Canadian Musician - January/February 2023 - Page 10

INDIE INSIDER

Tips for Effective Grant Writing

Andy Schichter , one of Canada ’ s most esteemed grant writing experts , outlines the best ways to get funding for your career , business , or project .
By Manus Hopkins

Many of us pursue careers in music because we ’ re creative people and want to make a living out of being creative . The songwriting , the performances , and all the other ways to flex those creative muscles are what draws us in , but to sustain a successful music career , as we all know , means treating your work as a business , and there are many other areas musicians should familiarize themselves with , one of them being grant writing . It may not sound like the most glamourous aspect of a life in the music industry , but it has proven to be a popular topic amongst Canadian Musician ’ s audience , so here we go .

On Oct . 28 , 2022 , NWC hosted a webinar for which we were joined by Andy Schichter , a highly esteemed Canadian grant writing expert , to shine some light on the process of grant writing and provide some insights into how to do it effectively . Schichter is a Vancouver-based producer and engineer , who was nominated for Recording Engineer of the Year at last year ’ s Western Canadian Music Awards ( WMCAs ). Schichter co-owns and works out of Vancouver ’ s Park Sound Studio and has worked with a host of established and rising artists on many facets of their careers , including management , tour booking , and , of course , grant writing . He has written numerous successful grants for associations like FACTOR , Creative BC , Music BC , and Canada Council for the Arts . He also sits on the board of jurors for FACTOR , Music BC , the WCMAs , and the JUNO Awards . In short , Schichter knows what it takes to write a grant .
Schichter came into his own as a grant writer the same way many musicians do ; he was playing guitar in indie band Echo Nebraska , and effectively managing the group as well .
“ That involved lots of grant writing for touring , recording , and marketing , and when that band ended , I felt like I was still drawn to grant writing ,” Schichter says . “ I quite enjoyed it and I found it was a very
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useful skill to have , so I just reached out to friends in Vancouver looking to write grants for them and built up my clientele from there . It wasn ’ t until I started actually advertising it on my website that I started to attract clients outside of the Vancouver music scene , but I found it ’ s really helpful for my studio work as well . Especially during COVID when budgets were stretched , I was able to work with artists to acquire funding to record at Park Sound here .”
So , what exactly does successful grant writing look like , and how does being savvy in this area benefit a budding music career ? First , let ’ s look at the primary national funders for music industry grants . According to Schichter , there are two main ones : FACTOR and Canada Council for the Arts . In addition to artists , FACTOR funds record labels , venues , non-profits , and other music-related projects . Canada Council for the Arts funds all kinds of different artistic endeavours , not just musical ones .
“ One thing to keep in mind is when you ’ re applying for a project through Canada Council , you ’ re not just competing against musicians ; you ’ re competing against other people and other artistic disciplines , and the jury isn ’ t just made up of musicians .”
Specific to Canada Council for the Arts , Schichter offers this advice :
“ When you ’ re writing a grant for them , really dumb down the language because if you use acronyms and shorthand , the jury might not know what you ’ re talking about . But in terms of the grants that are available through them , it ’ s pretty much everything you can think of — ones that are specific to touring , marketing , recording , music videos …”
While he says there are many grants from music industry associations ( MIAs ) at the provincial levels and specific funding through other organizations , such as SOCAN , Schichter maintains that musicians can apply for funding for pretty much any of their endeavours through FACTOR or Canada Council for the Arts .
For most indie artists looking for an entry-level grant to start with , Schichter recommends FACTOR ’ s Artist Develop-