Science of persuasion and Crowdfunding

In high school I took a course in psychology and a short chapter was about compliance techniques you may not realize people use such as a friendly owner offering patrons a warm cup of tea on a snowy day or perhaps hotel stall going out of their way to carry bags even for short distances. To me at the time this seemed very obvious but the topic came up in class and some experienced these techniques unnoticed. During the break of a class discussion a friend admitted that her family wound up buying dozens of carpets and lamps after a Turkish store owner offered her family some tea, another noticed how overly familiar clerks were to people who appeared to be foreigners.

Now persuasion techniques don’t have to appear so sinister there are several ways to positively introduce them for crowd funding projects for example-

Building trust by opting to give back all the money earned from a project if it is not successfully funded in time. This is known as the ‘All or Nothing’ (AON) module and keeps patrons assured that their money will was not wasted else if the project fails to be fully funded. Cumming, Leboeuf, and Swienbacher did a study where they found-

“AON is a clear signal to the crowd that the entrepreneur commits not to undertake the project if not enough is raised, [which] reduces the risk to the crowd…KIA projects tend to be less successful, since the crowd bears the risk that an entrepreneurial firm undertakes a project that is underfunded and hence more likely to eventually fail.” (2014)

Below is a chart showing 47,138 projects on Indigogo (another crowdfunding platform) and number of successful projects that chose the ‘All or None’ module instead of the ‘Keep it all’ one.

HGFD

 

I feel that if you truly believe in your project and do the right amount of social media campaigning it is possible to fully fund your project and choosing to give back the money if you cannot, may actually help build a community that will later trust you with future projects.

References:

 

AON [Digital image]. (2017, August 17). Retrieved December 10, 2017, from https://conversionxl.com/blog/crowdfunding-campaigns/

Kolenda, N. (2017, August 17). Crowdfunding : Strategies & tactics. Retrieved December 14, 2017, from http://nuvopreneur.com/crowdfunding-top-strategies-tactics/

 

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Crowdfunding for Indie artists and taking care of your fans – Part 2

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The whole discussion on Star Citizen got me thinking about how this semester my fellow animators created assets for games produced by students. It’s easy to only think about the animation side of work but creating indie projects means playing several parts in a team and one of them is social media agent, making press kits or posters or even the visual aid for rewards on crowdfunding projects, below you can see the image used to explain to funders what extra kickstarter exclusive rewards they can get for helping to fund the project.

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Star citizen’s success despite the fancy features of the game really comes with treating the fans like the respectable investor they are and that’s the takeaway – whatever line of work you wind up in as an animator, you have to treat the fans right, after all they’re the ones that will stick with you even when the project meet the original goals.

This is evident from the statements of fans from all around the world who opted to pay more for access to the game much earlier than the release date (which still has not been defined). The New York Times interviewed an 18 year old from Australia who stated “the idea of being able to play the game while it was still in development was a big draw” and even an older male from Huston who “Pledged more than $ 15,000 to Star Citizen.” (Parker, 2017)

What I can conclude is that Chris Roberts has essentially created a community so strong that they will shield him and his company from any media backlash. Despite not being released “the game has a community of over 1.6 million players,” (Huffington Post, 2016) and these are the fans that seem to like what they see and will continue to support the developers despite setbacks.

 

References:

Crowd Funding Logo [Digital image]. (2016, November 24). Retrieved December 6, 2017, from https://crowdio.com/crowdsourcing-model-business/star-citizen-logo/

 

Lauzon, M. (2016, July 12). Jeu Star Citizen: Plus d’un million d’utilisateurs participent au financement et au développement. Retrieved December 14, 2017, from http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/07/12/jeu-video-star-citizen_n_10941920.html

 

Parker, L. (2017, May 10). Video Game Raised $148 Million From Fans. Now It’s Raising Concerns. Retrieved December 3, 2017, from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/10/technology/personaltech/video-game-raised-148-million-from-fans-now-its-raising-issues.html

 

Star Citizen Rewards [Digital image]. (2013, November 12). Retrieved December 8, 2017, from https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cig/star-citizen

