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The Wong in Review for the Year 2012

January 2nd, 2013

Happy New Year from Miami!

Omens that the year is already off to a fantastic start:

1. I saw a couple doing it doggy style on the beach of  South Beach last night.
2. A gross guy hit on me.
3. A man yelled from his car “Ride on the sidewalk you bitch!” while I was bike riding on the side of the road. (Even if it was legal to ride on the sidewalk, there was none.)

All these signs point to Hell Yes!  2013! Let’s do it!

For me, 2013 is going to be a year of major SHIFTING.  Last year was supposed to be a year of major shifting away from theater and more towards a balance between that and writing/acting/ commentating/ filmmaking, but somehow I ended up on tour for six months– not a bad landing spot, sure.  But this year, I’m throwing my girl balls to the walls and am really giving my life the space to make dramatic change so I can really be more balanced, healthy, and happy as a creative person.

Like any good self-help junkie, I’ve been sampling different life coaches to build a regimen of support and accountability around my goals.  After looking at some long term coaching options that ran at $2500-$4500 for a few months to a year (wtf?!), I joined Michelle Ward’s “Clubhouse” at $147/year.  She’s a fantastic career coach for creatives with an amazing business model herself.  On her recommendation, I am doing two things: sizing up 2012 (below), and writing a letter from the year 2014 where I size up and visualize 2013 (that will be in a private google doc for nobody to see but me!).

Great stuff that Happened in 2012, by Category (Michelle says to do it by the month, but that’s too tedious right now)

Dealing with Crap:  With the exception of a big freak-out at the top of the year that had me wondering if I should move to Japan and teach English, a few weirdo situations, some total teary breakdowns at a career coach’s office, and some blow-ups with friends that eventually got figured out, it was relatively drama free so far as I can remember.  I still deal with things like insecurity, jealousy, anxiety– but I am also a lot more patient than I ever remember being, and better able to sit in the NOW.  How did this happen? Is it the yoga? The self help tapes? Age?

End of an era: Oliver, my cat/boyfriend since 2001 (officially 2004) died in February.  I wrote a play about him, so obviously the sudden loss was devastating.  I do miss having him follow me around the house, but I don’t miss the pee and having to keep all fabric off the floor.  His memory will live on forever in my play.

My body:  I exercise so much now!  Practically 5x a week!  Leaving the house is so important for health!  I stopped drinking for a year and my skin cleared up!  My mother reports that I became a fatass this year because  I am at a record high of 155 pounds.  But I look fantastic, and the only thing that I feel bad about is that my mom and aunt told me I looked pregnant. Ouch! that hurt.   (The only thing that got me pregs is a cheese pizza.)

Travels that weren’t for work:  I got to see London in the closing ceremonies of the Paralympics! I spent a month in Edinburgh but don’t have a lot of memories there.  It was just sort of a whirlwind of flyers going by me and just walking a lot and watching a lot of shows.  I also was in Ireland.  It was a wee bit boring but peaceful. I especially loved the Aran Islands and staying in Bed and Breakfasts in West Ireland.

Love Life:  While I didn’t fall in love with anyone this year, I met far fewer douchebags than I usually do.  I also have sifted more new friends from this year’s dating pool than ever before.  Many who supported me by coming to my show this year!  Thanks guys!  And I did find myself just being much more genuine with everyone I met.  This improvement comes because I have been able to be more honest with myself, set better boundaries from the get-go, love myself first, and I’m less on the defensive having finally recovered and moved on from some bad blows in the past.

Creativity:  I took two levels of Improv at UCB with a bunch of 20-somethings.  It was so much fun to just be in a room where I didn’t have to facilitate anything.  I also made a bunch of silly videos on tour which reinvigorated my creative spirit. Sewed an obscene number of vagina puppets for my Kickstarter donors.  And of course, I got to exercise some muscles reworking Going Green the Wong Way and now, CAT LADY for the stage.  I also saw some great movies and shows this year!  And read some great books!

