Why Crowdfunding is a Kick in the Bits
Crowdfunding has been a game changer for the independent content creator. No doubt about it. A person with an idea, a clear and inspiring presentation, and a lot of luck has a better avenue than ever for getting the cash to make their project happen. Our audience has been very generous to us over the years and it always floors me that they’re willing to put their personal money into our project. We’re currently in the tail end of our fifth fundraising campaign for the show, raising money for our second-to-last episode. At this point, it’s not looking like we’re going to make our goal. That doesn’t mean we won’t make the show. As always, what it means is that it’s going to be a lot harder to make the show. It also means we’ll be relying on the cast and crew to be generous with their time more than usual since they’ll be getting paid WAAAAAAAY less for their participation this time around.
I remember the feeling of getting that first donation on the first day of the first campaign. My stomach dropped and I felt a whole new level of responsibility to the audience. Now they weren’t only giving us their time in watching our show. They were putting their money on the line in the belief that we would give them their money’s worth. It changed everything for me. That’s when episodes went from taking seven months to make to taking 11 months to make. I wanted to make sure to get everything just right. I also upped the scope of the show to make sure to get the audience’s money on the screen.
But here’s why crowdfunding has always been a struggle for me:
- I feel an intrinsic sense of failure asking for people’s money. Like I can’t provide for myself. Like I’m begging. It doesn’t matter that I can provide for myself, and Eliza and I have jobs that keep us in rent, food, and entertainment money. It doesn’t matter that this is for a side project. All I know is there are many videos of me online asking for people to give us money and every one of them has been a battle against my very nature.
- Cast and crew morale is tied into the outcome. If we make our goal, everyone is bolstered by it. If we don’t make our goal, we still sally forth, but there is a little underlying current of—Well, maybe this show isn’t as good as we thought it was. Logic be damned. The fact that people put ANY money into the show obviously means we’re doing something right. But if we only get half our goal there’s that little voice that says—You’re only half as good as you thought you were.
- In order to run a successful crowdfunding campaign, you have to constantly keep bugging people. Keep tweeting, Facebook’ing, uploading campaign videos, spreading the word, bugging other people to spread the word. It feels like I’m being a nuisance. I don’t like being an irritant or making people feel guilty if they enjoy the show but they can’t afford to contribute.
- It’s completely out of my control. With every other aspect of the show, if something doesn’t work out I can figure out a workaround or pick up where someone else left off. This is one aspect that I have completely no control over. All I can do is say, here’s what we do with your money, here’s what you get for your money, please help us continue to produce this show at a high level. And wait. And wait. And feel a warm sense of gratitude with each donation that comes in. And an uneasy sense of failure as the campaign end date approaches and the donations slow.
The silver lining is that there are quite a few people who still think PoPS is worth their money. And making the campaign videos is a lot of fun. Here are a few of them.
Thanks for reading.