Storytelling brings businesses and creativity together
Speaker Jiang Jia-hua started off the forum by opining that creators trying to connect with readers over a crowdfunding platform are also often trying to find other products to pair up with.
Joey Yu and his partners gained an impressive amount of funding on US crowdfunding site Kickstarter. They were by one overarching thought in starting the project—creating works ripe for derivatives. As such, they hoped to create a comic that could be adapted into an animation or novel. Such a worldview, and the logic it intimates, is where commerce meets creativity. In Split Earth Saga, two concepts are salient: a world split into two but not destroyed, and, more interestingly, that the soldiers are all women. Joey Yu has said that the work did not initially excite much interest, as their commercially oriented tack is not mainstream in the US and Europe. They had trouble raising money, and were facing the commercial doldrums of New Year’s Eve. Most people told them they shouldn’t release their work then, but the results show they were able to overcome these difficulties.
Crowdfunding and marketing represent new challenges to creators
Raising money through crowdfunding means revealing your plans to the public via a crowdfunding platform. Here, members of the public can choose to support creators directly, and those whose creations gain a sufficient level of support in an allotted timeframe can use pledged funds to bring their creation to life. The crowdfunding platform acts as a helping hand for creators, and can provide access to production, investment, and sales resources.
But it’s a long and difficult road to obtaining crowdfunding capital. Joey Yu says that he and his partners overlooked the need to build a network, thinking that crowdfunding was as easy as putting your product out there and waiting for the funds to roll in. The first two weeks are the “golden period” for funding. If funding doesn’t materialize in that time, then a product will be pushed further down the platform’s prioritized list of projects. Having learned their lesson, Joey and his team spent a year building a network of fans, only launching their bid for funding when they were sure they had over 1,000 people interested.
Chen Wei-guang shared points of interest he has learned with regard to crowdfunding. Angel investors are few and far between; most people are only willing to fund a project that’s already heavily funded. This is a reflection of human nature and points to consumer mentality. Most creators are too busy to build a network, and crowdfunding attempts usually fail if one does not already have a certain level of support.
Crafting unique stories by being a little eccentric
“If you craft unique stories, then you will become unique. Go do things that are out of the ordinary!” It was with a heart to do just this that Joey Yu and his partners could be happy about their decision to try to blaze a new trail. Jiang Jia-hua said that unorthodox creations can face difficulties in finding a publisher, but that crowdfunding is one way of overcoming this. Joey Yu says that, no matter what, creators have to focus on the plot and content of their creations. Chen Wei-guang shared his continuing call on content creators to brave the risks and tap their unexplored creativity. To close out the forum, Jiang Jia-hua summarized by saying that for content creators, the Internet era is without precedent in both its promise and its challenges. On the plus side, more opportunities and possibilities have opened up as market forces no longer necessarily dictate creation. On the downside, there are many competitors, and creators must remain mindful of how to make themselves and their creations stand out from the crowd.