A one act of mine is part of the line-up in this event on Sunday. New York folk–would love to see you there.
April 20th, 2013 · Bliss Street Studios, Theatre Studios, Writing Studios
March 22nd, 2013 · Bliss Street Studios, Music Studios
Thanks to Josh Stamper, Tomi Tsunoda, and Tanya Kalmanovitch (among others) who gave me great feedback & encouragement on this series; I’m learning how to own up, recognize the value I can bring to you, dear, reader, renegotiate my commitments, and realize it’s never too late to dust off this (or any other) project that’s been on the back burner.
Today’s post is about grants. Are grants competitive? Yes. Are you bound to get some rejection letters? Most likely. Are grants a reliable, steady stream of cash flow? Probably not. But, as I continue to hunt for income, I’m realizing that there are vastly more grants and opportunities out there–more so than I’m aware of, and much more than I imagine. From humongous, lifetime achievement awards, to micro-grants of several hundred dollars, there’s a wide swath of funding available, even in today’s economic climate. Check out a few of the links I’ve provided below:
Grantspace–Funding for Musicians: while they also have funding for other disciplines (writers, visual artists, etc.), there are a ton of links to follow on this page. (Scroll down to check out Michigan State University’s list of music grants).
NYFA Source: New York Foundation for the Arts has a large compendium of grants and awards for New York-based artists. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and sift through their massive database for just the right grant.
Queens Council on the Arts: I was honored to receive a grant from them last year for a collaboration with Elizabeth Dishman on her dance work Requiem Familiaris. (***Queens-based artists: check out not only their grant programs but their professional development workshops–I highly recommend them!)
Composer Assistance Program: New Music USA is offering this program to support composers in premieres of new works. The deadline to apply is coming up soon (April 1)–I’m planning to throw my hat in the ring for this one!
Douglas Detrick: Four Reasons to Finally Write that Grant : Douglas Detrick outlines some compelling reasons to get your grant application together, and the value (beyond monetary) of learning how to effectively present your work.
What resources for grants have you found out there? I’d love for you to share your research–I’m into collaboration and cooperation these days. Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and stay tuned for another installment!
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March 11th, 2013 · Bliss Street Studios, Music Studios
You’re cordially invited to our show at a new series curated by Aaron Roche. I’ll Soundpaint the band as well as play a few tasty solo piano covers to bookend the evening:
March 11th, 2013 · Bliss Street Studios, Music Studios
Thanks to all those who made it to our last ZAHA show at Firehouse Space. Here’s the video I made afterwards where I burned secret memories the audience wrote and placed into a sealed envelope:
February 2nd, 2013 · Bliss Street Studios, Music Studios
Hello and a news update from the land of ZAHA. I’m looking forward to sharing this new multidisciplinary piece with you — a work that weaves together music and dance based on Shape Note melodies, Norse mythology, and middle school shame. Read below for details.
You’re cordially invited to the world premiere of “Ashes, Ashes,” a poignant, somber, and humorous reflection on impermanence, loss, mortality, and transformation.
I’ll direct ZAHA using a sign language for live composition based on both Walter Thompson’s Soundpainting and Butch Morris’ Conduction. Guest dancer Ceren Oran from Salzburg will join us for this special event. This performance will be dedicated to Butch Morris, whose passion and fantasy have inspired me to explore the boundaries of composing in the moment.
December 8th, 2012 · Bliss Street Studios, Theatre Studios, Writing Studios
I’m having a reading of the first draft of my new play, Homeless. Would love to have you there to hear this work in progress!
Come hear talented actors Brian Seibert, Rachel Valdati, and Marie Joyce help me bring this piece to life.
October 12th, 2012 · Bliss Street Studios, Music Studios
Last spring, I took my group ZAHA down the east coast on our first ever week-long tour. We launched a Kickstarter campaign to defray travel costs and collect money to pay the band members. Many folks since then have asked how we met (and exceeded) our fundraising goal.
Below are my three best tips for any musician or creative artist planning to launch a crowdfunding campaign:
1. FOCUS ON A STORY: I believe that we as human beings are irresistibly drawn to stories and that we love to contribute to those stories, not just to people or projects. I’m discovering that I (and many I know) love to participate in making something happen: something bigger than myself, something that enables me to enter a story. For my Kickstarter campaign, I not only talked about my dreams, but also about the amazing players in ZAHA — their expertise, our history as a band, etc. I also talked about how we would and open for other bands in their hometowns while we were on tour, and how we planned to partner with a slew of talented musicians and connect with a ton of new fans on the road.
After the tour was funded and I began rewarding our backers with their respective gifts, I was surprised at how many folks (and several of them were BIG contributors) chose to not get a reward. I actually double-checked to confirm that they didn’t merely forget to pick a reward — they OPTED OUT and enjoyed simply supporting our project. This blew me away and caused me to rethink my whole approach to asking for support. I realized I had been hung up on the “goodies” we had promised at varying levels of support: free recordings, guest list status, a home-cooked meal, etc. And, while I believe rewards are an important part of a successful crowdfunding strategy (both in terms of enticing contributions and expressing gratitude), I came to view these gifts as not the most fundamental element of fundraising. What’s most important is inviting people create a narrative with you.
