Technology Archives - J Sayuri Zines + Animal Brain Art + ASMR Videos

  • 9 Tips Before Launching Your Crowdfunding Campaign

    If you’re anything like me, you’re probably stressing out because you know your precious creative projects need funding to evolve.

    Unfortunately, we should be worried. Creative content and their producers are being undervalued more than ever as the Internet has ushered in a new mindset of consuming free content. But don’t let that scare you too much because just as the Internet has decimated some business models, it has also opened opportunities for growth through crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe, IndieGoGo, Kickstarter, and Patreon.
    GoFundMe Crowd-Funding LogoPatreon Crowd-Funding LogoIndiegogo Crowd-Funding Logo
    Kickstarter Crowd-Funding Logo

    The concept of digital micro-funding platforms is relatively new so please read on if you are interested in starting a crowdfunding campaign!  I recently launched a crowdfunding project for The Musical Meldoyians on Patreon and realized that I’ve launched and managed other crowdfunding campaigns in the past.  I will not get into the specifics of how these crowd-funding platforms differ. Instead, I will share some universal strategies that I’ve learned in managing both successful and unsuccessful crowdfunding campaigns. Read on for 9 essential strategies before you start your campaign.

    1. Go Forth With Passion

    Cheesy, perhaps, but definitely important.  A strong connection to your work and an emotional investment in the success of your work will always be apparent. Disinterest and passivity will get you nowhere.

    When you meet someone who is completely invested and passionate about what they do, you can feel it. Their energy is infectious. You want to be this person to effectively communicate your message and grow your crowdfunding campaign

    So before you read on, ask yourself this: Am I passionate, right now, about my project? If your answer is no, then find another list on the Internet.  If you’re not passionate about your project then why should anyone else be?

    Recent polls show that people don’t fund things they’re lukewarm about. Duh.

    2. Take Your Time

    It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of how awesome your project might be without actually having anything developed or made. Some of my projects have failed because thinking about funding and structure distracted me from making work. Make sure that before you start your crowdfunding campaign you are dedicating some time everyday to making something, anything, for your project. Consistency will get you farther in the long run. Let us not forget the Tale of the Tortoise and the Hare.

    It’s a big commitment to manage a crowdfunding campaign, which is why I recommend that creators take the time to fully develop their concept and back it up with content.  Make stuff first, then try to make money.

    3. Stay Grounded

    You don’t grow a tree overnight. Same goes for crowd-funding. If you have the expectation to launch your campaign, sit back, and watch the money roll in, then prepare for utter disappointment.

    Anne Hathaway is disappointed at the performance of her Kickstarter
    Be realistic, don’t be Anne Hathaway.  You’re going to have to nurture your campaign with fresh content, constant positivity, and a calm demeanor because chances are you’re going to hit some roadblocks.

    Before you start a campaign, get into the habit of taking care of your mental health everyday.  I recommend meditating for at least 10 minutes a day. UCLA provides great archive of free guided meditations. Meditation has helped me stay grounded and manage my stress. Self-awareness is a virtue especially when asking for money for your projects.  You’ll be adding a lot more stress to your life when you add crowdfunding into the mix. Meditation helps. Trust me on this one.

    4.  Visualize your Goals

    Once you have taken time to develop your project sans funding, you will have a better understanding of your goals and the steps to get there.  Crowdfunding platforms have many ways for you to visualize goals, for example Patreon has ‘milestone goals’. Visualizing your goals with a vision board can help create the framework for you to attain them.

    I experienced the benefits of this technique about two years ago when I made a simple digital vision board of short-term goals for the Musical Melodyians transmedia project.

    Musical Melodyian Short Term Goals
    Since I created this, my collaborator and I have largely stuck to this road map and have realized many of our goals like creating the Melodyian videos, new music, and publishing Melodyian comics.

    5.  Do (a Little Bit of) Math

    I’m no mathematician, but I am capable of simple algebra.

    Before launching a crowdfunding campaign, make sure to calculate how much funding you’ll need for a specific project. For example, I recently needed to calculate how much money I needed to produce my 12″ x 12″ prints of my Animal Brain prints.  My calculations went something like this:

    • It costs $5 / print and I need to print 100 prints. $5/print x 100 prints = $500

    In the process of figuring out the numbers, it is also important to make a distinction between what you want and what you need. Always strive for the latter. What can you do without? What are ways you can stretch your funding dollars? What are realistic financial goals to set?

