In my creative work, I'm primarily a live performance (circus and theater) creator. While successful in the past, #crowdfunding has been difficult for our company because of the additional, and sometimes seemingly Herculean, efforts we had to undertake in order to create physical products for rewards.
In the end we did it, but most of it felt unrelated to the work...and in some cases potentially damaged the work because of creative concessions that had to be made.*
*The example that comes to mind was adjusting theater lights and seating to accommodate video recording for a downloadable video of the show.
While the campaign was truly a rousing success, I can't help but feel like we spent a considerable amount of our creative energies making good on "begging-related" promises.
I'm curious how those who make things that can't be turned easily into downloadable or shippable goods make patroning and funding work for their projects.
Chime in. I'm curious.
@RussSharek I feel like the entire reward system is... sort of misused? The idea is for patrons to fund what you already do so that you can keep doing it, not to fund you doing something tangential just for them. I feel like patrons who pledge for rewards and creators with reward-oriented campaigns are missing the point.
Patreon is certainly to blame at least partially, since they copied Kickstarter's reward-heavy page layout, despite it being much less appropriate for their platform.
@RussSharek Is any other creator as sick as I am of this part. I mean, the constant begging and making things to entice people to read suck the marrow of my creativity. Does anyone else feel this way?
(And I have no problem selling my work. I’m shoving books in hands most days of the year, doing performances, and interacting online. But it’s like the expectation of gimme bar keeps moving.)
I hear your pain clearly.
I do believe fully that there needs to be a disconnect between "getting to make art" and "marketing creative output" for the sake of my sanity if nothing else.
Our largest crowdfunding project had a person on the team who's dedicated mission was making that side of things work. They were incredible, and we were lucky to have their skills in our company.
Not everyone has that luxury, and so I'm curious to hear what else works.
@RussSharek What seems to be the most successful in terms of creating value for audiences of both live AND recorded performance, is to produce it twice.
Do your live shows for the paying bums in the seats, and do one or more separate shows performed specifically for the camera (but with a live audience).
So, each audience gets the best version of the performance. While the live audience gets the gestalt, the recorded version gets close-ups.
I don't see it as an unnecessary expenditure of effort, it's tuning the art to the audience.
That's kind of what we ended up doing on our last crowdfunded project. Two of the six were recorded and later edited into a downloadable.
Sadly, that sort of plan doesn't work for smaller shows. We're doing short holiday run now, and there's simply no way to film it.
I'm also curious about what else we could offer patrons.
I will try it out in Feb and schedule a 'filming' performance of a classical music concert. I am very fortunate to have access to video people (students who need to film for coursework). Without that resource it would be a great idea, but quite probably impractical.
@RussSharek @smerp I think you're right and there's something to be said for finding a way within the medium you do - and using that/making it work. --even if the other thing seems like it could be a good suggestion.
Like I know I can never hold an admin post. I just won't do the paperwork. I either eat it (jobs/tasks) like wildfire and it's done, or wait so long to do it, the paper it's written on could decompose by itself.
@smerp @RussSharek and if there's a way to tap into the 'teambuilding' market in big companies... they have lots of money. -I am no good at knowing how to get in there. I have the workshops... (I take instruments and get non-musicians making a string orchestra) but I'm not a gifted admin or publicist
@RussSharek personally I'm not sold on the rewards thing. On the one hand, I see people making rewards I'm not interested in, and on the other, I see others making rewards that they would normally release to everyone.
So it seems a bit artificial to me.
Personally, I do make things that could be turned into rewards, but I've never felt like Patreon was for me. I am working on an album, and it's going on Bandamp (with free downloads) and that's about it.
Otoh I'm not trying to make a living.
Do send me a link to your album project. :)
I think we managed to tilt the rewards on our show to fit the feel of what we were building, but in the end it did feel like focus creep.
I've been fortunate that I've not required crowdfunding to continue. I have been interested in using it to supplement self-funded outreach work though.
I'd love to travel more, and increase the reach of my work. The trick is a big part of what I do is about live human experiences, and so that doesn't always transfer to video or similar media well.
That said, I'm ready to tour almost any time, for both performances and teaching.
@RussSharek @lauraritchie Basically he'd say "okay, I'll do a very cool concert *in your house* but you have to put me up overnight or for a couple of nights," and they would invite like 10 friends who paid $20 each or something. And then he'd drive to the next place. I don't know if he broke even on the tour but he certainly gained fans for his mailing list.
Much of what I do and teach needs in person feedback, though overall coaching and direction could be done via video.
I sometimes critique performance material that way. Works well for that sort of thing, where you're picking apart an existing work. I suspect it'd be far harder to create in that context.
@artsyhonker Stickers are a REALLY big deal to people.
We also have a weird tradition with buttons. There's one button we have of our logo that is ONLY available by gift from our performers. You can't buy it anywhere, and if you have one it means you met one of us and had a real interaction.
Kind of our secret decoder ring.
@RussSharek what do you mean by that?
There are many IT projects because the platform has been advertised in this circle. But it can be used for anything!
There are not a lot of artists yet, but I hope these communities continue to grow!
Questions like this make me wonder what's possible with pure donation/gifts.
There is gift giving on mastodon and people asking for it. Without anything in return next to a warm fuzzy feeling.
I personally wouldn't mind giving something when I have it in order for someone else to have some fun, an education, or some basic needs. Perhaps in the knowledge that it's used well. If it would mean 80% would go to some horrible organisation, maybe not. So transparency helps...
@RussSharek @webmind @Liberapay Another way to think of it: the work you would do if you knew you'd always have enough to eat? The work that makes your soul sing, whether you get paid or not, and also gives the world something that it needs? Crowdfund *that*. Even if it's only an hour a month to start with.
@RussSharek @webmind @Liberapay I write choral music, but lots of my patrons aren't singers. Some of them are, but some of them don't really get any direct benefit from me putting my work online for free. They just agree with me that me writing new music and making it available is a Good Thing for the world in general.
@RussSharek @webmind @Liberapay (For me that is also a religious thing, but it totally doesn't have to be. But it does have to be right for you. Who do you most wish could come to your shows, but they can't now? What would you need to make that happen, or to do a show for them? And can you combine this with something like a house tour?)
@artsyhonker @RussSharek @webmind @Liberapay
That's awesome! @RussSharek and I were laughing about what it would be like if our troupe did a bicycle tour. Physically exhausting your acrobats before a performance is probably not the best idea, but hey! They're warmed up at least! A couple of our techs would probably struggle too. Heck I don't cycle much. Would be an entertaining story later though! Russ on his uni and Marie on her kick scooter would be a riot.
@Avalon @artsyhonker @Liberapay @RussSharek @webmind But if you are travelling under your own dreams bicycle is really the most efficient way you can do it. It does constrain your daily travel. We had a gig most evenings and getting there in time was stressful; and we only travelled about 40 miles per day most days.
@artsyhonker @RussSharek @Liberapay @webmind
True, as are scooters. But it was a funny thought nonetheless. :) Between the likelihood of long distances between host locations and our tendency to use a lot of props in our shows, it's probably not particularly viable for us. I think it's a fantastic idea though and I think it's awesome that you did it :)
In America, they've actually turned horribly on the idea of clowns in hospital programs. I know some of the major players there, and their funding has been slashed in the last year.
I have great respect for that sort of work. It's not exactly what I do, though certainly adjacent.
I find myself doing far more relief and charity work. I think I'm more wired to seek hope than distraction.