotional progress, or literacy and cognitive skills that become evident in work samples more clearly than in a multiple-choice test. In the case studies we examined, many organizations found themselves asking students to take pre- and post-residency surveys, asking questions like “Do you feel a personal connection to these characters” on a scale from 1-5. Often, the difference in responses wasn’t meaningful.

A great start to the answer of this question was presented in Dennie Palmer Wolf’s keynote presentation. She displayed pre- and post-residency work samples from the same student, showing the difference in the vocabulary and depth after working with the teaching artist. One could feasibly assign a number scale to these factors to chart progress, in addition to having the samples available for review. Or, she showed diaries of a day in the life of two students, one of which was participating in an arts program, with yellow highlights on the parts of the day where the student felt personally and deeply engaged. Having five of those moments instead of one is a measurable and meaningful effect of the influence this program has.

The day really helped me and the rest of our staff think much differently about how we assess, evaluate, measure, and document our work, and how connected those tools must be to our own objectives rather than a pre-designed template. The funny part is, making these tools authentic in this way will result in data that can then be pulled to highlight the factors a funder will want to see, while telling a richer story that will be meaningful to our organization, the students, teachers, parents, and schools we serve.

Melissa is the flutist and Executive Director of the Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble. Like what you read here? For more music entrepreneurship tidbits, visit www.playingclosetothebridge.wordpress.com, brought to you by members of 5HE.

The Arc of the Story: At the Threshold

In Author: Amy Frazier, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Theater/Film, Writing on October 6, 2009 at 9:55 am

What’s up with the resistance?

You know the one. The resistance that comes shortly after you decide to launch a new creative endeavor. The resistance that whispers in your ear that maybe the idea isn’t that great, or you really don’t have the time, or you’re really not so good after all.

Maybe it doesn’t affect you. If not, I’m willing to bet you’re in the minority. For a lot of artists, the initiatory phase of a project can be a very painful back-and-forth play of initiative and doubt.

When I’m acting, for example, it usually shows up at the first blocking rehearsal. When asked to actually get the character “up on its feet,” I often balk. In the course of the entire rehearsal period and even through opening night, I will never feel as awkward and disembodied as I will on the first blocking rehearsal. I’d rather be anywhere else then right there.

Then there’s writing. Every writer knows that big blank page. Now, a computer screen. I wonder if the relative effortlessness of tapping and deleting with no crumpled paper overflowing the wastebasket as evidence doesn’t somehow cover for the fact that we’re stuck. No. We still know. We might not have the physical evidence of every crappy opening line–it may have vanished into electronic ether–but we get it: our writing sucks.

I suspect painters, sculptors, dancers, musicians have their own issues.

Right now, I’m working on a program I’ll be delivering at the European Conference on Creativity and Innovation in Brussels at the end of the month, called “Riding the Arc of the Story.” I’ve had my own deal getting it pulled together, but what I wanted to share in this post was something I’ve learned while working on the program, about narrative structure and the Hero’s Journey.

Evidently, as soon as the hero begins her journey, she is met at the threshold by beings whose purpose it is to provide initial resistance in the form of a test: is the hero up for the challenge? They’re called “threshold guardians,” and they can show up as friends, family, foes…or even part of our own psyche, our shadow. (I know this one!)

The concept of the Threshold Guardian has given me a new way of looking at my internal resistance to the early phases of a project. Now, instead of either giving in to the temptation to pull away, or feeling like I have to muscle through and pretend the resistance isn’t there, I remind myself that I might be on the threshold, and this might be only a test. Of the emergency threshold guardian system. And it’s ok.

The next time you find yourself hitting that resistance wall, ask yourself: is this a wall? or might it actually be an opening. Might you actually be on the threshold of something entirely new?

Chicago Dramatists- Branching Out

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Theater/Film, Writing on October 2, 2009 at 9:33 am

If you’ve always wanted to try screenwriting but never felt like you knew where to start, now is your opportunity! The Chicago Dramatists, an organization that supports playwrights and their creative process, is now offering a course on screenwriting. The listing for the course reads something like this:

SCREENWRITING FUNDAMENTALS – The Art & Science of the Screenplay

Like any medium, screenwriting has its own rhythm and flow, challenges and rewards. This course is designed for beginning-to-intermediate writers to learn the art and science of writing cinematically. Topics covered will include Structure, Character, Plot, Dialogue, Genre-Busting, The Genius of Rewriting, Formatting the Page, The Cost of Marketing, Math vs. Jazz, Studio vs. Indie, Contracts, and How to Be a Professional. Class time will entail lecture, discussion, DVD examples, and in-class writing projects. And because screenwriting is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor, there will be one-on-one time geared for your particular project.

Piqued your interest? Just think of the possibilities! I hear through the grapevine that this course still has a few slots available, but they won’t last long. After all, Chicago is home to one of the largest film schools in the world, which means that every year more and more filmmakers are emerging in search of high quality scripts to produce and yours could be one of them.

In fact, while I’m at it I might as well mention that Blue Damen Pictures is going to be seeking a writer to help us put together a script for a 10 minute short film that we have a concept for. We are working on a series of short films called “The Insomniac Chronicles” that will eventually be put together to create a feature length film. The award winning short “The Visionary” (which just screened at Elgin Film Festival) is the first film that we produced in this series but we hope to do many more.

So get your pencils ready and jump in to the exciting world of screenwriting! For more information about the Chicago Dramatists course you can visit their website at: http://www.chicagodramatists.org/home/index.html

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. Blog.EntrepreneurTheArts.com

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.

Yikes!

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?

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. Lisa@EntrepreneurTheArts.com

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

horse
bug
viagra

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…

Are You Relevant?

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Money, Music, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, WEBSITES & BLOGS, Writing on August 17, 2009 at 4:48 am

Are you relevant? Do you define your artistic work based on its practical, economic and social applicability to satisfy the needs of those who experience what you do? And if not, then I cannot help but ask the question, why not?

I realize that we all have a need to create and experiment in life. By doing so we are offered extraordinary opportunities to not only affirm who we are but get to know ourselves better. We learn from what works and, more often, learn the most from what does not work for us– which often allows us to find new more meaningful paths to explore.

But at what point in life do we need to become more practical, more disciplined? Is it ever to early (or late) in life to do this? And when you do, or find the help to, what are the benefits you receive for doing so?

The other day I had a young talented clarinetist– a sophomore in college- in the shop. We were discussing his future career aspirations and performing was right at the top of his list- like most of my clients. When I asked him what about performing was so motivating for him, his answer was ” Well, for a long time I was not sure I could rise to the occasion and play well enough to become an orchestral musician. It is only recently that I am starting to feel I can. Now the question I am asking myself is, do I want to do this?”

