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Monday, March 21, 2016

Why I Became Tony Goldmark's Patreon Patron Patsy


Generosity was not one of the values I acquired growing up. Trying to change that though. From what I've learned, Paul McCartney is right: the more love you give, the more you get.

I'm pretty stingy with my money when it comes to charity or donations. I'm not sure where I got it from -- having a small allowance meant scrounging cents to buy the next $50 video game. I haven't paid for music since the Napster days, and Netflix provides me all the DVDs I need. DLC? Ha. Free-to-play? I'll wait the thirty minutes rather than pay a single cent.

Maybe it's because I'm so anxious, I keep everything saved for a rainy day, so when it comes, I remain comfortable. (If said rainy day is a nuclear apocalypse and money loses all value, I am screwed, but that's another story.) I don't get into debt. I don't borrow from anyone. If I get in a situation where I owe someone something, I'm a nervous wreck until it gets done.


In light of a free Internet, there's been an economic turn towards crowdfunding. Webcomickers, podcasters, and creative-types are turning to Patreon and Kickstarter to gain funds from the fans, rather than intrusive advertising. On one hand, this means you bypass the filter of network executives and craphead product placement. On the other, I'm getting everything for free anyway. There'll be plenty of YouTube shows to watch, whether I donate or not.

RELEVANT LINK: How do you get a guy like me to pay?

And not all my experiences with monetary giving have been positive. I've donated to three projects on Kickstarter. Storium, I donated enough to be a beta player. It was like online D & D, but without the dice-rolling. I found that the pace didn't suit me (either players didn't update or updated too frequently) and I stopped paying attention to it. The other two, "Wizard School" (a card game developed by Hank Green) and "Automata" (a live-action version of a Penny Arcade strip I particularly liked) are yet to come out. But they still deliver regular updates and I'm optimistic about the results. Both of these things had no problem getting funded.

But Patreon's different. You don't get a product at the end. You're making a continuing donation for continuing entertainment. Entertainment that gets posted anyway. If I give money or not, the maker is going to make stuff... most of the time.


Which comes to my bad experience. After The Spoony One and Channel Awesome parted ways, he set up a Patreon. I donated to his videos because I thought it would result in more videos, and felt this was worthwhile to spend money on. I should have realized the instability that led to his departure also trickled down to his work. For some reason, once his Patreon money started rolling in, his productivity landslided. Look at this page. Look at the huge gaps between videos, especially feature ones. And as far as I know, he hasn't fulfilled any of his milestones.

Now I'm not saying I'm in charge of what Spoony does with his money or his life. But if I'm giving away my hard earned money, I expect to see something as a result. It's not like I'm throwing money into a busker's guitar case. I'm providing funds in exchange for entertainment. He was one of the only producers to make me feel something. It's a rare occurrence for me to laugh out loud -- I'm on some steep anti-depressants. He's one of only three YouTubers who've made me do so. The other two are Nostalgia Critic and Some Jerk with a Camera.

Comic Book Guy in real life

I came to know of him from his crossover with Kyle Kallgren A.K.A. Oancitizen A.K.A. Brows Held High. Kallgren focuses on artistic, intelligentsia movies. Some Jerk, A.K.A. Tony Goldmark reviews theme park attractions - Disney stuff in particular. That translated to a full-length production compare/contrast with Jean Cocteau's "Le belle et la bete" and Disney's "Beauty & the Beast", including songs, guerilla shooting at Disneyland, and remarkable insight. It was something I've never seen before.

The crossover led me to watch all of his videos. The quality overwhelmed me. It seemed like I'd always be watching movie and video game riffs. Doomed to clones of Doug Walker and the Angry Video Game Nerd. What a delight to find something new. Something nostalgic, fun, precious, and memorable. Then you grind that into the ground with heaping doses of cynicism and parody.

And not only is it an innovative concept, but I can tell that, despite the negativity, Tony Goldmark really loves what he's doing. He loves the subject matter, he loves the material, he loves the creative act of producing. He loves to work. Not only is he examining the park rides, he's doing in-depth analysis on par with any historian. The history of EPCOT, Captain EO, the evolution of Star Tours, ABC's TGIF lineup going to Walt Disney World. It's black comedy, but strangely enthusiastic.

Also, the title cards are super cute

This is the future of news and editorials. Like John Oliver and Jon Stewart, it is quite possible to entertain as well as inform. I feel I've reached an age where people who are my peers, people my age who grew up with the same things, are now making their own movies and TV shows. And that's one of the benefits of getting older. And when he recently announced his Patreon, I thought what better to do with my Spoony money than to give to his contemporary.

I don't need to be such a cheapskate that I can't chip in a few books for a guy who works so hard. Who provides the kind of entertainment I like and want to see more of. Yes, there are plenty of others out there. But in this case, I vote with my dollar.


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