[by Bruce Katz]
When I was asked to write some tips about negotiating rights with other artists I had to scratch my head a little bit. Negotiate with other artists? But then after I thought about it for a while, I realized that I have had many wonderful opportunities to work with, and in doing so negotiate with, other artists. In the process I made some money, did a little bartering, grew my portfolio and business, and recharged my creative juices.
Negotiating with artists isn’t necessarily a cut-and-dry deal with one side giving and the other taking. It is about taking the opportunity to collaborate with creative bretheren and friends. For me, this happens over morning coffee at the local café. Among the café’s regular riffraff are musicians, composers, writers, journalists, actors, IT professionals and some real NYC crazies. It’s a fun hangout, replete with neighborhood gossip, sports talk (please don’t get me started on the Mets) and the occasional real creative idea. Over time I’ve been asked to shoot recording sessions, do album artwork and portraits, cover local news, and have even managed to turn the café itself into a regular client.
All of these came about by just keeping my ears open during these chats and understanding that a seemingly innocuous request can be an opening to collaborate creatively, germinate ideas, help out a fellow artist– and expand my client base. The indirect benefits of participating in the creative community are also substantial as this is a natural way of expanding the referral network that is at the heart of our business.
Working with artists has other added benefits too. As most understand the intrinsic value of creative work and are more than willing to pay or reciprocate with in-kind services, I’m not compromising even if I’m not receiving cash for the transaction.
The creative collaborations themselves are rewarding. I always find inspiration in music and art for my own personal projects and having a creative network can’t help but improve your work and vision. I always take great pleasure in singing the praises of my friends’ creative endeavors and I love it when that attitude is reciprocated. One of the nicest compliments that I have ever received was finding out that one of my photographs inspired a new piece of music by a jazz composer friend.
Find your own “creative café” and take the time to really listen to the conversations. You will find a natural environment for personal and professional growth that can really add to your bottom line.
Bruce can be found sipping a cappuccino at the corner café in northern Manhattan. www.brucekatzphoto.com
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