Crowdfunding for Indie artists and taking care of your fans – Part 1

Often, there are projects either too experimental or risky that investors might find difficult to fund, however there may be a niche community or a general population interest in said project so indie artists opt to fund it through ‘crowdfunding’. Kickstarter states there are “35,111 full funded game projects” (2017 ) and this is on a single crowdfunding platform, making it a viable venture for indie artists to fund their projects with. Such is the case for the game development of ‘Star Citizen’, who’s creator, Chris Roberts stated that crowdfunding is for “Something with a large demand but a small supply of.” (2013) As of now Star Citizen has been in development for over 5 years, the developers have managed to fund yet other kickstarter for the same game and the fans or investors are not upset. How did the developers manage to keep interest in the game even though fans have only played tiny snippets of the game, or nothing at all? Here’s how-

  • Communication is key- Fan receive updates and responses to their concerns promptly.
  • Creating good content- The playable demos despite fully realized cities with is much more than what was promised in the original kickstarter, among other features such as a personalized spaceship. Their website also has weekly update posts.
  • Give your audience what they want even if it’s just a little bit as a time- demo versions have been released for higher tiered funders of the game to play and footage of it has been posted online with over an hour of content with limited glitches.

Below is that recent one hour update of gameplay. What the creators did to take the unveiling of the update to the next level was the make it into an event where fans could be in the same room and later ask questions directly to the developers.

 

References:

Roberts C. (2013, November 19). GDC NEXT 2013: Chris Roberts – “Star Citizen: Going Beyond Crowdfunding” : Free Download & Streaming. Retrieved December 4, 2017, from https://archive.org/details/NEXT2013Roberts

Kickstarter. (2017). Most Funded Games. Retrieved December 14, 2017, from http://www.kickstarter.com/discover/categories/games?sort=most_funded

Film in Egypt and How the Youth Can Drive the Industry

This week students had presentations, basing their topics on the Arab Media Outlook. Many choice to do it on the country they were from, giving an in-depth view on their chosen industry in terms of what was proven popular to the general public. This gave me a chance to see how someone from a region I was not familiar with viewed their potential future audience. In this case, many film students choose Egypt and looked at how comedy was the genre that resonated with the local population.

This made me look at in my own country, India and how romantic comedies are generally what people get invested in. However, I’ve noticed a huge shift towards movies adapting real life people and events and complex family and friendship dramas. What’s interesting is that the same can be observed in Egypt, where there is now room from controversial films and family drama.

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With research, the shift in Egypt seemed to occurred after the revolution. CNN states that there is a new “Golden Age of Cinema in Egypt” (2016) and a young Egyptian filmmaker, Amr Salama acknowledges the the change, stating that “There is a new type of film-making…and I am very proud if I can consider myself one of the talented directors that formed the wave.”  He is credited to a film about a young women fighting AIDS in Egypt, a film that may have never been produced there during the revolution. On the other hand not everyone share the same sentiment about this new ‘wave’ only time will tell if it truly is a New Golden Age.

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The shift from familiar content to something that can be seen as ‘risky’ did not come out of nowhere. What I gather from this is that in India there may be a rise in a younger generation of film goers who can now afford to see films they want, and well as a rise of young film creators who are able to get their projects funded via crowdfunding (a topic I will dive into more next week) An example of this is a young Indian comedian Kanan Gill who started off with creating comedic skits on YouTube and has branched off into web series and short films. (Mathur & Patral, 2017) His work had inspired the Indian youth to become content creators that make work that reflect their real lives. Note that Kanan operates in the popular genre of comedy but still works with youth relevant topics like fighting with your parents or siblings.