I realize that as a young adult- and even as an aging adult- coming to know who we are is a very important part of our educational journey. And alongside this process of growth and development routinely we must be challenged to answer questions like: “And if you do want to perform who specifically will want what you have to offer?”

I cannot help but wonder what we are really learning about the meaning of art, not to mention effectively reaching an audience who cares about what we have to offer from our chosen artistic field of study, if we are not challenged to explore questions like these. If you excel at Music Theory from the Middle Ages, even if you get a PHD in it and can teach it at the college level– who is it relevant to– besides you?

Take a look at my dear friend Gary Beckman- Arts Entrepreneurship Educator’s Network founder. His received his PHD in musicology in 2007 from The University of Texas at Austin. During his doctoral course work, Gary realized that his course of study was not really all that relevant and went on to pursue something that he felt was not only more relevant, but also deeply motivating for him– developing arts entrepreneurship curriculum. Now don’t get me wrong. I learned a lot from my musicology courses and loved my professors who taught them. I also think it is GREAT that Gary has vision for the growth and evolution of arts entrepreneurship curriculum, but think of what he could have accomplished, and how much happier and entrepreneurial he might have become sooner, if he had been challenged to think about how relevant his field of study was, to him and for others, at an earlier point in life?

Questioning and experimenting with our relevancy through action is at the heart of WHY the arts must become a field of entrepreneurial study in addition to traditional skill building. THE ONLY WAY artists can create sustainable happy career paths for themselves is to learn how to produce a product– relevancy.

As a young clarinetist I too asked myself the same questions my young client shared with me. I remember wondering if I could become good enough, play perfectly enough, musically enough and in tune enough to win an orchestral audition and be at the top of the heap. I challenged myself to get there with no other focus than to succeed. ( And of course, without a course or educational guidance to help me think about my goals differently.)

I started out almost last chair my freshman year at Northwestern. By my sophomore year I was at the top of my class– beating out all the masters and doctorate students, some of whom were finalists at regional orchestra auditions around the country. And when I reached that goal, all of a sudden I realize I had no idea what was next. It was not the feeling of eternal bliss I thought I would have, nor was anyone beating down my doors asking me to audition for any major orchestra. Instead it was in the middle of my senior year that I realized that I did not feel relevant. I did not feel that what skills I had developed really mattered to anyone significantly, except for me.

So it was then that I asked myself “how can I use the skills I do have to be relevant?” and from that thought I tested my ideas by putting my solution into action- by opening up a clarinet shop and helping others develop their career paths by helping them find the perfect instrument for their “relevant” music making. It was only then that I actually understood what truly it felt like to become relevant. It’s kind of funny to me, right now, that I am back where I started- after a 20 year adventure building a large business- but life is funny like that. I am being given a second chance to look at how I am relevant and I, again, am figuring it out.

But you see what I realized the first time, at 17, was that what I did have that was relevant was a gift to help and connect to others. I also had a gift to play the clarinet well. I also knew that artists needed to feel better about who they are and find their own confidence, through finding their own relevance, to become kinder to themselves and to others and strong enough to trust themselves that they could actually change the world.

Don’t ask me how exactly I knew this then– call it my God given vision- other than I did not then, and often still do not now, see the kind of inspirational collaboration or connectivity amongst others I crave in the world to see. Of all places- the arts should be outstanding examples for others of both.

Finding my relevancy at 17 gave me my first glimpse into what it meant to make a difference in life. Is it ever too early or too late to find your own? (It’s ok too, btw, if you need a school and a mentor to help you. You don’t have to find your relevancy, like I did, alone.)

Finding your relevancy will give you vision to lead. It will temper your being into a refined piece of artwork that the world wants and that you will be happy to share.

Finding your relevancy means you will feel at peace- because you are valued. You are payed- because you are needed. And that you will feel confident- because when we feel connected to ourselves and to others simultaneously, life does not get any better.

“Are you relevant,” I ask? If not– it is time to learn how you can be….

When communicating your passion, how foolish are you?

In Author: Barbara Kite, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Theater/Film on June 4, 2009 at 9:30 am

How foolish are you?  How successfull do you want to be in communicating your passion?

I have been seeing a large number public speaking clients lately and if there is one salient feature amongst all of them, it is the inability to embrace foolishness.

The fear of  looking foolish has a great number of  potential speakers stuck in mediocrity, sameness, safeness the land of boredom. 

This is how it plays -“I might be too loud, too quiet, too imposing, too animateed, too open to criticism, too wrong, too stupid….I MIGHT END UP LOOKING FOOLISH.”

This litany of negative thoughts grow stronger each time they surface particularly because  they are never addressed,  just accepted and allowed to become part of the speaker’s truth.

And the result?  The result is that we are then careful; watching ourselves to make sure that no error occurs, that no foolishness gets out, that no failure is noticed.  So we commit to safeguarding our authentic (foolish), human (error/failur ridden) self.  

We end up being serious in our manner, monotone in our voice, boring in our presentation, safe in containing our emotions. No music from the soul, no real connection, no memorable stories are given to the audience to take away with them to remember us by and to be grateful they came to hear us.

The choice is clear – bore  your audience or chance looking foolish. 

How to allow FOOLISHNESS into your life?

  • Give up on perfection.

 

  • Remember it’s not about you – it’s about the story, the gift you are giving, the audience

 

  • Stay present

 

  • Get out of your own way

 

  • Focus on the audience one at a time and make eye communication (not brief eye contact)

 

  • Trust you know what you know and don’t have to go by your written speech

 

  • Be ready to improvise, change with the needs of the audience

 

  • See the story in detail, before you say it (practe beforehand seeing, smelling, tasting, touching, hearing your story in all aspects)

 

  • Give yourself permission to fail- lose your place, make an error, feel under the gun,  BE FOOLISH.  All you need to do is focus on your important gift (the message that is going to make a difference in the audience’s life) and focus on the audience and listen to them

 

  • And most important address the negative thoughts you have before speaking – answer them with something truthful and positive every time they come up

 

  • BREATH, BREATH ,  BREATH (before you go on, while you’re on and after)

 

  • Remember speaking is like acting – it requires AUTHENTICITY, HEIGHTENED ENERGRY and GREAT STORY TELLING SKILLS

Truth, Success, Etc.

