Sigh.... launching and starting a new Early Music ensemble is lots of "interesting" new experiences. This week, I had started locking in players... which was quite nerve-racking even though I had the assurances of people being onside and generally supportive and willing. However, asking someone to do it... well, it is like asking someone on a date or worse! So, thankfully that part is out of the way... and now I can get to the more than slightly annoying task of writing a grant application for a very small amount.
I have already budgeted to do these 4 main concerts (and at least another 3 "minor" concerts) so that we wouldn't be losing money... basically, with the support of a venue and other generous in-kind support bolstering ticket sales... and a small buffer from the previous year.
Anyway, it doesn't hurt to get some formal funding... as this sort of thing can increase visibility and help attract additional funding as well from philanthropists and other sources. Plus, it is more of a "respect" sort of thing... where concert organisers will see that you have the interest of a major funding body... that said, I don't expect it... but the extra support will be quite helpful as long as it doesn't come with strings that are too onerous... and at this level of funding, I'm expecting that the strings will be relatively light.
So, there are essentially several parts to the whole thing... proof of support/past work, project vision, and then the budgeting.
So, the proof of support/past work is no problem at all.. I have lots of letters of support from local, national, and international sources. And the past work stuff is also no problem either, with reviews, CDs, concerts... basically my entire working life. It was interesting that at the information meeting, one person actually asked why they had to have some proof of past work as an artist? Essentially, he was saying that he didn't have any... but that he should still be able to apply for arts funding! Well.. that sort of stuff really gets my goat up... not only is it outright scammy, thinking that you can just pass off any old thing as an artist (because, apparently we aren't professionals that have spent years training and working...) but it is also just quite the "stupid" idea that "anyone" can do artistic works... and I don't deny the actual part where ANYONE can do ART... but there is something to be said for past experience, training, and actual art production that makes the ART DECENT and worth funding.
Anyway, that particular rant over... the vision part is slightly trickier, and that is what I'm leaving for tomorrow. Essentially, it is three questions that you need to answer that address some criterion about WHY you think your project should be funded. Given that I'm at the start of my journey for this ensemble... well, I'm only applying for the smallest grant possible... as I have a decent idea of what I want this ensemble to contribute locally and nationally, both on stage and at a community level... but it isn't really that focussed. There are lots of things that I want it to be able to do... and given the word limit of 400 words for each question, I'm not sure that I can keep it focused (which is probably a mark against my application).... on the other hand, I feel quite passionately about it, and I hope that shows! At least, when I have talked to people about it, it has gone down well...
Anyway... today's job was the budgeting. I've never had to write up a budget before... I've never been on the back end of running an ensemble... the closest that I've come has been as an artistic director/leader. And in those roles, you spend the money and someone else runs around trying to make it happen!
I sort of found it a bit tricky to do, as it was mostly estimates of what things might cost in the future... with rough guesses past on past concerts (last year) as to what the ticketing and other income might be. It sort of annoys me that I can't be more exact about it, but the information session made it quite clear that they aren't expecting exact numbers, but are looking more for the evidence that you have tried to be comprehensive about it.
So, I managed in the end... and I think that I have everything budgeted on the incoming and outgoing sides... and the annoying thing was that they "almost" balanced. But I needed to have a deficit of the amount that I was applying for! Otherwise, there would be no reason to be applying! On the other hand, if the deficit was too large... then I wouldn't be able to launch the project WITHOUT the funding... and I wanted to go ahead regardless of funding, unlike some other projects that I have seen that are dependent on funding grants to actually move forward. Sigh... talk about perverse incentives!
Anyway, a little bit of tweaking and I had the deficit that I required... with the ability to re-tweak back to a closer balance if funding wasn't coming. So, budget done... write up and blather tomorrow, with the submission the day afterwards! This stuff is no fun at all... I can't wait until I'm big enough to hire someone else do this for me...
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