I first posted the following words yesterday as a Twitter thread. The topic seemed to resonate with many, so I’m posting it here too as a more permanent resource:
‘Why not apply for funding?’ regularly comes up in conversations about financing my project. But is it really such a crackpot idea to keep working towards my vision of sustainable funding for creators: for projects to be funded by the people who follow them and whose lives are enriched by them in some way?
I believe that notion is entirely within reach for many creators without having to resort to pots of institutionalised funding, which can limit thinking and become serial flashes in the pan rather than a much more valuable source of income — one that is sustained and more predictable.
There are other benefits too: no corporate logos attached to your project; no pound of flesh to the body funding it and perhaps claiming more credit than is due; not having to adapt your ideas to suit institutional agendas; not having to adapt your language in the application to be ‘awarded’ the money (a particular bugbear) and not having to pay somebody to fill out an application form (an even bigger bugbear).
In short, my vision enables a creator to make their work freely on their own terms. As I mentioned at the top, I truly believe this is entirely possible. We can all be inspired by the fact that other creators are doing it right now. Brandon Stanton and Amanda Palmer spring to mind — two longstanding influences of mine on the indie-funding front.
And I’m getting there myself. It might help to spur you on to know that there are now few days of the month when I don’t receive *some* income from my independent membership platform, The LSP Society.
Some days it might be £1 and other days it might be £100 (many signed up on/after launch day). It feels like manna from heaven to know, that no matter how difficult things are, there will always be something coming in at some point soon.
It’s great for a creator’s psyche and I’m concerned that the path of institutional funding can actually be damaging for a creator’s psyche.
There will be people conflicted by this conversation and I also know that pots of funding do suit certain projects but I keep plugging away at this ethos. After all, if people were interested in a topic ‘back in the day’, they wouldn’t have hesitated to buy a magazine from the newsagent. In fact they would have looked forward to it! So why not now?
Well, I believe that people can and will support projects now. They just need to be shown how and many will be delighted to do so at the drop of a hat.
One final thought: if choosing this path, creators must commit wholeheartedly with passion, belief and conviction. I’ve seen people gamble weeks (and small fortunes) filling out an application form without knowing what the outcome will be.
So why not consider redirecting more of those energies on a mechanism that can sustain you every day for years to come and on your terms? It’s much less risky and the results are often immediate.
Food for thought I hope, as well as food on the table.
Keep on keepin’ on,
Creator of The Lifeboat Station Project