One of my proudest moments on the Minister of Chance journey was winning the Parsec Award in USA - not just because we won in a field of top quality projects from quite literally all around the world (though that was pretty thrilling!) but because my Facebook & Twitter timelines flowed all through the night with fans around the Globe messaging 'We won the Parsec' as they awoke on their timezone to the news... That genuinely deeply touched both me and my Ministerial partner Dan Freeman (writer/producer).
The entire Minister of Chance series was only achieved through its fan support - undeniably the crowd-funding side plays a large part in a start-up; it's founded on kind people sharing their very hard earnt pennies to help when they can, but what is often underestimated in crowdfunding is the crowd support. Every how-to-run-a-crowd-funding manual spells out 'make sure you keep them posted' - the reality is that if you properly engage with your fan base, you are personally rewarded a gazillion times over and it goes way beyond the funding support. The community that can evolve behind a project that genuinely involves them is a joy for you both - working long hours for low or usually no pay (especially round your day-job as is so often the case!) is absolutely draining. It can sap both your energy and your creativity.... if you're lucky you have a crowd behind you that quite genuinely fuels and enables you. The community of Chance developed the uncanny knack of always being there with a word of encouragement or praise when we most needed it - a piece of fantastic fan art would arrive in our inbox - a joke would arrive on our timeline (you know who you are!); an offer to help out at a con, or introduce us to someone, and tirelessly with such wonderful enthusiasm, promoting it on their timelines for us; becoming ambassadors for a show they loved and doing it so brilliantly.
This last week we've been properly heads down on the launch of Strangeness in Space - hours of getting to as many publicity outlets as possible to pique their interest; getting word out to fans, and completing the myriad of hurdles thrown up on the business side of a Kickstarter venture. All of which we'd planned for .. (and yes, in my anally retentive way, planned and planned for) ... Then my laptop decided to go MAD ...hours of fiddling from my clever spouse means I can just about do the basics I need until we get this Kickstarter campaign launched on Tuesday and then it can go to the hospital... and I would swear you can hear it laughing as I huff and puff at it.. Not to worry she thinks bravely, I'll just spend the day printing out the photos I need for the first ever Strangeness in Space stand at Sci-Fi SouthWest in Trowbridge... except that #Teen1 had a printer disaster with some tracing paper on her A level art project (don't ask) and that printer is now clearly an ex-printer.. thank god for your mates who print them out for you despite being busy on somat else!
Simon's laptop has been battered by the trauma of finessing our Kickstarter video - it was just about hanging on before this last edit, it's now clearly influenced by mine and angling for early retirement.. That's the 'three' things I decide.. and then my glasses fall to the ground and beneath my feet before they quite stop... so they're very very wonky... it's not a good look.
There's not enough coffee or chocolate in the world to make none of that matter BUT a ping of my inbox was a Chancer from t'other side of the world, asking how it's going and was there anything they could do to help; you pop onto Twitter and there's a roll call of Chancer stalwarts favouriting & retweeting, over on Facebook another sea of enthusiastic fans greeting all the Strangeness in Space news excitedly.
Have just nipped up to the #SciFiSouthWest green room for a break and there's Jamie Anderson offering encouragement and advice; last night's supper with Lee Sullivan and Richard James reminds you what a lovely supportive community the creative world can be. And this post will only go up now because the very nice Carl at The Civic Centre has gone to turn the wi-fi on for me!
There's something about the crowd-funding phenomena that can't be found on a traditionally commissioned piece for an audience - that sense of being able to help an idea you like at its grass roots, and to feel a sense of achievement yourself when you see it up on its legs, knowing you made that happen.. but there's also something special for the production team - suited commissioners rarely express the same sense of excitement to you; and they've never sent me such heart-warming messages of support!
So, just a couple of days before we test this idea we call Strangeness in Space on Kickstarter (yikes!). Sophie Aldred reports a wonderful response up at SciFiWeekender; Trev & Simon fans seem to be chomping at the bit for more Trev & Simon daftness, and my inbox seems to be full of 'go-girl' messages ... so just maybe this'll work?! Wish us luck as we jump off that cliff on Tuesday .... and hopefully see you on the internet!
Everyone welcome to come with us into space for some Strangeness... and FUN!