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Commissions and Open Calls


During this time, I am seeing a lot of commissions floating around and as a newbie to this professional world, I also made the mistake of applying for all of them. Through the past few weeks, I have learnt many dos and don’ts to this so thought I would let you know so main ones that I have stumbled across.

The main one that I’d like to point out is to be picky with who you want showing your work, whether it’s a company or a group. You need to be sure that they’re the personality to be representing you! Because for the time you’re working together, you’re essentially partners!

Respect the process! When writing to open calls I have found that people don’t want a full plan they want a brief idea. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying this is for all of them, but being as open as possible lets them have input if they want to do so. It’s a tricky line to figure out so look into the group see their style of work.

It also needs to be said that you need to respect the process! When writing to open calls, I’ve found in my experience that people don’t want a full plan thrown at them, they want a brief idea! A summary of your motif and intentions. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying apply this to all of them but don’t go all-in right from the get-go; an overload of information gives them room for input. Just adapt to each open one, and do your research about the group to see what their style of work is.

One of the biggest killers for the creative process is self-critique. If you’re like me, you’ll spend hours upon hours which will turn into days which will then turn into weeks and so on, deciding if I should show it. It’s only recently for myself that this has changed. The only tip I can give for this is to trust in yourself. You have opportunities arriving to you BECAUSE of you, you are good enough so carpe diem!

Don’t fight the feedback, rather than ignore it, use it as fuel to get the creative juices flowing. Sometimes it can be harsh and it will knock you back, but treasure it as it could be the ticket to your next big creative burst. Feedback means someone has taken an initial interest in your work and cares about your progression, if you receive an email with feedback, use it as a line of communication and email back. Thank them, don’t question what they say and use it to spark up a subtle conversation, gain the acknowledgement and engage with them. Engagement can go a long way.

But most importantly and above all, be yourself. This is the most important part of any application for any sort of funding or open call. You’re trying to riel up a professional, who has never met you or seen your work before so get them as excited as you are. Remain professional (no slang, no matter how tempting) but you can still get your personality across. They just want to know about the person they’re going to be investing in. So, make them applications count and good luck!

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© 2018 By Heather Bell.