Sunday, January 6, 2019

Failing to Beat Them, Joining Them

This, as most of you will know from having seen them before, is a 360-degree video:

I draw your attention to it because of a comment that Zilifant made a few days ago, when I was discussing things I might do to build some interest in the blog and specifically my Patreon.  He suggested some actual video of me running D&D.

I brought that idea up to a friend of mine and participant in my offline campaign last night and received the answer, "Well you know, I recently picked up a 360-degree camera."

Now damn it, I find that very interesting.  It makes me wonder why no one has ever thought to apply the technology to D&D before, but we spent quite a lot of time discussing it last night and damn, if that doesn't sound like a really good idea.  As I write this, we're making some plans.

My friend has the techical side of it managed, so not my problem.  I have made some preliminary reach-outs to three people who run in my daughter's D&D world, but who have never run in mine or with me.  I say that because I'd like to make a video showing how I roll characters up for people, how I manage that dialogue in person and the general response players have at rolling and then having new characters.  Then I'd like to run them in a very simple adventure, which I'm contemplating, something that wouldn't last more than two hours.  Hopefully, we'd like to keep the whole video (probably put on youtube in parts) to under three hours.

I see it as an opportunity to demonstrate pacing and, obviously, at least one combat played out in real time.  That sounds like fun.  Still, I think that for a mere un-invested observer, it may not come off as exciting as hoped.  We'll have to see.

Here's the downside.  I would like to put such a video behind a pay-wall.  I could post it on public youtube and maybe get some interest, but my experience with youtube has not been positive in the past and I don't see much reason to go to a lot of effort for maybe 400 views.  Nor am I in a position to put up a youtube video of a campaign weekly.

Like the Masterclass, then, this content would be a BONUS over stuff I already make public.  And like with the Masterclass, I would post enough to provide at least some idea of the overall product: 20 minutes or so.

If I could count on a hundred viewers, that's not too bad.  I have asked my regular offline campaign if they'd accept being filmed in their doings and they've agreed.  This wouldn't be a one-off if it worked.  I might be able to encourage people to buy in for one month at a time, those months when I had a video to share.

Yes, yes, I know.  Critical Role is free.  But I don't have the money to raise the sort of capital C.R. does through t-shirt sales and other crap.  I don't ever expect to get famous doing this.  I have pretty much given up on anything I do being viral.  Nope, this a vanity project.  And just like putting on a play at a coffee house or a community center (which I've also done), it seems fair to charge a door price.

How much?  $1 makes it accessible to everyone.  $3 is comparable to the Masterclass blog.  $5 gives it cachet.  And $10 would seem to cut out a lot of people who might want to see it, but wouldn't be willing to go that far.

If blogger still did polls, I'd set one up; but they've stopped that feature.  So let me know in the comments, if you can be bothered to do so.


Zilifant said...

Hi Alexis,

$3-$5 sounds reasonable to me, but I'm someone who is already aware of your work and knows the quality of the content you produce. The challenge is drawing in more people who AREN'T already familiar with your work, and convincing them that the content is worth it. Maybe post the first video free on YouTube to show people the value, then put subsequent videos behind the paywall? Perhaps you could offer a discounted Patreon bundle for people who subscribe to all of your content (Masterclass, videos, etc.)?

James said...

$3-5 seems like the right price. High enough to be worth your time if you can get the viewers, low enough not to be too much of a deterrent if someone is interested.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I use a past-the-post attitude towards my content. If you give $10, you get everything already up to $10.

Ozymandias said...

Agreed on all counts. Posting a preview (an edited 5-10 minute video) for free lets the rest of us share it around and garner interest.

And by the way, a 360 session is brilliant.

Fuzzy Skinner said...

I love this idea. $1 is definitely accessible to everyone, but $3 is a good jump in the money you'd make without being too much higher of a hurdle. (I'm assuming the prices are in Canadian dollars?)

Rob Schwarz said...

I've read a few blogs complaining about Critical Role being actors acting like they are role playing. It'd be nice if at some point you could release bite sized edits of the longer videos to help newbies see how things are supposed to go and entice folks into paying for the longer videos.

Panayiotis Lines said...

I'd find this incredibly interesting, it's always difficult to frame some advice without seeing a clear example of it in action. I'd also be more than willing to pay a reasonable amount for it. I think now more so than ever we need actual plays that are able to evoke what the game really looks like to play, as opposed to heavily stylised, and flashy versions of it that don't convey anything in a realistic sense.

Sebastian DM said...

I would love to see you DM in real time! The 360 degree aspect, while cool, would certainly not be a nessecity. I would also personally like to have the option of seeing the whole session instead of just a 20 min. segment but I understand how the shorter segment might appeal to some.

As long as this is not an extraordinary investment on your part and you are able to film the sessions that you already run, I think it ought to be comparable to the masterclass blog in terms of patreon access tiers. If you go ahead and write material and run sessions with the sole purpose of filming them, I think it is completely reasonable to put them in the higher tiers.

If you do film one or more of your sessions, I really hope those sessions could contain future material for the masterclass blog. It would be amazing to be able to see the analyzed session beforehand.