References:

Budhiraj, N. Top Bollywood Films [Digital image]. (2013, June 13). Retrieved December 14, 2017, from timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/top-10-romantic-movies-to-watch-this-monsoon/photostory/59127820.cms

Maetoot. (n.d.). The Evolution of Egyptian Cinema [Digital image]. Retrieved December 14, 2017, from http://www.auccaravan.com/?p=3571

Monks, K. (2016, December 06). A new golden age of Egyptian cinema? Retrieved December 14, 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/06/middleeast/egypt-revolution-cinema/index.html

Patra, A. M. (2017, January 27). Kanan Gill: We don’t upload some of our funniest videos because of censorship – Times of India. Retrieved December 14, 2017, from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/news/Kanan-Gill-We-dont-upload-some-of-our-funniest-videos-because-of-censorship/articleshow/52205789.cms

Copyright – Who Has It and How to Protect Your Work

One of the earlier discussions in my CIU111 Creative Media class was on ‘Copyright’. I had a general idea about what copyright is, but I didn’t think of copyright in terms of how to obtain it and how to protect my intellectual property from being used or stolen by others.

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The video shown below (which I highly recommend everyone to watch if they are still unsure about what exactly copyright is) is a concise explanation about copyright, copyright infringement and how something obtains copyright status  – simply by creating original work.

However, as an animator like myself, someone who may be working for a studio might wonder if the work they create for the studio belongs to them? Charles Kenny writes that, “If it is work done “for hire” then it does not.” (2011, para 5) Even if it is original content you created, you have waived you’re rights to it unless stated so in your contract. In other industries it is not uncommon for creative talent to hold some rights to their work. For example famous composers such as Hanns Zimmer can retain partial right to their film scores especially if an album is made from the score used in the movie (Gordon, 2015). The key is to research your industry and employer and find what is generally accepted and work from there.

So suppose you create some original work as animator, concept art or even a complete animated piece of work, how do you protect your work from other people claiming it to be their own?

Here are some step you can take –

  • Document your work by saving it on time stamped files, your own personal computer, and a word document even online as a YouTube video. Additionally you do no need to post it publically online, YouTube has the option for private video uploads.
  • Show the process – If you truly have created the work you can prove it by have multiple early versions of it and how it has changed and evolved over time.
  • If the copyright infringement get too serious and leads to possible losses you can build a legal case using methods mentioned above and sue for damages.

 

References:

Gordon, S. (2017, December 03). Now You Know Everything About Licensing Music for Films. Retrieved December 5, 2017, from http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2015/09/28/licensing-film-music

Kenny, C. (2011, July 5). Animators and the Law – Copyright. Retrieved December 14, 2017, from http://animationanomaly.com/2011/07/05/animators-and-the-law-copyright/

Lu, C. (2017, March 14). Copyright Symbol. Retrieved December 4, 2017, from dribbble.com/shots/3362438-Copyright-Symbol

Final Preparations and The Future

I am half way through CIU110 and I am adamant to give a good presentation and final essay. These last two assignments focus on engaging the audience or reader with a topic of my interest in animation and my goal here is to make them find some value and/or curiosity in it as well. Preparation is key and I’m already looking at research topics. I will most likely focus on storyboarding and animatics as it can relate to the different courses SAE offers, such as film, game design as well as audio. I am wary about the presentation assignment as I find public speaking challenging but recently I been listening to artist and motivational speaker, Bobby Chiu’s (2016) YouTube channel where he asks his listeners to, “do what your successful version of you would do.” Thinking like that makes me feel I can one day be that successful public speaking version of myself.

For the essay, I’ll most likely look at the influence that producer and animator, Bruce Timm has had on western animation. While my sister and I were growing up it was his animated TV series that got us into comic books and superheroes. I will have to make sure that my admiration for his work does not stop me from looking at his influence in a critical manner, for example even though I love his simple shaped characters, most body shapes are identical to each other – muscular, square shaped men and curvy, tiny, waisted women. It’s a style that doesn’t represent other bod types.

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Image: http://comicsalliance.com/tribute-bruce-timm/?trackback=tsmclip

As nearly half of the first trimester is drawing near, I’ve begun to see that my interests in what I’d like to specialize in, have change. In my first blog I mentioned I’d like to take other animation courses outside of SAE and listed story boarding as something I’d like to try. I think subconsciously my interest in story boarding was always there. It’s nice to have a record of the time when my interests changed from character animation to something completely different.

