The Art Bank

The Art Bank

Funding A Film – The Art, Science and Business of Film Production

Posted on August 5, 2018 in Uncategorized

The profession of an artist is probably one of the least predictable occupations you can engage in, and success as an artist is a subject unfortunately never taught in school. School teaches you the craft, the trade, the method, the process, the result; and all at a very hefty price. But the moment will come when you will be faced with a realities that just about every artist faces: How do I fund my work? and How do I pay my bills?

Of course, for film makers, there’s film school (and the equivalent performing arts MFA equivalent for actors), but I’m sure by college graduation time (if you were lucky enough) you’ll realize that higher education is not free. You may also question whether or not the educational value matched the time and money that you put into it. It may come as no surprise to you that the prestige of film school is just a fancy facade for a place to get some contacts and an opportunity to create your first collaborative short film with like-minded artists (funded from your own pockets no less!). Okay, but then, now what?

Certainly the skill of film directing and acting doesn’t pay for itself (you’re essentially a contract employee), Craigslist is filled with so much no-budget aspiring productions attempting to solicit your so-called skills for free in exchange for a share of the profits (of course, since these postings were created by people in your same boat, they most likely have no idea how they’ll ever make money from it). And as we recently learned from our recent trip to Burbank, you could have easily qualified for a job waiting tables without an expensive degree.

Our production is currently in the later stages of its its fund-raising phase, and we’ve gathered enough momentum to see our project through, so we thought we’d take a moment to share some hard-learned lessons with actors, directors and producers out there on how to initiate success in your careers.

As you continue reading, keep several things in mind: success comes from balancing artistic aspirations with practical expectations, and growth stops at the point of resistance.

Aspire & Grow

This is probably the catalyst that propelled you to go into this field, but we mean this in the broadest sense. That is, you’ll have to grow on every front required for your success. It may mean constantly learning new ways to say a line, effectively budget your grocery money, programming your own website, intelligently reducing your tax liability, or fixing your car tire when it blows out on your way to an audition. You likely know your aspirations well, and you’ll likely know what direction you want to go in. Just be open to what you’ll have to learn along the way, and don’t hesitate to improve on something even if it may not feel directly relevant to your artistic goals.

Compromise (a.k.a. Don’t take your position for granted)

You knew you’d have to do this eventually, you just didn’t think you’d have to do it THAT much. A job is never waiting for you, it’s NOT just about the art, the production is not always the vision of one person, and exceptional talent is NOT all that there is to getting ahead. Do you hate dealing with money, the law, negotiating with insurance companies, the politics of film distribution, the politics of film unions? As an entrepreneur, you need to have the same attitude regardless of what field you’re in. And if you can’t compromise and learn what needs to be learned (and be good at it), be prepared to get a day job.

Treat Yourself (and others) Like A Business

Nothing is free. Your time and services should not be free either. And nothing erodes this more than projecting an image to others that you do not take your own work seriously. Separate your personal and business profile, create separate bank accounts. You can establish a sole-proprietorship at first, or even an LLC and a corporation depending on how you sell yourself. Create a website with samples of your work and your talent profile. When you pitch yourself, remember that you’re selling your business.

However, this does not mean you shouldn’t work for free. Spec work has its place, and experience can go a long way. When you work, try to get the most value for your time and services. But remember, treat every opportunity like a business, and be especially wary of people who are just asking for free labor (there’s a difference between working for free and working on deferral!).

Do you think that giving up your services for free now will land you big exposure, referrals and get you more work down the line? More than likely, it will not. The only thing you’re setting yourself up for is for more free work. Since you’re treating yourself and others like a business now, you’ll quickly learn that everyone knows that nothing is free, they won’t work for free themselves, yet they’ll always ask you to do it. So should you? It depends. You can usually tell if a production is serious by how they manage their business; and though it may not always mean they have millions of dollars to throw around, you can get a good sense of how much they value your services based on how they expect to compensate you for your time.

Finance and “The Deal”

It is one thing to dream, it is another thing to make it a reality. Money and power are the politics of the world, and there is no getting around this. Good intentions will motivate you to begin a film, but it will never complete it. A great idea will compel you to become a director, but it won’t keep the electricity flowing through the camera and lights. Film making, acting and film distribution is a business. One way or another, you need to view your own business in terms of investment and return.

This means planning ahead many steps to develop a clear goal, not only how money will affect your production (the equipment, the kind of actors you can hire – or should hire -, the kind of distributors you will talk to), but also how your work will be viewed, exhibited and earn that money back and more in order for you to continue pursuing your life’s passion. After all, if acting, directing and film making means everything to you, you should be doing everything in your power to keep it that way.