2. SPEAK FROM THE HEART: While a creative “pitch video” has its merits in capturing viewers’ attentions, I’ve found many examples (including mine!) of lo-fi, DIY, rough-’n'-tumble videos that have helped artists successfully fund their projects. Before we launched our campaign, I actually had a slightly better-looking video ready to go, but after some helpful critique from bandmate Eric Eigner regarding my delivery and confidence on camera, I actually scrapped this take and reshot my video. Since my zoom camera had been stolen at a show in Philly in the meantime, my second pass at the video was on my laptop’s webcam. I shot the on-camera script in one continuous take and interspersed some still images via iMovie. To be honest, the video was severely lacking in the production department!
However, my new video, as rugged as it was on a technical level, was much stronger in the end. I spoke with more passion and presence about what we planned to create, and I delivered a message that was much more true to myself and direct to the viewer. I know that my heart-felt delivery also played a strong part in helping us exceed our financial goal.
3. PROMOTE RELENTLESSLY: The biggest skill I learned in fundraising with ZAHA was to fearlessly and consistently invite our fans to support us. Marketing is a learned skill for me and not an innate talent, so this process definitely stretched me out of my comfort zone. But I know all my efforts — the regular schedule of social media updates, constant electronic nudging, and a host of emails to my list and to key colleagues — all of them made the difference in surpassing our target.
As is often the case with fundraising efforts, there was an initial burst of support, and a bit of lag the following week. I took this as a challenge to work tirelessly and deliver a steady stream of funds to our campaign, and I wanted to avoid the typical timeline of a campaign: a lull in the middle with a frenzied outpouring of money near the deadline. So, with consistent promotion (and many thanks to our awesome donors, we managed to come in ahead of schedule. (One note: along the way, I found it helpful to update folks with mini-milestones: 25% funded, 50% funded, etc.)
Another helpful limitation for me was the built-in time limit Kickstarter imposes on their approved projects. With Kickstarter, a project must raise every penny of its goal by a specific date and time; if not, no one is charged and none of the pledged funds are collected. I know several people who balk at this feature of Kickstarter and prefer sites like Indiegogo which don’t have an all-or-nothing element to their deadlines. But, frankly, this feature got my butt in gear and motivated me to play for keeps. The prospect of going “all in” on our campaign really lit a fire under me and got me moving to drum up some support. And it taught me that there are plenty of people who not only are willing to support our work but welcome it.
Have you raised funds for your creative project using a crowdfunding campaign? What worked? What would you do differently? Or, are you considering launching a fundraising campaign? What are your concerns or questions? Please leave a comment below!
October 10th, 2012 · Bliss Street Studios, Music Studios
I’m excited to invite you to ZAHA’s sixth annual Silent Scream performance on October 26, when I’ll be leading ZAHA in accompanying the classic silent film “Nosferatu” (1922), one of the spookiest black-and-white movies. Ever. We’re aiming to help you get in the Halloween spirit with our patented potion of creepy melodies and haunting harmonies. Many thanks to Sunnyside Reformed Church, who graciously hosted last year’s Silent Scream show and is welcoming us again this fall.
Read below for more details:
Evan Mazunik’s ZAHA
Silent Scream: Nosferatu
Fri 26 October, 8:00pm (doors 7:30)
Subway: 7 to 46th St-Bliss St
Break out your costumes and join us for a chilling evening of music and film!
PS As a special reward, we’ll gift all those in attendance with an exclusive download code for our latest record, “The Sedge and the Bee.” Our treat. No trick.
October 9th, 2012 · Bliss Street Studios, Music Studios
Clearing the backlog — here’s last week’s post!
Expanding on my previous post about referrals, what products, programs, gear or equipment do you believe in and use regularly? Which of those can you help promote?
I’ve been dipping my toes into these waters in two ways:
Music Marketing Manifesto: I’ve been following John Oszajca for a while — I’ve signed up for his free educational videos, read his blog posts, listened to his podcasts, and was a member of his Insiders Circle, a monthly membership site full of top-notch interviews with music industry leaders.
FYI: This link is an affilate link through clickbank.com — browse their marketplace — they have a TON of products to promote.
Amazon Associates: I have parents of students frequently ask me if I recommend any certain brands of keyboards. As a result, I’m starting to research Amazon’s affiliate program in order to recommend some products through them. Looks like a pretty easy process.
As always, I welcome your feedback — leave a reply in the comments below, and we’ll see you soon!
October 8th, 2012 · Bliss Street Studios, Music Studios
Performing rights organizations are another way for the independent musician to garner some income. In the US, BMI and ASCAP are two of the most popular performing rights organizations. They exist to track and collect royalties for copyright holders (have you registered the copyrights for your original works yet?)
I used to be with BMI, and recently moved over to ASCAP — in short, my publisher had a more established brand w/ ASCAP, and I wanted to partner with him. The process of switching was fairly easy, and I’m enjoying a few of the programs ASCAP is offering:
ASCAP PLUS Award (given annually)
ASCAP OnStage: ASCAP recently launched this new program to pay musicians for live performances at venues of any size. I’m signing up — you should, too!
PS also check out AARC | Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies: this non-profit protects the worldwide hometaping and rental rights for recording artists and copyright owners. Their application is super easy — fill it out today!