- I’ll be posting two new stock media packs [3d asset packs] on my Itch.IO page sometime soon, probably within the next 5-10 days. These are the ‘Forests & Flowers’ and ‘Snow & Sand’ packs that I’ve been working on. They’ll be $1.10 each except during sales or in bundle pricing situations.
- I’m trying to update some websites a bit more, I’ve already overhauled MiniatureMultiverse.com somewhat, and TriumphantArtists.com should see a few small fixes & updates soon as well, along with minor improvements across some of my other websites.
- I’m actively ordering a bunch of additional art supplies, shipping supplies, and DVDs/DVD cases. Why? I intend to launch all the Itch.IO content together as a singular $14.99 DVD product on eBay and here as well. I also intend to make a new batch of artworks and sell those too. As in, giant 24″x36″ size artworks, big, beautiful pieces with prices starting around $23.99.
- All this stuff going on will coincide with a staggering mix of ad campaigns that should draw in thousands of people and generate crazy levels of traffic from March 15 – April 15. The total cost is estimated at $45, or $1.50 spent on the campaign per day.
- I have some fan art stuff going on, behind schedule, but it is happening nonetheless. I also have some updates on RedeemerDocumentary.com heading in soon; you’ll see more content relating to the virtual church building tour which is nearing completion. I am also digitally reconstructing my old house in Houston, TX, and between all the various examples piling up, of my ability to realistically reconstruct architectural spaces, well… I’ll be posting a sale item here which essentially allows for people to hire me to make a made-to-order 3d level/tour for them in Unity.
- All the [still unposted] House Trek videos are going to be posted on HornbostelVideos.com shortly, except for the making-of stuff, and the animated DVD menus. And that’s just part of what’ll be posted. Watch for a PDF ebook, and also a printed paper equivalent, that showcases essentially all my work, with an emphasis on the creative process and what I’ve learned by doing all the stuff I’ve done [relating to game development, video production, handmade art, etc] it’s an insightful history summing up the last two decades of my life and it has hundreds of pics – giving you an inside look at a lot of things only friends and family know about so far, massive piles of interesting stuff the internet in general, currently has no idea exists. And no, not a puff piece, I very clearly and bluntly describe my mistakes and errors in judgement, and offer useful advice on solving common issues, that’ll make creative efforts hopefully easier for you than things have been for me.
- All of this sale stuff being launched, the artworks and other items, the book, stock media packs/DVDs, and the month-long ad campaign… it’s all a gambit to secure funding to do all the stuff I’m hoping to do by year’s end. I have three videos to shoot, about a dozen to actually finish, plus game content, including Vivid Minigolf v2, and Miniature Multiverse, those two in particular are challenging insofar as they each still have unresolved costs of over $250, in miniature materials alone. And then tack on the $450+ goals in funding between the three videos I’d like to record, plus all the other stuff involved… yeah, basically I hope this plays out well. If I don’t have close to $1k earned by end of Spring 2019, it means a lot of the goals for summer and fall of this year will fall through. And, quite bluntly, if you’re as tired of the slow rate of progress around here as I am, I’m pretty much begging you to buy something of mine, because if sales volume across my web network climbs high enough, and the percentage of visitors who transition to buyers climbs from a current level of 0.0135% to 5%, that’d change almost everything around here! (I seriously have thousands of visitors – around 2500 – every week, across my various websites and shops, and yet the majority of weeks nothing is actually sold anywhere on my network.)
Despite a strongly positive reputation on eBay specifically, I do struggle with some notoriety for being ‘unreliable’ in the timing of new releases.
This has been the case for years, even before I had any websites allowing a wider audience to notice my work. Why do I keep falling behind on my scheduled releases? Why do I so frequently disappoint everyone on the web with how slow my work goes?
It is largely due to the amount of my time dedicated to earning money to make content… and the generally abysmal rate at which that money is earned. We’re talking $5.50 per hour in the best cases, and often no more than $2 or $3/hour.
When the total list of videos and video games I want to release [in the near future] looks like it’ll cost at least $10,000 more to complete everything I want to complete – between hardware, equipment, art supplies, miniature elements, and other costs – well, that’s a problem. That’s about 3000 hours of work just to finance everything and probably another 3600-4500 to actually make the content once it’s paid for even if no setbacks or major problems occur. So let’s say I average 11 hours a day on this, it’s still about 600 more days to get all these things done. And as usual, nothing ever goes as smoothly as I’d want it to.
Now, I’ve had a tendency to drift focus a lot in a rotation, from project to project, making incremental progress on things in a sort of loop, but quite frankly I’m getting tired of the perception that nothing’s happening and I want to upend that.
