@Ethical, you left out a vital qualifying phrase there:
Bob Weir of the GRATEFUL DEAD tells Barlow on Youtube at last years' music tech summit that if something isn't done about piracy there will be a lot less professional musicians DOING BUSINESS THE OLD WAY in the world.
Changing markets create new scarcities. Artists must adapt by selling those new those scarcities or they perish. Souza thought recordings robbed professional artists of their ability to earn a living performing. If live recordings didn't kill professional musicians, then maybe piracy isn't the devil it's made out to be, huh?
[W]e’re going to see more artists open up the creation process to their fanbase.
The last screenplay I wrote for a client took years, and it got me thinking about how topsy turvy the whole process is. For example, I typically labor away for a year or more to write a story which becomes a commodity to a client, or a producer, etc... However, all the time I spend writing a story—arguably as or more interesting than the final product, especially in retrospect—stays dark to the public (in this last case, contractually dark). That process always seemed to me like poor capitalization, e.g., once a story outline is created, it can't be uncreated. The process of creation is a unique moment in time that others might want to witness... and then brag that they witnessed it. So the "time alone at the top of the tower" is actually a underexploited value add because it is exclusive access to the creation of new works, which fosters belonging.
I like seeing art grow dynamically, especially with artists I'm a fan of. My fans, I wager, likely feel the same.
Consequently, I decided back in January that the process of writing my next screenplay will be completely open, which is why the above quote really hits home. I'm going to peel back the curtain and let everyone watch as I develop a screenplay from the ground up. By showing just how much work goes into creating a story, my hope is that I'll not only find new fans of me as a writer, but also fans of the work I'm creating. Over time, I want to invite those fans into becoming emotionally invested in seeing the screenplay produced into a film so that when I launch a crowdfunding campaign, the audience for the film already exists.
The creation of the art—not just the art itself—is a great way to build community. In the digital age, where fantastic new tools pop up every week (e.g., "broadcasting" G+ chats lets anyone be their own talk show host now), all artists should take that lesson to heart and give their fans more reasons to buy by connecting with them in a way only they can do.
That is exactly what I was hoping for with Dimeword. Without the shackles of licensing, permission, or lawsuits, culture may roam free and evolve at will. It is the beauty of a creative community. I would love to see tons of artists try their own remake, or sequel to, many of the Dimeword stories. Or—better—do their own Dimeword.
These are seeds that may die in the crop, or flourish to a tree for all. We are only limited by our own imaginations now.
Thank Bruce, great question. And a worthy one, to be honest.
Truth be told, I didn't put much about the caliber of my writing in the campaign because I was mainly approaching my fan base to ask for $10 each. If you're wondering if I have the writing chops to do it, I have three options for you:
1) read the story at the bottom of the Kickstarter page and judge for yourself;
2) pitch in $1 and you get them all the stories sent to your email;
3) Tune in to the telethon today at 7:00 PM PST to watch my instructional on how to write a story, followed by me writing a story at 8PM.
I've written stories for two decades so, to me, composing a 100 word story is like writing a dramatic "tweet".
P.S. I'm writing this response live on my Telethon so you should tune in if you want to chat a little more about this. :)
You may have a hard time imagining it, but I stake my integrity on it: all the stories written for Dimeword are 100% original. They are not based on previous stories I've written (nor are they based on stories anyone else has written, in case that might be misconstrued.).
Think of Olympic skaters: they spend years training to do something and then, seemingly without effort, captivate us for a scant three minutes. Trained talent make quality look easy. As I said, I've been writing for 20 years so writing stories is second-nature to me now. 20 years ago, a 100 word story would have probably taken me an hour or two.
As for the quality of the stories, I'll let you be the judge. There is a sample story on the Kickstarter page.
...at $10 a shot, if he is putting more than an hour into it, he is working for far less than a living wage, to the point where it's painful.
I was wondering when this would point would come up. The assumption is that I'll be (or expect to be) adequately paid for my time, right?
Well, first off, it takes me far less time than an hour to write a 100 word story. Closer to 10-15 minutes. 20 at the most. I've done this for years. I know my game.
And secondly, my main objective with this campaign isn't to make money, but to discover who among my followers are solid fans and find new fans. If I break even, or even if I spend more money and take more time than I expect, but find new fans that I end up forging a strong long-term connection with, then this campaign will have met its objective. In spades.
Amanda Palmer kept about $40,000 from her 1.2 million Kickstarter because she spent 90% of her profits on making killer perks. If she didn't, "my fans would never trust me again." How do you build trust when you're starting out? You make something great. Even if it means you spend more time than you should and don't keep any profits at the end. The payoff comes in the long-term after you cross the tipping point.
My long-term goal is build a strong connection to my fan base. I'm willing to invest a lot of my time and money to make that happen, even if it doesn't appear cost-effective. It's certainly better than working a minimum wage job at Walmart.
Hey, I would suck as an author if it took me an *hour* to write a 100 word short story. You forget I've been a writer for two decades, so I know a thing or two about swift storycrafting. Not to mention that I type 78 words a minute. Under pressure, I can knock out a 100 word story in about 10 minutes. What is that? $60/hour? Walmart doesn't come anywhere close to that.
The writing is important, absolutely, but those other attributes add unique value to the writing in a way only I can offer. That turns the writing into a scarcity, and increases its use-value high enough that $10 starts to look cheap. Yes, the content is what people pay for, but the other attributes add so much value that the scales tip in favor of it looking like a bargain.
When I pass a game store in the mall, I see a fantastic game priced at $50. Because Steam offers such unique value to the game that only Steam can offer—automatic updates, recommendations, stat tracking, social connectivity—I run home to buy that same game on Steam. The game store may have the same awesome content, but without Steam's unique value added to it, that same game is worth nothing to me.
I'm open to miniputting, sure. But how would that show off my writing? The idea behind Dimeword is to build up a fan base by offering all donors a large sampling of a very brief stories. The "real value" is the opportunity to patronize an author and to help new modern literature enter the public domain. Plus, you know, the stories might actually be entertaining. :)
Dear AC, $10 buys you an awful lot, in my view: patronage, immediacy, access, exclusivity, unique experience... not to mention ALL the content written for the campaign no matter how big—i.e., if I had 100,000 $1 backers, all 100,000 backers (no matter their pledge level) would receive a 100,000 word novel. For the public domain. At that point, you're part of a freakin' movement which means I'm selling belonging, as well. So $10 gets you a great deal, in my view. But $1, where you still get all the content before anyone, also offers good value. :)
N.B. I'll be writing a detailed case study for Techdirt later this week or next. Watch for it!
A clever sales trick I noticed when I bought Approaching Infinity (even though I already own the physical version) was that the ebook was clearly marked "Pay What You Want" with a "Select your own amount" option if you wanted to pay nothing.
However, the default selection was $5, and selecting the free option meant actively clicking the other button... which makes people feel a little bad not paying at least something when the default option is $5. Subtle, but clever.