Possible short term goals… but so many unanswered questions…
I have been putting a lot of thought into the future of Delura… specifically how to make it bigger and better than it is now.
Current roadblocks/hurdles concerning the series, and my thoughts on them:
- Very obsolete main operating system: In order to maintain the quality level of EP 005.03 and be able to produce animated episodes at a meaningful pace (which I consider ~3-5 minutes of video content every month), it would mean purchasing a new system… something that isn’t ~10 years old on the technology scale. Blender is an acceptable compositing solution, but I’d rather the step of compositing be for things like *making the episode look better*, not piecing together countless layers of regular renders because my computer can’t handle it. Having to piece together most the elements of my renders adds a lot of time to the production process that adds ZERO benefit to the viewer. It sucks. I think I can manage with the software I use now for the time being, so that’s getting kicked down the priority list.
- Organization. I need to continue to work on this… more volunteers are great, but it also introduces complexity. I need to keep finding ways to manage this complexity. I need more volunteers if my idea of “premium vs. free” content idea is going to work (explained further below).
- I want the series to grow, but how do I make it fair to everyone involved in the process? Delura would be absolutely nothing without the efforts of volunteers. Though most of the visual/audio volunteer work appears in EP 005.03, voice actors have contributed to a good majority of the content released thus far. I have concerns that if I try to run a crowdfunded campaign that I am essentially leeching off of the work that others have done… even if I’m only asking to replace my working system and offset my operating costs (website, electricity, replacing damaged computer components). This paradox has bothered me for a long time. The points below are my ideas, and why they are challenging to consider:
- Funding EVERYONE via Kickstarter: I know my Kickstarter idea would work to alleviate my fairness concern entirely. In its most basic form, the idea is to make up a contract with every volunteer, value the work they have done (using quality+quantity as the main measurement), and make a conditional agreement that matches the “all-or-nothing” approach of Kickstarter, and set the goal accordingly (volunteer work + my needs as lead dev). If we had the audience… I could essentially ensure that EVERYONE gets paid their fair share (as in, equivalent of $15-40/hr U.S.Dollars depending on what is done). Basically, the funding from the kickstarter pays for work volunteers have already done in previous installments, and at the same time finances me to lead the development of the next full installment and/or season and, if I get enough, allows me to upgrade software/hardware (re-investing in the series, basically). I just like this idea so much because it gives volunteers incentive to create more content for Delura and could attract even more volunteers… more volunteers can mean better production quality… more production quality can mean more viewers… it has self-perpetuating potential. Granted, it probably won’t let myself or volunteers quit their day jobs, but it’d be nice to get a little on the side now and then doing what we all love!
- Funding MY immediate Delura production needs as lead producer via Indiegogo: I like this option less, but I am putting it on the table because it is more likely to produce a usable result given our current audience numbers. Indiegogo has the option for campaigners to keep ANY money they earn from donations regardless of whether the goal is reached (they take a smaller % of payout if you reach the goal). The problem with this however is that my “contract” idea pretty much goes out of the window. I strongly believe I could do a campaign through indiegogo that could allow me to raise enough funds to purchase a new operating system which solves the issue stated in the first bullet point… but the problem is that I’m probably the only beneficiary here because I’m almost certain the raised funds would be below $700; the goal I’d likely set over a 21 day period. The problem I have with this is that even if I ONLY showcased my own footage/work… that doesn’t eliminate the fact that I’m referencing a product that other people have contributed to, and that the only reason why Delura works as a series is because of those volunteers… see why it’s so damn complicated?
- Assuming I cast out my mental state of indecision and paranoia and green light crowdfunding: How would I do crowdfunding donation incentives for something like the Delura project? (Hint: suggestions would be REALLY helpful right about now).
Finally… I belive this was mentioned in an earlier blog too, but there is another way of getting a small amount of funding for Delura that i’ve had in my mind for a while. In essence, this can be broken down into two main categories.
- Free content: This is the attention getter meant to draw people in. The story of Delura will go on and people won’t have to buy in to enjoy it and any related stuff that’s done now (IE: Render Comics). Though the content is free, I do have the option of monetizing via YouTube if and only if the crowdfunding stuff mentioned above is successful. The big idea is that I am continuously buying the right to use volunteer work for usage in Delura commercially. The purpose of this of course is to offset production costs… YouTube doesn’t give all that much, but it is certainly better than nothing.
- Premium content:This is that extra bit of content that is optional, which could include shorts, mini skits, packs of additional webcomic pages, a 1-3 episode arc that covers a backstory of a character (that wouldn’t normally get covered in the main series), etc. The most important aspect of this is that it is ON TOP OF free content… NOT IN PLACE OF. I do have some things I’ll need to figure out before I can set this up though:
- 1) How would I set up a way for people to pay for digital content? Are there any roadblocks to this? I need to research it.
- 2) What if I can’t benefit from content ownership via crowdfunding? Is there a way volunteers can still help me out and benefit at the same time in this area? Is there a way to fairly do a percentage of profit payment system that isn’t a headache to manage and allows people to view the performance of the product they contributed to? I don’t think it is fair to expect people to just “trust me” here… that’s just an open door for anxiety. The only reason I mention “percentage of profit” is because while it is difficult to imagine working well… it is the only option I know of that requires no immediate investment to commercialize.
- 3) Or should I try to set it up so that the “premium” content is solely for a specific purpose concerning funding? (IE: Upgrades, donations, goals, etc).
Um…so yeah… that’s what’s been on my mind lately. I’m sorry if this post ended up tl;dr… I still have a lot to think about and much planning to do. I will gladly take in any input, and I may even up and ask Delura volunteers what their opinion on this is and how they feel about it.