I look forward to continuing my learning experience at SAE and I hope it will be as pleasant as this first trimester has been so far.

References:

Chiu, B. (2016, April 28). Retrieved June 30, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huwOsyPseII

Wilson, M. D. (2016, February 8). [Digital image]. Retrieved June 30, 2017, from Just Making a Good Show: A Birthday Tribute to Bruce Timm Read More: Just Making a Good Show: A Birthday Tribute to Bruce Timm | http://comicsalliance.com/tribute-bruce-timm/?trackback=tsmclip

Strengths, Weaknesses and Resources

In my last post I discussed about my learning style (auditory-visual) and also shared some organization/learning tips that will hopefully help others throughout their academic year and even in everyday life. This post however, will look at my strengths and weakness as a learner as there are always ways to improve yourself and to use your strengths to its full potential.

Let’s start with my greatest strength first. What I have noticed throughout my academic life, is that I enjoy learning and I wish that I could continue studying to acquire degrees in other fields that I’m interested in, such as psychology and environmental science. However, my attention span is limited if the content I’m learning comes in the form of long lectures without any visual aid. To cope with this I found that note taking and creating my own visual keys helps to keep my focus during long lectures.

My greatest weakness is that I get easily demotivated if I do poorly on a previous assignment, while working on the next one. I haven’t figured out how to deal with this weakness yet, but I think what it comes down to is not being hung up on previous mistakes and reflecting on the criticism I’ve received. For example, in my drawing class my line art looked decent but I was told when it came to drawing circular shapes, the piece looked inconsistent. It was a little upsetting to hear, but it was true.

I looked for reasons why parts of my drawings looked inconsistent and found the site Drawabox where according to artist Karim (2015),  people who are new to observational drawing tend to tackle all the detail instead of breaking the objects into simple forms. So I took the criticism to heart and spent an entire afternoon drawing only circles and ellipses with proper guidelines and now I can already see improvements.

SAE has numerous ways to help students who are struggling such as the physical and virtual library of books and journals available, or meeting with lectures at designated after class timings. As of right now I feel that I’m on track with all of my work but it’s nice to know the school has resources I can turn to if things get difficult.

References:

Karim, I. (2015). An exercise based approach to learning the fundamentals of drawing. Retrieved June 19, 2017, from http://drawabox.com/

The Auditory-Visual learner’s Guide To Organization

A few weeks ago we were asked to take tests online to find out what kind of learners we are, or rather what is our ‘learning style’. The tests I took used the VARK model of student learning, which “stands for Visual, Aural, Read/write, and Kinesthetic sensory modalities that are used for learning information.” (Flemming, n.d., para 1) Before starting the tests I assumed I was mainly a visual learner (as I enjoy presentations and infographics) but now I know I’m actually an auditory-visual learner. So according to the tests I learn best with visual or auditory stimulus.

The start of week 4 of my first trimester as SAE has been very hectic with three written assignments due. Unfortunately, poor planning lead to me producing work that was not up to my usual standard. Also, the research work was done sloppily over three different programs. Clearly I needed to be more organized. Last week I shared a tip about using a large mirror for reference, this week I will share tips for auditory-visual learners such as myself, to help you stay on top of your classes.

First, take notes in all your classes using highlighters/symbols to guide your attention to the most important information. If your style of learning is more auditory based, you can multitasking by listening to podcasts as you work. With permission from your lecturers you can also record audio clips of the lectures you attend.

Next, when starting a new researching project make sure all your research work is done on one program. My suggestion is either Microsoft Word or Evernote, where you can “Capture, organize, and share notes from anywhere.” (Evernote, n.d., para. 1) This app can syncs your notes and images on all your devices. Lastly, organize all relevant files into folders for your classes, somewhere easily accessible such as your desktop.

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Above is how I’ve organized my files, with ‘OtherResources’ for everything that isn’t connected to classes I’m taken but are still school related such as my class schedule, academic calendar and emergency email/phone numbers of the SAE staff.

These were the tools I used in high school but seemed to have forgotten till I realized how much I used to rely on them. Hopefully these tips will help someone out there who needs a little assistance with organizing themselves.