In the last two weeks, I have made – saved up – a decent amount of money and also upgraded a few critical toolsets. That’s great. But now I’m looking at the mind-numbingly tedious sub-minimum-wage gigs I have been doing all the freaking time to cover the bills and the eBay auctions of artworks for customers that I make no more than $2/hour on or so, at best, and thinking “Why can’t I try to pare this back? Do I really think this is the best use of my time? Is this what most of my audience actually wants to see me doing?”
And the answer’s definitively a NO.
The audience here wants:
-Games, Videos, Comics, Artworks, and assorted creative stuff available to everyone, either dirt cheap or ideally completely free, and they want that stuff soon, they don’t want to wait forever for the content to materialize.
Now, there’s actually a way to make that happen. It’s a simple well-worn concept that underlies a ton of things from broadcast TV networks, to Google, Facebook, Twitter, to the various blogs you see across the web.
The problem with ads on a website is that for them to be viable, you need a LARGE and LOYAL audience – a lot of people visiting regularly.
I’m only currently at 1% of the level needed for the ad revenue to be substantial enough to replace my need to sell products or work on freelance gigs [transcription & such].
At the threshold of 100x as many visitors as I’m getting now, advertising covers everything on my network.
At or above that threshold, none of the products [videos, games] I release need to be anything other than freeware.
All the games – free, 100%, and production would double in speed across the board… on everything I’m doing.
I WON’T BLUDGEON YOU WITH REQUESTS TO VISIT MORE OFTEN OR RECRUIT A BUNCH OF FRIENDS SIMPLY FOR THIS REASON.
I want to instead entice you to do that with some cool stuff that’ll make you WANT to come back often and which will make this network EASY to recommend to friends.
So here’s my idea. The last two weeks I earned a fair amount of cash.
The next 3 weeks, I’ll work on wrapping up some exciting things, actually finishing or at least getting to a point of viability, on a few new items you’re all getting tired of waiting for.
Then the final week of February, if all goes well:
-a large but finely tuned ad campaign will draw a few thousand new visitors to my web network.
-systematic restructure of my web network, new content appearing in various places.
-New video material, all the House Trek stuff and a couple of other things too, posted on HornbostelVideos.com, with a higher-quality disc version [with animated menus and special feature stuff] available on this website’s shop for $2.99 download or $11.99 DVD / 14.99 BluRay.
-Some added comics stuff and completion of the several articles sub-sections that are still vacant.
-A new batch of pyrotechnics elements, both real video content and some clips done with advanced gas/fluid simulation, in the stock media section.
The material’s all shot or simulated at 120fps, and slowed down to 24fps and 30fps variants. The free video files will be reduced-resolution 960×540, the paid versions 1920×1080. [full HD!] and the paid versions will show up on HornbostelProductions.com for $5.99 as downloadable content on HornbostelProductions.com, $14.99 on DVD on HornbostelProductions.com, or $16.99 shipped on a data DVD through eBay. (I was considering a $14.99 price on eBay too, but given the typical fees I have to pay there, which come close to 20%, $16.99 is basically As low as I can justify.)
I’ve ordered two new additional high-speed cameras, and will be setting up some black backing, reflective mirrors [really it’s a nice clean thick cardstock type material with a very reflective mirror-like coating on one side sort of like aluminum foil without wrinkles.] set at 45-degree angles, telephoto lenses, fireproofing supplies, etc, for the recording of the real-world pyrotechnic elements. All the equipment required is en route, and I’ll try my best to make the recorded material look amazing. The idea with the mirrors is to minimize risk to the camera. These are old-school Hollywood methods basically, you can set the mirror above or below the effect and align the camera to focus on the mirror, so you get the explosion billowing towards the camera in some interesting ways without actually endangering the camera. As for shooting at 120fps, that makes the effect look bigger and more impressive [and makes it last 4x longer when reduced to 30fps or 5x longer at 24fps] than the limited-scale effect it actually is. Recording at such high speed allows a miniature to move physics-wise as though it were 16 times bigger than it actually is, giving the illusion of immense scale and mass. The effects in question will only be four or five feet or so in size at most, in reality and will dissipate within two seconds. But they’ll seem far bigger as recorded, gigantic even, and the effects elements could each last up to 8-10 seconds when played back at a typical speed.