As an actor/director, do you know how to market yourself? As a producer, do you know how to hire and pay people? How to talk to investors? How to raise the money yourself? How to incorporate a company? Deal with lawsuits? Negotiate with vendors? Drafting a leasing agreement between yourself and the distributor? See a film from the very beginning to the very end? (and by end, we mean very very end to the moment someone hands over a $20 bill for a ticket)

Before you make any sincere attempt to convince yourself that your no-budget masterpiece will be the biggest thing next to curly fries, we strongly discourage you from thinking like this. You may not have millions to throw around, but that shouldn’t excuse you from approaching this as a professional endeavor. Approach it as you would any other business; NEVER take the lowest common denominator just because you “don’t want to deal with money and business”. You’ll get some experience from it, so it may benefit you, your cast and crew (beyond food, credit and copy if you even bothered to pay them) in that sense. But this mindset can be dangerous if you ever plan on pursuing film making seriously. Sure, your friends and family will come to see it (but then, that makes your film more like a “home movie”, doesn’t it?), but if you can’t convince a total stranger that there is something about your production that’s worth their time and money, your chances of ever seeing a return on your investment is practically non-existent. So while you COULD pay that unknown actor $100/day to star in your production, paying a name actor 10 times as much will infinitely boost your chance of getting some kind of distribution deal, even someone who is only locally well known.

Conclusion

Film making, theater, and the performing arts are very fun professions, but it is a business as well. And like any other business, and it is riddled with many of the same issues. Nine out of ten businesses will fail within five years. Of those that survive, nine out of ten will eventually fail. And if it took 100% of your effort just to get your foot in the door, it will take 200% to keep up the momentum, and 500% to maintain your success once you’ve attained it.

Aspire, but be realistic (artistically and financially) about your goals. It’s very tempting to just dismiss the business, financial and bureaucratic side of art and film making, but you have an infinitely greater chance at success adopting a practical step-by-step approach than you ever will taking a “I’m not interested in business or return on investment. It’s all about the art” attitude.

Online Recruitment – State-Of-The-Art Job Search Strategies

Posted on July 30, 2018 in Uncategorized

History of Job Search

Online recruitment started almost the same time in the USA and in England in the early 90’s with providers like Monster.com in the USA, Jobserve.com in the UK and Allstarjobs.ca (started in 1997). A job bank at that time merely had a few thousand of open job positions and the chance of putting employers in touch with jobseekers was quite remote.

Since those early days, we have seen an explosion of job search sites and the technology has improved a lot for the benefit of both, recruiters and jobseekers. Nowadays, typing “Job Search” in search fields of Google or Yahoo, you get millions of pages dealing with this subject.

Now we have a new problem: how not to get lost in this jungle of ultimate Career and Job Search Services (of which many require an inscription fee). What do we really want? Using the Internet in first place has the advantage of speed and the possibility to look in any geographical area for the required job that the candidate is qualified for, or aspires to. With the Internet installed at home, it is possible to investigate the potential employers, ask questions and apply for the position, without even taking off your pajamas.

How do we explain the recent evolution in online recruitment technology? Even if you feel relatively satisfied with the current search offerings of top job search engines like Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com or Hotjobs.com, there are still many doors open for improvements and a lot of research is going on in the field of vertical engines, meaning-based search, intent-driven search, new clustering methods, and much more.

All-in-One Job Search Engines

A recent trend in job search engines is the emergence of all-in-one or metasearch engines (sometimes also referred as vertical job search engines), allowing jobseekers to search across multiple websites. Among the most popular engines are Indeed (in the USA), Wowjobs (in Canada) and Trovit (in the UK).

Probably the most powerful of all is Indeed, which was founded by Paul Forster and his partner Rony Kahan in the year 2004 to cover the US job market. According to Hitwise data, Indeed saw its market share increase by 302% in the year 2006 and this was only the beginning. The success of Indeed and other metasearch or all-in-one search engines is the fact that job seekers can go to one place to find all jobs, overcoming the limitation of the job boards, which have a finite number of listings. A simple comparison of mayor job search engines reveals that there is no need any more to look in all the individual engines to find the best fits for the job you are looking for. There are more job sites than you can count, ranging from the top job sites like Monster and CareerBuilder to small, niche sites in just about every career field you can imagine. Meta job search engines like Indeed or Wowjobs are searching in more than 1200 engines at a time and brings you the result in seconds on your screen. With a couple of clicks of your mouse, you search the major job sites, company sites, associations, and other online job sites by keyword and location to get job listings that match the criteria you selected. With it’s high-tech search strategy, Indeed clearly leaves behind other so-called meta-job search engines like Jobster and SimpyHired. With Wowjobs and Trovit, metasearch engines focused on the Canadian and UK job market respectively, the situation is very similar.

Posting your resume in Recruitment Services

A developing trend with both jobs search engines and jobs boards is that many now encourage users to post their resume or CV together with contact details. The fact is, it`s proven that posting your resume in a proactive way in the mayor resume distribution systems will put it on the desk of hundreds of recruiters and can more than double the chance of getting a job!

The advantages of Resume Posting are:

– You more than double your chance of getting “discovered” by a recruiter who is looking for a person with exactly your experience and abilities.

– You put your resume in the hands of hundreds of recruiters, almost instantly!

– You are sending your resume only to recruiters focusing on your specific industry or job categories.

