I want to make art AND I want to make a living from it.
That's the AND that changes everything. Before you get to the AND you have a lot of things on your side.
Technology has made art easier to produce and distribute. The fragementation of audience makes it possible to find a small niche and serve them.
But once you bring in the AND, that's when you confront the fundamental challenges that make a particular art form a difficult business.
For example, according to a Theatre Communication Group survey, over a five year period expenses for their member theatres rose 19.1%. Total income rose by 9.4%.
This is the fundamental challenge of theatre in a nutshell. Expenses always rise and income doesn't keep always pace.
So if you (and your team) want to make a living in theatre, this is the problem you must confront: How do you manage expenses and generate income in a way that allows you to sleep at night?
Sure you can not pay anybody, or not pay them much.
Sure you can do work that will drive high ticket price and sales. That's what Broadway producers do.
But if that's not what you want to do, then you must find a creative solution to the problem.
Let's look at the film industry (an industry I have been studying lately).
You know the basics. The tools of production are now in anybody's hands. A twelve year old with an imagination can shoot and edit a film with tools that only a professional had 15 years ago.
Since the tools are out in the world the amount of film in the world has exploded. A lot of it has been lousy or redundant. This makes the average film consumer hesitate before choosing any new film experience.
So in film one of the core problems is building an audience both before the film is made and during the film's production. That's why you see innovative film makers like Ted Hope talking about the importance of audience building and distribution.
I see a lot of people that want to make art AND make a living from it.
I see a much smaller group that is interested in confronting the problems. But you can't separate the two.
If you want to generate money from art, the problems are now YOUR problems.
The answers to these problems are going to vary and they will not come easy.
But if you want to make it past the AND that's a huge part of your job.