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Theater/Film on April 3, 2009 at 6:43 pm

INT. SCREENING ROOM. DAY

GWYDHAR, a young film director sits in a workshop at the Kent Independent Film Festival in Kent, CT. She is hoping to glean some tips on how to make contacts in the industry. Her notebook is blank except for the date. Slowly a quote bubbles up in her memory:

J. MICHAEL STRYCZNSKI (Voiceover)

Never follow somebody elses path: it doesn’t work the same way twice for anyone… The path follows you and rolls up behind you as you walk forcing the next person to find their own way.

GWYDHAR makes note of this and tries to think of a way to incorporate it in the blog that she is supposed to write before Wednesday.

EXT. CHICAGO SIDEWALK. DAY

GWYDHAR and BLUE DAMEN, a manifestation of her conscience, walk side by side on the way to GWYDHAR’S day job.

BLUE DAMEN

So did you find what you were looking for?

GWYDHAR
Yes and No.

BLUE DAMEN
What do you mean?

GWYDHAR
I was looking for an answer about what the next step towards success should be and I didn’t get one, but maybe that was the answer after all: that trying to figure out what the next step should be isn’t a problem that you are ever supposed to solve.

BLUE DAMEN
Give me an example.

GWYDHAR
OK, So I submitted our film “Persephone” to the Kent Film Festival and it was accepted.

BLUE DAMEN
So that makes you a success.

GWYDHAR
But hardly anyone came to see it- I think maybe a total of 17 people in two showings. And 3 walked out.

BLUE DAMEN
So it was a bust.

GWYDHAR
But it did win an award for Best Experimental Short.

BLUE DAMEN
So it was a success.

GWYDHAR
But no one bought any copies so we didn’t make any money off of showing it.

BLUE DAMEN
So what are you trying to say?

GWYDHAR
I’m trying to say that as an artist there are two kinds of success: the kind that makes money and the kind that wins awards.

BLUE DAMEN
And you need both.

GWYDHAR
Everyone needs a little bit of both but the proportions are different from person to person. Some people need more financial success and some people need more artistic success. The thing about filmmaking that is so discouraging is that there is no “right” way to do it. There is no single path to success and the people who are successful at it are just as mystified about how they got there as the rest of us.

They arrive outside GWYDHAR’s day job and GWYDHAR fumbles for her keys hoping that she didn’t forget them, again.

BLUE DAMEN
No mystery how we got here- we walked. All 17 blocks.

GWYDHAR
Well, hard work is the first step…

BLUE DAMEN
And the first step is hard work. Yuk yuk yuk.

My Story

In Author: Barbara Kite, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Theater/Film on April 3, 2009 at 10:55 am

I wrote my first blog post and sent it off to Lisa to read. A few minutes later my phone rang and Lisa said: “Barbara, you’re amazing, tell your story instead!” I realized what I had written was very little about myself. She wanted me to share my story with all of you.  How could I say no?  So here goes:

From the age of 7, I had always wanted to be an actress.  I could be someone different,  I didn’t like where I was – in a household where Polish was spoken and I was looked upon in the world as a foreigner.  I also wanted to make a difference in the world.  You see my mother spent a year at the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp during the war and as a child I wanted to save mymother.  I wanted to make sure that such atrocities never happened again. 

At the end of the war, the Red Cross had taken my mother to Eskilstuna Sweden, where she met my father (also Polish) and where I was born.

I was five when I arrived in Canada and remember being taunted with the phrase,  dirty DP (Displaced Person) on my way to school and feeling that same way in school.  We lived in a “Polish Roman Catholic” community  in Toronto.  We spoke Polish at home.  A home which my father ran with an iron Polish fist.  It took a long time to feel I belonged on this side of the Ocean.

My father didn’t want me to go to college.  He figured I didn’t need college.  After all I was a girld and would get married, have children and my husband would take care of me.  Why waste the money?  I finished high school with emphasis on secretarial skills, handed him the diploma and started preparing myself for college.  I wanted to be an “educated actor” so I ended you graduating with an Honors B.F.A. in Theatre: Theory and Analysis.  I didn’t pay attention to the fact that this interest in theory was an important part of me.  At the same time I took acting classes in the evening at the Theatre Academy in town .  I didn’t know it but I was preparing myself for my present life. 

But still, this didn’t seem to be enough, so I auditioned for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.  I had always dreamed of living in New York.  I was accepted and spent two of the most wonderful years of my life acting non-stop, dedicating myself to my work.  I ended up with the Jehlingher Award for Best Actress when I graduated.  And off I went to act.  I loved New York, I loved acting but I was missing something and then I met the most wonderful man, my husband. 

I still had Joan of Arc living within me and still do to this day except today I’m paying more attention to this part of me that needs to be fulfilled – not the burning at the stake thing -okay.

After doing some theatre (Off Broadway is wonderful), soaps (Susan Lucci is about 5 feet tall and will never take her heels off, or so she says) and commercials. 

I was  unhappy since Joan wasn’t being taken care of, so I co-founded a theatre company dealing with women’s issues and ended up acting, directing and producing.  I was happy.  But it wasn’t enough.  I wanted to make more of a difference.

After having a child we moved to Portland Oregon where my husband’s father lives (actually he lives in the Columbia Gorge).  I knew that I was not going to be doing my love, theatre, because I had decided to be home with my son.  So after getting an agent, I ended up working in made for TV movies (Jane Seymour is uppity and has no bootey), commercials, voice overs, infomercials, and any series that came into town and occasionally the staged reading.  At the same time, I remembered my partner at the Women’s Production Company, Victoria Sullivan (poet and playwright) had said how good I was with the actors .  So I decided to teach acting. 

I was afraid I couldn’t do it but I read everything I had missed reading about  in college and realizied I knew more than I thought and set up shop. 

I taught one night a week and my husband took care of our son. That was 18 years ago.  I found out I was spectacular at it and that I loved researching new techniques to bring into class and I was delighted that I could make a difference in people’s lives.  I kept being told that it changed their lives, not just as actors, but as people. This took a long time to sink in.  Eventually, I realized I had been give a gift I and I never knew I had it.  I now have a waiting list for actors who want to get into my class. 

And because it wasn’t enough,  I snuck in some directing.  I was afraid I couldn’t do it well, but I went ahead anyway because it pulled at me. Teen actors interviewed immigrant teenagers and told their stories, learning that art is not about them but about the story that needs to be told.  I was the creative director and coordinator.  It toured high schools and ran at a theatre.  The same was done with holocaust survivors in Portland.  The response to both was amazing and I felt momentarily fulfilled.  Directing Tangoing with Tornadoes <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IG5QeFH9DYk.about domestic abuse, which is now a one-woman show set up to tour throughought the world helped to further fulfill my JA (Joan of Arc) needs.

