Is Social Media bad for Artists?

Before I begin I would to inform the viewers a few important things.

I’m only going to speak about the benefits for artists when it comes to being on social media sites. NOT for people in general. You are free to roam social media everyday. However, I do not recommend “all day” everyday. Moderation is very important to one’s mind, body & soul. Thank you.

Let’s be positive first before I give you all my honest answer. Artists can benefit from social media in a couple of ways. You, an artists, want to be productive yes? So consistently posting is key to gaining attention on social media sites like Instagram for example. Adding hashtags (Like this #) helps shows your posts to a wider audience.

When you post, people will leave positive comments/helpful feedback. It can be one person but it can also be 100 people. You slowly but surely grow an audience of people who love your work & are willing to support you. And of course, seeing/hearing works from other artists no matter how famous they are, can be a very helpful inspiration/motivation for you. The word “aspiring” is an illusion. The moment you put your pencil on that paper and draw an apple for example or a poem about apples, or make a rap song about apples, then congratulations, you’re an artist (regardless if you like apples or not). You’re inspired by others and you want to make things as good as them or better.

Now, back on topic. Here are the downsides for artists trying to “stay on top” on social media. It’s easy to get “likes” and “shares”, just post a drawing you did, add some hashtags and boom 50+ likes in less than a day. Being a “famous “ artists on Instagram or Twitter isn’t difficult it’s STAYING famous is the difficult part.

With a big enough audience roughly around 500+ to 1K (a thousand) followers, they expect more from you as an artist. Even if it means posting daily. The coming & going of followers is like a rushing tide. They come & they go. But if you aren’t consistently active, your follower count will drop significantly. But being productive can be very tiring.

Very often artists are compared by others. Sometimes those, comparisons may come off as compliments, very positive ones. But, it can also spawn negativity & misunderstandings. Being accused of “plagiarism” for example, drawing/singing something, someone else has already done. Even if you had good intentions & didn’t realize it, even your own community will hang that guilty over your head. But most of the time, being compared to other artists can damage not just your credibility but your own confidence to learn from other artists. Your mind creates this “illusion” that you have to be “original”. Originality doesn’t exist. Why? Because inspiration does. Do not be afraid from learning from other artists because you will inevitability create your own content.

And lastly always draw/sing or whatever form of art you do, FOR you. Doing it for an audience, for views, for money is a good thing. But you must do it for your sake. For example, have a sketchbook with you. You make such an impressive drawing you immediately think you want to post it online & share it with your followers. But you’ve done that with your other personal works and it didn’t get as much attention as you though. Your followers will send you “requests” or “suggestions” themselves on what they want you to draw for them. Even send you money as long as you draw what they want from you. But will that make you happy? Sure you’ll make them happy drawing something they want to see. Sure they’re willing to give you money to see a certain drawing. But I ask again, will that make YOU happy? Find & keep that happiness of being an artist. If you’re just going to be miserable, applying to your followers wants/needs, doing things you don’t like to do, you may as well put your pen/pencil down for good.

Even artists on social media need to be consistently active to do their art commissions. Someone pays an artist (s)to draw them something for profit. Most jobs for artists come from social media websites through “DMs” (Direct messages). Not all artists are successful when it comes to doing art commissions. You must have responsible prices. Nothing too expensive but also nothing too cheap. Otherwise, you won’t get any customers at all. Let alone customers who pays well. Your art also needs to be presentable. No one is going to pay $25 for a stick figure drawn on a napkin. Most art is done digitally and not every artists is ready to make the switch from traditional to digital and be good enough to make money off of their recent skills.

Let’s comeback to the big question at hand. Is Social Media bad for artists? The answer is Yes & No. It’s has excellent benefits but it also has serious consequences. It can be enjoyable & convenient but stressful & frustrating. For artists. Social media is a “double edge sword”.

I do have a few solutions for artists who failed gaining a social media presence. If you failed gaining clout (attention) on social media, it’s important to try again & be persistent. People have lots of opinions & it can be overwhelming but theirs no harm in either “muting” them so you won’t see their harmful words or block them so they won’t see your content at all. Surround yourself with positive energy by creating your own community of folks who like you & your work.

The other solution is making your own website and posting your artwork there instead. There’s no need to go to colloge and learn computer science for 4 years, these days it’s simple to learn how to build a website from scratch. And the employees at SpringBoard Incubators can assist you in every step of the way. Not just in building a website but making a portfolio as well. Not to mention sharing your finished website with various clients so getting a job in the art field is easier.

