Too Broke to Create?

  • Chance Morgan

It is a reality of our world that bringing creative work to life costs money. The training, whether private lessons or group classes or university studies, can become prohibitively expensive. Every theatrical production, from the local level to Broadway, requires money to exist. It can cost a great deal of money, sometimes up to hundreds of dollars a seat, to participate as an audience member. We all love being creative people and contributing to the world that brings us such meaning and fulfillment. What do we do when we, as individuals, simply don’t have the money?

Obviously, this is a familiar question to anyone who has ever produced a show, but many young artists are learning how hard it can be to fund their dreams. Moving to large cities to have access to opportunities, paying for training so as to keep a competitive edge, submissions to contests and festivals. These are expensive endeavors and are often funded by day jobs that rarely pay enough. Trying to find the funds for one’s art can be very tricky, so what can be done to maximize the possibilities?

1.     Find a community and combine resources.

Finding other people to create with is a great first step. Talk to your friends, talk to friends of friends, explore on social media. Surround yourself with people who will help your art grow and that, more importantly, you can support. Pool your assets and you’d be amazed at what you might find yourself capable of.  Say that you want to film yourself performing. If you have a network to turn to, you can find a team to help you, and you can be on their teams for their projects.

2.     Practice is free.

Training can be very expensive, but practice is free. If at all possible, you should learn enough from a professional so that you can practice with good technique, but practice. Practice consistently, practice intelligently, and have fun when you do it. It may not open any doors for you, but you will be better equipped for opportunities that might arise.

3.     Exploration can be free, too.

You don’t have to pay for a Broadway ticket to learn about great theatre. You don’t need professional classes to learn about the basics of lighting design. You don’t need anything all that special to simply explore. Talk to artists you know. Ask them about their favorite works, their inspirations, the stories they want to tell. Visit your local library. Read about things that spark your curiosity. Follow your curiosity and it will enrich your creativity.

In a perfect world, everyone would be able to afford to make the art that they want when they want to make it. But, since we live in this world, we can find ways to do more, even if we have very little to spare.