Updated: Mar 3
The entertainment business, like every industry, is at a standstill due to quarantine and social distancing rules all over the world. While some are still engaged in work, creatives in many areas of the arts are stuck at home without the possibility of earning an income. So, what should members of the creative industry do in this instance. Apart from connecting through technology, here are some tips for creatives as to what to do while they wait on normalcy to return.
1. Improve your craft, no matter your talent level, this is a good time to focus on honing your craft. Song writing, vocal ability, stage performance, writing, dancing, graphic design, comedy, photography, fashion design no matter your field. This is great time to improve and to put in the practice or rehearsals to improve your craft. The aim is to achieve the highest professional level that will ensure longevity in your field.
2. It is time for creatives to end financial illiteracy. Yes, it’s been a traditional thing to boast about not knowing or caring about finances. Those days are over! The Covid 19 virus has revealed the importance of financial planning. One of my colleagues in the creative industries has a saying which is “artists use money to replace money”. What this means is that a lot of artists are consumers but not investors. During this down period, creatives must focus on financial planning. Looking at investments and the diversification of income streams. Issues such estate planning, taxation, insurance, pension plan and intellectual property management are important considerations. During this break, these should be dealt with in a detailed and serious way, especially for those who have not attended to these critical issues. Get in touch with a good financial adviser fast!
3. Digitisation, the Internet, applications and softwares have made this crisis more manageable. We have seen an increase in the utilization of technology to ease the burden of the disruption and isolation that has occurred due to national shut down and quarantine measures. Creatives must improve their digital skills and gain a deeper understanding of the appropriate use of technologies such as podcasting, video editing, digital cameras and the various applications that are available to assists in reaching fans and building super fans. It’s time to use the platforms to monetize your creative output and brands. Social media and new technology should not only be used to wash dirty laundry in the public which only sews division and conflict in the industry. There are easier and less painful ways to remain current. A good place to start is YouTube where you can learn almost anything in terms of using technology, improving your craft and improving your digital skills.
4. It’s time creatives realize creativity for creativity’s sake won’t cut it and they must understand the importance of formalising their brand in the form of a registered company. There are many options available –
sole proprietor, partnership, limited liability and foundation. Consulting with a business development consultant will ensure the right choice is made to suit individual circumstances and goals. The general practice of tax avoidance, has resulted in serious consequences for far too many creatives in the past and certainly at present where government assistance is tied to proof that you have been paying your taxes.
5. Marketing and branding are two of the most overused words in the industry. However very few creatives have mastered or even understand what it entails. They have a limited understanding of how to engage in effective branding and marketing. It’s time to talk to one of the firms who have the expertise and developed a strategy which must include a digital marketing strategy. Outrageous behaviour on social media is not sustainable and only results in negative brand outcomes.
6. This might sound brutal but it’s also a time to reflect on the possibility that the creative industry might not be the best fit for you. It’s a very unpredictable industry that requires discipline, extra hard work and dedication. Unarguably, Jamaicans are among the most talented in the world. The unfortunate thing is that in far too many instances, the least talented, who are not interested in hard work, are more drawn to the industry. In this business, it’s either feast or famine and the feast usually takes years to achieve. For most creatives, before success is a reality, it’s a lot of rejection, frustration and dead ends. Overnight sensations are usually ten or more years in the making.
So, there you go, these are few practical and achievable things to do while we continue to practice social distancing and fight the coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully you can try all these suggestions and I’m sure you will be better for it. In the meantime, always follow your dreams but remember, a dream without hard work and discipline, is only a dream.