Since launching the Patreon campaign for the Reel Impact Podcast just over a month ago, we’ve been hard at work, getting the podcast closer to being ready for launch. We’re working on designing our brand, look and feel, growing our team, and lining up some great interviewees. But I want to take a little time to reflect on our Patreon experiment; on the notions of art and asking.
Art and Asking: Fear
This was my Facebook post announcing the Patreon campaign launch.
Asking people for money has never been an easy thing for me. Sometimes, thoughts like “why would people want to give me money for my art?”, or “crowdfunding is like digital begging”, cross my mind.
Sometimes, I get haunted by the dreaded “Imposter Syndrome” and feel undeserving of others’ hard-earned money because I do not have a guaranteed roadmap to podcast success, and I’m not some internationally-renowned expert on social impact media like Tony Robbins is on leadership, or Tim Ferriss is on growth-hacking.
Art and Asking: Reality
But then when I hear from backers, with messages like these:
“Can’t think of a better effort or person to support.” – JJ Hanley
“Thank you for giving us an opportunity for being part of this.” – Suraj Upadhiah
“can’t wait to see how it all goes. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything.” – Jacqui Hocking
Or friends going all out to share your art with their friends with posts like these:
I am reminded of the beauty of human connection and generosity that exists in our community.
The very thought of a backer thanking me for the opportunity to be part of my project astounds me! And it gives me new perspective.
Art and Asking: Perspective
Whenever I face challenges in an area of life, I turn to books. Not just for guidance on what to do, but also for the chance to think deeply about it repeatedly for a few weeks as I get through the book slowly with my daily 30-minute morning reading ritual; the chance to apply chunks of the lessons learned into my life as we go along.
I’m reminded of the lessons from one of my favorite books of all time, which guided me through my Kartemquin Films internship 6 years ago, Linchpin by Seth Godin.
“Discomfort brings engagement and change. Discomfort means you’re doing something that others were unlikely to do, because they’re hiding out in the comfortable zone.” – Seth Godin, Linchpin
So if it’s scary, it’s probably worth doing. Just like what my comedy improv teacher Pete said, “If it feels stupid, do it harder!”
“Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn’t matter. The intent does.” – Seth Godin, Linchpin
It doesn’t have to be oil paint on canvas. It doesn’t have to be metal bent to become a sculpture. That website you’re building, that program you’re running, that meeting you’re leading… that can be art too.
“Art is a human act, a generous contribution, something that might not work, and it is intended to change the recipient for the better, often causing a connection to happen.”- Seth Godin, Linchpin
Art and Asking: Building Relationships
The act of launching a crowdfunding campaign for a project of mine was another such time I turned to reading. My book of choice? Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking.
“Asking is, in itself, the fundamental building block of any relationship.” – Amanda Palmer, The Art of Asking
I hadn’t thought of it that way before. But then I think back to various common life situations and start to see the patterns.
The man at the train station who asked a stranger for the time, which kicks off a friendly conversation for the rest of the commute.
The girl at the playground who asked the group of kids if she could join in their game of hopscotch, which turns into a weekly playtime friendship.
The college student who plucks up the courage to ask the boy she’d been eyeing all semester, “would you like to get coffee sometime?”
In my last 8 years of doing my art, I’d never been brave enough to ask publicly and directly for support. In fact, even when I launched the Patreon campaign to create the Reel Impact Podcast last month, I stood under the comfy shelter of it being my birthday to make the ask on Facebook.
Reaching out personally and individually to people? I’m still trying to find the courage.
But I realize now that what that single act of asking did, was open the opportunity for friends, family and strangers alike to reach out and say, “I believe in you.” The opportunity for us to strengthen, or in some cases, start our relationship.
Art and Asking: The Journey Continues
As I carry on my journey towards building more courage, and reminding myself to see the act of asking in a different light, I invite you to share your story with me.
Have you felt the same way?
Leave a comment, or send a private message. Either way, I’d love to hear from you.