Career: Yes, unfortunately, making a living off what I love seems to suck down most of my life focus. But there is a lot to celebrate.
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I am incredibly proud of this Artist-in-Residence Project I did with the Bus Riders Union.

  • I raised a heartstopping 18K thanks to almost 400 Kickstarter donors to get my first international tour in Scotland underway at the Edinburgh Fringe!
  • I was on the road for about six months!  It was tiring, but nice to be spending more time in the year doing the actual work, not waiting at home to work.
  • A 4 week run of Going Green the Wong Way in LA that kicked ass!
  • Raised 10K in seed money thanks to individual donors and a matching grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation to develop a new work called “The Wong Street Journal.”  Super thank you to my new and returning donors!  I can’t believe we pulled that off!
  • Life on tour brought me to some great cities in 2012: Edinburgh; Savannah, GA; Putney, VT; Portsmouth, NH; Providence, RI; Hartford, CT; Bethlehem, PA and Miami!
  • Did an amazing Artist-in-Residence theater project with the Bus Riders Union.  Tri-lingual! See video above!
  • Recorded some great commentaries for Marketplace, guest blogged for KCET, and wrote a few funny blogs for xoJane!
  • My film version of “Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” allows me to finally retire from touring that show live, and still share the message of the show with new audiences.  I was present at five campuses that screened the film this year!  Lots of campuses are stocking their libraries with the film and our Amazon sales aren’t half bad either!
  • Started to commit to working with a part-time assistant once a week.  I’ve worked with assistants on and off in the past, but I am finally COMMITTING to having someone help so I can focus on the creative work.  She is a budding artist herself and it’s great to be able to feel like a mentor and realize how much I’ve grown in the last few years.  And how fortunate that I can give her something to help her grow.

Money $:  It was looking pretty ugly early in the year, but once the onslaught of tours hit, it felt like that scene in Indecent Proposal… just more $1 bills, than $100 bills!

My Home:  Another year of equity under belt!  Yes, I’m still a homeowner and an artist!  And I paid off my property taxes on time (and lemme tell you, that bill ain’t cheap and gives me a good scare every time it shows up!)  And after almost two years of twiddling my thumbs about how to really “own” my home, I finally threw some nails into the walls and put art up everywhere.  It still has a ways to go, but now, it’s definitely MY roost and I’m proud to bring people home to it.

Some big steps I’m taking this year:

I’m going to look into a “co-working” space to get more work done.
Even if I barely am in LA, I am over working in my PJs all day.  This girl needs company, to get out of the house and a focused space to write, and I need to get a lot of work done while be connected to the big city.

Use the “N” word more often.  “NO.” I’m taking only tours and gigs that I feel strongly about.  I’m not applying for grants for projects I’m not interested in making.  I used to take shows to make me look and feel busy.  Sure, it impressed people, and paid the bills.  But really, all I was doing was distracting myself from really making new work and exploring new ideas and really challenging myself to be capable of even greater things.

Becoming really smarterer! By not drinking anymore! By learning everything!
I really need to learn new things and churn out new ideas, not just proliferate the old ones.    So right now, my one year experiment in sobriety will extend into 2013.  And I’m hyper focused on learning more about the world.

Writing a book proposal
Yes, I did at one point go to graduate school for a year to try to finish a novel (I did finish a 110 page novella that is sitting in my computer) but now I’m going to commit to finishing one kick ass book proposal for “Going Green the Wong Way.”  Whatever happens after that is whatever happens.  But it starts with a proposal and a sample chapter.

Being Open and Not Panicking
Fear helps nobody.  My mantra is, “I’m exactly where I need to be right now, drinking in the world.”

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Category: the secret, vision, winnings

Dorothy may not be in Kansas anymore. But I am.

April 18th, 2011

Greetings from Emporia, Kansas!  The claim to fame of this small college town two hours South of Kansas City?  It’s the founding city of Veterans Day! Woohoo!  Party!!

