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Trust in Play first webinar: Money!


#1

Trust in Play is a unique opportunity to experiment with different learning format, share what we know, and learn from our peers.

The most important moment of this first year of activity is probably the International Training Week in Athens, and we are really excited to see so many interactions and complete applications (thank you all!!), you can find more info on how to apply here.

Because of this greenland and exploration attitude we want to start experimenting with the format of the Webinar as well.

Webinar are great because there is a low cost on organizing them (you don’t need to rent a space), the participants doesn’t have to be in the same place to participate and interact (thanks, the internet), conversations and interviews works better then lectures which makes it easier if you are a speaker to participate because you don’t have to do tons of work in advance (but you can just bring your expertise) and finally you can really have practical conversation on topics that are important for the audience.

We experimented this format with other projects in Edgeryders (this was our first one and here is the result) and it was, a part from the tech issues, really interesting, especially the following discussion.

Tech is fixed because we are going to use zoom.us which is a very reliable service - start interacting with it if you’re interested on participating :slight_smile: -

So the first thing that we fixed is the day!

SAVE THE DATE MAY 9th

and the time
5pm Bruxelles Time (GMT+2)

About the topic, there are going to be others webinars so for this one we picked up the topic, and then we are going to start a conversation about the nexts (@LindeGa and @MGrelewski prepare yourself because I want to talk about festivals in the next one), but yeah, for the first one I will love to discuss a tricky one: MONEY!

Because let’s be honest, Urban Games are not triple A videogames, the market is very small and there are really few example of companies that are able to thrive and make revenues, right now…

The goal is to create a nonjudgmental space where we can discuss different strategy to thrive as Urban Game Designers (or all the other amazing things that we are doing!).
My idea was to have 3 voices with some years of experience to set up the conversation and then a discussion/open question session (usually this is the way Webinars are held).

The survival mode that I would love to hear more are:

The artistic way”: someone that is basically using the artist system and is able to “sell” urban games as art so they managed to access to residency, grant, festivals etc…

The commercial way”: someone that managed to sell tickets to their audience, and shifted the model from movie theater and other field to urban games.

I would love to share some tricks that I’ve learned about a third way, that I will call “The mixed way”: basically someone that had to sell B2B projects to companies (team building yeeee) and thanks to that managed to create urban games in their free time or with grants and the “artistic way” (anyway after 10 years I’m still looking for solutions!)

What do you think? Who could be interested on it? @sebquack @MariaS you are two expert on the “artistic way” from my perspective, do you want to share some stories?

Thanks!


Stories from the world of Urban Play
Stories from the world of Urban Play
#2

@will I moved our conversation here so it’s under the topic about the webinar.
It’s not a talk but more a conversation, the idea is that we have a list of question in advance and then we discuss about these.
The webinar is 45 minutes and then Q&A of 15 minutes. So I will say that the total amount of time is 1h.30 from mic check and the final remarks with no preparation in advance.
I’m going to check the budget thing, but we can definitively offer a token for the presence.
Thanks!


#3

Topic about money is super interesting.
I think each of us would like to hear about some tricks that would give us opportunity to make what we love (games) without this annoying thought “well, I have to pay my bills as well”.
I can share my Eastern Europe experience from Poland and Russia - we’ve been doing something close to “mixed way” - so we’ve done many games for cultural /eduational/government institutions - theatres, universities, museums, local government - problem with such orders is that you’re not always doing what you want. And it was never form “artisitc” budget, rather promotional, audience development or so. We also particpated in many grant contests (ministry of culture, different cultural programmes) - and there we managed to get money for some ideas that would not fit other clients.
At some point urban games become very popular way of promoting (and spending) EU funds - so there were many overpriced games - clients paid really a lot of money (EU money) for the games that were not really worth it. That part of the market was taken by event agencies, we didn’t manage to get much of this.
In Russia as I see this there are tree ways of making games:

  • making money for free or from your money, with volunteers only for your satisfaction. Still I’m meeting an approach here that games are kind of fun, something not serious enough to be paid for. But I think this approach will change as it changed in past decades in Poland.
  • making huge projects - there are some game designers/organizers who managed to scale their projects on federal scale - making same format games from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok and all over the world (maybe in your city as well)- these projects are sometimes supported by federal or local government. Examples of these are RunCity (simple but powerful running game) and Clean Games (eco game connected with garbage cleaning). Not sure about their financing model, but probably they rely on public funds.
  • community funded - as Encounter where you usually pay entrance fee that cover costs of organizers and some of those money is given to winner as a prize (is it gambling already?)
    I am now exploring another model - making smaller games that someone would pay for - made first two for Polish Institute (so not russian money:).

Tricks that I learned to:

  • don’t always try to be unique (even if your artistic soul wants to) - reuse games wisely saving funds and time
  • make games for free and than sell them for those who want them
  • there is also cheaper alternative for expensive stuff you need in your games
  • don’t promise to much - better positively surprise your client

(well I also still learn how to use those tricks)

So tell me - how to do it? How to give up all other jobs and making games feeling safe about the future? :slight_smile:


Webinar n#1 final date: May 16th!
#4

Dear all, we moved the webinar to MAY 16th, same time (5pm Brussels time).

Read more about it here

If you are interested register yourself here

PLUS

If you have a burning question about this topic or a story that you want to share, please do :slight_smile:


#5

HI - I’ve just discovered this forum Matteo, so sorry I missed your webinar. Actually I have previously researched these questions because they are increasingly such a concern for freelancers who face futures without a permanent wage, sickness benefits or holiday pay. Increasingly I believe that we are going to have to come together to support each other. Like unions, but for freelance artists, so more like collectives…with room for high flyers and supporters alike. I think the worker owned Mondragon technical collective in Spain (which is very successful - profit oriented - but also resilient with a strong social justice ethos) is an inspiring start, but the future will be networked and more flexible, I believe.


#6

Dear @floatingblueseen thanks for the reply, we are going to share the video of the webinar so maybe other interesting questions could arise.
Is Mondragon this one? Are they active culturally or more in more traditional business?
My first company in Italy was a co-op (cooperativa sociale) but and it was good because we had a lot of freedom and we can apply for grants and receive public money, but at the same time, at least in Italy, also if you are a non profit co-op you have to act as normal companies (same taxes, same rules) so at the end of the day is not always a good deal.
In Italy there is a lot of competition to get public funding and usually they pay you super late, so in term of cashflow is really stressful (you have upfront expenses and they pay you maybe after 3 months).
What is your experience being a freelance? How long have you experimented with this?


#7

Hi Matteo,
That is indeed the Mondragon I was referring to. As far as I know they operate a semi-traditional business, although they are co-operatively run in smaller sub groups although the managers that they appoint take a smaller cut of profits, to help redistribute income back to the workers.
My freelance experience is pretty adhoc as mostly I’ve been working in public broadcasting, or creative practice academia, but I have experienced breaks between contracts which can be challenging. I became interested in freelancer co-ops when I was researching data-sharing technologies and discovered that the average wage of artists in Scotland is about £18 000…not that people make art for money, but there is such a thing as making a living to consider. It’s an interesting area to think about. cheers B