by The Grand Writer
Samuel Morgan Wiseman
Valkyrie Queen, Drag Herald of Heroes
A Summer Dancer for Leather Demons
The Midnight Dancer
Dungeon Master of Anciient Futüre
Samsara of the 2Courtiers
I am Lugh; the Bard Stepping on Dragons
Renaissance Poet of the Internet and
I am nothing if not a Poet
TL;DR Make money entertaining.
Slightly longer TL;DR
1- start with why
2- nail your entertainment product
3- figure out how best to communicate what your product will do for other people
ie. event producers (in the case of strict performers) or your consumers/fans/attendees
4- figure out how to automate and scale the distribution of your product
This month has been significant for me. For the first time in my life, I devoted 100% of my time to art and my higher mission in life, and I was able to pay my rent. Barely, but still. It’s a landmark that marks the beginning of this year of 10, For this Courtier Stepping On Dragons and I feel compelled to share how I’ve come to it, in order to help my fellow artist go even further than me.
To make it as an entertainer, first you have to define what “it” is. Sparing you the varieties of syntax, I decided that “it” was a life, and that the first step to making a life is making a living. Then I went about deciding exactly how I was going to do that. As Steven Covey, author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” says,
“Begin with the End in Mind. [This] means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen. One of the best ways to incorporate [this habit] into your life is to develop a Personal Mission Statement.”
So I did. I feel the most present and happy when I am making magic, or art in muggle terms. Learning how to better create art fulfilled whatever spiritual connection was necessary for my human experience and the dream became a School of Wizardry. For people who choose not to understand such things, I’ve described it as a Virtual Reality Theme Park that is a cross between World of Warcraft, Walt Disney World, and Burning Man.
In order to get a theme park, I saw from such figures as Walt Disney, Stan Lee, and Richard Wagner that extreme artistic success is required before such a place could be created and endured, but that I was not even artistically living, much less in any extreme manner.
So, onto creating a living as an artist.
This is where the end becomes so important. If I had just wanted a living as an artist, I would have gone my uncle’s route. I have an uncle who is one of the best guitarists in the world. Granted, it’s been years since I’ve spoken to him due to unfortunate family feuds. What I’ve ultimately learned from my uncle is that a living is not enough. A famous article, basically says that each business requires three different personality traits in order to thrive (not just live): the technician, the entrepreneur, and the manager.
Let’s apply this to food, say you are a chef.
-You made $25/hr while your boss makes $50/hr. He can't cook without you, so you begin your own business cooking. You have no entrepreneurial, scalable skills, so you wind up working for $25/hr again as you gain as many clients as one person can hold and work longer hours because you are an entrepreneur.
-So you get a partner who is good at expanding.
He finds 3 chefs who you can teach, you both open a restaurant to a bang and enjoy a successful first 30 days as a restaurant when suddenly your lights turn off on a Friday night because nobody paid the electric bill.
-Thus, the manager.
To directly apply this to music, if you are the greatest guitarist alive, but you have no other skills, you are determined on a path of very technical, hands on work. You work for a guitar university or an orchestra, you have to play every day until you save enough to die, or you die. You realize this and break off and start doing your own performances and teaching your own students. You are now master of your fate, but now you have more overhead and less marketing and suddenly you are making less with more work. You’ve got no vision, no sense of the higher pursuits. Not to say that you can’t, but you must develop skills as an entrepreneur. What are you uniquely special at? How can you hire/inspire a team to get behind you? How do you connect the money?
If you are an amazing dancer, singer, actor, poet, writer, etc and all you do is your craft, then you will be confined to a life of only your craft and become a slave to your magic, instead of its master.
With this realization, I decided that direct entertainment was not the route that I was going to go- acting in poop commercials, writing diddies for high school marching bands is where this leads. I asked myself why (the biggest pop star at the time whom every seemed to hate) Justin Bieber was able to become famous where my professors and heroes were not. Sales and marketing, is the short answer. Really solid team, really solid network, valuable product for a lot of people, drive to make money quickly.
So, let’s develop skills to become really good at sales and marketing. I worked as a BA advertising Coca- Cola and Xbox and eventually ran into my current business partner and closest friend, Lyle Maxson, doing a series of gigs like this for a local publication. I had realized that I had no idea what I was doing in terms of promoting myself as an artist and realized that I desperately needed a mentor. Lyle suggested that I sell tickets for local EDM promoter, Relentless Beats, with him. Accidentally, I had stumbled upon to the key: make other people money. I sold 10 tickets to my first festival, Crush 2014 (one of the best nights of my life, incidentally. I was dressed like a drag bohemian King. The sex was as amazing as it was public. More on this later).
I caught the attention of the leaders in the company and continued to accept every opportunity offered and volunteered as much as I could. As I continued to provide value (saving on hourly positions, making money for the company), I got more positive feeling and eventually was offered a meeting with the CEO. I called Lyle and we created a 6-month marketing plan to present to the CEO on how to make him money. I quit my job selling IT hardware that morning and walked in the RB office that afternoon, made our pitch and said to Thomas, “You’re hiring us.” and he was like, “Cool. I don’t have any money. But. IF YOU CAN FIND THE MONEY, you can keep some of it.”
We have no intentions of being starving artists
A long story later, we started our own company, The 2Courtiers (the two Core-tea-ers), and focused on doing exactly that. After traveling around to almost 30 different festivals in our first 6 months and listening to the hows, whys, and needs of the people putting on the events, we’ve figured out where the money is to be made and how to best utilize it––through sponsorships, vendor spots, consumer marketing, experiential brand connections, and a variety of other extremely well researched and creative means, we eventually threw our own event and figured out how to make money for ourselves and the artists in our lives. We haven’t reached our goals quite yet––you can know how to bench 400 pounds years before you’re able to do it-–– but we have seen the gainz and this future is becoming reality.
In our upcoming events, we’ll teach you how to brand yourself as an artist through presenting yourself properly to event producers, how to identify the avatar of your core audience member, and provide master classes for a variety of disciplines to help foster your growth as a creator. Speaking of, we have the most generous ticket commissions out there and learning to sell tickets and how to make money to sustain yourself and your fellows is the most important skill out there. PM @the2courtiers on facebook if you’re interested :)
What personal development courses/activities would you like to see at our events?
Let us know in the comments below :)
Don't forget!! Tickets to Techno Gatsby Gotham are going up on Saturday!! Get yours here ---> bit.ly/2CGotham