Since my last update, I premiered CAT LADY in Houston.  It was exhausting, expensive, though went over extremely well.   Two and half years of hair-pulling and tens of thousands of dollars later culminated in a three day run that went by in a blink.  Yes yes, art is a journey, not a destination… I still felt like I crashed from the world’s most pricey heroin binge after the show closed. After feeling sorry for myself about the ephemeral nature of my work, I thought: Yes.  I did it.  I got it up.  The show got made.  It was to my liking.  And now I don’t have to sit in that never ending creative gestation period.  Hallelujah.  Time to have a private life!


I don’t much to say of the city of Houston because I barely saw it.  Touring hardly ever means getting to be a tourist.  I did meet one of my longtime blog readers who lives in Houston–Chris Lopez and his wife Lily.  They took me out to awesome sushi and even sent me money to make CAT LADY!  Lily was so cute and treated me like I was actually a celebrity, not just a woman who got her 15 minutes by getting dissed by James Franco. Shout out Chrisnlily!

Here’s some press on the show… 8 Asians, Culture Map, Yellow Magazine, and the Houston Entertainicle.  I also did an article for Sexy Voices of Hollywood which I have yet to listen to myself in.

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I went to New Orleans after the show closed. It was my first non-work related vacation in YEARS.  I really must schedule more vacations which is why I dropped five years of airline miles for a seven week trip I’m taking to Southeast Asia in the summer.  My first VISIONQUEST!   I’m excited now that I have six full length shows under my belt, four of which I can still tour.  I finally get to give myself a break and absorb life again.

New Orleans was wonderful.  I didn’t open my laptop once. Ignored most calls.  I just consumed, consumed, consumed.  Stayed at a private house via Airbnb just outside the Quarter and discovered all sorts of music clubs in the neighborhood.  I rode a bike to Lake Ponchartrain and as far out as the Lower Ninth Ward (btw, there’s still a lot of post-Katrina damage in New Orleans, keep them in your thoughts).   I didn’t call any friends in New Orleans.  I didn’t want to have any conversations about art or how my show went.  I just wanted to be an anonymous fat tourist, and I got my dream come true!

The best part about my Houston premiere?  It felt like I had finally taken the trash out on the last 2 1/2 years of my life.  The creative process sometimes stilts the passing of emotional trauma because I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what’s happening in my life and how to share it with an audience in a viewer friendly way.

Some people mark time by jobs, homes, kids they’ve had.  I mark the Dynasties of Wong Adult Life with my shows and creative projects.  There was the bigbadchinesemama.com Era (2000-2001), Emerging Voices Fellowship/Novel that has yet to get finished Era(2002), Miss Chinatown 2nd Runner-Up/ Flailing around Hollywood Era (2002-2003), Free? Era (2004-2006), and of course, the longest dynasty of them all Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Era (2006-2010, though THAT Era seems to keep leaking into the present).

I sent a lot of ugly to the stage in CAT LADY, found ways to reflect and transform it artfully and so it’s become something else I can manage and understand better.  What’s wrapped up in the Cat Lady era?  My existential crisis, bouts of depression from touring a show about suicide for four years, many empty hook-ups, and several failed relationships that includes a relationship I’ve not talked much about before on my blog…  a really traumatic relationship with a verbal abuser.

And somehow… I made it funny to watch.

