Watching: Vividcon (Only Not) – You by lolachrome

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First, before we get started with today’s blog post, I’m very happy with THIS REVIEW of Earthly Desires from jeayci at Reviews by Jessewave! 4.5 out of 5 stars!

“Once upon a time, there was an m/m romance that with its first paragraph transported me to that magical realm of fairy tales. This story is beautifully written, almost lyrical in its flow, like the fairy tales of yore. This was a light (ha!), fun, engaging story. Great for a beach read, a comfort read; one of those moments you want something you know will make you laugh, smile, and feel good.”

Read the rest of the review and, if you haven’t already done so, I won’t stop you if you wanted to buy the book. 😉  Now on to a beautiful vid!

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I’m not linking to Lola’s Vividcon video (yet) because the vid that she released just before she left for the con is breathtaking. For the record, I don’t watch Glee (anymore) but I still thought this vid was not only gorgeous but also spoke volumes about the character of Kurt. However, what really got to me was the way it spoke on a meta-level to the difficulty still attached to achieving one’s dreams when a person doesn’t perfectly fit the gender stereotypes. Yet, Kurt is resilient…his love may be too big for us yet, but he doesn’t quit. There he goes again.

Title: You
Summary: My love’s too big for you my love. A Kurt character study, with help from Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, and Lady Gaga, to name just a few.
Warning: Spoilers through Season 3

Links of interest about this vid:
1) This vid was dedicated to the life of Alex Doty who passed away. Lola links to his work of analyzing Glee.
2) Annotations and credits as well as other information on the making and inspiration of the video.
3) The video on Archive of Our Own
4) Kurt and the Casting Couch— To quote this amazing analysis:

The central contradiction at work here was the assertion that Kurt could not be an object of erotic attraction for women and girls, when in fact, beyond Glee’s textual confines, the opposite is true. Female (and many gay-identifying) fans eroticize Kurt/Chris Colfer constantly — more than any other character on Glee – at his concerts and in countless online fan sites. Kurt/Chris is a nexus of identification and desire for fans worldwide, and it is precisely his unique blend of feminine and masculine characteristics – his genderqueerness– that audiences find erotic about him. It is also what cultural authorities find discomfiting. Colfer is both feminine and an out gay man, and his popularity proves that his femininity and gayness do not preclude his eroticization; fan reactions to Colfer are notably not those of mere “tolerance” or “acceptance” but rather of passionate love and unbridled enthusiasm for the new queer erotics that he embodies.

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My favorite parts:

1. The opening. Because, really, how delicately she prepares our brain for the introduction of additional/older source material.
2. The Hepburn moments, the James Dean red jacket, the Gene Kelley and Fred Astaire all mixed up with Kurt and Blaine, and, gosh, okay, just the whole thing. There’s not a bum note in this video.

If you watched, I’d love to hear your thoughts, or for you to share your favorite parts in the comments below. 🙂

Kickstarter, Publishing, and the Fans Kicking In A Buck

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Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman from a photo shoot by Kyle Cassidy

So, I was reading In Defense of Expensive Things by Kyle Cassidy, in which he clarifies a few things about his involvement in Amanda Palmer’s Kickstarter Project for her new album. I thought it was a great post, and it was posted either on the same day, or near to the same day as a Facebook post from Independent Musician Casey Stratton in which he said, “My new single EP is still holding as the #2 seller on Bandcamp! It is a really great feeling. Thanks so much to everyone who has purchased it. Like a version of a Kickstarter – you can buy the music for $5 or add extra to help me with the new album fund. “The Calling of the Crows” will be released on May 16.” (Casey Stratton’s EP, When the Fates Came)

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The two posts in close succession led me to start thinking about pricing in the e-book market, and suddenly I wondered if there might be some benefit to giving the customer the option to pay more. I know that sounds odd, but the truth is, if I’m buying anything from Bandcamp, I almost always toss in an extra dollar over the requested price (sometimes more if I really like the artist or I know them a bit like I know Casey), simply because it doesn’t cost me that much to feel extra good about myself for giving back a bit more to the artist.

So, I started thinking, I wonder if e-book publishers could feasibly consider doing that? I mean, yeah, maybe 90% of buyers won’t use the option, but if 10% do that’s just found money basically, right? And perhaps the author gets a higher percentage of that money than they do for the regular price of the book since the assumption could reasonably be made that the reason someone is willing to chip in more is due to liking the author’s previous work or due to the author’s reputation.

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Another thing I started thinking — is there something like Bandcamp for authors? Like a place where someone can sell their own book but also allow the possibility for someone paying more for it? Is that what Smashwords is like? A fast google tells me that, yes, Smashwords does seem to do that: https://www.smashwords.com/ But I think a problem with Smashwords might be that it’s too broad. They have everything there.

As a tangential but related thought, the thing with Kickstarter is that it’s all about trust. If you fail your supporters then it’s no good, but I think that it’s a game changer in the world for a lot of reasons. Like, for example, the Husbands folks have basically funded their entire 2nd season through Kickstarter? And, of course, there’s the Amanda Palmer example. But if you can get enough of a following to by-pass the industries? Wow, you know? That’s amazing. Of course, Amanda Palmer (and Husbands folks) couldn’t have gotten that following without the help of the industry and where that’s gotten them. Amanda Palmer was on labels, etc, for a long time to get her loyal fanbase. Cheeks (Brad Bell) from Husbands gained fame the hard way, via YouTube, etc, and basically made nothing from that for a long time, but Husbands has Jane Espensen behind it which gives it credibility, and she was involved with Buffy, etc, and now is on Once Upon a Time, so everyone knows she’s legit, and I think that’s why they were willing to give over some bucks to the project.