I wanted to help more people and make more money so I thought since it  took me no time to change people’s monologue from ho hum to amazing with just a few suggestions, I could do that with civilians, maybe. 

I was afraid I couldn’t do it.  I read everything I could about public speaking and found out I knew more than I thought and decided it would be public speaking with acting skills.

It’s been five years since I’ve started that venture and I’m am so thrilled with the work I do.  It’s so much more than coaching people in public speaking.  It’s part life coaching, part confidence building, part speech writing, and all a joy.  I have many travelling companions I coach allowing me to introduce them to many new doors.  Doors they didn’t know existed in their lives.  Rooms they get to create and attach to new houses.  Lawyers, CEOs, authors, small business owner, life coaches, others speakers, doctors, professors, artists and more come into my life on a regular basis expanding my horizons as a person and as a coach. And it’s growing.  I’m getting calls from all over the US and on top of that the speaking engagements are rolling in. But it’s not enough.

I want to create an organization of artists from all over the world who dedicate themselves to changing the world.  We would meet to discuss what each year’s theme would be and then carefully orchestratre the release of work dealing with that one topic all over the world.  The press would get involved because of the constant one theme arising in works of art.  Attention would be paid on a level it had not been before.  A depth of understanding would capture people’s desire to follow up and get involved with specific organizations to further take care of that problem.  The next year another theme would be worked on.  The first theme I want to work on is children and there are many topics to work on within that one theme.  I guess I need the rest of the artists to contribute there ideas.   Eventually every top writer, filmmaker, dancer, singer, juggler, creators of all kind would get on the band wagon. 

Of course to make all this work I need George Clooney’s house at Lake Como as headquarters. I mean after all –  he owes me.  I did a movie with George just before he started on ER.  It was called Without Warning: Terror in the Towers.  I know George isn’t too proud of it because it’s never mentioned in his bios.  I came up to him on the set and I said, “You’re Peter Gallalgher, aren’t you?”  And he straighted me out.  Told me he was George Clooney.  George who?  I just know that he had decided not to do ER at that time and that evening went back to his hotel room and called his agent and said, “Damit, I’ve changed my mind.  I’ll do ER. I’m tired of not being recognized.” And the rest, as they say, is history.  So George you owe me one.  How about  opening up your home as our headquarters?

The Lights aren’t so Bright on Broadway These Days

In Author: Lisa Canning, Theater/Film on March 30, 2009 at 5:50 pm

stageThe lights aren’t so bright on broadway these days, where the economic downturn has resulted in more than a dozen closings and a significant dip in the box-office except for all but a handful of blockbusters.

This spring producers will roll out nearly 20 shows to fill the void, but no one is taking any creative risks. A quick scan of coming attractions reveals an unusual number of celebrities- Will Ferrell, Jeremy Irons, Jane Fonda, James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Lauren Graham and Angela Lansbury crowding the marquees.

But even that star wattage won’t likely guarantee sold-out houses, in this climate. Everyone in the theater seems to be holding their breath and wondering when the good times will return.

Between 2000 and 2008 Broadway enjoyed a sustained boom, witnessing the re-birth of the American musical comedy ( The Producers, Avenue Q) and innovative teen-oriented fare as well ( Spring Awakening, Wicked). Shows ran longer, and annual box-office receipts topped 1 billion- a windfall due in part to inflated ticket prices.

But while a couple might have been happy to plunk down $250.00 or more for orchestra seats at a hit show in previous years, purse strings are drawn tighter this year, as we all know. Seems like the perfect time to become more entrepreneurial, don’t you think?

What Happened, President Obama, to the Idea of an Art Czar?

In Art, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Current Events, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Interesting Articles, Leadership, Music, Theater/Film, Writing on March 26, 2009 at 7:11 pm

The following updates appeared on Judith H. Dobrzynski’s blog, Real Clear Arts

I know we all want to believe that the Obama Administration will do wonders for the arts and humanities. But so far, the news is not so good.

Yes, the $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts in the stimulus bill was great news. But while we wait for appointments to head the NEA and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the appointment of Kareem Dale (below) as mini-czar — which is now likely to be temporary — and two lesser appointments suggest politics-as-usual.

Yes, you heard right- late last week, the White House seems to have appointed an arts czar — but no one seems to have noticed. His name is Kareem Dale, according to a short item in Saturday’s New York Times. As of 1 p.m. on Monday, there’s no press release on WhiteHouse.gov and no reports of the appointment at the Associated Press or Reuters.

I don’t know Mr. Dale, a lawyer from Chicago who is partially blind, but he doesn’t seem to have much of a profile. Searches on Google and Kosmix and in Factiva (which has articles from most major newspapers and many minor ones) turned up very little.

According to published reports, Dale hails from Chicago, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and stayed there to earn a law degree and an MBA, which he received in 1999. He founded and is CEO of The Dale Law Group, which has no website. Campaign finance records show that Dale contributed $2,300 to Obama’s campaign in 2008 (and about the same during the primary season); then he volunteered for it. At some point, he became the campaign’s Disability Vote Director. The only mention of arts I could find was during his campaign volunteer days, when Dale was a member of the campaign Arts Policy Committee, plus service on the board of Chicago’s Black Ensemble Theater.

I can’t help but think this is not what many people in the cultural world had in mind when they asked President Obama to appoint a powerful person in the White House to raise the profile of the arts in the U.S.

Another oddity: in mid-February, the White House announced that it had named Dale to the post of Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy. He still seems to hold that post.

Last night, The Daily Beast published my report on this and his appointment is not likely to last very long. It’s sad that his name was discovered by, or leaked to, The New York Times in the first place.

The most disappointing element of the story, however, is the appointment of Hollywood fundraiser Jeremy Bernard as the NEH’s White House and Congressional liaison; it’s an important job. Bernard claims a bachelor’s degree from Hunter College on his website, but Hunter says he did not graduate. When queried, the NEH said the degree is not in his documentation for the appointment. But the whole thing, not just the resume inflation, makes him a bit of an odd fit for the scholarly NEH.

I am pretty sure, by the way, that the White House has recognized this whole situation as a personnel snafu that has to be fixed. And it will — the question now is how and when.

