Friday, March 8, 2013

asking for money.

You may have noticed that several of the recent projects I've been involved with have been funded by Kickstarter campaigns. That's an interesting (sometimes awkward) place for me to be: I have a difficult time asking for money. It's been educational and eye opening to participate in and promote these projects as a contributing artist. The arts need funding. Artists and writers need to be compensated for their time and skill and energy.

So here's just four things:

1) Stephen Blackmoore blogged about the success of our recent Fireside Kickstarter. An excerpt:
"Nobody’s walking around with bags of money dumping them on startup magazines saying, “Here, get some awesome fiction into the world.” They should, but they aren’t. People with bags of money are disinclined to give it away. That’s where crowdfunding comes in. Crowdfunding is nothing new. I’ve been involved in a couple of projects that have been funded that way, like the Kickstarter that led to my writing KHAN OF MARS, and I’ll probably be involved in a few more...
The arts depend on patronage. Whether that patronage comes from someone with big wads of cash, advertisers, people purchasing a subscription, cartels laundering money through shell companies, whatever, is irrelevant. Crowdfunding is no different, except in that it spreads that patronage out to and puts it directly into the hands of you, the audience.
Congratulations, you are all mini-Medicis." ~read more
 2) Amanda Palmer gave a TED presentation on The Art of Asking.  An excerpt:
"I was a self employed living statue called the 8 foot bride... I would get harrassed sometimes, people would yell at me from their passing cars 'GET A JOB' and I'd be like 'this is my job', but it hurt and made me fear that I was doing something 'un job like' and unfair and shameful..." ~Amanda Palmer

She goes on to talk about her own experience with Kickstarter, with negative backlash, the new way of connecting with audiences, and the entire talk is 12 minutes of AWESOME:

3) Recent developments in author contracts with Random House which disenfranchise the author.
First, John Scalzi weighs in extensively and you really must read the whole thing but here's an excerpt:
"What impetus does Alibi have to keep those costs down? What impetus will it have to keep those costs high? And how will you know the difference? Well, if you are like most authors, you won’t — and thus, you’ll be at the mercy of Alibi in terms of what costs you owe. This is, I will note, a fine way for Alibi (or any publisher under such a scheme) to make mischief and engage in the sort of accounting that ends up making the publisher a profit and the author, well, pizza money." ~read more
Then Jeremiah Tolbert translates the PR response from Random House. An excerpt:
"We hired some­one from the record indus­try, and we were aston­ished to learn that you could fuck over writ­ers in ways we never even imag­ined.  So we imme­di­ately set about set­ting up an imprint where we could dick over writ­ers like record com­pa­nies have been screw­ing over musi­cans for years.  Why should be have to bear the bur­den of risk pub­lish­ing new authors, I mean, we’ve been doing it for­ever, isn’t that long enough?  We swear writ­ers will make money this way." ~read more
(Here's the full content of the Random House response, and SFWA reply.)

4) Recent protests at the Oscars over the state of the VFX artists' dismal financial state of affairs.  An excerpt from The Big Social Picture:
"The film Life of Pi was nominated for Visual Effects (and won!), but sadly the studio that did the effects for the movie (Rhythm & Hues) had to file for bankruptcy a few weeks ago, and laid off close to 250 employees.  The protest was named "A Piece of the Pi" to show that the VFX studio behind the film wasn't getting their share of its success...
This tragic story is just one example of the poor state of the VFX industry.  With overseas competition, domestic VFX houses have been surviving on less than 5% profit margins, and other studios have gone bankrupt as well (see: Digital Domain). " ~read more , and more and more.

And there you go. I do not have anything more profound to add after these brilliant folks. Just needed to make a note of it, for my own sake as much as anything, then get back to work.

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