Please read everything on this page carefully. Applicants should create a video specifically for this Application of their original work in one of the 4 Creative Categories: Poetry, Storytelling, Songs or Instrumental. Each submission must be a complete piece (with a beginning and an end) and fit in a single 2-5 minute video. Submissions must be both original and of unpublished/un-produced work not under any form of agreement or payment. See detailed definitions below.







who can apply

Emergent Seed (ES) encourages diverse voices to apply. To meet our goals for helping emerging Greater DC Metro area creatives and to make the review and selection processes manageable for those screening and reviewing videos, we developed the following parameters:



  • Local – Applicants need to currently reside in the Greater DC Metro area (OR have some explanation as  to why they are temporarily out of the area, e.g. students) which we have defined as the District of Columbia, along with the six nearby counties in MD and VA consisting of: Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties.

  • Emerging – We are encouraging writers and composers 18 - 35 years old, or *NEW THIS ROUND* those who identify as “emerging” in some other way, to apply. Applicants who are older than 35 may apply and describe in their application why they are an emerging artist. 

  • Financial Need – *REVISED THIS ROUND* ES is trying to prioritize financial need at this time and asks that creatives who are practicing artists directly affected by coronavirus closures apply for a microgrant. This includes current students or recent graduates.

NOTE: Every applicant who makes it to the second stage will be part of a verification process, which will include performing their piece (with the same performers) to confirm their identities on a Zoom call. The technical quality of the Zoom call will not be the primary basis for the selection decisions.

what to submit

Criteria for Video Content Submitted

  • Original - Submissions must consist of original work that you created and have all the rights to.

  • Unpublished / Un-produced - Your piece can not have been previously published (see self-published exception below), produced or under any form of agreement. We encourage new work, but it's not mandatory if you meet the criteria herein.

    • Exception: - You may submit a video if the content has previously ONLY been on your personally owned Social Media or websites PROVIDED that you remove any such material from all such personally owned Social Media or websites (including Patreon) BEFORE submitting your Application, and all video content and material stays off any Social Media or websites for the duration of the Application (which ends when Winners are announced).

  • Performance and Content – Your work, and how your work is performed, will be the primary criteria used for review for a microgrant. We encourage you to make the video as good as possible (excerpts of winning videos will be used in the announcement of Winners and Honorees) but you will not be judged primarily on the technical quality of the video itself (see "Video and Text").

  • Video and Text – Videos must be 2-5 minutes in length, be a complete piece (with a beginning and an end) and in English. We will not review any performance longer than 5 minutes. If your video is considered for broadcast, there may be an opportunity to have the video more professionally shot. Video files must not exceed 800 MB (if recording on a smart phone, please select 720 p or 1080 p HD at 30 fps). Applicants must also upload the text of any words in your piece (there's a separate field for that in the Application) to help with the review process (exception for submissions under Instrumental). NOTE it is the performance and content in the video, not the text, which will be the primary basis for the selection process. For more help, go to the tab "BEFORE MAKING YOUR VIDEO" above and watch our explanations there. Please shoot your video with a HORIZONTAL frame

  • Performers vs. Applicant - Whoever is submitting the Application must be the person who created the piece and the Applicant must appear in the first 15 seconds of the video submission and state i) his or her name, ii) the title of the piece, and iii) the names of any other performers involved. *NEW THIS ROUND* Other collaborators in your video can live outside the DMV, but they must also be at least 18 years old at the time of applying. We will accept a spliced video submission if the performer(s) are in different locations than the applicant as long as the total video is still under 5 minutes (including the introduction). For examples, see the tab above "BEFORE MAKING YOUR VIDEO".

  • Payment to the Winners - Creatives can apply as an individual or as a group, but one name must be the lead, who will be considered the Applicant.  If an Application is selected for a microgrant, the $500, or $150, will ultimately be sent only to the Applicant, and it is up to the Applicant how, or if, that money is shared with any others in a group, including any performers.

  • One Submission, One Category, One Sub-Genre - Creatives may apply in only 1 of the 4 Creative Categories and 1 Sub-Genre and submit only 1 video for this round of Applications. Creatives who apply as an individual are not permitted to appear in a different Application submitted by a group. Send us your best work!

  • Show Respect for a General Audience - Submissions must not denigrate any identity group, and Emergent Seed has the sole right to determine what it deems offensive in any other way. Always keep in mind we are trying to build community and we plan to use the videos selected in one or more broadcast events for a general audience (roughly PG-13 appropriate). Also take care that you’re shooting your video in an appropriate setting with appropriate clothing.

Winners & Honorees - 

license agreement breakdown

All artists always retain ownership of their work. In order for ES to be able to invest time and resources into the Winners to help license their work and generate additional revenue for the Winner, that’s why ES had to build into the License Agreement the 3 year exclusive. For Winners, the exclusive to ES is only for the one piece you submitted (see the 3 year exclusive section of the License Agreement) and not on you, the Winner, or any of your other work.. 


Applicants can OPT-OUT of consideration for selection as a WINNER and only be considered to be selected as an HONOREE. Some reasons for doing so may include:

  • Your submission is part of a larger piece (e.g. a song from a musical, a scene from a novel, etc.) and thus can't be part of a 3 year exclusive license to ES; 

  • You want to publish this piece within the next 3 years (e.g. release a song in an upcoming album, or publish a poem in a forthcoming collection);

  • For any other reason the Applicant chooses


Honorees are only subject to a Non-Exclusive license, as described in the License Agreement.

what happens after the Application period closes:

Main Criteria for Review

Applicants of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Each video will be reviewed independently by at least two practicing artists in that field. We have conflict-of-interest policies in place preventing any applicant to be reviewed by someone with whom they have a personal relationship. Videos will be reviewed along the following 4 criteria:


  • Technical Mastery / Mastery of Form

  • Creativity / Originality

  • Performance Quality / Audience Appeal

  • Overall Excellence

how your work will be reviewed

© 2020 by Emergent Seed, LLC

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