A Look Inside The World of Film in the 21st Century

In ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Interesting Articles, Theater/Film on March 17, 2009 at 8:15 am

So is there anyone in the arts who isn’t in need of reinventing their profession? Certainly filmmakers, too, have their set of challenges in this changing world, not unlike authors, actors and musicians. This article, written by Sharon Waxman, offers some insights and perhaps some interesting new ideas for the future film. Seems to me, across the board, its time to get a whole lot more imaginative and entrepreneurial with what we love to do to turn it into something financially value-ABLE. (Able to deliver value in ways that only you can imagine.)

While this article points out some of the value social media brings to the film industry, I am not sure social media will ever be anything more than a great way to connect with others. And, as such, a way to market your product, but not a substitute for selling it to a target market who will pay for its value. Yes, ladies and gentleman, it is time we learned how to sell our value to the niche market who wants what we have to offer. Selling is not a dirty word. And it doesn’t have to be one to artists, either. And creating a niche is very lucrative and rewarding, not only for you, but for your customer too. (Trust me when I say that niching creates a win-win situation. Everyone is happy.)

We all buy things we want and love. And every time we do, and are truly happy and content with our purchase, rest assured someone did a good job selling it to us!

visionary-posterI am really looking forward to what Gwydhar Bratton, our new filmmaking blogger, will share with us about her experience as a small independent film company. I am looking forward to seeing her new short, titled The Visionary, too.

***********************************************************************************************************

Written by Sharon Waxman

A new online distribution system for documentaries launched in July has found widespread consumer adoption, but is still not close to providing substantive income to documentary or low-budget filmmakers.

SnagFilms, launched by former National Geographic Films chief C. Richard Allen and former AOL executive Ted Leonsis, is geared to using the social networking tools of the web to feed a new distribution model for low-budget films.

Users can download widgets for any one of more than 550 documentaries available on the site, and watch the film — which has about 90 seconds of advertising interspersed through it — for free. SnagFilms shares the revenue, half and half, with the filmmaker.

But the films need to be seen hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of times before filmmakers can see substantive income from advertising revenue.

On the other hand, the site allows filmmakers to earn full revenue from any DVD sales, which are promoted along with the free download. And viewers are also encouraged to donate money to non-profits associated with some of the films.

“We want to start to open up the expansiveness of the audience by making it free, reducing the friction of trial and error,” said Allen. “A lot of people love documentaries but if you say documentary, they say ‘Ugh, that’s a little too much work.’ So we make it easy for viewers to find it, explore, and check things out.”

So far, so good. The widgets, thanks to an alliance with AOL, has been embedded on some 20,000 websites since July, and by this week will have placed on more than 300 million web-pages, Allen said in an interview with TheWrap.

“That’s a significantly bigger number than what we had projected,” he said.

Films featured on the site include well-known and already successful documentaries such as “Paper Clips,” a documentary about the Holocaust, and “Supersize Me,” a cult hit about the fast food industry.

But it also promotes more obscure docs. The site’s homepage now features a documentary about the TED technology conference, “The Future We Will Create: Inside the World of TED,” and “Life is for the Living,” a documentary about the debate over embryonic stem cell research.

The system comes as low-budget documentaries and independent films struggle to find distribution outlets in a landscape of shrinking opportunities. Traditional theatrical exhibition has been overwhelmingly dominated by big studio releases, crowding out independent films that have small marketing budgets and little time to gain a word of mouth following.

If it works, the model could prove useful for many low-budget films, as independent film distributors have been shuttered by major studios are gone bankrupt in the past year.

But “The Secrets of the Pharaohs,” a documentary promoted by AOL, demonstrates the revenue limitations for the model. The advertising rates online — known as “cpms” — do not add up to much income for the filmmakers until the number of viewers gets to be in the millions. “Pharaohs” was downloaded 60,000 times in a period of two weeks, said Allen; but at a $20 cpm, that amounted to only $1200 in advertising revenue.

Allen declined to discuss precise revenue amounts, saying that was proprietary information.

As viewers turn increasingly to their computers for entertainment, the web has provided a potential outlet for distribution, but the problem has been how to let viewers know that any given small film exists.

Allen says the rapid acceptance of Snagfilms made him optimistic about the future of movies on the web.

“Do you need another revenue stream?” asked Allen. “Absolutely. Is the revenue stream going to be something that starts out so large that you’re going to be able to do distribution? No. Do we believe it’s a revenue stream that you can track is growing? Yes.

“And we’ve seen it dramatically, number of views going up dramatically. It starts with the product being out there.”

Barbara’s Life Flies High Like a Kite

In Health & Wellness, The Idea, Theater/Film, WEBSITES & BLOGS on February 6, 2009 at 7:42 am

dreamstime_6326490There is nothing more enjoyable than on a windy beautiful clear day flying a kite high up in the sky. I have a feeling Barbara Kite would agree.

If you are looking to discover how to share with others your uniqueness through acting and speech, be warned: Barbara might help you feel like a kid in the park again, on that windy day, with a kite flying high of your very own. Oh, and did I mention to you, dear reader, that you might also learn something in this interview about how niche produces thrive?

Barbara, tell us about you?
I am someone who is passionate about, and totally committed to, coaching actors and speakers in mastering the art of communication through acting skills. I am someone who has created a safe and challenging environment where all can grow.

I’m a New York trained actress and I have worked as a professional actor, director and acting coach in Toronto, New York and Portland for over 30 years. It has been a very rewarding experience helping speakers, actors, writers, film-makers, directors and singers to grow in their art and their life.

My professional work includes over 300 movies, television series, soaps, commercials, industrials and voice-overs – some of which I wish I hadn’t done. Oh well, – learning through mistakes.

Tell us about your work?
Some of my credits include (TV – movies, series, soaps) All My Children, As the World Turns, So the Story Goes, Duplicates, Without Warning: Terror in the Towers, Praying Mantis, Under Suspicion and Nowhere Man.
My Theatre credits (New York and Toronto) include The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Beau Strategem, Hay Fever, Round and Round the Garden, A Little Night Music, The Cat and the Canary, Icarus’s Mother and Trojan Women. I have to admit theatre is truly my first love. Film and TV are all about “hurry up” and “wait” and theatre affords one a real exchange between people and a real sense of the character’s growth.

Where did you go to school?
I graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (NY) where I had the best time exploring acting. Just to put the icing on the cake I received the Jehlingher Award when I graduated the AADA. I graduated with an Honors Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University and received a scholarship to study in Poland at the Grotowski workshop as well as at the Film Institute in Lublin (Polanski’s alma mater).

I understand you wrote a play specifically for women?
I had an exciting time collaborating with poet/playwright Victoria Sullivan as Co-artistic Director of the Women’s Production Company in New York City where I got to direct and act in plays specifically written for and about women.

