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.
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