Troop 4 party has been a success!

Okay, quick notes:

  1. The Troop 4 party went really well.  Terrific food, and I got the two new videos done fairly well by the deadline, so that’s awesome.  Some of the audio needed work and the animation was spotty on the cartoon, but other than that it turned out great.
  2. With regards to two questions asked of the cast payments, yes, if my network is successful that will affect cast payouts, and no, payouts will not go up in tandem with inflation, at least not directly.  $1/year/actor/video remains $1/year/actor/video [that’s the standard minimum payment] unless my income increases.
  3. Realistically, however, my income should gradually increase over time as I gain a more extensive reputation as a vendor, better skills, more experience, etc, and my income is also likely to go up in terms of dollars as the value of a dollar gradually trends down over time.  I am listing a $250k+ bracket in the chart below, and that might SOUND like pie in the sky for an artist like myself, but I’m not being ridiculous; I’m actually well aware that the only way I’ll ever reach $250k in income by the end of my career is if my career somehow gradually improves, and the value of the US dollar is collapsing during the next half a century and inflation is persistently high.  Which could well occur given America’s rising debt levels.  Even if inflation’s at a historically normal level, though, that still means we should expect the dollar to be worth around 20% of what it is now, by 2060.  So that’s when I expect a $250k income is *possible* for me – the final years of my career, and it would be more like $50k in today’s terms.

Here’s the chart:

Paying the cast members and location owners who contributed to my videos posted online.

My aim then, is to hold the residuals or ongoing payments, somewhere just slightly below 10% of my total income, and another 10-12% in one-off pay in any given year.   Residuals can be adjusted simply by adding more or less in the way of new content in any given year.  If my income [after taxes] is soaring, I will make more videos that year than usual, with more cast members and locations than usual, and post them online.  If not, I won’t.  This means that if in 30 years I am actually making $48,000/year, I could be sending $4800 in payouts that year, in the form of about 1700 total payments related to perhaps 340 different videos on the channel – with an average of five contributors/video beyond myself*

Note that my plan is for 42% of my post tax income to go to making new videos & video games – 12% as casting budget and 30% as production budget.  Comics and games use the same payment logic for contributing members that videos do.  So if you voice acted or did FMV or simply had your name/resemblance used in a comic book or video game, that is counted as if it were a video.  Then there’s the other 10% or so in residuals… which makes the total 52%.  5% is disposable income focused on entertainment or for allocation in case something else costs more than anticipated.  Another 33% covers core operating costs of the network, like web hosting, and domain renewals, as well as maintaining and expanding the sale product lines on which the revenue depends.  In other words, an ongoing supply of shipping materials, canvas, paints, other bills, etc.  The final 18% is saved up or invested in some way so I have a reserve in case it’s needed later.

The video channel itself, launches in about 10 days.  It won’t contain much initially, and mostly the cast will just be me, but it marks the start of something bigger.

I’ve toyed with the notion of simply bypassing cast members I can’t reach and posting videos anyway [in a space where they have no way to generate revenue of any kind] but it seems there’s no legal benefit to doing so.  I might as well run ads for my services, with the content, and hold the actor’s earnings in a safe place until they finally come out of the ‘woodwork’ and become reachable again – at which point I’ll immediately offer them the money their video earned, hopefully pre-empting the question of ‘why did you release this without my explicit written permission and make money off of it?’

My rule now is as follows:  I will go ahead and post videos over time, even if one or two random people in it are inaccessible and cannot be reached by phone, email, or any other means.  I will tally up all actors’ earnings on every project annually and pay them.  If they are unreachable, I’ll hold that cash in a folder or envelope somewhere secure, marked with the actor’s name.  If and when I find them, I will ask them to sign and will pay them.  They may ask for the video or alternately their scene in the video to be pulled – I’ll remind them that it will upset the audience that likes the video and the other actors who did sign, and who do want the content online, but that if they insist the content be pulled, it will be.

What about the signatures?  Legal documents?

I am debating how best to handle that; I like the idea of the digital signature, but the document was way too complicated and long last time and I’m trying to pare it down and make it clearer and leaner for future use.

Update, May 2nd, 2017

My production pipeline is emerging from crisis stronger than before.  

A few quick notes: much of the cash I raised from the Crafts Fair, etc, has gone to a new video card for my PC (The old one was the source of long-running random crashes) and a few extra plugins for Unity.  I’ve also made a concerted effort to wrap up some local projects for Boy Scout Troop 4, as the troop looks to be on its last legs and will be unlikely to survive beyond 2017.  One of the scouts is leaving for the navy at the end of the spring semester so I wanted to give him a good send off.  I’m trying to complete Troop 4 TV Seasons 2 & 3 during the next 15 days for that event.

Other things I’d tried to get done prior to this I couldn’t, including the video channel, etc.  The computer being down for about 10 days had a lot to do with that.  In broad strokes, my production schedule is like this:

MAY 2017 – Troop 4 stuff screened for Troop 4

JUNE – AUGUST 2017 – Work on some interactive-media stuff like the Redeemer Virtual Tour, Spiral Skies, and also finally launching the comics and video channel, which I’ve devised a clever, or maybe just stupidly deranged and risky, plan to deal with.  This plan involves having the videos/video channel all on a separate domain with no links out of it, but various links in, no real way for me to profit [even slightly] from any of the videos if they take off or prove popular.  I will pay out residuals from other sources unrelated to and not in any way benefiting from the video channel.  These residuals will be kept extremely simple:   $1/year per actor per video released that they were in, plus a one-off $5 payment for any new project they participate in [a payment for taking the role] and a second one off $5 payment when the project is finished and goes online.  The math on this works out fine by me; if all my projects end up online over next three years, it could add up to $1500+ in payments to actors by the end of that time… and over $12k after 20 years [distributed among all actors].

If one actor tries to sue me [cease & desist] I’ll pull the video in question offline quickly, and attempt to avoid legal conflict, so just keep in mind that videos might go offline at some point if somebody complains and if they cannot be convinced by me or the other cast members, to allow the video to go back online then it’ll stay offline.   I know I’m taking a risk of screwing myself over massively and that even if that does not happen, I’ll still lose a lot over time, but it is worth it to me to have the videos online, because I like people to be entertained, darn it, and it bugs me to have this gigantic backlog of awesome stuff that nobody is able to view!

As for Fall 2017, I will try to wrap up some of the family stuff – 1999, Globe, and Fortress Siege 2.  That’s basically it, that’s the plan.