What are some of your other passion projects?
I am proud of the work I’ve done with Teen actors in helping them present important works to their community dealing with teen immigrants (Border Crossings) and Portland’s remaining holocaust survivors (NAKT: Stories from the Holocaust).

What are you working on currently?
Currently – as a director I am honored to have been the acting coach/director on TANGOING WITH TORNADOES a wonderful play written by award winning Oregonian journalist, S. Renee Mitchell.

Together with Renee I have created a one woman show for her that has toured Guam, Talahassee and New Orleans. Plans are being made for touring more cities and countries now.

I enjoyed my work as Acting Coach on the movie, WELCOME TO MY SCENE (about a punk rock group from PORTLAND in the 80’s).

What organizations do you belong to?
I am a member of NSA (National Speakers Association), AFTRA (American Federation of Television Artists), SAG (Screen Actors’ Guild). AEA (Actors’ Equity Association), ACTRA, (Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists), NWBN (Northwest Business Network), and the NWCA (North West Coaches Association), BDI ( Business Development Network) and Portland Connect. I am also a member of itafari, a very special foundation that helps the people of Rwanda rebuild their country after the genocide.
masthead1
Why are you so passionate about being a speaking coach?
I DEDICATE MY WORK TO SUPPORTING THE DANGEROUS ACTOR and THE AUTHENTIC SPEAKER as they are the ones I learn the most from; the ones that really speak to me, giving me new perspectives, expanding my universe and teaching me about humanity.

I challenge you to try something distinctly NEW and more fully embrace untapped areas of your creativity.
I know you are far more creative and capable than you can possibly imagine, and I can prove it to you.

Here are some of Barbara’s favorite quotes:
“ACTING IS NOT A PUTTING ON OF A MASK TO BECOME THE CHARACTER. IT IS A TAKING OFF OF THE MASK. AND THE CHARACTER IS ALWAYS YOU.” Peter Brook, An Empty Space

“Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone.” R. Allen

“The real actor has a direct line to the collective heart.” — Bette Davis

“Always work from inside out; if you work from the outside in, all you have is a dry husk.” — Meryl Streep

“All things are difficult before they get easy.” Thomas Fuller.

I must say, Barbara these quotes are excellent and all so true! And, dear reader, if you wish to reach out and say hello to Barbara you can at bmkite@aol.com or check our her website at:www.barbarakite.com

Who Owns Ideas?

In Art, Cooking & Food, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Music, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on January 21, 2009 at 11:28 am

This interesting article about intellectual property rights was written by Linda Naiman and appeared on The Creativity at Work Blog Jan 6, 2009 Besides providing arts based consulting, coaching and training to corporations, higher education, and governmental agencies, Linda is also an accomplished artist and sells her work online. The image just below is one Linda painted. For more of Linda’s art work click here.
******************************************************************************************************
lightbulb-target120A friend offered to download movies free from the internet for our viewing pleasure, and at first I thought that was dandy, but then I thought of all the creatives who wouldn’t be paid a royalty, so I opted instead to rent.

CBC Radio has produced a show on the subject of copyright and the debate on who owns ideas. Jim Lebans, a producer with CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks, looks at the tangled world of intellectual property and how the digital age is challenging ideas about who owns our culture:

In the era of the Internet we’re facing a crisis around the new reality of intellectual property and copyright. These legal rights were established over hundreds of years to reward creators of ideas, but at the same time preserve and protect the public’s right to access and make use of the expression of ideas.

But slow expansion of the laws of intellectual property through the 20th century, and more recently the emergence of new digital technologies, the Internet in particular, have upset the delicate balance between the rights of creators and the rights of the public.

Copyright law has been changed, again and again, in what many perceive as an expansion of the rights and control of the emerging “content industries.” Copyright law today covers more kinds of expression, lasts considerably longer, and comes with considerably more stringent enforcement than it has in the past.

The challenges to Intellectual property rights have expanded as well. While in the past the tools of copyright infringement were industrial – printing presses or record-pressing facilities, today they’re available on every desktop. Writing, music, movies, television, indeed every form of communication and expression can be digitized, and perfect copies distributed without limit. As a result the digital revolution has been perceived as a nightmare to the owners of creative property.

This might seem to clearly justify an expansion of IP law and its enforcement, but many critics of the direction IP law has taken disagree. They suggest that the opportunities that digital technologies present, and the abilities they give to ordinary people to make use of cultural material creatively is too valuable to be sacrificed.

This tension has become known as the copyfight, and it’s ultimately a dispute about who owns ideas.

What Services Does Creativity at Work Provide?
Creativity at Work (TM) is a consulting, coaching and training alliance at the forefront of transformational change, through creativity and innovation.

Creativity at Work is a consulting, coaching and training alliance at the forefront of transformational change. We help organizations accelerate business performance through arts-based training, coaching and research-based consulting. Associates include experts from North America, Europe, Australia and Asia to provide you with world-class resources for keynotes, corporate retreats, conference presentations, and consulting.

About Linda Naiman
ln06sm1Linda Naiman is founder of CreativityatWork.com, co-author of Orchestrating Collaboration at Work, and an associate business coach at the University of British Columbia. She is recognized internationally for pioneering arts-based learning for business, using of art as a catalyst for developing creativity, innovation, and collaborative leadership in organizations. She has been featured in The Vancouver Sun, The Globe and Mail, Profitguide.com, and Canadian Business Magazine. Clients include Fortune 500 companies, public sector organizations and boutique consultancies in North America, Europe and Asia.

A Creative Leap at Catalyst Ranch

In Art, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Current Events, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Leadership, Marketing, Music, Networking, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on January 9, 2009 at 10:34 am

John Cimino, from Creative Leaps International, and I are pleased to announce that Catalyst Ranch, an incredible creativity-driven meeting space provider and progressive business-thought-leader, has offered us the opportunity to use their facility as our home until we are able to have our own space for a Chicago based Renaissance Center. (OMG. Chicago Arts Incubator? Any of you remember me sharing my dream about creating one? Well, my “lucky” day may just be around the corner, with my friend, John. But don’t get too excited for me just yet.-

Those dang last-stretch-to-home corners are not that lucky to actually get-off-easy, catch a break, and make a quick turn around. Most of the time.

Oh, and the other problem? You know the euphoria you feel followed by the inside-your-head part, that voice that says nice stuff to you, sometimes part, like “yah, this is really gonna happen?”

