My top 3 takeaway learnings from M21PA Professional Studies Module led by Jackie Elliman, Percy Emmett and Anna Moutney (Producer – Frantic Assembly)
1 – What is it that I do? Why should anybody care?
Percy Emmett commenced his first session by posing two central questions: What is it that I do? And why should anybody care? The first: What is it that I do? Relates to how we perceive ourselves as artists and also how we want others to perceive and understand our practice. The second: Why should anybody care? And, asks an individual to consider what benefit(s) they can offer to another.
In reference to the first question: What is it I do? I found it interesting to hear Percy discuss how sometimes, its not always necessary, about what we do, it’s about others perception of whether or not you capable of it. This reminded me of how important it is to market yourself and how key it is to have understanding of what others may want you to do. Sometimes you can worry about how you actually do ‘it’ afterwards.
Although, these two questions are fairly simplistic. I feel, that clarity in the answering of both, has the strong potential to lead to success for any artist. I found it extremely difficult to answer both of these questions with the specificity I think Percy was asking for. I don’t think i’m not alone in finding this a huge challenge to boil down and answer concisely. I do however, recognise the need to reflect upon both questions over the course of this module.
2 – Funding is very formulaic
This take-away relates to my first. Funders, whoever they are, whether it be a community council, the Arts Council or any other body, all potential funders, need to know and understand how your ideas are for them. Again, at face value, this observation seems relatively simplistic, but a clarity in what is consumable and how your ideas are edible to a funder is key.
Percy, made the point that funding applications can be very formulaic. He meant that there is a real art and precision to writing these kinds of applications. Interestingly, Percy also pointed out, that there are actually individuals who can write Arts Council applications on your behalf, in exchange for a fee or renumeration from the funding itself. This reminded me that collaboration can extend beyond a creative idea and how important it be to engage with people who can activate your ideas!
3 – Anna’s 15 Top Tips
I realise, I am slightly cheating here by using all 15 tips for one take-away, but they are all very affirming, refreshing and vital to consider in moving forward as an enterprising artist.
1. Making art isn’t easy and it takes a long time to make good art. Don’t be impatient
2. Never stop learning. You can’t make art if you know nothing
3. If you do something, do it fantastically well
4. See stuff
5. Talk to people
6. You don’t need permission to do what you do – it can’t be granted
7. Learn from your mistakes
8. If you’ve got no money find another way
9. Care about people
10. Remember who you are
11. Work hard and when you get tired, work harder
12. Get organised
13. Demonstrate don’t proclamate
14. Make a difference
15. Don’t bloody moan
My favourite was number 13. Here I think Anna meant it is vital to show what you can do and to do it. It links to both my other take-aways nicely actually. I think the first action I need to ‘demonstrate’ is to achieve clarity in answering Percy’s question: what do I do as an artist? And to start research and engaging with the people that should care!