Adjusting My Platform Direction a Bit
I’ve had a slowly emerging epiphany concerning the direction I want to take my platform. It came into sharp focus yesterday. One of the pieces was the process of building a backdrop (dungeon) so I can take better pictures of my Colossus, and then I had the idea of making it multi-purpose so I could use it as a booth for conventions as well. That got me seriously researching foam carving techniques for rocks and ruins. Previously I’d always used heave super strong material like apoxie sculpt for that sort of thing. But researching that lead me to more info on dioramas. Now… I’ve always LOVED dioramas. I’ve started and failed to finish several of them throughout my life. (The pictures here are all very old and I'd like to think future projects would be much better.) But haven’t tried again seriously until recently. Thanks to the internet and YouTube there’s an endless well of free, high quality education on the artform.
That’s where part two of my epiphany came from. I came across a diorama channel called Luke Towan that has 632 thousand subscribers. For some reason I thought the upper limit on art tutorial channels (that aren’t hosted by hot young women) was maybe 50K. But now, knowing that a diorama channel can get above half a million, that’s getting me thinking.
I’m looking at this category and seeing how my personal brand and style could help me stand out in that field. Granted, there may be something about the psychology of that demographic that finds me and my style/brand off putting, but the opportunity is THERE. I think a big chunk of that demo is middle-aged and up men who build model railroads. (I’m guessing they won’t like me just because of the way I look.) But I think there’s also a substantial chunk that are tabletop gamers, and THOSE folks are prime candidates for being interested in my fantasy books about Talifar, which I hope to be the end-game of my life’s work.
The final piece of the epiphany was the process of putting together a list of dioramas I’d love to do for Talifar. THIS is EXACTLY the kind of natural cross promotion I was hoping to discover. Before, I had this vague notion of doing art tutorials and occasionally throwing in a “buy my book” call to action. But having the projects I’m tutorializing be fundamentally part of the world I’m creating, there’s not way NOT to mention the books and talk about the scenes I’d be building.
Here’s 3 things I think I’d bring to that space that I don’t see a lot of.
1. Scientific notes on WHY things like rocks and ruins look the way they do. I’ll need to find a balance so that the video’s don’t end up seeming like lectures, but I think this kind of stuff can add flavor that almost anyone would appreciate. Since I love geology so much this will be a natural expression and excitement for the creative process.
2. Sculpting skill. This could potentially be a downside since most of the audience will not have this skill, so that could make the builds less approachable. I have one idea about how to address this though. And that’s to include a non-artist in the videos, and part of the video will show me teaching them (and by-proxy, the viewers) key techniques so that viewers will feel like they could do what I’m doing with enough practice.
3. My “brand”. Which is a lot of dorky humor, off the cuff ad-libs, and my general teaching style. I’ve built up a lot of confidence in this pillar of my brand because the vast majority of comments under my videos complement me and many of them say I’m by far the best teacher on the subject they’ve ever had. Again, the demographic for diorama art my generally prefer the drier presentation that pervades that space, but on the other hand, maybe my brand will pull in a whole ‘nother demographic slice that the current channels don’t tap.
All this to say, I’m SUPER EXCITED right now. I’m on the tail-end of a two week stay-cation and I’ve been KILLING IT in the getting-things-done-department. I’ve purposefully limited my game time by NOT starting a big AAA videogame like I usually do on stay-cations and that has made a world of difference. Also, this week I just let my body/mind dictate my sleep schedule and that has been incredibly freeing and energizing. I normally feel like I’m suffering injury from waking up and getting out of bed. (I’m not exaggerating.) It’s not a mental thing. I’m almost always happy and excited about the day, I just feel like absolute crap when I wake up, no matter how much or how little sleep I get. I recently read an article that explained that a normal person’s brain starts releasing some chemical that makes people feel good when they wake up after having enough sleep. But some percentage of the population doesn’t get that chemical. I’m clearly in that percentage. But “this morning” (which today was 5pm) I woke up and felt… fine. Like, just ready to get out of bed and start working. Turns out my body is not tuned to the rotation of the planet or business hours. It wants to stay up for 20-something hours, then sleep for 12-ish hours. Makes me really wish I could make this book, art, YouTube thing my full time career. But now with a more clear strategy for the channel, I’m feeling like my chances of that happening went from 0.01% to something like 3.02% Wish me luck!