Well I got big news, there ain’t no stinkin’ guarantees! But really, once you get use to muscling-a-stomach for taking some calculated risks in life in the name of passionate-pursuits– it’s really not all that bad and maybe even a fun– most of the time- except for maybe all of last year but who’s counting)

SO, If you live in Chicago, please come. Or if you are passing through town, too, please, won’t you come? Or maybe you have a few friends who your sure would really be interested in knowing more about this and who might even consider coming to Chicago? It’s Wednesday January 28th from 6-8pm

Won’t you join us to learn more about the work of Creative Leaps and The Renaissance Center in Chicago? If you would like to reserve a seat please email me, Lisa@EntrepreneurTheArts.com. The event is free but seating is limited to the first 75 who reply. ( And if you have never been to Catalyst Ranch- trust me- you’ll want to come.)

john-cimino-informal

John Cimino, president of Creative Leaps International, is returning to Chicago for a third round presentation and discussion of his theme: “Bridging the Ingenuity Gap in the 21st Century”. For the benefit those who missed his sessions in September and October, John will provide a quick paced summary of his earlier presentation before moving on to a wider discussion of his vision for a Renaissance Center for Innovation, Learning and Leadership in the Chicago area.

In his initial sessions, John Cimino discussed the “habits of mind” linked to creativity, ingenuity and imaginative insights. He also reviewed recent findings in neuroscience revealing the brain’s unique experience of the arts and arts-based thinking. Alongside creativity, Cimino emphasized the need for connectivity, that is, thinking across boundaries, disciplines and cultures to address the complex issues of a globally inter-connected world. According to Cimino, designing “high tech, high touch” environments for creativity and connectivity is the central challenge of our institutions of higher education, research and professional development.

(from his introduction) Scholar Thomas Homer Dixon describes the “ingenuity gap” – the space between problems that arise and our ability to solve them – as growing today at an alarming rate (in business, scientific research, education, the environment and world affairs). Author Ken Robinson proclaims we are “Out of Our Minds” to have sidelined creativity and the arts when every layer of American society from elementary education to supply-side economics is starved for more imagination, more original thinking, and more creative intelligence.

In this latest session, John Cimino opens the doors to a deeper examination and wider discussion of his vision for a network of Renaissance Centers for Innovation, Learning and Leadership and their significance in bridging knowledge across disciplines. In particular, he will ask how can such a Renaissance Center best serve the needs of Chicago’s own institutions of higher education, business, commerce, leadership, creativity, the arts and arts-based education reforms in the schools? What kinds of partnerships among institutions, public and private, would be essential? Finally, in addition to addressing the needs of individual sectors, what global and overarching issues important to Chicago should the Renaissance Center address in its cross-disciplinary, transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary forums?

Come join John Cimino for an evening of spirited dialogue, creative collaboration and exploration of a new vision for interdisciplinary learning, creativity and leadership.

Jump Start Your Life- I have the spark plug

In Accounting, Art, BOOKS: Learn and Grow, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Customer Service, Employees, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Legal, Marketing, Money, Music, Networking, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on January 7, 2009 at 1:16 pm

dreamstime_3139037One of the reasons I want to write books is because books, art, poetry and film, as examples, all intrinsically are built to last. Their very form offers easy “spark-creating-experience” access, like a hand full of nourishment going right into our mouth. Love that rush of energy that follows, don’t you? You know, the part before you get tired?

While it is impossible for a memory to replace the actual real time experience of ephoria, or intense joy, anger or sadness– only the kind a work of art can deliver, it can be waiting eagerly for you on a shelf, if it’s a book, or hanging on your wall.

What a basic concept entrepreneurship is for artistry, and yet without this simple “must have”, generations upon generations have defined who we are and what we are capable of creating for others in life, through a very narrow, confining, and as I see it, rather destructive single lens.

In honor of the power of the written word to enlighten and transform, here is my recommended reading list to jump start your very best you in 2009.


Do You Want to Become More Entrepreneurial?

* Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, by Bo Burlingham

* The Art of The Start by Guy Kawasaki

* Awakening the Entrepreneur Within: How Ordinary People Can Create Extraordinary Companies,
by Michael Gerber

* Who’s Your City? How the Creative Economy is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life, by Richard Florida

*The Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths That Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live, by
Scott A. Shane

*Bounce!: Failure, Resiliency, and Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success, by Barry J. Moltz

*Birthing the Elephant: A Woman’s Go-For-It Guide to Overcoming the Big Challenges of Launching a Business, by Karen Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman

Marketing Maven
* Unleashing the Ideavirus by Seth Godin

* The New Marketing Manifesto: The 12 Rules for Building Successful Brands in the 21st Century (Business Essentials) by John Grant

* The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

* Coercion: Why We Listen to What “They” Say by Douglas Rushkoff

* Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin

* The Anatomy of Buzz: How to Create Word of Mouth Marketing by Emanuel Rosen

* The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott

Organizational Development
* The Discipline of Market Leaders: Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, Dominate Your Market by Michael Treacy

* Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

* The Art of Profitability by Adrian Slywotzky

*First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham

* Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham

* Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman

* The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Financial Health Check
*The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom: Practical & Spiritual Steps So you Can Stop Worrying by Suze Orman

* Finance Your New or Growing Business: How to Find and Raise Capital for Your Venture by Ralph Alterowitz and Jon Zonderman

*Conscious Finance: Uncover Your Hidden Money Beliefs and Transform the Role of Money in Your Life by Rick Kahle

*The Seven Stages of Money Maturity: Understanding the Spirit and Value of Money in Your Life by George Kinder

*The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life by Lynne Twist

Reaching for Greatness
* The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander

* This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love by Tama Kieves

* Make the Impossible Possible by Bill Strickland

* The Everyday Work of Art by Eric Booth

* The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer

6 Tips for Using Free On-line Business Tools

In Accounting, Art, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Customer Service, Employees, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Interesting Articles, Leadership, Legal, Marketing, Money, Music, Networking, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on January 6, 2009 at 1:33 am

January’s Entrepreneur Magazine offered these six tips on using free on-line tools:

#1
Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to use it. “Because there’s so much out there, businesses have a tendency to be like a kid in a candy store,” says Drew McLellan. “Start with the strategy of what you want to accomplish, and then find the tool that will allow you to do that.”

Adds Mike Whaling, “It’s a matter of figuring out which tools are right for your business. Know your audience, and then go to where they are already having conversations.”

#2
You don’t have to figure it all out by yourself. McLellan suggests doing a simple Google search on a tool or task you want to accomplish. “You’ll find people talking about it,” he says. “And people are incredibly quick to share what they know.”

