The Business of Art.
THE SIMPSONS NEWS – The Business of Art
“Family, religion, friendship, these are the three demons you must slay if you want to succeed in business.” – Mr. Burns
Today I’m talking about something that, as an artist, you’re probably not going to want to hear, or think about, or do, but you’ve got to do it anyway if you want to be an artist with job security. And that is, you have to become a business person whether you like it or not.
Why should you even want think this way? What does it matter?
It matters. Your art is your product and you sell it to clients. Those clients are either the public, which makes you in the service or product industry, or other businesses, which makes you in the “business to business” industry.
Realizing this and understanding what this means may be the difference between you doing well and not having any money.
Below you can watch a video where I talk about this. You can either watch is or read along below the video. I say basically the same thing. Make sure to read up on what I’m sending my e-mail subscribers below so you can see the goodies you get for subscribing:
The Animation Industry
I’ve really started to think about business recently and I’ve never had to think about it because I’ve been at the Simpsons studio for so long. I’ve been on the show for many years but the average time an artist is on a TV show or a feature film is two years.
Usually, as an animator or artist, you’re like an independent contractor. When you’re freelancing, you’re an independent contractor. You’re like a small business working for a bigger business.
As an artist or freelance artist, you are in a business and your product is your art. You are selling your product to somebody or another business. If you’re trading your art for value (money)–that’s a business transaction. You need to learn how to manage a small business in order to know what’s working, how to leverage it, how not to get jacked by taxes, things like that.
If you’re really serious about making a living doing your art, you have to learn this for more than one reason. One major reason is, even if you’re working in a studio environment like I am, if you know business then you understand what the higher ups are working with and what they’re thinking. If you can understand that and give them that, and make yourself a valuable asset to them because you have that business mentality anyway, you become more valuable as an artist.
Another reason is if you’re not in a studio or you’re doing freelance, you want job security. A good way to get good job security is to have a head for business. You need to think about how you are going to sell your product in ways that are going to give you the money you need in order to survive and have job security.
The Rule of One
There’s this rule called The Rule of One.
The worst number in business is the number one. One product, one form of marketing, one stream of revenue, one product, one client, etc. You don’t want one. Usually as artists what we end up doing is focusing on “one thing,” such as wanting to be only a comic book artist, only an animator, or only doing fantasy illustrations for Magic The Gathering.
That’s ridiculous, because when that one thing goes away, you’re out of work.
What do investors do with their portfolios? What’s the common wisdom?
That means that you don’t put all your money in one market. You put some money in foreign currencies, some in land, oil, etc. so just in case one market fails, you have all these other markets that keep your portfolio safe.
Why don’t we as artists do that? Why don’t we diversify? If you do art, you should do it not only for a client, but also for yourself so you can market it and even license it. Find different avenues for your art. You should do comics, cartoons, everything. Do it all at once.
That way, if you’re not working in the studio anymore, you’re at least still doing freelance, or selling comics, or starting an art school and bringing in revenue from that. You have job security, and you’ve got the skill to create assets to make you money.
So if you’re only focusing on the one thing, you’re not very secure financially. Don’t do that. Find, distribute, and diversify the business. Create a model that will allow you to do that.
Learn to hire out. For example, a virtual assistant can look up references for you, check your email, send out your tweets, etc. for $150 a month so you can work on the stuff you need to work on. You’ll need the time to be producing a lot of content in different formats so you can be a successful business.
I hope this gives you something to think about.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
Simpsons Holiday Cards Continue
In this week’s e-mail newsletter, I continue my highlight of this year’s Christmas cards from my fellow Simpsons artist. This week Head Director, Producer David Silverman makes an appearance in the way of his New Year’s card.
If you want to get a copy of this sent to you, opt in before next Thursday and I’ll send you copy of the e-mail.
Had a great Christmas with the family.
Alesha gave me a copy of THE FOUR HOUR CHEF for the Kindle. Not because I don’t know how to cook but because I wanted to read the chapter on “meta learning.”
I got Alesha money. The left over money from a “commission” of sorts I finished before Christmas.
The kids got TONS of presents from everyone. The highlights of best present, by kid are:
Elizabeth (5 years old): a new fish she saved her money to buy.
Dante (4 years old): A Super Mario Brother DVD (not a game but the animated TV show from the 80s)
Ambrose (2 years old): A toy airplane (he loves airplanes.)
Luke (1 year old): Wrapping paper.
We spent a lot nights up late. Lots of sleepy kids this week.
Also we met Santa Clause AND Saint Nicholas. Santa showed up at our Christmas eve party and gave kids presents. Saint Nicholas showed up at the Kid’s Mass on Christmas eve, looking like a what he is, a Catholic Bishop. He gave Elizabeth a candy cane as we left the church.
It was a good Christmas. I hope you had a good one too.
The liturgical Christmas season has started (before Christmas was Advent), I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season and a Happy New Year.
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