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Jane Espensen on the set of Husbands: The Series

I hope Tori Amos is eying this Amanda Palmer thing closely — she should be! She’s having so much trouble with the studios lately, but she has loyal and rabid fans. She could probably fund her next tour via Kickstarter, or at least part of it. Lord knows I’d kick in some bucks!
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By the way,  just a reminder that my new book with Keira Andrews can be purchased at both Ellora’s Cave and at amazon.com,

Want to Make Money? Give Them What They Want. Problem Solved.

In recent months, I’ve had a mish-mash of conversations with various people about some media related things that continue to baffle and confuse me. I cannot claim that all ideas within this post originated inside my own head. No doubt some of these thoughts were first espoused by another person participating in the discussion, but I don’t know that any of them actually want the attribution anyway. So, forging ahead!

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The worldwide television and movie industry have put their money and energy on shutting down online downloads, branding the people who download their shows as criminals (which perhaps they are; I don’t want to argue that point), and deciding that the thing to do is to try to shut down their behavior by enlisting the help of IP Providers. Here’s what I don’t get:

TELEVISION AND MOVIE INDUSTRY, WHY DON’T YOU JUST GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT?

And, no, I don’t mean just give them content for free. What I mean is, why not meet their actual needs/demands/wants and make a killing? I have as yet to see an earnest attempt from the industry to actually provide the public with what they want, instead they are trying to say, “No, you can only have what you want in the ways that we say you can have it, because the content is ours, ours, ours.” Well, fine, yes, it’s yours, yours, yours, but do you know nothing about human nature? People want what they want when they want it. If you find a way to give them that? You make money.

I remain utterly baffled by the industry’s unwillingness to face the future, stop trying to control the way people want their content delivered, and find a way to give them what they actually want.

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He just wants to watch Sherlock right now, before he gets spoiled on Tumblr, ffs!

What do your customers want?

a) They want content now.

Did Sherlock just go off the air on the BBC in England fifteen minutes ago? Guess what? People in the States want it now. They don’t want it in a year when it comes on BBC America, or whatever. They don’t want it in two hours. They want access to it now. And it’s not just people in the States. It’s folks in Germany, Australia, Japan, Canada, South America, etc, the world over!

So, wow. Here’s an idea. Provide them with your show now! Don’t make them wait. Because guess, what? Hackers gonna hack. They’re smarter than you. They’ve proved that again and again, and they will find a way around your attempts to strong arm them into being spoon fed your content on your schedule.

So, a hint to the wise! Stop saying, “That’s entitled behavior! You’re not entitled to my content! I can give it to you how I want because it is mine!” Okay, fine. That’s how you want to play it? All right. Then don’t be surprised when you have people stealing your product instead of obtaining it legally from you. Is it right for them to steal it? No. But you know what? People don’t always do the right thing, and many billions of dollars have been made by providing people with alternate ways of getting what they want without breaking a law. Figure that out.

b) They want content when they want it, whenever they want it, or even weeks from now.

They don’t want content to disappear on them. They live in a busy world. They have all the other input in their lives coming to them on demand, and they want their television the same way.

For example, in the U.S., ABC allows for people to watch some of their shows legally via streaming on their site. This is flawed in several ways — one, they make you wait to watch the show. You can’t see it as soon as it has aired on the television. But, more importantly, they only allow six episodes of any show up at one time. But there’s a problem. Some people get busy for months on end, and then when they want to legally catch up with their show? They can’t because ABC has taken down the episodes from the beginning of the season. They have to wait until the season comes out on DVD. Meanwhile, their friends at the water cooler or on Facebook are going on and on about how Once Upon A Time was amazeballs last night, omg, and next thing you know someone’s illegally downloading something.

I maintain that had there been a reasonable option for that content, one that actually met the wants of the content-provider’s customers, a person wouldn’t even be tempted to do that kind of thing.

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Why not provide your customers what they want? More importantly, what is so hard to understand about what they want? Why does the industry act like they simply can’t figure out how to deliver the goods or how people want their content delivered? Technologically there is nothing to stop them from meeting their customer’s desires for immediate content that doesn’t disappear. It is possible, so make it happen! It’s as though the industry thinks that people are out there saying, “I just love stealing! Eeee!” And, sure, probably a few are, but the majority would like a legal way to have their wants/needs met in terms of media delivery.

It has always been my understanding that business is about finding out what people want — and then giving it to them! Instead, what we’re seeing with the dinosaur of the television and movie industry is that they’re trying to control what people want. That doesn’t work. It simply does not work, and the sooner they figure that out, the sooner they can start to make money instead of being the victims of theft.

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The industry must willing to let go of the revenue stream they had planned so as to have the revenue stream that is waiting for them.

So, television and movie industry! Take note! More than 99% of people who download do not get some gleeful joy out of stealing something they’re not supposed to have access to. Most of them just want what they want, when they want it, and, yes, that’s entitled, but stop giving a damn about that, and find a way to make money by providing them with your content now. Stop trying to prosecute and criminalize and control, and instead embrace your customer and give him/her big sloppy wet kisses full of what they want. Surely that can’t be so very damn hard.

And then, everyone wins.