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The only show I’ve allowed myself to get addicted to this season is Celebrity Apprentice. (I get addicted to shows quickly, so I choose from hulu carefully.)   I hate the idea of celebrities playing for charity, and how one charity wins per episode, but that’s Hollywood and capitalism and amazing drama.  Anyhow… I started crying when Nene Leakes bursts into tears in the boardroom.  She was the Project Manager and her team was at risk of losing (and they did) and she confesses to The Donald that she wanted her domestic violence charity to win because it’s a cause that hits home.  Nene, Latoya Jackson and Marlee Matlin (who I’m quickly becoming a superfan of and is my pick to win) all admitted to Trump to being a abusive relationships.  (Of course, the following episode Nene goes off on a verbally humiliating tirade on Latoya…  rather ironic considering Nene’s cause…)

Trump’s Obama birth certificate antics aside — I find Celebrity Apprentice a fascinating opportunity for always under-documented social issues to have a bigger presence.  And while I’d rather nobody have had to experience it, felt somewhat comforted that these “celebrities” were so openly admitting their domestic violence experiences because the subject of domestic violence I had considered shameful to share publicly.

As brazen as I seem to be about sharing my personal life with strangers, I’m pretty guarded about speaking openly about private experiences I’ve had with violence.  And I’m especially private about talking about my relationships, I usually just hide under the persona of the tough talk funny perpetually single cat lady.

But I’m feeling more and more compelled to share with strangers that I survived and escaped a verbally abusive relationship not too long ago.  I want to “come out” about this because domestic violence is unfortunately not that uncommon.  And domestic violence victims are rich, poor, educated, not educated and come in all colors.    I am hearing that many of my friends have been in abusive relationships. One friend’s experience was so extreme that she had things thrown at her while pregnant and had to run into hiding with her son.

I never knew what it meant to be in an abusive relationship or even thought that I could be in one.  My friends work for social justice non-profits and so I’m constantly educated on equity, I’ve read a million and a half books on self empowerment (I’m married to myself for Christsakes), and this verbal abuser was someone I was introduced to through friends who (I thought) had my best interests in mind.

What I thought was a runaway romance quickly became a Lifetime Made for TV movie.  He’d keep me up in the middle of the night, screaming at me, berating me, picking fights with me as I tried to sleep.   He’d yell constantly at me, sometimes in public– yelling was his volume of choice.  He’d control parts of my life  and my behaviors by constantly correcting me.  I was terrified what would happen if I didn’t follow his demands carefully, and found myself lying to friends to avoid situations where I’d incorrectly perform his directives.   My secrets, my family members, my shows– were all the subjects of his cruel put-downs.   I knew something wasn’t right when I began to compile a list of who I could call to rescue me if he ever got out of hand.  It got to the point that he was called me every derogatory word imaginable as he almost drove me off the road  and then threw a can of soda at me– that’s when it was clear I had to get out of the relationship.

As it turns out, the person who introduced us knew he was unstable and had a history of psychological meltdowns (one that actually got him fired by the same person who introduced us… a minor detail that would have been nice to know earlier). I actually hung out as long as I did (eight months) because I thought:  “We’re of the same community of friends, so this is supposed to work, I’m supposed to endure this.  This yelling is just him being passionate.  My friends would not put me in a dangerous situation right?”  He would call me names until I cried.  It was his way of making sure I was still emotionally invested in him– if I could take his anger and still come back to him, then he had control and my love.  Sick sick sick.  And so characteristic of verbal abusers.

I’ve read that violent unstable people prey on people like me who do live ambitiously and pursue our joys– artists and activists. I think this verbal abuser thought I’d fix his miserable life– he was not in a profession that made him happy.  Nor was he courageous enough to travel, let alone, clean his room in over five years.   But I couldn’t fix the fundamental misery of his life.  In general, nobody comes into your life to fix things.  I have learned that when you enter a relationship, you need to COME CORRECT not broken like my last partner.  A good relationship is one that inspires, not compromises.  And I was not inspired. I was scared.

As I finally move past that chapter in my life, I am becoming more vocal of sharing with audiences and friends that I am a survivor of domestic violence, specifically verbal abuse.  And it’s been a very long and heartbreaking road to recovery.  Over a year out of that relationship, and I’m just learning I’m not this piece of crap person who does everything wrong. That I am actually quite an amazing person.  And yes, that I do deserve to be loved by someone who is brave enough to love without cruelty.  And yes, that I need to screen these candidates WAY better.  And yes, there are actually nice people in the world who know how to be generous and act without anger.

