Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How to make money with Machinima.

Sorry for the catchy title and sure this is no post on how to get rich with making machinima movies. I just want to write about an idea I had a while ago and which came back into my mind through the start of the Flattr service. Flattr is a social micropayment platform that lets you show love for the things you like. One of the main restriction we have with Machinima is that we are not allowed to use it commercially since most of the time we use games or content that doesn't allow that. We are happy that at least we can publish our movies, but earning any income from them is tough. Most of the time we don't care about that because we make movies because we love it and earn our money elsewhere. But wouldn't it be nice to be able to pay some bills with money income based on your creative work we like that much and maybe some day make a living just by by creating machinima movies?
So how does it work? The basic idea goes back to an interesting talk on Linux and Open Source development at a conference years ago. It draws a close connection to Open Source and 'Gift economy'.
"A gift economy (or gift culture) is a society where valuable goods and services are regularly given without any explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards". Of course I don't want to see the society as a whole to change, nor do I want to replace money (maybe it might need some changes how money is used in our society). The main point about a gift that is important is that what we receive (the gift) is in no direct connection to what we create (the movies). And we are already part of kinda gift econony, since all our movies, blog posts etc. are already gifts to the society. So we only need to extablish a way that others are able to send us gifts (money prefered) as well to support us. It's different from asking for money (support) for a next movie project or in exchange to any benefit like access to bonus, HQ version , etc. It has to be a pure gift and as the said above 'without any explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards'. Only that way any commercial relation to the movies is removed. That way we can create our movies using any game/tool we like and still have the opportunity to pay our bills.
The main problem is still how to rise the awarness about this new way to support our work. A platform like Flattr might help, but maybe we find other ways to establish different, more creative way for others to make them aware that we are accepting gifts as well. This will not solve any problem with machinima, we are still bound to IP based problems when we want to send the to some festivals or even show on or sell it to TV. And of course there are some things I don't like about the Flattr platform, but I see it as a start and I hope more services like this will arise that will help us making some money with machinima.

Edit: I actually managed to get part of Flattr beta. If you like you can now Flattr me below. Thank you for your support. Let me know if you need an invite to test this platform as well.