When I re-embarked on life as a freelance artist, my friends gave me a lot of advice. All of it good. Some of it more applicable than others. Joseph Scrimshaw suggested I put together a Patreon site.
I know about Patreon. I have a couple of friends with Patreon sites. Joseph is one of them.
I haven’t taken the leap yet because the whole thing is…complicated.
If you are unfamiliar with Patreon, it is a crowdfunding platform where artists can invite the public to help support them in producing art.
Say, for instance, I tell people I’m going to produce one self portrait a month. I’m not going to do that because all I would produce is stick figures but let’s imagine that I could, in fact, do that well.
People then pledge a certain amount of money to be paid every time I produce a self portrait. Maybe it would be a dollar. Maybe it would be one hundred dollars. Most likely, it would be closer to a dollar.
A dollar isn’t much. But let’s say one hundred people pledge a dollar. That means I’d be making $100 a month to paint self portraits. It may not cover all of my monthly expenses but it covers something. As an artist, having a consistent, reliable income is definitely a good thing.
Seeing as I’m not a portrait artist, I’ve been dragging my feet on starting a Patreon site because I have no idea what I can produce that will inspire people to say “sure, Tim, I’ll spend $12 a year to support your work.”
My wife suggested I could make it about my Shit that Pissed me off blog. I suppose I could do that but I don’t feel that blog is pushing me as a creative artist. I could try to produce Shit that Pissed me off videos but does this world really need another video blog by a middle aged white liberal atheist with opinions?
It wouldn’t be bitching about shitty movies or video games. So I guess that’s something slightly different.
But look – what I want to do is write plays. I’d love for people to commission work from me and that will most likely happen eventually. But right now, I need to write plays. All the time.
So here’s what I’m thinking. And maybe it’s crazy.
I’m thinking I should commit myself to writing a play every other month. That’s six plays a year. Some of them will get produced. Some will have table reads. Some will be so awful, I won’t want anyone to see them.
I like the idea because even if I only get $20 in support, I will be setting a goal on line. I will have to deliver something because twenty people pledged a dollar. Or one person pledged twenty. Thanks, mom.
But I’ll put this question out to my friends and the people who read my blog – what should I do? I’m not asking you if you’d pledge. If you do, thanks a lot. If not, that’s completely OK. Either way, what do you think I should be producing? What do you think I should encourage people to help me produce?
I learned a long time ago that people are willing to give you money if you only have the courage to ask. I’m not afraid of asking for money. I’m just not sure what I should produce in return.