We live in a world where the angry customer gets their way (though now, selfish corporations trump them).  Where democracy can only be achieved by violent upheaval of the government.  Where cat fights don’t get the ratings that fist tossing bar room brawls do.  Violence is embedded in our personal and global histories.  It’s how change is incited.

Even in the Asian American community, domestic violence is commonplace.  Unfortunately, it’s shameful to talk about it and so women are suffering silently rather than reporting it.  Some (not all) Asian men think that it’s ok to yell at women.  That girlfriends and wives are “property.”

As an artist,  I was not seeking an abusive relationship.  But I was broken.  I was depleted from touring a show about suicide and needed comfort.  I needed someone to be my rock.  I was tired of dating broke people that I was always underwriting.  I saw in this verbal abuser someone who might be my rock in my continued pursuit of a financially tricky and emotionally draining profession.  Instead, I was bait and switched, pummeled with words, and knocked way off my horse until I was forced to figure out who I was again.

He did not take me away though.  And I am learning that it is possible to be brave and love again.  First myself.  Then someone else.  Someone who comes correct and has earned the privilege of my love.

It is actually possible to be in a relationship where loving communication does not happen with screaming, verbal humiliation, threatening gestures, throwing things, hitting, intimidation, forced sex or hurting. It might take a few tries to find a partner brave enough to act with kindness (or to even find it within yourself), but it’s possible. Love can suck, but it is not supposed to hurt.

(Wow, quite a lot of revelation for having been in Kansas for just one day!)

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Category: a shot at love with kristina wong, artist life., balance, Blog, cat lady, empowerment, i'm kristina wong, New Orleans, vision

Catsourcing

December 22nd, 2010

For the first time ever in my career, I’m attempting to use “crowdsourcing” to raise money for a project.  And holy shit.  It’s working!

In my 10 year career, I’ve always relied on grants, fellowships, ticket sales, honorariums, merchandise sales, and side gigs to make it happen.  I always thought that the time it would take to raise money from individuals would never justify what I’d raise.  And I really feared being that annoying panhandling artist that everyone went out of their way to ignore.   I feared that asking for money from individuals would be met with annoyed stares and unsolicited retaliation cries of:  “You talentless bitch!”

And my pride couldn’t risk that rejection.   Yes, there is a kernel of pride under this thick mask of self-deprecation.

I mean, weren’t all my friends broke?  Certainly all the people I’ve dated have been.  And this show I’m making doesn’t even look like it may play as many cities as Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest did.  Why would anyone want to put money into a show they may never get to see live?

But curiosity (and a real dire need to raise finishing funds for CAT LADY) got the best of me when I was approached by the US Artists website to be part of their group of “Alpha Artists.”  Essentially, I am part of a group of (vetted) guinea pigs who is helping test drive the site.  Unlike Kickstarter and Indiegogo which is open to everyone, the US Artists project site is only open to artists who’ve been “vetted” with specific grants they’ve already received.   US Artists takes 19% percent of what we raise (the other sites take less than 10%) BUT the advantage is that about $2k of the funds I raise will be matched by grants within the US Artists site.  So almost all my contributions are doubled!

With 75 days to go, I’ve raised 76% of my initial funding goal.  I am having that Sally Field, “You like me, you really like me!” moment as each day contributions roll in faster than I can write this blog about it.

I had thought:  ” I think I can find 1000 people to give me $5 a piece.” What I didn’t realize is that I had friends more generous than that.  A few of my friends who have given generously are pregnant (well, Leilani just gave birth, but the point being, people with families are helping me!), artists and students are throwing cheddar at me!

Most contributions I am getting are for $50! And right now, all my contributions are being automatically matched!  So they actually turn into $100 contributions!  So exciting!