    Ultimately, I realized that I didn’t need 100 prints, 32 would be fine so that I could have doubles of each of the 16 Animal Brain illustration. This ended up only costing me $160 rather than the $500. $340 difference, not bad.

    Work on the numbers now so that when you launch your campaign, you won’t be overwhelmed when the money starts rolling in from the skies.

    The Simpsons' succesful crowdfunding campaign
    6. Research Research Research

    Whichever crowdfunding platform you end up choosing for your campaign, remember this: the success of Patreon, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe depends on your success. These platforms want to support you to fund your projects because, obviously, they take a small cut.

    This is why there is a lot of documentation in the form of infographics, videos, and articles (like this one) about crowdfunding best practices.

    Here’s a nice little list of each crowdfunding platform’s best practices:

    •• Patreon Best Practices for Creators ••
    •• Kickstarter Best Practices for Creators ••
    •• IndiegogoBest Practices for Creators ••
    •• GoFundMe Best Practices for Creators ••

    Lists within lists, so meta.

    7. Stockpile your Work

    I went to the Festival of Books recently at USC and met artist, Jason Brubaker, who raised the funds on Kickstarter to print his graphic novel ReMIND: Volume 1 and ReMIND: Volume 2. I picked up his newest book, Unnatural Talent: Creating, Printing, and Selling Your Comic in the Digital Age.

    Jason Brubaker's book
    In one of his chapters, Brubaker writes a simple but important tip: create a surplus of your work so that you don’t have to worry about making ‘fresh’ content.  People will be more inclined to support your Patreon or Kickstarter or Indiegogo when they see that you are consistently publishing new work regardless if you are making videos, writing or illustrating.

    So get started now! Start putting some work together. (I worked on the Musical Melodyian graphic novel for three years before I decided to start publishing pages on the website a few months ago.)

    8. Get Comfortable with Communication

    Don't Be Like Homer
    Hey you! Yeah you! Put down your smartphones because yes, you will probably have to talk to people in real life to get real-life funding. Communication is key to any successful campaign and the more you go to conventions, meetups, and forums, the more practice you will have.

    My first comic convention was BentCon, where I was a panelist. Only about 10 people showed up and I’m pretty sure 90% of them were either friends or family of the panelists. Whatever. It was a great convention. Moreover, it was excellent practice to speak intelligently about my work and creative process.

    If you are not already comfortable with your pitch, practice until you are. If you haven’t even made one, do it! If you’re shy about talking to people, then get over it.  No one has time for a sulky, shy wallflower  — especially on the Internet.

    9. Reach out to Old Contacts

    Great! So you are going to conventions and meetups! Make sure to exchange information and touch base with the people who you spent some time talking with. Make sure to followup every now and again so that they remember you.

    People don’t like to get requests for money from strangers, so don’t be a stranger! Before you launch your crowdfunding campaign, make sure to reconnect with old contacts with a phone call, text or email. Give them a little update about your projects and check in. People appreciate that.

    You never know who will be your next fund-er so reconnect and say hi!

    Be Friendly to Potential Donors
    If you find this blog article useful and are thinking about starting a crowdfunding campaign, please share with your friends and leave a comment in the box below.

    Check out my crowdfunding campaign on Patreon for The Musical Melodyians and support if you can!

    Stay weird friends and happy funding!

  • Patreon: A Home for the Musical Melodyians?

    Become my patronJanuary of this year marked a significant change for the future of the Musical Melodyians after my collaborator, Scott Tooby, and I made a consorted intention to develop this project from a transmedia art experiment to a more sustainable creative venture.  Thus, we have turned to Patreon — a crowdfunding platform that derives its model (and name) from the arts patronage system, characteristic of the Renaissance.

    This video best summarizes what we’re trying to do and what we need funding for. So if you you’re into what we’re doing, please support us and share this with your friends!

    A big thanks to the team at Donegee Media who helped us piece together this video.

  • Transmedia: The Musical Melodyians and the Future of Storytelling

    The Musical Melodyian Transmedia Project
    For the past three years, I have been working on a collaborative art/music/technology project called The Musical Melodyians with multimedia producer, Scott Tooby. In the process of developing this project, I have grown as an artist as well as a businesswoman. Scott in turn, whose background was in music composition, has grown as a product developer and programmer.  Our continued goal for this project has been to create a rich story Universe that draws upon multiple media sources like a graphic novel, music, videos, photography, and social media to tell the tale of a musical alien race that lands in Los Angeles, CA.

