Understanding Your Value as a Creative: You Need to Know This

CJ Walley
7 min readOct 6, 2019
Photo by Fares Hamouche on Unsplash

If you are an artist trying to break into the creative arts industry, you are probably more than aware that a portfolio is essential to being taken seriously and shows what you have to offer the marketplace. However, what I’m seeing over and over again are amateurs who are failing to see what is probably the most valuable side of their offering and completely ignoring what is a critical component in their marketing strategy. Let’s talk about what you might be missing, how it’s holding you back, and what you can do about it.

I’m guessing, since you’re reading this, that you produce or effectively produce something akin to spec work. That’s speculative material you create in your own time to bolster your portfolio, demonstrate what you’re capable of, and offer as intellectual property with potential value. This is, on the most part, a capital investment of effort by yourself in the hope that prospective buyers discover this property and wish to buy the rights. If you’re a screenwriter, this is going to be a collection of screenplays you hope industry members will wish to purchase, but the same logic applies in most areas of the creative arts world — you make stuff for free and hope it sells.

I’m guessing that you also focus a lot of energy into trying to get attention on this material by doing what you can to maximise its exposure within the marketplace. I’m also assuming that you see this circle of completion where you sell a property, your material goes mainstream, your artistic brilliance becomes apparent, and people start banging on your door like a hoard of hungry zombies with wads of cash in their hands wanting a piece of that delicious, highly imaginative brain of yours.

I can predict this because it’s a very common strategy, one touted by gurus and advised by peers everywhere. It seems everybody feels they just need to create that magic bullet that will win the right award, be showcased in the right environment, or fall under the eyes of the right person.

And it’s a valid strategy too, but what if I were to tell you, it’s just a small part of the overall picture? What if were to tell you, you’re potentially missing out on a huge section of the marketing process?

CJ Walley

Screenwriter | Film Producer | Founder of Script Revolution & Rebelle Rouser | Author of Turn & Burn