Archive for January, 2011
So things have become what I would consider crazy. I’m just a normal guy, I come from a functional, middle class family, I have a lovely, low-stress relationship with my wife, I rent an apartment in the suburbs, I have a normal day-job for which I’m paid bi-monthly, and in the last 11 days almost 300 people I’ve never met in person donated more than $7,000 to our show.
This week’s entry is probably going to be a little bit all over the place because lots of strange and wonderful things have happened in the last week. Last Wednesday my wife, my friend Caitlin, and I went to go see Craig (from the video below) get interviewed at a venue in the suburbs. When I walked through the door of the venue, something happened to me that I have always wanted to happen but had never successfully fooled myself into thinking could actually happen…in reality. (I’ve read that 3 times now and am finally convinced it’s a real sentence.) I walked through the door of the venue, took off my hat—‘cause it’s cold in Chicago, and heard the words, “Hey, that’s Jake Jarvi.” I immediately turned to my wife and said, “Did you hear that?” I couldn’t believe it. The guy who said it then introduced himself to me using his Youtube username, which I instantly recognized from tons of comments and conversations on the PoPS boards, and another guy introduced himself to my wife, starting by saying, “I’m just going to act like I don’t recognize you. Hello, my name’s John.” I didn’t actually learn the first guy’s name was Michael until about two hours later. It was a really cool night and kind of wrinkled my brain. It was a little bit like being famous. When I asked Craig about this a little later he said that we would be more used to it if we went to more places where Youtube people congregated.
An update about the Kickstarter thing from last week–LINK TO KICKSTARTER-–as I write this on the evening of Wednesday January 26th, we’re $160 away from our goal of $7,500. It’s been 11 days since our Kickstarter went live. I’m not sure exactly what I expected when Tim and Ryan proposed this idea to me, but I don’t think it was this. It hasn’t even been two weeks. Now we have to wait for the end date we put on it which is the end of next friggin’ month. Tim hopes that donations continue and we can start saving for episode 6. That’d be cool, but I don’t really know what to expect. I’ve been saying that a lot lately.
Also since episode 4 went live we’ve been getting offers of help from a few different directions. A VFX house in Vancouver (with a totally bitchin’ reel) contacted us about doing some effects and an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink (from the sounds of it) post house in Australia also put their hat in the ring for anything post-related. I’m really excited for those conversations to continue and see how things work out.
I said I started working on the script for ep5 a couple weeks ago. I did. Why is it taking so long? A couple of reasons that day-job cowboys should take into account:
1—When people do you a favor by working on your show and then they have a video-related favor to ask, you have to drop whatever you’re doing, and do it. You lose time on your show, but you don’t lose any friends. Weigh it.
2—When a viewing audience gets large enough, it’s easy to want to spend all your time interacting with them instead of working on your show. I’ve instituted a “No Youtube/Facebook/Twitter policy” on myself until the script for ep5 is done. I also think that I may have to start imposing a “Twice a week policy” for visiting the sites in general or else all my work might start dropping off.
Speaking of, I need to go work on the script now. (That’s what I said in my NexTV post when I wrote it Wednesday. As I post this on Friday, I finished a first draft of the script last night: 47 pages, 57 scenes, 8,800 words, of which 4,500 were in dialogue. It might need a little trimming, and it definitely needs some proofreadin’.)
Thanks for reading, guys.
When we released the 4th episode of PoPS, the response from our audience was so overwhelmingly positive that my friends Tim and Ryan, producers on the show, called me up and asked for a meeting. Prior to this meeting I had decreed that anyone who helped in the finding of locations, scheduling things, or paying for things would get a producer credit. This meeting probably marks the point in the history of our little web series where a couple of guys stepped up to actually be “producers.” They decided that a six to seven month turnaround on an episode was probably a little too long. In order to churn out episodes faster, we would need to divide the responsibilities of the show a little more so that instead of me doing EVERYTHING, I would write and direct, they would schedule, someone else would edit, someone else would do effects, someone else would do the sound…you get the idea, we would become a real production. In order to make the leap to real production, we would need to try and raise money to pay people to dedicate themselves to specific parts of the process; in other words, we needed to move from no budget to low budget. I told them the same thing as always—If you can figure it out, more power to you; I don’t raise money, I just make stories; blah, blah, blah. To which they replied—You don’t have to do anything except make a video. So I made a video.
I’m sure plenty of people here are familiar with Kickstarter. You set your financial goal for your production and people can donate at various levels and you can set prize-like incentives at each of the levels. Here is our page…check it out, if you haven’t already:
Tim and Ryan worked it out that if everyone was making money at a very low budget level we could make an episode for around 15 grand. So for our first attempt we decided to try to raise half of that, $7,500. I made a video explaining why we wanted the money: to help the episodes come out faster, and for our audience to please help us out. Within the first 24 hours of launching it we had raised over 3,000 dollars. Now I don’t know if that sounds like a lot to you, but it sounds HUGE to me. As it stands now it’s been up for less than a week and we’re over halfway to our goal. The fact that people like the show enough to put their hard earned money on the table is extremely humbling to me. It makes us more than just a free web show. I’m astounded and unbelievably grateful that people consider our story something worth paying for and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank them enough.
Thanks for reading.
Oh, yeah, and here’s the Kickstarter link I mention at the beginning: SUPPORT THE SHOW
Over this last week I’ve been ramping up to start work on the next episode of the Platoon of Power Squadron. As soon as I start writing the script it feels like the 6-month countdown timer begins before the episode has to be finished and uploaded (although to be fair, ep4 took closer to 7 months.) So when you think sitting down at the keyboard means saying goodbye to your free time for the next 6 months, it gets a little harder to do. But I’ve rested for about a week and a half and it’s time to get back in the saddle again.
I wrote the first five pages of episode 5 last night and it just keeps getting easier to fall into the rhythm of these characters. At this point, we know them pretty well and I find that getting them to talk to each other is almost as easy as booting up the laptop. Here’s hoping that by this time next week I’m holding the first draft of the completed script.
This week we’re going to be launching something that might change the way we do everything and help the episodes come out a lot faster. I’m excited by the idea of it and I hope it works out. We’ll talk all about it next week.