Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wizard World New Orleans 2014: The Cons of being Self-Employed

So, here's an unpleasant truth about art: if you want to make any money with it, you have to work.

Like real work - all nighters, hard labor, and marketing.

I'm lucky that I know where to market my cooky webseries, The Adv. of Keith Flippen, and that is at sci-fi cons. It's great. I get to go to big nerd events and talk about something I love with other people who may be interested.

Let's face it. Keith Flippen isn't everyone's cup of tea. But, it is a very specific cup of tea, and I can work with that.

Wizard World NOLA won't be the first Con I've worked. Or second. Or even the first Con with Keith Flippen. But, Wizard World NOLA will be the biggest, and perhaps, most important to the series.

But working a Con isn't all fun in games. In fact, it's quite tiring. You spend a solid day, with no breaks, talking, promoting, informing, meeting, and socializing with every person you can. Now, we're going to be selling, which is another can of worms. There will be taxes to pay, and books to keep, and deal making. Not only do I have to be filmmaker and fan, but I have to be a business lady.

First and foremost, I'm hoping to achieve exposure. We have reached the end of our limited network, and it's time to expand. Videos can't go viral without views. This is a great opportunity to bring Keith Flippen to a larger local audience. And a larger audience will only benefit the show long term.

My second goal, is to try to bring in some much needed capital by selling merch. The awesome guest speakers at Web Weekend said web series make money in three different ways: advertisement (only happens with high numbers), sponsorship (again, a high number investment), or merchandise. We firmly fall into the merchandise category. While ad revenue and sponsorship may be something available to use down the road, we're really going to make money off selling stuff.

Creating merch is a whole other aspect of a working filmmaker that people don't consider. I had to figure out the cost of printing DVDs and Blu-Rays. Figure out what the hell we could reasonably sell. What would sell. And what we could afford to make. Find money for shirts, shot glasses, and stickers. (All these things costs money, on top of the money we spend securing a table, electrics, and passes at the con.) I had to figure out how much we need to sell to break even, how much to sell to to make money, and how much money before we cry.

This is another reasons Cons are such a great fit for us. It's gives us an avenue to sell our merch.

Why do we need to make money?

The Adv. of Keith Flippen cost roughly $10,000 to make. Without paying anyone. And not counting merchandise. Or any marketing. To continue, we're need find a way to support it. Yes, we are planning on using grant money. And yes, if it looks feasible, we will do another Kickstarter campaign. However, I do not have unrealistic expectations for how much money we can raise though those two avenues. And according to my calculations, I'll only be able to raise half the cost of season 2.

This does not mean the end of Keith Flippen. But, things like Wizard World hold the key to our success. So, if you're coming to Wizard World, stop buy our booth. Say hi. Tweet about seeing us, and buy something. Support the Adventure!

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