The time is approaching where I will need to incorporate. “Need” is obviously subjective, but everyone I’ve talked to (including my accountant) has said that you should make an official business if/when you’re making more than (ballpark) $10,000 a year from your art/hobby/freelancing/whatever. Since I am (yay!) I now am looking at becoming all legal and shit. I’m going to ignore the types of incorporation (LLC, L3C, S Corp, etc). I’m sure there are pros and cons to each, but I haven’t done my research yet to comment intelligently. Instead, I’m going to talk about naming said corporation.
The simplest way to go would be Rebecca Kling Productions. Well, technically, Rebecca Kling Productions LLC, Inc, or whatever. I’m going to stop mentioning that part; just assume anything I say would have to be followed by some official-style designation. At least two artists I know, Seth Lepore and Johnny Stax have gone this route, with The Seth Lepore Project and Johnny Stax Presents, respectively. The pros of this seem pretty obvious: The name is the brand, and it’s clear who is behind the whole thing. For artists where their personality and identity is ‘the art,’ that makes a lot of sense. I certainly fall into that category, and using my name as my business would be a totally reasonable choice.
On the other hand, using one’s name in their business name means that people who don’t know who you are might not be clear on what you do. I’ve considered names like Inevitably Queer Productions because I like the idea of having a little more explicit indication of the type of work I do. (Sidestepping the fact that that specific example is still pretty vague.) I like the idea of Queer Narratives, for example, or the Queer Storytelling Project. The pros here also seem pretty clear: it gives a better, immediate idea of what’s going on. Thinking about what people see in a Fringe Festival festival guide, for example, Storms Beneath Her Skin (The Queer Storytelling Project) seems more evocative than Storms Beneath Her Skin (Rebecca Kling Productions).
At the same time, The Queer Storytelling Project implies that it’s a larger community than just myself. I can legitimately say, “I’m starting small, and hope to expand and collaborate with others in the future,” but who knows if/when that’s going to happen? I don’t want to misrepresent myself as speaking for anyone other than myself.
I think, for me, that last line is the kicker. I went into writing this post leaning toward a broader name (I really like The Queer Storytelling Project). But I am just me. If/when I collaborate with others, that doesn’t preclude us from naming ourselves something new. For the time being, however, it seems like my name is my brand, and I should embrace that.