Warning: we’re talking about the seamy underbelly of creativity today — finding the money to make things while simultaneously not starving to death in the gutter.
- It looks like we’re getting Big Data after all! Well, okay, Ryan Estrada’s radioplay/podcast about the heist to steal the Keys To The Whole Internet was done, completed, finito, and when has that guy ever made a thing and not shared it? Regardless of the state of his crowdfunding campaign he was always going to release it, it was just a matter if he was going to so much as break even after a year and a half’s effort and thousands of dollars of upfront costs. That means we’re going to get stretch goals now, which … let’s just have Estrada tell us himself:
Big Data is funded! I posted “stretch goals” that… let’s be honest here… are just stuff I’m doing no matter what. http://tinyurl.com/stretchability
Free comics! More fancy voice talents! Estrada’s going to do more audio drama! The only question is are you going to toss him a couple bucks now, or after Big Data blows up into the next Serial?
- Know who else doesn’t make things contingent on crowdfunding, he just goes out there and makes stuff and then engages in commerce to invite you to buy it? Howard Tayler, that’s who. Today marks the preorder availability of Schlock Mercenary book 12, including the chance to have a dapper man sketch in your copy of the book, with delivery expected in mere weeks.
See, the drawback — to the extent that there is one — of crowdfunding is that you don’t have the money to produce the thing until the check clears, so even if the thing is already made and you’ve got handshakes with the manufacturer, you can’t sign the contract and say Go until they get paid, then you get on their schedule, then you wait … and that’s best case. Me, I’m guessing that Tayler¹ did a bunch of math, figured out what a print run should look like for immediate orders plus reasonable stock for the future, and that the presses are already whirring.
That’s why you’ll get your book in July, which means it’s got to get here, and get sketched in, and sent out in five to nine weeks². That’s as close to instant gratification as you’re going to get in webcomics.
- Speaking of instant gratification — sometimes how fast you get something is entirely up to the fans. Readers of this page will recall the high regard I have for Al’Rashad: City of Myths, as written by [comics commentator, Toronto politics observer, and lawyer] Christopher Bird and illustrated by Davinder Brar (illustration freelancer and teacher).
It’s a damn good story, it’s nearly 300 pages long (serialized over about four years), and it’s just the first part of a trilogy. Thing is, lawyerin’ and teachin’ don’t leave a lot of time to make comics on the webcomics grind, particularly if it means (as it would for Brar) giving up freelance jobs to have the time to draw a comic that isn’t paying anything for years (if ever)4.
Enter the Patreon to fund the production of Ra-Boka: Kingdom of the Bound (that would be the title of the second story). And, crucially, the funding goals start off modest, but as they increase they radically increase the pace of production. We’ve all seen Patreons that set goals of one extra comic a week or at least ten comics a month, but Bird & Brar³ start from a low target of $125 (I’m not sure if that’s US dollars, as Patreon is an American company, or Canadian, as Bird & Brar are strong and free), providing one page a month, to $2500 (three pages a week, 12 – 13 per month).
It’s a hell of a range, and given that Ra-Boka is also projected to run nearly 300 pages, which means the story could take not quite 24 years to tell … or a year and a half. This is very much a case where a couple hundred people with a couple bucks each could make the difference between seeing a story on a schedule that would make even George RR Martin blanch (much less the third part of the trilogy) and seeing it unfold at warp speed before the last season of Game of Thrones hits.
Time to dig in for that couple of bucks, kids — the first story was damn good (supra), you could see both Brar and Bird progressing in their craft during its run, so I expect the second (and third!) to be even better.
Spam of the day:
We are pleased to inform you of the released results of the Microsoft Iberica S.L Sweepstakes Promotion in conjunction with foundations for the promotion of software products organized for Software users.
This Program was held in Barcelona- Spain; Wherein your email address emerged as one of the online Winning emails in the 1st category and therefore attracted a cash award of EUR344,000.00 and a Mac laptop/iPhone.
Microsoft ran a sweepstakes and is giving out an iPhone? BALEETED.
¹ By which I mean Howard’s wife Sandra, the logistics/business wrangler of TaylerCorp, and the one that makes sure that Art Boy gets all his stuff made and sent where it needs to go.
² Cue Dolley, Jane, and Lily. Dabney can eat it.
³ Together, they fight crime.
4 But Gary, I hear you cry, couldn’t Bird just pay Brar out of pocket like he must have for Al’Rashad, or like Estrada’s always doing? Yes, I suppose, but 1) Shut up, nobody is obligated to go into debt to entertain you for free; Estrada is unusually generous, but that does not create a binding precedent; 2) Bird’s got a wedding coming up and I doubt his fiancee is willing to serve guests pigs in blankets instead of a meal in order to make a comic for free reading on the internet; and 3) Seriously, if that’s the way you think, re-examine your priorities in life.