References:

Evernote. (n.d.) Meet Evernote, your second brain. Retrieved June 17, 2017, from https://evernote.com/

Flemming, N. (n.d.). The VARK Modalities. Retrieved June 17, 2017, from http://vark-learn.com/introduction-to-vark/the-vark-modalities/

 

Workspace Tips

       It is week three at SAE and already my previously held artistic notions have been smashed. I used to have the misguided notion that drawing from reference was ‘cheating’. However, in my drawing class at SAE (which I mentioned in an earlier post and is now becoming my favorite art class I’ve taken) we’re encourage to draw from references to capture the form of everyday objects and break them down into simple shapes. Before this class I invested all my time into drawing characters from my imagination and neglected drawing objects and backgrounds for the characters to interact with.

My lack of instruction for still life drawing during high school, coupled with my interest solely for character design meant that my current still life drawings were poorly rendered and lacking substance.  Suddenly, I’ve found the need to optimize using reference in my work and the best place to implement the change was in my workspace.

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The above image is my workspace at home. I’d have preferred a drafting table that could be angled at a slant for traditional drawing but I’m really happy with the set up I’ve got so far. It’s a little crowded but it has everything I need to get work done. It has my drawing supplies and digital drawing tools always within arm’s reach. The new revelation isn’t about the desk though. For years I ignored the enormous mirror that rests on the table, but now it’s my favorite part of my set up. After some thought the mirror reminded me of golden age animators that had small pocket mirrors to reference themselves for drawing expressions. From a quick search I found that they also used broad wall mirrors while drawing like mine. White (2009, p. 180) states that, “Animators of dialogue cannot work without a mirror to guide them.”

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Image: http://www.masteranimator.com/ 

If it was relied upon for the masters of animation, certainly anyone one with an interest in drawing would gain something by using mirrors. I urge other aspiring animators to find a way to incorporate a mirror into their workspace because it’s been improving my life drawing skills and for drawing expressions. What’s interesting is that I wanted to improve my life drawing skills and found a way that also helps me with my interest in character animation.

References:

Ken Harris [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved June 13, 2017, from http://www.masteranimator.com

White, T. (2009). How to make animated films: Tony Whites complete masterclass on the traditional principles of animation: an animation apprenticeship – the way the pros used to do it! New York: Focal Press.

Meet The Blogger

“Ambition is more important than talent” – (Art now: interviews with modern artists, 2002, p. 42)

My first two weeks at SAE involved multiple reminders that talent is something that one has to nurture instead of it being inherited. I was introduced to the quote above in my drawing class and to me, it encapsulates the idea that working hard is the most important thing to get me to where I want to be. Where is that exactly? I believe a proper introduction is in order first.

My name is Andrea D’cunha, which you may have gathered from the URL of this blog. Despite living in Dubai since I was born, I’ve actually been studying in boarding school for the most part of my academic life. Boarding school let me be independent from a young age and cemented my interest in perusing Art as a career. The classes were geared towards creating art in all kinds of mediums, so I was able to experiment and settled into animation as my favorite form of expression. In hindsight, I wished my high school art program had more of a focus, as I find myself struggling with drawing still life, but on the other hand I would have never tried animation, which means I would most likely have been pursuing a different profession. After being away from my family in boarding school for years, I am now studying at SAE Institute in Dubai to be closer to them.

Even though I’ve only just started SAE, many peers here have begun to ask where I see myself after graduating, or alternatively, “where I see myself in ten years?” I chose to approach the question by planning small goals that gradually increase in scope and difficulty, that gradually lead to where I want to be. After I graduate SAE I hope to do some online courses in animation, such as a short course in storyboarding. Then, I plan to get an internship at a local animation studio to learn the animation pipeline on a smaller scale. After which, I hope to move to a larger animation industry, such as the industry in California

It’s a little daunting planning out my future but I’m not discouraged, because throughout my academic life my ambition and persistence has been driving me forward.

References:

Art now: interviews with modern artists. (2002). London: Continuum.