If you want Springboard Incubators to help you make a website, the contact information is right here.

One more thing. Don’t spend too much on the internet all day. You can do it everyday if you wish but not ALL day long. Put your phone or laptop on sleep mode and take a walk outside, get some fresh air. Thank you for reading.

Black Animators in the Animation Industry

The animation industry truly began it’s “revolution” in the late 1960s when more and more animated films were produced and released in the public. You’d think it would be the “Walt-Era” when Disney films were being released as the years went by but so many other companies besides Disney were keeping up as well. Regardless, many people found opportunity to find jobs in the animation industry.

June 22nd 1935 in Santa Barbara, California was the day the first African-American animator was born. His name is Floyd Norman. Currently 86 years old but still very active in the animation industry. What made him join the industry was him watching old Disney movie classics such as Bambi & Dumbo. Early in his career he started as an inbetweener or also known as“Tweenening” animator. This means when an animator adds frames so the final animation is more “smooth” and fluid. Eventually he moved on to work as key animator for notable motion pictures such as Disney’s Sleeping Beauty & Disney’s One Hundred and One Dalmatians. He may have been an animator of color but he like many others had to start somewhere in the early and every growing industry.

Frank Braxton

Another few examples of African Americans in the animation industry are Frank Braxton who has done key animation for a handful of Charlie brown TV specials and LeSean Thomas who at first started off as an animator, in later years has opened his own animation studio in the eastern countries and created/produced & directed a handful of original anime series such as Cannon Busters & Yasuke. These men of African American decent have made their mark on the animation industry no matter the genre.

To learn more of these men, I will provide the link to their respective Wikipedia pages.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_age_of_American_animation

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floyd_Norman

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Braxton

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LeSean_Thomas

Although this country has a history of discrimination of races, these men did not falter to achieve their careers in animation and till this day continued to produced more works. I encourage the younger generation to study these gentlemen to become an animator and maybe eventually produce original animation works. Springboard Incubators can help.

We are hiring animators/art teachers with extensive experience in the animation industry to teach those who want to join in it. As for students, all ages can sign up for classes, one on one or groups. Please contact us at at media@springboardincubators.org or 516.414.2000. Our Business hours are 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. Thanks for reading.

By Brandon Lindo

Animation Studios in Long Island

I live in a suburban area in New York. I drive of course but most of the time I walk around the streets to my local pharmacy to pick up some essentials. As I do my afternoon cardio, I noticed around me empty buildings with signs that say “Rent” and a phone number displayed underneath. Next to the pharmacy, I take a small peak from the window, just to get a good look inside. I can’t help but think “You can definitely open an animation studio in there.”

Art/animation is a medium I have the utmost respect for. I’m sure others can agree with me. But simply imaging a dozen animation studios in Long Island doesn’t have to be a “dream”. You can make it a reality.

Big or small, no matter how wide the building may be, you can fit about 10-15 people in their, animators and storyboard artists. Did you know that there are about 8 known animation studios currently in New York, Long island included? Want to know what those studios have in common? It takes about $100,000. it seems like a lot of course. However, let’s go back to my local pharmacy. Did you know it takes about $350-$450,000 to start up a local pharmacy?

Wow! Art students who finished High School, either travel to different states or even countries to go to either art collages or jump right into an animation studio stationed there. But what if students are unable to travel? Unable to obtain the education they need in Long Island.

Springboard Incubators has worked/partnered with many companies over the years. We offer part time jobs and welcome any freelance artists/animators to come in and teach students of all ages, basic art/animation skills and to teach them the work environment of an animation studio. Getting a job in the animation industry is difficult, especially with technology evolving each passing day. But with the proper education, the students will be better prepared. As for the business side of things, Springboard Incubators offers education on how to create small businesses. I as well as Dr. Steven Lindo encourages you the reader to start up your own business. May it be an animation studio or not. I think it would be wonderful for people including me to walk by an animation studio on Grand Ave, better yet, all over Long Island.

If you are an art/animation educator please contact us at media@springboardincubators.org or 516.414.2000. Our Business hours are 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.

Thank you for reading – by Brandon Lindo


COVID-19 Widening the Chasm

Geoffrey A. Moore’s book Crossing the Chasm starts out by saying “If Bill Gates can be a Billionaire”.  Implying that so can you.  I remember in high school using similar logic while waiting to take my driving test, saying to myself, “if Wayne can pass the driving test, then so can I”.