But most importantly, I’m feeling really validated for my work, and energized in a new way about completing my process.  This artist life stuff looks ideal but it’s depressing as hell sometimes.  So to know all these people, some who I haven’t seen in years care enough to give me some money is so exciting and affirming.

I think at this rate, I may raise my goal of 5k at the end of the year.  My real goal is to raise 15k.  I set it at 5k because I didn’t want to risk falling way off the mark and not get any of the money pledged.

I’ll post my tips for how I am making this campaign work in a future post.  In the meantime, help make my campaign a success!

(Also, I’d like to ask my family to only give after I’ve made my target goal, reasons to be explained later.)

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Category: artist life., cat lady, cat pee, vision, winnings | Tags:

The Wong Sans Wheels Chronicles #24: Carlessness… The Greatest Career Boost Ever.

November 17th, 2009

I did it. Four DIFFERENT shows in one week. Two cities. And unlike Jesse Spano… NO NERVOUS BREAKDOWN!

I just got back from San Francisco. I presented my Carless Comedy show Sunday. Saturday was the LA Storyteller Festival where I did two different pieces. Then Tuesday and Friday, I did the “Whoring for Hollywood” show with D’Lo at the LA Comedy Festival.

The storytelling community is no joke. Imagine folks from a renaissance fair and like an audience whose median age is 65 all mixed together. I wasn’t sure how this crowd would take me. They are so sincere and so into folklore and myths. And I just do the strange things that I do. I was programmed in the “Fringe Tales” concerts which was their way of saying, “Filthy, saucy, dirty stories”. I kept joking that they should have named “Fringe Tales”– the “Motherf*cking Stories!” show.


My whole family came out to see me! And didn’t disown me after!

The adrenaline from NYC and doing five new shows in five days still follows me. It was a huge challenge, but I made it through this week and kicked ass each time. It feels so great.

How’d I get through this week? I just took it day by day. On Sunday after my plane landed, I worked furiously at my parents’ house to tack on 10 new minutes of material to my carless show. I was wondering if the disconnect between LA and SF would make a difference, but it really was a hit. The San Francisco audience was with me even though I was talking about trying to get around LA. And can I blame them? Who else could tell this insane story of owning a money pit car that ran on vegetable oil and then it catching on fire? Followed by my stories on the bus. I got this topic on lock down!

THIS CARLESS SHOW IS KILLING!!!!

I’m dreaming up more places that this carless experience can take me, and already, opportunities to tour and talk about this are presenting themselves all over the country. I’m talking books, radio, panels, commissions– it’s endless where this can all go.

Jesus! Spending all that money on a shit car, almost dying in a car fire, and then going carless in Los Angeles is the best thing that ever happened to me!

I’ve been really fulfilling my recession year goal of creating as much new work as possible, not getting stuck in a creative rut. Nelson Mandela wrote books from prison… I can certainly make shows for any space. I hit a lot of post-partum creative depression when Cuckoo’s Nest was finally “done” but I’m feeling so good as I look ahead and finally see that I’m going to do the work, not the work around doing the work.

Give me a concert hall! Give me a lecture hall! I can do it! And most importantly, I’m more in practice as an artist than as an artist than as an arts administrator.

I think life is lining up nicely. I’ve just decided to run forward and not look back. Who’s coming?

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Category: The Wong Sans Wheels Chronicles, veggie oil car, vision

More Cash for Clunkers Tips: #10-19

August 31st, 2009

There was a lot of great feedback from my last Cash for Clunkers post with ideas for Creatives to survive… NO, make that thrive in a recession. I thought I’d post more related less to money and more towards growing joy in life. Here are ideas that I’ve been referring to a lot lately and that I’ve figured out over a good long lifetime. Some of these ideas are adapted from books I’ve read, some I’ve discovered, and others are from creative friends who’ve made livings doing more insanely obscure things than me.

Good luck! It’s the creatives that will help lead us to the light.