– You save a lot of time and money and you get an instant edge – with only little effort from your part!

– Your resume is passing a pre-selection system and when it comes on the desk of hiring managers they will read it very carefully.

Resume posting has become an attractive business for the recruitment companies as they sell the access to their resume bank to headhunters and recruiting managers. Anyhow, jobseekers should be aware of the risks of uploading personal information to the Internet since they have no control over what will happen with their data and their resume might be seen by their current employer or even by “identity thefts”.

Take a breath and slow down
The question is still if all the improvements in search technology also improved the overall performance of recruitment efforts. Finding a job still is hard work. It is very helpful to slow down, take time, and analyze if you are happy with your current situation and what career is really right for you. In our modern world, the best job success is earning good money with work that gives you a sense of purpose, expresses your talents and passions, and is consistent with your values. A lack of many Job Search Sites is that they do not assist the jobseekers in finding their best career fit and even confusing people in trying to evaluate their current situation. Job searching is a short-term pursuit of a position that matches your financial and career goals. Career planning is a long, progressive process of choosing education, training, and jobs that fit your interests and skills. This planning process also includes the evaluation of career change or self-employment opportunities. Deciding what type of work you want to pursue requires knowledge and understanding of your interests, your values, your motivation, and the skills you enjoy using the most. This is helpful whether you are choosing a career for the first time or changing careers for the twenty-first time.

One aspect that even the most powerful Job Search engine cannot cover is the fact that probably the majority of job vacancies are never posted in journals, newspapers or on-line and you only find them using the right contacts or your Network.

This “hidden job market” only can be exploited by keeping focus on people who have experiences, and contacts that might be interesting for you.

Good possibilities to build up your Network, are for example job fairs or similar events where you meet hiring managers, job lead sources and other valuable contacts.

Conclusions
Using state-of-the art job search engines, online recruitment has become a powerful tool for a fast, efficient and economical job search and the performance is improving constantly. But every jobseeker should be aware of the fact that even the most powerful job search engine should be considered only as a single tool in the Job Search Strategy and that still most jobs are found using personal Networks. Finding a job is all about people, the people you know, and people you meet who have the job information and who will inevitably help you get a job. Online Job Search using all-in-one or metasearch engines definitely makes life much easier but should not be overestimated.

Resources

1) Two-Approach Job Search Guide – 2ajobguide.com
2) David Hurst,Chairman – ORMC, 2004
3) Joel Cheesman’s Blog, “Craigslist puts smackdown on verticals”, October 19, 2006.
4) INTERNET Inc, “Job Search Verticals – The List”, October 5, 2006.
5) Read/WriteWeb, “Search 2.0 – What’s Next?”, December 13, 2006.

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History, the Arts and Joy of Life – Why a Trip to the 4th Arrondissement of Paris is a Must!

Posted on July 22, 2018 in Uncategorized

Whilst investigating a trip to Paris, I came across the ‘Hotel-de-Ville’ area of Paris and discovered that it was what I consider Paris to be all about – a mix of history, the arts and joy of life!

The area is located on the Right Bank of the River Seine and contains some of the most popular tourist sites in Paris but also some that you may not have heard of. The ambience is one of lively bars, restaurants, galleries, boutiques and large open squares, not including the narrow medieval streets of the Marais district. This was once a royal residential area but fell into disrepair when it was abandoned during the Revolution. However, in the 1960’s it was rediscovered and soon became a fashionable address – more commonly know now as the ‘Gay’ Quarter.

The diverse mix of artists, Jewish and gay communities make for a truly cosmopolitan character. Add into the mix the Pompidou Centre, Place de l’hôtel de Ville and The Notre-Dame Cathedral, and you have a unique hotchpotch of styles and attractions to experience.

The Pompidou centre located in Place George Pompidou is a work of art in its own right. Built in the 1970s, the architects literally “turned the architectural world upside down” with its exposed skeleton and functional pipes and escalators on the outside of the building. 4o years on and it is still as dramatic and conceptual as it was then – maybe even more of an attraction than the art inside! The streets around the Square are littered with cafés and bars and make a great meeting point.

And of course no trip to Paris would be complete without visiting Notre Dame Cathedral. This famous gothic Cathedral, famous for its fictional hunchback, is dramatic and imposing. Its beautiful Rose windows, stone carvings and gargoyles make for an impressive exterior but it’s the history inside that is why people flock there. It is witnessed so much French history – the coronations and weddings of Kings and Emperors and the Revolution when it was ransacked.

Notre Dame is also a great location to start a walk along the River Seine. Head west and you will come across The Louvre, The Tuileries Gardens, Musée d’Orsay and The Eiffel Tower. A walk along the Seine is not just for lovers as you pass some of Paris most famous tourist attractions and you get to watch Parisian life on either side of the River without all the traffic pollution of the main streets.

This area of Paris is truly beautiful and very desirable, so staying there on your trip could be very expensive. I would advise that if you don’t have a massive budget that you should stay in one of the outer arrondissements and take the efficient and cheap Metro into the centre.

Enjoy your stay!

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