-New game content. I’ve had some frustration with WebGL releases from Unity as they were tricky to debug at times, and WebGL apps require that the game files AND the RAM usage fit within a 1GB limit, to run in a web browser. That said, I am now realizing that these limitations aren’t so bad if used for a lower-res demo version of an ambitious game and not a full-res one. So my plan is to release some of my game content in WebGL form, but with quarter-res graphics. That is, all textures switched on export to half the vertical and half the horizontal pixel count they’d ordinarily use. That reduces file size and memory use on all these projects from around 2-4 GB to under 1GB as far as web-embedded release goes.
So I’m aiming to launch a lower-res ‘Miniature Multiverse’ demo and a bit of other stuff like an early ‘Vivid Minigolf’ reworking posted in HTML5 WebGL form near the end of Feb. 2018, barring an unplanned complication. Neither is the full game feature wise or content wise, they’re both early beta releases with a lot of the content not yet included, and lower-res textures. They will, however, be freeware, and playable on my web network [embedded in the page, with a bit of ad stuff underneath.]
The idea on most of the games, videos, everything, is it is all going to be accessible free in some form, either the full, entire version for free, as with the comics, or some sort of reduced-resolution form, but otherwise as functional as the full version in the case of video and video game content.
If this succeeds, that’d be great. I’m hoping ongoing traffic levels have climbed 10-fold by end of February, covering a full 10% of my production costs, and that most of the other 90% of my costs in running this network can be covered by sales of high-value products that have better profit margins than before either because they don’t involve shipping [downloadables] or because they’re high quality enough and widely viewed enough that they end up selling for a bit more than they would have before.
Update: There’s been an extensive ad campaign ramping up – and fortunately 200+ people have viewed the stock media section of TriumphantArtists.com just in the past 72 hours.
By the time of launch, I think that figure will be more like 1200-1500, and I’m optimistic that the new pyrotechnic stock media / stock footage collection, which will have cost me a bit over $250 in incendiary materials, other materials and camera gear, will ultimately result in an explosion of sales. [Pun intended]
If you’re at all interested, over the next week I am about to start posting a batch of new listings on Etsy and ArtFire. Just FYI, there have been a number of people with bad experiences selling & buying on these platforms, so if something goes wrong and, for example, one of these shops runs into a glitch or the shop suddenly shuts down for no good reason, just know it’s the platform’s decision and their screw-up, not mine. I’ll do my best to handle my shops here with integrity but realistically there are some things I cannot control, like the other sellers [who may cheat you in some cases, or sell shoddy knock-off items that are mass produced in China and not really artful or ‘handmade’] and the decisions of the venue owners. So be careful to buy carefully from vendors within these markets who you know have some sort of good track record – either positive ratings right there or elsewhere. In my case? I do not yet have a clear track record on these shops but I DO HAVE A SOLID 170+ RATINGS ON eBay. And they’re all positive, 100% of them.
You should expect similar outcomes on my other shops, great items, inexpensively priced, with good customer service. And if I do somehow screw up, and overlook something, I’ll do what I can to rectify the mistake. This – delays in shipping or other screw-ups – can happen once in a while due not to malicious intent but simply because I am busy with many customers and things occasionally fall through the cracks.
I have actually been rated negatively on eBay a handful of times but in each case I managed to resolve the complaints involved. I ended up refunding the sale amount, apologizing profusely for the late/damaged item which had trouble in the shipping process… or in one case an item was not quite what the customer was looking for visually. All of these were issues I did try my best to resolve and on these rare occasions, the customers ended up retracting their negative ratings of my shop, usually replacing them with positive ones. The same willingness to exceed customer expectations, and resolve problems even if it means I lose money on the sale, will apply on every shop I run, whether it’s Etsy or ArtFire or eBay or my own shop here on this website.
I am also aiming to post new stuff on my own shop the week after that. This should include some really cool things that I’ve put a ton of work into. Watch for that. Oh – and by the way – there are a couple of amazing eBay auction this week too and they end in a couple of days.
They’re for custom made to order art and the opening bids are under $3 on both listings. You might want to jump in on that!
UPDATE: eBay auctions relisted and the first of the new art items has been posted on Etsy.
Recapping the recent events of February 2017, just the last month, to remind everyone that despite appearances, a lot of updates do actually happen on my web network if you keep looking:
-eBay auctions with low starting bids continue. Look at these three in particular, especially the top two as they’ve gotten relatively few views so far compared to the third but are nonetheless impressive value:
-The new batch of polls continue to go largely ignored by website visitors. I’ve gotten *hundreds* of visitors to my websites in the past week, over 700 actually, but the polling page seems to be a bit hard for them to find for whatever reason. It’s a shame, too, given the amazing opportunity for the few who actually take a look at that page.
