Business considerations ... Q&A session ...

Q: I am currently looking into the feasibility of producing an instructional video on my art. What do you think?

A: (from Bill Ritchie) Instructional videos on any art, craft or design process could achieve two good things, in theory. One, the tape could actually teach a person how to begin to learn your art and craft (It might also have the positive effect of showing them that it is really not for them.) Secondly, it might bring your particular style and distinguishing qualities to the attention of more people. It might help your sales.

Both of these possibilities are probably harmonious to your goals as an artist, craftsperson and designer. The questions raised are mostly economic, and only you can decide whether to pursue the videotape production.

Personally I am an advocate of instructional videos, but I started a long time ago (1970) therefore much of what I know is practically obsolete. Both the making and the viewing of instructional videos is changed.

For example, digital video replaces videotape on the production side, but videotape is still the favored medium on the viewer's side. Therefore, the artist, crafts person or designer who is considering making a videotape is advised to use digital systems to produce it and then videotape to distribute your ideas.

In theory, this is better than the old method I used in my tape-making. The creative person - who also may be a creative teacher and marketer - will love the flexibility of digital systems. Even though the added time it will take from your studio is great, the rewards and potential for both education and marketing and sales are worth it, I think. By "worth it" I mean an investment of approximately $5000 of today's dollars and about 10 hours a week.

Here's an example: I distribute one videotape for a 91-year old enamel artist. She made the tape over ten years ago for less than $1000 with a lot of donated time and love from supporters. Her goal was to preserve and disseminate information about her passion - Limoges enameling. She didn't want to make a profit.

So, she did not make a profit. Privately and inwardly, I complain about the lack of a profit motive. In keeping her profit margin at zero she has found only one person (me) who can afford to help her distribute and promote her tape. That wouldn't matter, except as a long-term consequence few people know what Limoges enamel is.


Art education teachers in general, in my humble opinion, missed the boat thirty years ago by not alerting more advocates of the arts to national television innovators who created programs like Sesame Street and Bill Nye the Science Guy. Therefore, the arts and humanities kind of lost ground.

Now it's up to individuals - perhaps the people who take the time to learn marketing and sales - to fill the gap and compete for viewers' time and support. Artists, crafts people and designers will have to learn on their own how to use the digital tools that are accessible for education and, potentially, marketing and sales.

A: (from ...)


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