Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Reviewing Your Project Proposal

Okay so for the past month I've been leading a Project Proposal and Pitches workshop at the Field.
It's been really great - learning about all the projects some of the Field artists are working on and discussing with them the various aspects of Bios, Project Descriptions, Artist Statements, Imaged and Video work samples.  We closed out the 4 sessions digging deep into each others final 2-pagers.
The 2 pagers were the project nuggets:
1 image representing the artist/company or project
1 paragraph artist/company biography
1 paragraph project description
1 paragraph artist statement

We asked the following questions of each 2-pager.  I'd recommend asking the same questions of any proposals, pitches or even the materials on your websites.

First Read:  Look for Clarity, Impact and Appropriateness for Intended Audience
  • Clarity: did you understand the contents of the 2-pager?
  • Impact: did the proposal seem important/relevant generally?
  • Appropriateness: if there is a particular audience or application it is meant for, does it meet their guidelines or match their previous funding/commissioning history?

Second Read: Questions
  • List the questions you had about the content.
  • Was there anything that did not make sense?

Third Read: 6 questions to ask of the content
  • 1. From their bio, did you get a sense of their history, values and vision?
  • 2. From their project description, did you understand what the project was? 
    • how the audience would experience it? 
    • who was working on it? 
    • what support it has already from funders or presenters? 
    • did you "see" the project in your mind after reading the description?
  • 3. From their artist statement, did you understand the artist's need to do this project?
    • why do they need to do it for themselves, their artistic development, their career growth?
    • why do they need to do it for their audience?
  • 4. Did you understand who the reader should/could be? 
    • what type of person was this written for? what is their level of knowledge about the arts? or scholarship? are they more academic? are they going to try to sell your project? do they have little to no comprehension of the arts, but they do like it?
  • 5. Did the image create complementary meaning and enhance the proposal?
    • did it inspire interest?
    • did it reflect the artist's voice and the text/ideas described?
    • did it make you want to see more and know more about the project?
  • 6. Was the layout clear, pleasing to look at and complementary to the artist's voice?
    • is the font easy to read? 
    • is the format clear and does it reflect the artist's own aesthetics?
    • did the formal aspects of the document make you want to look at it?