The world???s greatest singers, dancers, film makers and songwriters have all spent years honing their talents and crafting their skills.

After hundreds of rehearsals and hours of practice, they now reap the benefits of their hard work.

However, for every successful international artiste, there are many persons who struggle to make a living from their creative talent. ??

One may ask if talent is the most important thing that an entertainer needs to be successful.??It is not, as was revealed to a group of over 60 young singers, songwriters, dancers and film makers attending a recent Creative Industries Development Workshop at the Cave Hill School of Business.

Hosted by the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries (BCSI) and the Ministry of Labour???s Human Resource Development Strategy (HRDS), the workshop was designed to teach young people about the ???business of creativity??? and how to effectively earn a living from their talents. It is hoped that this would result in strengthening the creative industry in Barbados and in creating additional jobs in the field.

One of five facilitators of the session was Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation, Harold Davis. Mr. Davis, who has over 25 years in the field of music, singing and song writing, is a trained Industrial Engineer specialising in Creative Industries, Development Finance, Business Development, and Micro, Small and Medium-sized Entities development strategies.

He was of the view that if talent could be measured, it would only represent a fraction of a performer???s success.?????While the importance of talent cannot be diminished, actually earning a living from your talent depends heavily on the business side of things.

“You don???t want to go out there performing and working hard and not being paid for your work. That is where the business side of it comes in. I would say that business represents about 80 per cent of a creative entrepreneur???s success, while talent is only 20 per cent,??? he maintained.

Project Coordinator of the HRDS, Maureen Pollard, explained that Pillar 5 of the Human Resource Development Strategy spoke to reinvigorating the creative sector. ???From early this year, we met with all of the individuals involved in the industry and pinpointed the areas which could be developed… So workshops like these will help in developing our action plan going forward,??? she stated.

Ms. Pollard also spoke to the introduction of Caribbean Vocational Qualifications specifically for the creative industry, as it was found that schools focused primarily on teaching the talent and not on the business or technical sides.

???We would like to get the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic involved??? we need more sound engineers, stage managers and lighting specialists, and we need to have more people who can support the industry??? From the tourism side if we want to do more event tourism we need to have several choreographers and directors,??? she noted.

However, Ms. Pollard lamented that while facilitators came from Jamaica, Trinidad, and the United States, there was as not a very good response from established Barbadian artistes.?????We extended invitations to our seasoned artistes and but very few responded. I think our artistes need to see the value in sharing their experiences. I think that they missed this opportunity,??? she asserted.

One of the facilitators who attended was Trinidadian songwriter Jason ???Shaft??? Bishop. Known for penning Peter Ram???s hit song ???All Ah We???, which captured the 2015 Party Monarch title, and Biggie Irie???s ???Pankatang???, which won the 2014 Sweet Soca competition, Mr. Bishop was more than pleased to share his knowledge with the young writers of Barbados.

???Know your rights and do business properly in terms of contracts, copyright, ownership of your work and get to understand the business so that people don???t take advantage of you,??? he advised.

The songwriter also believed that Barbadian soca artistes needed ???to collaborate more and accept more from others??? from around the region and he suggested that up-and-coming writers should travel to other countries and listen to as many genres of music as possible ???to develop their ear???.

Executive Director of the BCSI, Lisa Cummins, was pleased with the feedback from the participants and with ???the wealth of knowledge that they have been exposed to???.

???This has been a phenomenal experience for them because sometimes they get a little frustrated and unsure if their dream is real and if they can make a business out of it. In a session like this, they???re able to see not only that it can be done but how to actually go about getting it done,??? she noted.

As all of the facilitators spoke on transforming a talent into a business, it became the unofficial theme for the workshop. Ms. Cummins outlined why this concept is so important.

???Despite having tremendous talent in Barbados, very few of our performers are on the international stage??? so we have to find a way to help our creative, whatever their discipline. This time we???re focusing on film and music but it???s applicable to every other sector; How do we get them to focus talent alongside business to create a viable business model,??? she stressed.

The other facilitators were US-based Full Sail University Lecturer and Chief Executive Officer of Launch Mob Media, Kenneth De Gilio; Director of MKE Productions, Steven Topczweski; and Trinidadian Hip Hop/Dancehall Instructor, Shaakir Griffith.

The BCSI is the national agency for the private sector responsible for developing the services industry. The Human Resource Development Strategy is being supported through grants from the European Union; as well as technical assistance and loans from the Caribbean Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Pin It on Pinterest