Crescent City Creative Carnival
Saturday, November 9, the second annual Crescent City Creative Carnival was held to an audience of creatives at the New Orleans Jazz Market. Produced by Quan Lateef-Hill, Willard Hill and Francois Hill; the carnival is a "One-day event bringing artists, Creatives, and Entrepreneurs together for: panels, master classes, networking opportunities and music."
As a photographer, I went to the event expecting to capture interesting people in a positive setting. My plan was to take photos, take notes on the participants names and jot buzz words. At the end of the event, my notebook could have been sold to a college student who was desperate for test notes. I sat and concentrated on the words of the panelists. The panelists weren't withholding industry secrets or mumbling "work hard" clichés. They were insightful and many of them gave templets to not necessarily succeed but to be business legal and to get a chance to be known by gatekeepers.
Knowing how to get the proverbial foot in the door is a huge challenge.
Gabriel Flores is the owner of The Inkwell Press. He was one of the panelist on the "Not So Starving Artists" panel. The panel concentrated their advise on money - most notably start-up money. The ability to obtain start-up money varies for everyone but he said, "A 9-5 is a living wage. That usually doesn't allow to build capital for your dream." Those without a nest egg have to be diligent planners and they have to have a financial plan even if there is just $10 in the bank account. Former NFL player and current Investment Consultant, Bernard H. Robertson III wanted Creatives to realize that it is easier to build finance than to fix finance. That means finance planning should be the first priority when becoming a entrepreneur. Without the plan, a struggling or even a profitable business will have financial issues that are torture to remedy.
Robertson also stressed the difference to what he terms, "On the business v. In the business." On the business is the structure to make a profit. In the business is the passion to be creative. Both should not be done by one person.
Monique, also known as Poet 1985, was one of the featured speakers on the panel "Creating in Chaos." She asked a question that was actually a warning: "What are the chances you'll create something while in delirium?" Many entrepreneurs are frequently on the grind. That grind has been called #teamnosleep. This panel wanted to amplify the importance of self care and the importance of identifying self. Monique said, "Going against who you are suppose to be is not self care." Another nugget from Monique was "Finding peace is exhausting. Being peace is important."
Abstract NOLA co-founder Kenneth Spears said, "Be ready for the opportunity." Creatives love to create. Creating is where the passion exists but Creatives also seek bigger gigs with bigger paychecks. Creatives can strictly follow their plan and still not be ready for the opportunity they've dreamed of. My parents still scold me for not carrying cash. My mom has asked what if someone wants to immediately sell you a camera for $20 cash? I've walked the right path to meet this seller. I have the money but it's in the bank. I'm not ready for the opportunity.
Kali Serna was like Oprah during one of Oprah's Christmas shows. Serna made sure everyone got something. She provided industry hack after industry hack. A few of the notables were:
- Post with a purpose. If you're a music artist, always tag the local gatekeepers in the industry.
- Post Monday thru Thursday, 6pm to 9pm. This is timeframe when most are home with "freetime."
- Streak app for Gmail. Apparently this app can track if your emails have been opened and/or read. ( I haven't researched, tried or confirmed. )
The day ended with a mixer that featured music and performance poetry. The largest disconnect of the event seemed to be the perceived value of social media. Some of the panelist said social media is a stepping stone. BET Experience executive producer Frantz Cayo championed physical presence, "Being seen trumps everything else." Kali Serna said the 80/20 rule when using social media should be 80% of who you generally are and 20% of what you're tying to sell. Many of the panelist said travel is important. New Orleans is a niche market but art resonates. New Orleans native, Teedra Moses is a successful artist and entrepreneur in Miami.
Social media is fickle and it trends daily and sometimes by the minute. Social media marketing is not sustainable. It can be an impactful initial blast but I believe Michaelangelo's art would get a few hundred likes as opposed to the priceless tag his art is now worth. Robert Mapplethorpe's collection is worth about 40 million but how does that translate to today's social media likes and shares? Does he get shared to 40 million in value? Mapplethorpe was persistent and present throughout his art career. All of the panelists in their templet for success included persistence, presence and planning. Social media is a great tool that can be included to make the templet function but it should not be the foundation of the templet.
Kandy Robertson with family
"Buy into me. My product is lagniappe."
- Cymande Ford