Sunday, January 02, 2011

how does one get funding?

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Reply to an email at AIR:
David: Yeesh.  I'm gonna go crawl under a rock now

You're cool. It's New Year's weekend. No sweat.

Is it just me or does all the pub radio grant $ always seem to be
"granted" to the same small group of people/organizations? Seriously,
isn't it always the same people announcing, receiving... Getting the
money? Money is "sticky" in most industries. Radio too?

It's just that people who've discovered a source in the past reapply to it and new people, getting started, don't even know it exists. AIR helps with this, as they have pages on the website about grants and grant writing, which I hope to exploit, as soon as I'm living some place safe.

The other thing is connections. I'm outside the loop about whom to pester for funding and I have such a small, and old, body of work, few people even know I exist. Again, I plan to exploit the resources of PRX and Transom in this regard, once I am safe.

David: How does one
get serious funding for a start up? I mean, without entering some
sort of contest.

Well, I hope to submit some things to a few festivals, contests, etc., although the concept of competition is not healthy to me, so I'll really need to let go of any expectations around it.

I don't know how to get funding, so I'm no helpful. I went to New Mexico Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. I asked for a modest fund with which to buy better equipment, software and computer. I think the total was under $1,500: well within their means. I also broached the subject of returning to university, to complete a Bachelors degree, as no degree doesn't look very good on a resume, despite my vast life experience.

I was turned down. The reasons are prejudicial: I have brain injuries and I'm fifty-five years old. In other words, in their infinite ignorance, DVR has decided to hedge its bets; only those with very high statistical odds of "success" will receive funding, never mind that I have many years' experience and am already trained in my field! I am old, crazy and want to work in an industry they've never heard of, and assume means I want to be a disc jockey. They refused to even listen to samples of my work! This, of course, is discrimination based on age and on "disability," but how am I supposed to fight a federally-funded, state bureaucracy? I can't.

My tactic is as follows: I am simply collecting sound, documenting my stories in blogs & videos. When I am safe, I will produce pieces without any hope of getting paid. These will broadcast on the local, community radio station. I will post them on PRX. I will submit audio/video blog posts to Transom, if they might be interested.

And I will not shut up, give up, slink off or take "no" for a final answer.

I am good. Self taught, but good. My voice is different, not in an amateur, sloppy or irresponsible way; I'm different because my life experiences and how I got here are very unique. That makes what I have to share MORE, not less, valid, useful, interesting and entertaining to listeners.

Look, actors in Los Angeles work as waiters and bus persons, right? They don't expect to be loved. They expect rejection, even as they're lugging their wardrobe change onto a bus for the next audition.

It's like applying for those weird, semi-secret scholarships from places like Clairol, to go to school. It's boring, tedious and, more often than not, useless, but if I don't bait the hook, I'll definitely go hungry, right?