STORYHIVE turns up the volume for music video grants

By Loose Lips Mag

While crowdfunding for your band’s next tour or music video has been the subject of ridicule for some, musicians are no strangers to competing over FACTOR grants, set times and label spots. Fortunately for struggling songwriters across BC and Alberta, STORYHIVE has produced a hybrid of it all with 30 community-funded grants of $10,000.

Since 2015, the Telus-born community funding program has engaged with music communities to create high-production music videos, with one-third featuring diverse and/or female creators. Between the two provinces, applications have come in from regions outside of Greater Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.

Top awards have varied, with 2015’s two winning features earning $30,000 each, and 2016’s winners being awarded a $10,000 residency scholarship at the Banff Centre. All finalists, of course, are given $10,000 to carry out a music video that is ultimately distributed via Telus.

It’s an amazing program… they really stand behind giving the artistic freedom with what you do and with letting you call your own shots with your shoot,” says Jody Glenham. Along with her band The Dreamers, the STORYHIVE grant allowed her to create the music video for “Ill Wind” in 2016.

“I’ve definitely had some experiences in the past where if you bring in a financial backer, they want to have all of the creative say,” she reveals. “Where it’s the most successful, I find, is when the creators do what they do best, and the financiers do what do they do best.”

Last year’s Top Award winner, Rae Spoon, echoed the sentiment, saying they were grateful for the opportunity to tell a visual story. Their video for “I Hear Them Calling” touched on the topical gender-neutral bathroom debate, which ultimately won them the Banff Centre Residency.

“At the time, and even more now, the issue of transgender folks being discriminated against is coming to the forefront more and more in Canada,” they told Loose Lips over the phone. “We thought about the laws surrounding all this washroom stuff… and we went as far out with it as we could.”

The video shows a horde of mixed-gender people partying in a bathroom, furry outfits, glitter et al. What surprised them most, aside from winning, was the amount of support shown by both STORYHIVE and their own circle.

“I had a lot of support from the community as well and a lot of people turned out for me and donated their time, [but] I also made sure they received a stipend for their time,” they said.

“We had 23 youth from the LGBTQ community show up, we were so astounded and it was so cool that they were willing to give up three days of their time and have a dance party in a really hot bathroom, so I think the community involvement is what really made it happen.”

Along with Jody Glenham and the Dreamers, Rae Spoon felt a positive outcome from the grant.

“It was really cool to get those resources,” they said. “What I love about STORYHIVE is that there’s a wish for community involvement in these videos. We were encouraged to have that effect and also involve underrepresented communities.”

Likewise, STORYHIVE is encouraging the same from emerging to established artists in the program’s 2017 Music Video Competition.

Kicking off today (Monday, March 13), artists with very minimal to mid level experience are encouraged to apply for $10k grants until their deadline of April 14 at noon.

STORYHIVE is reaching out to musicians with some level of experience and activity, whether this means they’ve created a website, played a couple shows, self-released a video on YouTube. The company, with previous applicants such as Dan Mangan and We Are The City, is also looking for artists that have substantial amounts of experience, touring, and online presence. These ‘established’ artists are still considered ‘emerging’ in the sense that they still require funding.

The contest is open to any and all music genres, as long as the music is original and the players are aged 19 or older. Welcoming all genders and orientations, STORYHIVE employs a strong focus on diversity, and is looking to major and small markets across Alberta and B.C.

The project aims to develop uniquely creative music video content for STORYHIVE and support music communities across B.C. and Alberta.

Applications are open now until April 14 at noon, and you and your band can apply here.

Kristi and Brittany are the co-founders and co-editors of Loose Lips Mag. Together, they’re building their feminist media empire and leaving the patriarchy, charcuterie boards, and empty bottles of wine in their wake. You can find them in Gastown sniffing out other women warriors or fuelling up at local coffee shops.