-Membership options just launched. There are some stupendous perks to being a subscriber and signing up for a Premium Membership status here.
The most obvious is free shipping while a member and 15% or more off all HornbostelProductions.com store items. You could get some great bargains on handmade art doing that right now. $4.99/year for 15% or more off everything, and a list of other extras. Really reasonable.
-The VFX section of Articles were just recently posted. There are four new articles on TriumphantArtists.com, and they are all in that category.
-Still Art section has a few new images and is now sortable. You can now view the artworks I’ve made, organized by year, art medium, or size.
-Ground work laid for some big stuff updated in the next 30 days. As in, major news related to ‘Spiral Skies’, release of House Trek content, and a new batch of HD stock footage, as well as more comics stuff, finally a new vlog entry, and continued expansion of the articles section with even more valuable information. There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes and it’ll be publically revealed over time.
-That goofball auction of five hours of my time. Nobody bid, but I am not really surprised given the brevity of the auction. It was kind of an experiment and it failed. Time to move on. Maybe I’ll try that idea again later on with a longer build up beforehand.
-The Vineyard Video Leisure Group is now moving closer to fruition. I posted a teaser image for it just this evening. [See previous post]
You can show your support for my work by becoming a paid member, for a really low price.
You’ll find it’s actually a very impressive bargain given that all the products on the HornbostelProductions.com shop are 18% off or more for members, with free shipping also.
I know, I know, the auction thing I tried last week didn’t go well. I figured it was worth a shot. Maybe I’ll try it again in a month and see if anyone is interested then. A lot of ideas have been suggested to move my creative work forward – and most of them have been underwhelming. Ad revenue? Less than $2 per month at best, even with a few thousand regular visitors, so not a viable option. Art sales work great, on eBay, but that fluctuates wildly and eBay’s fees aren’t great. The subscription option I’m opening up for you here right now, plus the poll I mentioned earlier, seems like a good way to smooth that out – encouraging people to buy on the HornbostelProductions.com shop instead of eBay, by giving everyone great deals. It’s worth a shot and I’m optimistic about how it’ll end up playing out.
I’ve offered the winner of the auction I just posted, a chance to redirect five hours of my time on the morning of Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, to the project of their choice.
So this is a chance to ‘put your money where your mouth is’.
If you voted in the poll (see previous post) and you felt strongly about a particular project, you can get me to commit five hours of work to it this Friday for as little as $0.01. (Seriously, the opening bid is actually a penny, for five hours of my time.)
You do not want to ignore this!
My morning of Friday, Feb. 24, 2017
My first five hours of personal work on Friday, February 24th, are on sale, and the winning bidder may choose what project I commit them to.
It has occurred to me that I not only have $7500 in funding to raise between all my unique projects, and that it'd take 3 1/2 years to fund them all at the current rate, but that I have an additional issue of time as a limited resource.
Think about your favorite highly anticipated project you've been waiting forever for me to finish. The one that you probably ranked a '10' in my poll on Triumphant Artists.com. You've seen that sit mostly on the backburner for months or years and want it done faster. Now you can toss a few pennies in the ring as a bidder, and say, for example, for $0.01 (one freaking penny!) I could convince Matthew to put five more hours of work into the specific project I am actually excited about.
So you may have been waiting forever for 'Isola' to actually be done. I hear you on that. So you place a penny towards that.
But then, someone else wants to push for 'Vivid Minigolf', for example, and raises the bid to two cents. And on and on it goes. Some of you want me working heavily on other things altogether, maybe a particular video project, or what have you. It could even turn into a small scale bidding war!
So the former scouts from Troop 4 who want me focused on the T4 comics and videos, might face off against the Missio Dei/Redeemer people who want me to resume work on the virtual tour of the old church which is now being sold off, and they in turn might face off against adventure gamers hoping for 'Panoramic Worlds' or a certain fangame, or fan-created world, versus some friends who want a movie like 'Eutopia' improved, and even they could get pitted against the family members who want '1999' done right NOW.
Heck, if the bidding goes above $4.95, or $0.99/hour, at that point I'll even open this up to a roster of tasks that are your project, not really at all mine* which might include:
-graphics elements for your web page
-a video vfx shot or two for your video project.
-photo editing of some pictures you want modified
-an online meetup, over an online voice/video chat, to discuss a topic that you want help with or are interested in. (tutoring, interviews, whatever.)
-a 3D model for a game you're developing.
-general-purpose video editing and audio editing/clean up.
-editing passes on a written story/work/article offering proofreading and feedback.
