Festival Network Online Newsletter
January/February - 2003
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A note from the editor.....
Happy New Year! We're off to a bit of a late start this year, sometimes it just takes a while (after all those holiday festivities) to get back in the swing of things. Especially when we know we're facing those dreaded show applications. I've received all my applications and put them into their appropriate "due date" piles - now I just have to get with it. Can't believe we have to apply for a show in February that doesn't happen until August! And, they want a check too! Ugh. Here's an article I found quite helpful - hope it helps you too. As always, keep on, keeping on - see you next month. :-) Diane
Tips to make them less Complicated
By William T. Lasley
Artists/Crafters/Musicians near and far will almost all agree that the most dreaded part of our business is completing the show promoter's application requirements. Some promoters want to see slides of your work or for performers, copies of CDs/video. Others require photos. One promoter will want two photos of three pieces of your work. Another will want five slides of individual pieces! The combinations are endless and annoying. Also, slides and photos usually need to be labeled or numbered in a variety of ways. I've even had one that wanted an actual piece of my work along with slides before they would even send me an application! Give me a break! Many promoters require a non-refundable "jury fee" before they will review your work. This can range from $5 to $50. When you consider that these slides or photos will only be viewed for a few seconds, the price can be quite steep.
Now it's time for the dreaded application. An application might ask anything from previous shows you have attended to what kind of pets you own! Many times, you must search through tons of paperwork just to find all the required information you need to send. Now keep in mind that many promoters have this rule: if you omit one piece of information, in the trash your application goes! Also, if you send the wrong size photos or fail to label them in the required manner, the same fate awaits your application packet. (Make sure you do not forget to send the required money, or else they will come to your home and take your first-born!)
All promoters understandably want to receive your applications far in advance of the show. Some even require them a year or more in advance! I have recently applied for a show that wants to receive the packet on a certain date. Now I'm supposed to have control over the postal system too? I know crafters are resourceful, but this is taking it a bit too far! Most will also want your show fee included with your application. Many will go ahead and cash your check and then send you a refund if you are not accepted. (Drawing a little free interest in the bank, maybe? Hmm.)
The most aggravating thing about all of this is, after having gone through this entire process, you are not accepted for the show, then you come to find out the promoters have "hand-picked" over 50 percent of their exhibitors! That's neither here nor there though, since we have little control over how fair a promoter will be. However, I have witnessed "hand-picking" at juried events, one too many times to ignore this highly unprofessional behavior.
If this sounds confusing, it is! When you do 25 or more shows a year, this becomes an agonizing, time-consuming process. Where do you find the time to produce your goods when you are constantly faced with an upcoming "deadline" for one show or another? How can you keep your expenses under control when you have to come up with thousands of dollars in show fees for shows you might not even be chosen to attend? It's almost enough to make you want to give it up and go into another line of work! How about the show promoting business? Oh well, maybe not. Iâ€™d like to share with you what I do to make this process as painless as possible.
First of all, the most important thing to do is to find the deadline. The deadline is the date that the application must be received before an exhibitor will even be considered. The deadline should be located at the top of the information you receive. Unfortunately, it usually is not. You might have to look around a little to find it.
If you attend more than ten shows a year, you should sort all of your applications by the deadline date. I prefer to use folders labeled by the month. Once a month, pull the folder with the following month's applications in it. By doing this, you will be less likely to overlook the application and miss any chance you have of attending that "great show." The important thing to remember is to pick a date for reviewing applications and stick to it! Trust me, applications can get backed up very quickly. It's much easier going through the tasks you need to do if you aren't behind to begin with.
Photos and Slides:
Next, make sure that you have plenty of high quality slides and photographs on hand. If you do not have these when completing your applications, it will take much longer for the application process to be completed.
I prefer to take my own photos. One day a year I use about 25 rolls of high quality film and photograph a large assortment of stock. This way, I can ensure that I get plenty of "good shots." I have these developed as photos and pick out the best shots. Then I have an equal amount of slides made from the negatives. If you don't have the time or don't trust your own photography skills, hire a professional photographer to do the work for you. Whether you take your own pictures or not is not as important as having high quality pictures well in advance of an application deadline.
Slides and photos also need to be labeled a certain way. You should be able to find each particular promoter's requirements by sifting through the information packet. With slides, remember that juries are most likely viewing hundreds, or sometimes thousands, of slides in a row. That's right! All that time and money you have poured into a presentation gets rated in a matter of a few seconds. So, if you don't clearly label which way is up, the jury members may have to stand on their heads to properly view your work! All joking aside, you rarely get more than one "pass of the projector," so make it count.
Your application should be typed or neatly printed so that all of your information can be clearly read. It never hurts to read the entire application before you start to enter the information. Believe me, nothing looks as tacky as "scribble marks" or "white out" over mistakes. Be sure to completely fill in all of the information requested. As stated before, some show guidelines are so strict that one piece of missing information will send your application directly to the department that collects the trash!
I have found a little trick that helps take some of the sting out of those ever-rising show fees. When you attend a really good show that you know you'll want attend again the next year, go ahead and put the fee in a separate checking account. This way, you will have all of your repeat show fees already waiting when it's time to pay them. This really doesn't save you any money, it just keeps you from constantly "scraping up show fees." But, I did call this a Trick, not a Miracle.
William T. Lasley
Willaim is a Guide for About.com, Used by permission from About Inc., All rights reserved.
Diane Elliott Bruckner
Diane@festivalnet.com - dianebruckner.com
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