Please read everything on this page carefully. Applicants must create a video specifically for this application of their original work in one of the 4 Creative Categories: Poetry, Storytelling, Song & Lyrics 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 Submissions must be both original and of unpublished/un-produced work not under any form of agreement or payment.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.





Song & Lyrics


who can apply

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



  1. Local – Applicants need to currently reside, and have lived for at least 7 of the last 12 months, in the Greater DC Metro area, 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.

  2. Emerging – Applicants must be 18 - 35 years old at the time of application.

  3. Financial Need – ES is trying to prioritize financial need at this time and asks that only creatives who are economically disadvantaged, especially if directly affected by coronavirus closures, apply for a microgrant. You may apply if any one of the following pertains to you. You are:

    1. A self-employed artist affected by coronavirus closures

    2. Not employed full-time (including those laid off or furloughed because of the coronavirus)

    3. Working fewer than 25 hours/wk

    4. Earning less than $15/hr, even if employed full-time 

    5. A student, provided that you are not declared as a dependent by your parents (or anyone else) for Federal Tax purposes

    6. If another financial hardship applies to you that is not listed above, please explain in the application

NOTE: Everyone who is in consideration to be a finalist 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 quality of the performance on the Zoom call is not the primary basis for the selection decisions. 

what to submit

Criteria for Video Content Submitted

  1. Original - Submissions must consist of original work that you created and have all the rights to, and which has not been previously published (see exception below), produced or under any form of agreement. You can, but do not need to, create new work just for this application, your work may have been created by you previously, and your piece does NOT have to have anything to do with the coronavirus. But the video you submit for your performance must be shot specifically for this application (see "Video and Text").

    1. A. Exception for publishing on your own Social Media - Your video content will NOT be considered as “published”, and therefore the material in your Video can be submitted to ES, if it 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 BEFORE submitting your Application, and all video content and material stays off any Social Media or websites for the duration of the application.

  2. Performance and Content – Your work, and how your work is performed, will be the primary criteria used for review for a microgrant. You will not be judged primarily on the technical quality of the video itself (see "Video and Text").

  3. 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 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 sub-tab "how to make a video" above and watch our explanations there.

  4. Performers vs. Applicant - Applicants are strongly encouraged to perform the piece themselves but will be allowed to have friends or associates perform with them or in their stead, as long as they also live in the DC Metro area defined above, and are 18-35 years old. However, in all cases, 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. We will accept a spliced video submission if the performer(s) are in different locations than the applicant (though still in the DC Metro area) as long as the total video is still under 5 minutes (including the introduction). For examples, see the demos of a single performer and a spliced group performance on the sub-tab above "how to make a video".

  5. 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 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.

  6. One Submission, One Genre - Creatives may apply in only one of the 4 Creative Categories identified above and submit only one video for this wave 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!

  7. 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. Also take care that you’re shooting your video in an appropriate setting with appropriate clothing.

how your work will be reviewed

Main Criteria for Review

Applicants of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Videos will be reviewed along the following 4 criteria:


  1. Technical Mastery / Mastery of Form

  2. Creativity / Originality

  3. Performance Quality / Audience Appeal

  4. Overall Excellence

what happens after the application period closes:

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