    An important recent development in the Musical Melodyian project has been –MUSIC!  Please stay tuned for our EP that will be available for purchase on Bandcamp. P.S. Bandcamp is a great platform for music artists to release their work and get paid. Imagine that!

    Now that we have been piecing together a nice collection of content that revolves around the Melodyian concept, I think back to a time when there was a nagging voice in the back of my head (the one finds calm in labeling and categorizing everything).  This voice constantly attacked me with questions like: “What the hell is this?” and “What do you call this kind of thing?”

    Apparently, it’s called Transmedia Storytelling.

    The Musical Melodyian Story Universe
    After discussing our writing projects and my worries about not having a succinct word to describe the nature of my project, my good friend and colleague, mas Prower introduced me to the word: transmedia — a simple and powerful way to describe this form of storytelling in which the narrative (and marketing) evolves from the symbiosis of different media sources.

    Damn, it’s helpful to have smart friends! I know that Tómas has been working towards transmedia storytelling for his upcoming book, Santa Muerte: Unearthing the Magic & Mysticism of Death which will be available in the fall of 2015.  I am curious to see how Tómas will use transmedia storytelling not only to promote his book but develop his story.  Thinking about how Tómas is using transmedia and I am been using transmedia makes me think about the future of storytelling and how much storytelling has changed in just a decade.

    It’s difficult to talk intelligently about the changing landscape of transmedia storytelling without talking about the Internet boom.

    The Internet was a huge game-changer. That’s a fact. Whether or not the Internet changed the world for good or bad — that’s up for debate, but I am of the mindset that the Internet has been a generally good development for humankind. New social platforms have boomed, giving ways for new voices to be heard with the click of a button. This created a storm of shitty content (but hey, we’re all guilty of watching cat videos), but also opened a path for many artists to get their voices heard.

    I am excited to witness and take part in a future where artists experiment with innovative ways to share their work and develop their stories.  More specifically though, I wonder if the future will be a place where both creators and consumers can live harmoniously.  In this future, the consumer values the creator’s work by financially supporting them and their projects.  Some feel like this future is unattainable and overly idealistic, but for artists and creators like myself, solving these issues is a matter of survival. Sustainability is what I strive for. Maybe transmedia is the answer.

    If you are a transmedia artist, please share your experiences in the comment box below. If you have questions about my transmedia project, please feel free to ask questions!

  • Student Preview Day at the STEAM Carnival

    Here’s a riddle: What’s large, terrifying, at times cute and eager to learn?

    Answer: 500 school age kids every hour, on the hour from 9AM to 5PM at the Port of Los Angeles during Student Preview Day at the inaugural Steam Carnival.

    On Friday, October 24 I happily participated as a technician at the Steam Carnival, the brainchild of Two Bit Circus.  STEAM Carnival is dedicated to STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) to demystify the design process and make technological creation accessible to everyone. We do live in the Internet era after all.

    Here’s a crude outline of what went down on Student Preview Day. Please excuse the monster text…I’m still in a Halloween kind of mood.

    J_Sayuri_Steam_Carnival_Map_Blog

    Starting bright and early at 9AM, a dedicated group of Steamster conductors ushered in hundreds of excited students to get a taste of an techy/arty infused day that awaited them.  Once the kids (elementary school through high school students) were seated in the walkway between the MaKey MaKey workshop booths, they were treated to an electrifying performance by Austin, Texas based music and technology group, Arcattack. As I was speaking to the founder, Joe DiPrima about how they control the electrical output of their twin Tesla coils through MIDI controllers and synthesizers, he mentioned, “[w]e actually use about 100,000 volts of electricity” opposed to the 40,000 volts that the Two Bit staffers were telling the kids. Check out a video of their performance here:

    One the kids were sufficiently dazzled by an electric entrance into the STEAM Carnival (har har har), it was up to the Technicians, of which I was part of, to teach basic concepts of electronics: what a circuit is, conductivity, ground, etc. Once the kids got a basic understanding of electricity, they dived headfirst into experimenting with MaKey MaKeys, a simple circuit board that we used to turn pipe cleaners, Play-Doh, fellow students and circus peanuts into game controllers. As a fun group experiment to understand conductivity, we created giant classroom circuits by holding hands in a circle, essentially using each other to create paths through which electricity can travel. Check out this cool video about how YOU can use a MaKey MaKey. (DDR anyone?)

