I’ve had a couple of conversations lately about the value of blogging, which is kind of hilarious given how little of it I’ve done lately. I just told a recent graduate in an information interview that blogging was a great way to hone her writing, explore what she’s interested in, and enter into a community around the topic.
I’ve written about that before. I’ve written (sincerely yet tongue in cheek) about how blogging has changed my life. And now I’m realizing that even so, I’ve undervalued the connections I’ve made online. Literally.
I retired TV, eh? at the end of last year because after 7+ years I was tired. It was a hobby, I had other interests and opportunities, and it was starting to feel like a burden. Then TV Guide Canada went dark. The Canadian TV world lost two voices within half a year, and I acquired a partner who could not just help relieve much of the burden but help take the site up another level in terms of original, professional content as well as monetization — a word and work I hate.
While Greg looked into advertising, grants and sponsorship, I thought a crowdfunding campaign might be an easy way to help show potential funders that there was a supportive audience for the site, and a way to test the notion that people would pay for professional TV writing, even if not via a traditional model.
I had always felt appreciated in my time running the site (well, not always by everyone). I knew it was valued. I just didn’t know that value would have significant dollar figures attached.
I originally put $1,000 as our goal – enough to get us up and running, pay for expenses and our time, tide us over until we got some steady income. Then I thought I should dream big and put $2,500, allowing us a real head start with the ability to pay some professional contributors. Then I got spooked at the humiliation of failure — and the increased Indiegogo fees if you don’t hit your goal — so I compromised at the posted goal of $1,500.
After 5 days and 3 stretch goals later we have over $14,000 in contributions, with 25 days left to go. We’re stretching to $20,000 now.
I posted to my social networks, Greg posted to his, and from there our stalwart supporters took over, drumming up donations from writers, producers, agents, directors, actors, guilds … anyone who makes a living in Canadian TV was encouraged (sometimes heckled) to donate. Dedicated Canadian TV fans have donated. This isn’t from our friends and family (though a few of them have donated too). This is from people who read the site, who miss the site, who want the site back.
I’m sincerely grateful and sincerely overwhelmed. Our little test balloon has turned into a rocketship, and I’m scrambling to keep up with it emotionally and logistically.
I don’t know how to begin to thank people. I mean, most of the donors get a perk but how do I convey what their support means, whether it’s financial or spreading the word or just cheering us on? It’s validation of my work for the last 8 years — we really raised $14,000 in 5 days and 8 years — plus Greg’s work over the last 15 years, plus the promise of what we can do together.
Which is a whole lot more, now. Our dreams are expanding with our Indiegogo totals, always with an eye to how to sustain what we start, how to keep the momentum without exhausting the crowdfunding model, how to seize the opportunities coming at us, how to make this business model work to support professional-quality Canadian TV coverage and have people paid fairly for their work.
All while stunned at the generous support from this community of people I’ve been lucky to be a part of for the last 8 years. All while working on it during gorgeous summer weekends and evenings, via cross-country email and Skype conversations.
We have a plan. We have the passion. And we have a plethora of people whose support means more than a blog post could say. Thanks everyone.