Interview with filmmaker and entrepreneur Audrey Rumsby

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Filmmaker Audrey Rumsby wants to help other people in the arts be more successful and financially secure. First up, says Audrey, it’s crucial for an artist to have the right mindset. She helps artists beat imposter syndrome, find their confidence and even think like a CEO! Her new course is packed with practical tips for demystifying the funding process, including where to find funders and how to approach them. Here Audrey talks about why artists have to take risks, be clear in their aims and never overthink creative ideas.

Audrey, tell us why you started your business coaching people in the arts?

“I started business coaching for artists out of necessity. I serve as Chair of Public Art for the City of San Jose, and have a long history as a filmmaker, director and actor based out of Silicon Valley. With the visibility of those experiences, I’m constantly hearing from artists. They want to know how to take their ideas not just to fruition, but to a place of financial stability. 

“My friend Jim LeBrecht (an Oscar nominee for his film ‘Crip Camp’)has described me as having the soul of an artist and the brain of a CEO! Most artists come to me with the goal of changing their identity from one that’s passive, waiting for the right grants to show up and never having enough money, to being empowered, with a CEO mindset and strategy. In 2021 I started taking time out of my week to coach artists on developing their identity and business plans, and I haven’t looked back.”

Photo credit Ben Krantz 

What kind of coaching and courses do you offer?

“I’m about to release an online course called ‘From Idea to Reality, the Artist’s Business Plan’. We go into pre-sales in April and launch in May. This is a clearly and simply packaged course that’s easy to digest and take action on right away. It’s what I believe every school should be teaching to students graduating with arts-based degrees. It will guide the artist to clearly articulate their dreams and vision, develop a healthy mindset, make financial plans, the funding process (the oh-so-valuable skill of where to find funders and how to approach them), and the leadership skills necessary to take their project through to fruition, even when they hit inevitable obstacles. I will continue to offer one-on-one coaching too, as an add-on to the online course.”

How have you helped people succeed?

“So far the greatest effect I’m witnessing is a mindset shift of the artists who come to me for help. They are transforming from skilled artists with a lack of clarity and fear of asking for funding, to confident and creative entrepreneurs with serious, well-articulated plans. Once you change your identity, you can accomplish anything.”

Photo credit Ben Krantz 

What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur? 

“You’ve got to have an appetite for risk, and be OK with the fact that you will fail in some way at some point! We spend so much time overthinking our ideas. Get it out of your head, onto paper, plug in some numbers, and make the damn thing. If it fails in some way, no biggie. You’re a creative! Learn, try again, or make something new.”

What other projects have you got coming up? 

“I’m overseeing multiple projects, including the May 2022 London premiere, Cannes Film Festival showing and Netflix release of ‘Barry & Joan’, a feature documentary that I directed, produced and feature in. I’m also building the team for a feature screenplay titled ‘A Girl Named Arthur’, and executive-producing a beautiful short doc called ‘Escape Your Dreams’, by acclaimed filmmakers Jason Hanasik and Abbi Jutkowitz.”

Fetured photo credit: Ben Krantz