    Once they finished with learning about electricity and experimenting with the MaKey MaKey, the students were escorted into the next warehouse where there was the game arcade. There were laser mazes, hacked Kinect powered games, human pinball machines and a Hexaball game, which I had particular fun with:

    I wasn’t in the other warehouse for most of the day as I was teaching in the first warehouse, but when I did pop my head in, it was utter madness…in a good way.  Kids running around, having fun with the games and learning about how they actually worked from the developers and engineers that stood patiently beside their creations.   I can’t speak for the developers and engineers but their games DEFINITELY went through an intense stress testing phase whether they liked it or not.  I talked to the engineer of the Human Pinball Machine, Kujo, as he shaked his head and recounted his Home Depot run to fix his machine. A lot of games were out of business by the end of the day, but it was a great learning experience for everyone involved.

    Once the students had sufficiently screamed their heads off in astonishment and awe at the STEAM Carnival, they were gathered up and shuttled back to their schools.  After a long and exciting day, all the Steamsters gathered for this photo underneath the green boa sculpture. I’m in the front row on the left side (not wearing a Two Bit t-shirt, it was so hot)

    J_Sayuri_Art_Science_Steam_Carnival_Blog

    All in all it was a fun day and very organized considering it was Two Bit Circus’ first go at the STEAM Carnival. I met lots of cool people and enriched the lives of Los Angeles’ youth which is always a plus.

    Happy steaming and stay true.

  • STEAM Carnival…Movin’ Us Forward

    I’ve recently been involved with the inaugural STEAM Carnival that will take place this week and throughout the weekend in the Port of Los Angeles.  FYI: STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math.  I’m excited to be a game technician during Student Preview day on Friday, October 24th where I get to assist K-12 students understand the basic mechanics behind the games they will play.

    When I went in for the training session this past Saturday where I was surrounded by an eclectic group of people with interests ranging from chemical manufacturing to flute playing. The STEAM Carnival is the brain child of a unique group of artists, engineers, programmers and tinkerers that make up Two Bit Circus, an entertainment company based out of the Artist Brewery in Downtown Los Angeles.

    J_Sayuri_Steam_Carnival_Art_Design_Blog_

    Two Bit’s vision for the STEAM Carnival came out of a desire to re-imagine the way we learn through tech-infused game attractions and carnival inspired entertainment.

    What really excited me the most about STEAM Carnival was their inclusion of the ‘A’ which stands for ‘Art.’ One of the core ideas behind the STEAM Carnival is the inclusion of artistic expression which I believe makes the science behind the technology and games more accessible. (So maybe the ‘A’ can stand for accessible as well!)  Although I appreciate the ambitions of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) research and education I often felt excluded because of my art background.  By simply adding ‘Art’ into the acronym, STEM, Two Bit makes a powerful statement that education cannot be so crudely divided between what we perceive as purely science or purely art. We are increasing living in an interdisciplinary world which demands creativity and a synergy between the arts and sciences.

    J_Sayuri_Steam_Carnival_Art_Los_Angeles_Blog

    I share the vision with Two Bit Circus and STEAM Carnival that the world around us is fundamentally changing because of the exponential rate at which technology is evolving. I also believe that in many ways, our education is failing us because it is not able to adapt.  More than ever, we need to breakdown stereotypes of the melancholy artist who is mathematically inept or the unemotional scientist who declares herself uncreative.  We need this change to happen at the fundamental levels of our educational system so that we can solve the big problems: agricultural sustainability, global warming and economic disparity (just to name a few).  And these problems are only getting bigger which is why this change needs to happen now.

    Once we see the world not as two or three or four, but as one, true progress can be made. I am joyful and inspired because of events like the STEAM Carnival and groups like Two Bit Circus that take action to create a future they hope to live in.

    And with that, please enjoy this photo of myself (lower left, sticking out my tongue) and my fellow STEAMsters wearing red clown noses in the spirit of the STEAM Carnival.

    J_Sayuri_Steam_Carnival_Art_Blog

    Stay tuned for a followup article about Student Preview Day at STEAM Carnival and teaching hundreds of students about basic electronics by using Makey Makeys! Cheers and STEAM on!

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