David S. Gallant
Why David S. Gallant should go to IndieCade, and the value of communal patronage
It’s hard to create things when you're worried about paying rent.
David S. Gallant created the interesting game I Get This Call Everyday, and was fired for his troubles. The game was written up in many places, and ended up making Gallant around $13,000, which he has been living on since January. Now Gallant has launched an Indiegogo drive to make it to IndieCade.
He’s asking for $650, and the rewards for donors are small. “This is a really selfish request. I want to go to IndieCade to experience IndieCade. I can't guarantee that it will inspire me to make a new game, or that I will make powerful connections for future collaborations, or even that I'll have a good time,” Gallant states. “I'm only asking you to help if you care at all about seeing me at IndieCade, either because you're going too, or you have some vested interest in my well-being.”
Rock Paper Shotgun ran an interesting article about why this campaign should raise much more than $650, and I’ve personally donated to a number of this sort of personal campaign, and promoted them on Twitter. Sometimes it’s for sending a writer to an event who represents a community I’d like to hear from. Other times it’s a designer who is just trying to grow creatively. In every case it’s someone who I trust will do great things.
And those great things may not come tomorrow, or even this year. It’s hard to know what sending someone like Gallant to a single event will lead to, or how it will improve gaming.
It also might not do anything, and Gallant ends up getting another soul-crushing job in six months, and we never hear from him again. That’s the worst case scenario though; gaming has a bad case of soul-rot and the more people we’re able to keep in the mix so they can create interesting games, the better.
On the other hand, maybe Gallant will meet another artists and hit it off, or maybe he’ll have a conversation with another designer that sparks the idea for a game that changes everything. Or he gives another designer an idea that plants a seed that grows into an amazing game that never would have happened otherwise. The idea is that, as a group, we can keep interesting people in the mix, and I’m sure that good things will happen if we do.
The risks are small, the rewards are potentially great
We worry about over-funding Kickstarters, but in cases like this it’s impossible to over-fund the campaign. Any money not being spent on the show will go towards rent, and groceries, and not having to worry about basic needs while an artist creates things. We’re not crowd sourcing a product, we’re crowd sourcing a person, in an act of communal patronage.
It’s worth the $10 or so to me that I would have spent on a coffee or two to make sure someone who is making something makes more things. The lack of a direct reward only makes it more exciting. A Kickstarter is for one game, one thing, one idea. Patronage on a personal level helps an entire person grow creatively, and the potential is limitless.
It could be you don’t have extra money, and that’s okay. It could be that you don’t think this particular fund is worth supporting, and that’s fine too. But I don’t think Gallant is being selfish or entitled by starting the campaign, and the idea that the community at large may be willing to pay to help other artists survive until they have a breakthrough is empowering.
I don’t know what Gallant will make next, but I do know that I want to see it, and I want people like him at events adding to the creative energy within themselves.
We live in a world of free-to-play, of arguments over advertising that supports free content, and many people now think that $3 is way too much to pay for a mobile game. I don’t like many of the ways content pays for itself these days, so it feels amazing to throw a few bucks at someone who does interesting stuff with the idea that hopefully they’ll travel a bit, get inspired, and do something great.
Or maybe they won’t. But if that’s the case, we're only out a little bit of money most of us will barely miss, and the future rewards could be great. I’m happy to spend a little bit of money gambling on people I admire, and I’m going to continue to do so. I think you should as well.