For those of us who don’t remember, Crossing the Chasm takes us through stages of marketing and selling our business & products.  The book then points out the phenomena called “The Chasm”, and why businesses fail as they fall into this crevasse instead of crossing over it. COVID-19 has dramatically widened the chasm and small business owners see it as an impossible task to cross.  Forbes Magazine reported that more than ½ black owned business have permanently closed because of the pandemic.  The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a report that said black-owned businesses were more than twice as likely to close than other businesses.    So, if you own a small business, what should we be doing?  Here is my opinion on what we should be thinking about. 

I started my first business back in 1992.  I was already working full-time as a software engineer so I guess that you can say this was my “side hustle”.   But it was much more than that.  The business model aimed at providing IT support for small businesses who cannot afford to have their own IT team.  But I quickly learned about “cross-selling” & “up-selling”, “channels” & “partnerships”.  Cross-selling and up-selling are textbook, so I won’t cover that here.  But channels & relationships are essential to growing your business organically.  All too often we forget that business and relationships go hand-in-hand.  And these relationships will open up other channels of revenue streams for you. 

Here is the framework I suggest that you follow.  Make a list of any and everyone associated with your business.  Create a category of “Know”, “Like”, Trust”.  Then label your relationship with these categories.   Consider this a living document that you visit and update regularly.  Deliberately and systematically communicate with everyone on this list 1:1. What you will find is that relationships that you have labeled as “Trust” will be your saving grace.    These are the folks that will stretch out their hands and pull you across “The Chasm!

Why STEM Matters

Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) Impact on Jobs

June 25, 2018 – SpringBoard Team

Since the information technology (IT) boom in the 1990’s IT workers more than doubled between 1990 and 2000. The chart below from the U.S. Census shows the growth since 1970 and the diversity of jobs that are available to IT professionals.

From the chart above we can see that many different skill sets and job functions have been created from 1970 to 2014. The chart shows 3 categories in 1970 and 14 different categories in 2014. The industry has continued to grow and evolve from 2015 to 2018 and Big Data problems have given birth to a new set of job skills: Data Scientists, and Cloud Architects. Some of the key skills that Data Scientists possess include Python Programming, Statistical Analysis and Machine Learning.

STEM Impact on Salaries

As the information technology industry continues to evolve into 2020, new skill sets will be required to meet the demands of this expansion. Information Technology continues to be one of the highest paying professions in the U.S. The information provided by the United State Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the potential earnings for computer and information technology professionals by industry.

Industry Employment Percent of industry employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Computer Systems Design and Related Services

79,100

4.01 $73.80 $153,510
Management of Companies & Enterprises 36,540 1.59 $71.24 $148,180
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting

Services

15,160 1.14 $72.65 $151,110
Insurance Carriers 12,300 1.05 $70.88 $147,430
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 11,600 0.39 $54.65 $113,660

Where do Good Ideas Come From?

What is SpringBoard?  SpringBoard provides Technology Training & STEM Workshops for Youth and Adults.  We are also a Co-Working and Virtual Offices Spaces for startup companies as a way to reduce the overhead cost associated with creating a new business. We provide a modern facility with comfortable working stations and collaborative areas for team or customer meetings.   That is our core business.

SpringBoard is unique to other incubators because we also provide value add workshops that guides and teaches our SpringBoard startups’ a lean approach to creating and running a startup company.  Our approach puts the emphasis on creating value.  We will teach our entrepreneurs how to create and deliver that value at the point of use.  Where it is most needed.

The programming, events and workshops you can expect from SpringBoard will be focused on active building instead of passive lecturing.   We will emphasize creating prototypes and bring it to market over less agile or motionless models.

Why is our method better?  First starts with the understanding that we are living it the most ubiquitous era of Technology at any time in previous years.  It is pervasive, and omnipresent.   And the rate of change continues to accelerate to the point of surpassing Moore’s Law.  Therefore, if we are not capturing the power behind technology and using it as a vehicle to drive our business we will quickly become irrelevant.   Let’s be clear, consuming technology and leveraging technology are two different things.  It is part of a larger concept called Digital Transformation. You can think of Digital Transformation a profound and accelerating change of business activities, processes and business models for an organization.   Think of it as a systematic method that will new revenue streams globally.  Transformation

To summarize, SpringBoard is the answer to the questions: Where do good ideas come from?