More Cash for Clunkers Tips: #10-19

10. Don’t ever ever ever let people characterize you as “broke” or “starving” and don’t ever describe yourself as those things out loud even if you are thinking it or its your “reality.” If you romanticize the idea of struggling, you will be your own self-fulfilling prophecy. ”Broke” and “artist” are not synonymous unless you say they are.

Other words to eliminate from your vocabulary: “victim” (best replaced with the word “survivor”), “struggling” (best replaced with “mastering”) and “trying” (ie You are a writer, you are not trying to be a writer.)

11. Grow an herb garden. Even if all you have is a tiny windowsill and a small handful of dirt. Sometimes when the world is falling apart, it helps have something nuture you as you nuture it. Grow things you can eat. Enjoy the novelty of harvesting your own food. Invite folks over to have a salad that you grew yourself. Watching the slow process it takes for a plant to grow will keep you from overbuying food or wasting food. If you kill your garden by accident, find a better place to garden, or start watering plants in the neighborhood that aren’t dying. Some easy plants to grow that are fun to eat are sweet basil and mint.

12. Get on that Martha Stewart Living tip and make something to improve your home or make a gift. A rag rug, a sock puppet, or just sew up the holes in your socks. Sure you could have a toddler in Saipan make the same thing for 99 cents, but just like gardening, there is a certain joy that is lost in crafting something with your own time and care. I like the tutorials on threadbanger for ideas of things to make. Some projects take less than 15 minutes.

13. Instead of panicking, write down ten possible solutions to the problem. Then action steps. Yay! You just made a blueprint of what to do. If you’re still stuck, go to tip #15 to get help.

14. Distance yourself from complainers, self-victimizers, naysayers, trainwrecks, and energy suckers. Yes, sometimes we are related to them. Yes, there are times when friends need our help. But we can’t help them if they try to cripple us with their crap. There are people who need a friend and there are people who want to pass their problems onto someone else. Set boundaries, find private time, do your thing.

15. Invite someone new to dinner with no ulterior motives. I have 1400 Facebook friends and am probably only close to 200 of them. In the isolation of working at home, I decided to start writing some of the ones on the periphery. “Hey, do you want to hang out? Can I take you to dinner?” It helps if someone you invite has expertise in a field you know nothing about because they will give you insight to life that you never considered before. Invite people over who you admire, don’t invite the folks I caution against in #14.

16. Work to learn, not to earn. If your job pays well but isn’t ultimately serving or providing any insight into what you want to do with your life, it’s often better to be at a less paying job where you can learn more in your field. If you can’t afford to work to learn in your dream field, then volunteer in your dream field.

17. When meeting people who are in a position to move you forward, remember that as an artist who is in this for the long haul, you are cultivating, not hunting. I’ve realized in how irksome it is to be approached with, “Hi Kristina, can you help me with grants?” Nobody likes being constantly bilked for their time and resources, especially from strangers. I’m always happy to help friends and people who have supported me because we have relationships that have been cultivated over time.

18. Find other ways to ask for “help” besides asking for money. With every non-profit holding out their hat, donors are a little fatigued. Here are some ideas for things you can ask for that may be helpful to your art: production or administrative assistance, airline miles, food for a reception, a contact list, rehearsal space. It’s much easier for people to offer resources or things that they can afford to share than part with money.

19. If you are going to ask for money, make it a positive exchange. Let potential donors know the long-term impact their money will have and how their contributions will be honored. Offer a credit in the product you are making. Breakdown how their money might be used in logical and compelling ways (ie $10 will rent an hour of rehearsal space). Believe it or not, most people would prefer to give money to a reputable and trustworthy person who will use the contribution strategically rather than give their money to temporarily plug the holes in a sinking ship. Email pictures of your progress. Nobody is obligated to give you their money, no matter how much it will help you. So never take it for granted. Graciousness counts.

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Category: buy nothing year, the secret, vision, winnings

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