A student plays the flute in a large-ensemble workshop at the Stanford Jazz Workshop. Credit: Linda A. Cicero, Stanford News Service.

How to Prepare for an Arts Project

Think about the kind of work you hope to eventually complete.  Both the medium and the themes you wish to explore will deserve attention.  What is inspiring your choices of medium and theme?  These inspirations will be important later as you situate your ideas in a current dialog.

Learn about your potential mentors' work.  Apart from the teaching they do, what are the techniques they themselves use?  What is the relationship between the themes they have explored and the ones you hope to explore?  Identify the threads that connect your mentor's work with your own vision.

Be prepared to share your own experiences with your mentors, but be prepared to take their advice as well.  One of the most valuable things a mentor can do is point you towards related work you haven't considered yet, and you may find yourself refocusing your goals as a result.  Similarly, the right mentor will help you identify the techniques or skills that you still need to develop.

What is the right scale for the project you have in mind?  For example, if your long-term goal is to make a feature length film, feasible shorter term projects might include writing a screen play and storyboards for a feature length film, or writing and shooting a much shorter project.