#3
Don’t lose your company’s brand. Using a variety of tools can lead to an inconsistent company image and voice. Says McLellan, “Run it through the litmus test of ‘Is this right for my business? Does it portray my business the way I want?'” Whaling also emphasizes thinking about what your business’s name will be associated with because many free tools are ad-supported.

#4
Push your preconceived notions aside. MySpace and Facebook aren’t just for the kiddies anymore. Says McLellan, “There are a lot of people conducting business on [these sites].”

#5
Does the tool have staying power? For every successful blog, video website or social network, there are dozens that won’t make it. So, again, talk with people online and discuss their experiences with the tool to gauge its stability and reliability.

#6
It may be free, but you still need to invest. Just creating a profile won’t cut it. Making the most of these tools requires time and effort, says Whaling. “There’s an investment in reading other people’s blogs, commenting on posts, getting involved in the community and building relationships.”

Can you get someplace in life for nothing?

In Accounting, Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Customer Service, Employees, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Legal, Marketing, Money, Music, Networking, Risk, Theater/Film, Writing on January 5, 2009 at 1:25 am

Is it ever possible in life to get somewhere for nothing and have it be somewhere really good? Over the decades, we certainly have heard that “there is no such thing as a free ride” and that “if it’s too good to be true, it likely is”.

But these days, thanks to the internet, there is lots of FREE stuff online, much of which supports the entrepreneur and a start-up venture.

According to an article which appeared in Entrepreneur Magazine this month, Gary Vaynerchuck, co-founder of Wine Library, has been taking advantage of free business tools for nearly three years to grow his 11 year-old wine retail business. Using a combination of web-based tools, such as social networking, blogging and video, he’s taken his company to annual sales of $50 million. One way Wine Library uses these tools, is to notify his friends of daily specials by using MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, in place of email. His success with these tools has even landed him two book deals and regular speaking engagements across the country. “Building brand equity and connecting with your consumers through these social tools has a global impact on your business and your brand,” says Vaynerchuck, 33.

Alison Boris, 38, and Kathi Chandler, 31, have also been capitalizing on free tools since nearly the beginning of their LA based hand bag boutique, called AllyKatStyle. Besides a MySpace page, they also have profies on Digg and StumbleUpon, which are community content sharing sites, to grow their business.

All these free tools also mean that for even a small business, the “little guy” can look a whole lot bigger, not to mention more sophisticated. With a price tag of FREE, it’s hard not to want to take advantage and get on the ride to somewhere great.

Have I gotten your attention? Good, then let’s get you started:

Communication/Email
Dimdim ( dimdim.com)- open source web conferencing application; free basic service
Jott (jott.com)-voice-to-text service for creating notes, lists, e-mails and text messages; free basic service
Oovoo ( oovoo.com) -video messaging, chatting and conferencing
Paltalk ( paltalk.com) – Group IM, chat and video call application
Plugoo ( plugoo.com) -direct chatting with any blog or site visitor
YouSendIt (yousendit.com)- send files up to 2GB; free basic service

Content, Media, Video
Audacity (audacity-sourceforge.net) Open source software for cross-platform audio recording
Blip.tv: (blip.tv)- Video blogging, podcasting and video sharing service; free basic service
BlogTalkRadio (blogtalkradio.com) radio network for users to host their own shows
DropShots ( dropshots.com)- Video hosting and photo sharing
Feedburner ( feedburner.com)- media distribution services for blogs and RSS feeds
Fix My Movie ( fixmymovie.com)- Video enhancement service; free basic service
Paint.NET ( getpaint.net)- image and photo editing software
Phixr (phixr.com)- picture and photo editor
Seesmic (seesmic.com)- Video conversation platform
SlideShare ( slideshare.net)- Share and embeded slideshows. Powerpoints and PDF’s into web pages
VideoSpin ( videospin.com)- video-editing software

Financial
BizEquity ( bizequity.com) – company valuations
Mint ( mint.com) – personal finance, money mangement, budget planning and financial planning software
MyBizHomepage (mybizhomepage.com) – financial dashboard for small business Quick Book users
QuickBooks (quickbooks.com) small-business accounting software; free simple start 2009 download)
Wesabe (wesabe.com)- Financial advice, analysis and planning

Marketing, Networking, PR
Wordpress (wordpress.com)- Blog publishing tool
Craigslist ( craigslist.org)- Online classified and job posting network
CollectiveX ( collectivex.com)-Create social networking and collaboration sites for groups
Digg (digg.com)- content sharing site
Linkedin ( linkedin.com)- Business social networking site
Pligg ( pligg.com)-Open-source, community-centric site for discovering, rating and sharing content
PolicyMap( Policymap.com) -Geographic and demographic information system for creating custom maps, tables and chartes; basic free service
YouNoodle ( younoodle.com)-Netowrking for startups and valuation with Startup Predictor
YourPitchSucks (yourpitchsucks.com) PR pitch reviewing and advising
Stumble Upon ( stumbleupon.com)- Content sharing site

Office Productivity, and Organization
Adobe Buzzword (adobe.com)- Collaborative word processor application
CutePDF Write (Cutepdf.com)- PDF creator; free basic service
Dabble DB ( dabbledb.com)- Create, manage and share online databases; free basic service
Doodle (doodle.com)- Schedule, and coordinate meetings and other appointments
FreshBooks ( freshbooks.com)-Invoicing, time-tracking and expense service; free basic service
SurveyMonkey ( surveymonkey.com)-Create and publish custom online surveys; free basic service
ThinkFree Office ( thinkfree.com)-Office productivity suite; free basic service
WuFoo (wufoo.com)-HTML form builder for creating interactive forms;free basic service

Project Management, Collaboration
Remember the Milk (rememberthemilk.com)-Task management solution and to-do lists
Socialtext (socialtext.com)- Wiki and website collaboration; free basic service
Team Task ( teamtask.com)-Collaborative project management and community website builder
Yugma (yugma.com)-Web meeting and collaboration service

Web
Google Alerts ( google.com/alerts)- E-mail updates on choice of query or topic
KickApps ( kickapps.com)- platform of applications to integrates social features into a website
Microsoft Office Live Small Business (smallbusiness.officelive.com)- Create a company website, domain and email; free basic service
Synthasite ( synthasite.com)- Web hosting and building
Weebly ( weebly.com)-Website and blog creator
Widgetbox (widgetbox.com)-web widgets for various applications
Woopra ( woopra.com) -Web tracking and analysis application; free basic service