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Drawn By Pain Screening and the Psychic Income Factor

October 5, 2008

Whenever I tell people about The Hayley Project, I usually get the question, “How do you make money off of it”? For a while, I used to give the tired “web 2.0 advertising is everything” spiel (even though I know it’s a crappy business model unless you’re a major aggregating force).

As I thought more about it, I realize that for most creators, monetization of content is less a driving force than the “psychic income” they receive when they create something. The journey in creating a start-up, a film, a novel, etc. for entrepreneurs is a rewarding experience in itself (not to say there isn’t major obstacles and low points too).

Last night, I attended the Drawn By Pain screening at Tribeca Cinemas. The 12-part season was edited together into one feature length film (the cinematic style really looks great on a bigger screen). Jesse Cowell screened this for what I estimate is a couple hundred people in two theaters. Pending film festivals, this was the final screening for a journey that started several years ago for himself and Erica Langworthy (the animator who animated about 15,000 frames in her “spare” time). During the reception, Jesse took Q&A and it was evident how passionate he was about his film. It was never so clear to me that filmmakers are by nature entrepreneurs. And any entrepreneur will tell you that this creation-oriented spirit is the driving force in their persona.

Of course, indie filmmakers are always going to want to make money off of their projects. They need to pay the rent, bills, etc. But I think a lot of them also recognize that the idea of getting rich off of a project isn’t why they do what they do. The psychic income is what really drives entrepreneurs.

And that’s why when industry analysts keep saying it’s really hard to make money from the online video category, it’s not going to discourage people from making web series. Many filmmakers are going to look at their first web project as a loss leader. They may not make money off of their first project, but they have the joy of creating something that will be seen by an audience. And hey, if it takes off, then the money will come in their next project.

Check back to the drawn by pain site as I’m sure they’ll put up photos, etc of last night’s screening.

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