Back in the day (think 1400-1600), artists were hired by patrons to make stuff for them, either by commission or by salary. Your patron might pay you month to month and then ask you to make specific pieces, or you might work on a case-by-case basis (the Sistine Chapel's ceiling was one such commissioned work). In every version, patrons had a lot of control of what got made because (in most cases) they were the sole patron. With Patreon, the system is flipped: you can support artists and creators for as little as a $1 a month, and we the creators can keep making stuff and growing as individuals and artists. At the moment, my goal is to have 50 patrons, at any level.
After one month, I'm a tenth of the way there, and here's what happened:
- With the some awesome collaborators, I was able to make a mash-up of two incredible Lin-Manuel Miranda songs.
- Even better, thanks to the Patrons I already have, I was able to license the songs and make the audio-only version of the song totally free, which you can download here. Making music takes a lot of time and equipment (even for simple songs and arrangements). The more patrons I have, the more time I have to make music. In fact, there's a new super secret music project that I'm working on, something that I wouldn't have even been able to begin without knowing that I could pass on a freelance job and instead make something creative. I don't know when you all will get to see it, but trust me, you'll hear about it when it's coming out.
- The Poem of the Week project is one of my favorite things I get to do as a creative person and it's amazing to know that I can keep doing it indefinitely. There's no limit to how many poems I can write, and the support I've gotten for the pieces I've done so far was vital in making that project self-sustaining. (By the way, one of the rewards on the Patreon is a totally custom poem, created just for you).
- Years ago, I decided to have a central home for my creative work (this very website, in fact). Sustaining it has a financial component, but the benefit of having the poems together, and blogs, and publications linked out from one place is well worth the expense.
- All creative production takes input; I couldn't write what I write without reading, without seeing plays, without listening to music and studying it. There are already opportunities opening up that I wouldn't have without my Patrons.
There's a big project on the horizon: a podcast. There's a little more overhead to a podcast than blogs or poems; if that's something you'd like to see happen sooner rather than later, Patreon is a great way to show that!
Of course, Patreon is all about sustainability, and making sure creators can keep creating, so most of what comes in is absorbed as creative resources, to sponsor whatever I need to make things happen. The Mash-up was a very cool project that was way more doable with the current patronage, but everything I do got a little easier with the support I have.
So there you have it: what I've been able to do with a tenth of the first target. I can't wait to see what happens next.
To support the work I'm doing and see more made, go to my Patreon and become a patron!