The Dream Foundry is an incubator for something wonderful. Our mission is to bolster and sustain the nascent careers of professionals working in the field of speculative literature. To do this, we will launch a contest which will provide a venue to spotlight their work, and offer a prize consisting of a cash reward and a fully funded workshop designed to support mentorship, professional development, and career-oriented networking.
For the long term sustainability of the organization and the contest, we will establish an ecosystem of professionals from across the speculative fiction industry to share skills, insights, and opportunities. This ecosystem will serve the critical function of ensuring the organization has the resources and industry savvy necessary to keep the contest and its prizes meaningful and relevant.
All industry professionals, aspiring and established, from all backgrounds, are valued. We will make space for them.
Success means ongoing mentorship and support, both for winners and those who who have space in our community.
Creating networking opportunities across roles and skill levels is a vital component of success.
A dedication to ongoing relevance is critical. As the industry evolves, we must evolve with it.
Ideal Form of the Contest
The contest will be recurrent and judged by industry professionals. The winners of the contest will have access to networking, professional development, and ongoing career resources. Winning will entail eligibility to appear in a compensated showcase, as well as the prize of a compelling cash award and fully funded workshop seat. The workshop will be targeted, and career-appropriate for the winners and their level of skill.
We will be a global organization open and available to people of all ages, all backgrounds, and all walks of life. Outreach in service to this goal will be an early and fundamental priority. We will take care to establish a nurturing ecosystem around the contest. It will flexibly and gracefully support up-and-coming professionals now and as the industry evolves. We will focus early outreach efforts on teenagers and young adults.
We will explicitly provide support and resources for writers (short fiction, novels, games, poetry), artists (traditional, digital, mixed media, animators), editors, translators, podcasters, agents, and other professionals working in or with speculative fiction. In addition to the contest, the organization will create and maintain an online community offering up-to-date, relevant articles and documents, discussion forums, ongoing challenges and mini-contests, formal networking efforts, and cross-role mutual skill development.
Year 0 for the contest will be 2021. That’s the year the first workshop and showcase release will occur. The contest may open as early as 2020.
Year 1 for the contest will be 2023. The gap between year 0 and year 1 will be spent on applying lessons learned and building the infrastructure and support needed to ensure the contest can reoccur. Constant improvement and extending our reach and support will be high priorities.
By 2028 we intend to have an established, stable funding model in place. The organization should have sufficient resources to fund the contest while paying market appropriate rates for professional services in fundamental and critical roles without depending on external fundraising. This is an ambitious goal, but we feel that the long-term stability and integrity of the organization depends on this.
The organization will be a 501(c)3 registered in Illinois and will file for tax-exempt status within 27 months of its formal formation. That organization will be responsible for the fundraising necessary to fund the contest and ancillary activities, as well as developing an endowment that will ensure long-term stability of the organization and its contest.
The organization will recruit industry professionals as needed to fulfill its mission, with an eye toward ensuring affiliated professionals have current, relevant experience in the industry as well as the ability to effectively share that experience with beginning professionals. We will conduct self-assessments to determine whether segments of the industry are underrepresented and take corrective action where warranted.
As the organization develops a strong core dedicated to the establishment and maintenance of the contest we will document our efforts and create a road map for modularity. We will aim to establish affiliate and sister organizations that can extend the reach of our efforts, with the aim of incubating a variety of support and networking opportunities. We will encourage the development of contests and organizations targeting specific subsets of beginning professionals, and create an expansive community working toward the same goals. We want to offer something to everyone everywhere and enable them to build the communities and support they need for themselves.