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Gearing Up For Grants #2: 7 Ways to Determine If A Collaborator is Right For You

Updated: Jun 3, 2022

Welcome to the second informational post on this gorgeous Monday!

Last week I wrote about how to solidify what you do best and what you're creating in order to receive a grant (or several) that will bring your project to life. This is just Step 1 in order to receive said grant(s), though. Before you can even apply, you need to think about how this project is even going to happen before you get the money because realistically, you can't do everything it entails by yourself. You can try, but it'll save you a lot of grey hairs if you delegate some things to someone else.

If you're doing something theatre-related, you might need actors, probably a director, probably a stage manager and some space to rent if it's a live show (though we're in the times where while live shows are fun, you don't have to rely only on that thanks to technology), and probably a music director if your project involves your cast reading music. If it's music, you might need audio engineers, musicians who can work with you, a stage manager, and perhaps a vocal coach. Note that what I list here that you might need is the bare minimum and will vary depending on your project. But all projects will need marketing, and they all will definitely need people to bring the project to life.

A group of people working together in a collaborative workspace

Dear reader, you probably have a job, or a family, or other responsibilities that take up a lot of your brain so you can't always keep track of promoting and doing stuff that isn't necessarily in your wheelhouse. This is where your collaborators come in. They're easy to find if you use social media or Fiverr or even within your own network to describe what you need. But the most important thing is, how do you know if they're right for you? Because not everyone will be, and here's how you can determine they are.

1. Are they available or flexible?

Your potential collaborator also has a life just like you and might be working on something else of their own right as you ask them (take it from someone who had a potential director turn her down for exactly that reason). Factor in how soon you want to project to take shape (in terms of months, not days or weeks), and note that it will take a lot of time and patience so you'll also need to know when you'll actually need your collaborator. They'll need to be reliable too.

2. Will they honor your vision or project?

They have to be able to, and already do stuff that aligns with your values already. And they have to believe in your project. This ties in with enthusiasm in my last post. They have to be as enthusiastic about your project as you are, because when there's passion involved with what they're doing, it'll show. And if there's no passion, that'll show too. No one can change what your vision looks like except for you, except in warranted feedback cases.

3. How much will they cost?

This is the starting point of your budget. How much do they want to be compensated (and do pay people, seriously)? How much are you willing to pay? How much can a grant realistically give you?

4. What do other people say about them?

The reputation is crucial here. Gives them more clout and makes them more trustworthy. Also check how recent some reviews are. If someone gave your collaborator a one- or zero-star review in the last three months at least, keep this in mind.

5. Do they agree with what's in your contract?

For the love of all that is sane, please write up a contract! You have to agree with each other's terms naturally. Verbal agreements are not going to do anything, lest someone forgets or decides something else will happen instead, which is why you need to have things in writing so that you can consult them later. And actually read before you sign, please, because you can't go back after signing without ripping it up which puts everything in jeopardy unless you both agree to update the terms.

6. Are they willing to try something new?

Creators are always trying new things, so your collaborator has to believe your project can be done. See point #2.

7. Most important: YOU HAVE TO LIKE THEM.

Listen to your gut, pray on it, whatever. Don't get into a hasty agreement out of desperation. If something feels right, go for it. If you have doubts that aren't related to anxiety, don't.

All these make up Step Two in getting grant funding. Thanks for reading. Sorry it's a long one, but it's one of the most important things in the creative world and life in general. Stay tuned for the next post!

As always,



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