-roughly a few seconds of cartoon animation or about a page of comic/graphic novel content based on your ideas.
and pretty much anything else creative work wise, that uses the 5 hours of time but does not use up physical materials [that] would cost me money.
IF THIS GENERATES ANY REASONABLE BURST OF BIDDING ACTIVITY, I WILL DO THIS AGAIN ONCE A WEEK. If that occurs, it could amount to 20 hours sold a month, or 100 hours in the next five months, enough to make a major dent in even the biggest projects, assuming the same person keeps winning the auctions most of the time.
Note that you will be asked to - upon winning - pay the auction end amount using PayPal.
Starting at $0.01
- Ending Date - 23rd Feb 2017 18:00:00
- Ships to - nowhere - no shipping
- Location - Houston, TX
Payment must be made using the following method
|PayPal||Auction winner will get a PayPal payment link via email.|
Date the below entry was originally posted – June 21, 2016. If you don’t know why the old copy was lost, check this post: Website Port and SSL upgrade completed
The price of items on the shop here will be based on the eBay ‘Buy it Now’ pricing, with typically only a slight 1-4% reduction in price per item. That’s not thrilling in itself.
The good news is there are a ton of additional discounts planned – discounts for repeat customers, aka loyalty rewards, and also if you refer friends to the blog, there’s a discount. If there’s a sale going on, then there’s another discount on top of that. You’ll even be able to join our affiliate program, which means if you refer somebody to the shop, and they buy something, you get a small percentage of the sale amount!
Basically, I will want the people who are fans of my work – the content on TriumphantArtists.com, PanoramicWorlds.com, etc, to spread the word about this shop because if it takes off I could potentially raise a lot of cash – enough to finish a long list of lingering projects that I really want to complete.
The first sale on the shop will be an opening ten-day sale – from June 22 to July 2. There’ll also be a one-day sale on July 4th on a few items, but the broader sale will be in the initial ten day timeframe.
-Local event services. If you want some sort of service in the Houston, TX area, especially near the 77023 zip code, such as videography of a special event, mural/wall/large surface painting, or group events/workshops, I will make some of those services available through the shop.
-Unique miniatures in N scale. Got a special place in mind that you want recreated in miniature? I can actually craft a miniature replica of a special location chosen by you. You might want your home recreated in miniature, or some other local building there is no premade kit for. The item can be sent ‘as is’ on a flat surface, for integration into a model railroad layout, or it can be placed in a display case with a painted backdrop, or it can be embedded in a snowglobe! Pricing and other details will be viewable on the shop before too long. The miniature category will also include a lot of premade designs to choose from.
-DVDs and Blu Rays with either video content or interactive media/games… found nowhere else and made by me!
-Prints of handmade art I’ve designed, i.e. posters and postcards and other similar items.
Date the below entry was originally posted – June 21, 2016. If you don’t know why the old copy was lost, check this post: Website Port and SSL upgrade completed
ORIGINAL POST CONTENT:
Hi everyone! Welcome to my WordPress blog! I had a minimalist blog planned here before but this is arguably simpler to maintain, searchable, and, well, just better than coding my own blog by hand. You can comment if you want to, or subscribe via RSS, or search the blog posts for relevant content. I will also be setting up a shop here with WooCommerce, as a supplement to my eBay and Etsy storefronts. Let’s face it, eBay is charging a lot of fees, and I can trim the prices down by about 4% for anyone who buys here instead – and, in some cases, maybe even more than that! I sell unique handcrafted artworks in acrylic, pastel, colored pencil, and other media, but I also offer services as a video editor, vfx artist, 3d artist, miniature artist, and web designer. You should definitely bookmark this site as things are going to be very interesting very soon.
Good news: SSL encryption is fully functional on all parts of HornbostelProductions.com, the domain (shop, etc) is fully secured with 2048-bit encryption and certification from a respected certificate authority [Comodo]. The domain and WP installation has been relocated as well to my new hosting platform, and that means enhanced load times and improved performance.
Bad news: All the shop product listings and blog posts from 2016 are gone. Just completely, totally and bafflingly gone. I’ll do what I can to quickly recreate some of that content but it won’t be 100% identical, so just be aware of that. This is incredibly frustrating but I’m not sure what I can really do to fix it at this point.
The shop and everything else here should be rebuilt in some form over the course of the next week.
[EDIT – SILVER LINING]
On January 30th, 2017, I reverted the domain to its old format for about four hours, just long enough to recover and screen capture all the old blog post content and shop data. I will now recreate all of that content, for the most part, tonight. It won’t all be 100% identical in format – certain details are unavoidably changing like the coded date of the post – but pretty much the same in most respects.