Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Freeplay 2012 - More Than Just Studios


The Freeplay Independent Games Festival 2012 could not have happened without the hard work of all its organisers, sponsors and volunteers, they deserve many thanks. All work and words are copyrighted their respective owners and effort has been made to accurately record every speaker and the content presented. These notes are not from any official channel associated with Freeplay and are for the purposes of providing information.

All notes are available in full via: Dropbox (PDF Download). The PDF will be updated in the next few weeks so check back if you need updates.



Ben McKenzie, Tim Webster, Harry Lee, Emily Sexton & Helen Stuckey (chair)

Tim Webster
- Alternative funding models change the way we create
                - Government grants/funding
                - Australia Culture fund (Australia Business Arts fund)
                - Support from networks (friends, family, and community)
- Lessons learned
                - With crowdfunding or peerfunding, no one cares about your idea because they care about you
                - Your project is only part of the story

Harry Lee
- Evolution of a monoculture
                - Looking at people based on their success, business models etc.
                - This is problematic
- Look outside the AAA model
- Look at
                - Art games
                - Serious games
                - Academia

Ben MacKenzie
- Comedians (and actors) works their way up the ladder by performing for charity or low fees
                - This leads to better work E.g.  corporate gigs
- This can be contentious
- You need to make your presence felt
- Diversity of practise can be beneficial
- Avoid studio model of repeated tasks
- Learn different skills and deal with different situations
- Clients may want same sensibility etc. but want different dressing
- Develop a client base

Emily Sexton
- Most artists are interdisciplinary
- Spectrum of how artists spend time and expectation towards pay

- Visual artists rarely expect money
- Classical musicians expect an hourly wage
- When is working for free an investment and when is it exploitation?
                - Depends on school of learning/discipline
                - Do you come from Art for Art's sake or Entertainment stream?
- The government can fund some things
                - More likely to get funded if you can describe clearly and if you are organised
- Advice
- Find supportive context to place practise
- Be wise to choices between independence and dependence
                - E.g.  Understand collaboration between supporters
- Have open and frank discussions about expectations, boundaries and work loads

Helen Stuckey
- Get a good tax accountant
- Places to look for funding (Queensland versions included)
                - Australia Council
                - Screen Australia
                - Arts Victoria or Arts Queensland
                - Film Victoria or Screen Queensland
                - Signal or The Edge's Catalyst and Residency programs or try for the next Queensland New Media Scholarship

Models for producing work
                - Be honest about what kind of work you want to make
                - Find work/life balance

Funding and IP Management
- Pick team carefully
- Don't spread self too thinly
- Have an honour system
- Be clear what agreements are in place
- Be upfront
- Know who to acknowledge
- If financial terms aren't clear, start a conversation
- Figure how much you should be charging
- Reject people who are exploiting you unless you are comfortable with the terms

Keeping your vision
- Consider arts (intermedia arts) funding
- You may need to compromise if getting funding from governing bodies
- Break projects into smaller projects
                - Create iteratively
                - You may not be able to fit everything in one project but it may form the basis for the next
- Create things in a context
- Think about resources, budgets etc
- Think about audience
                - Why are you making it?
                - What do you want to do with it?

Building Teams
- Collaborations
- Share and maintain vision with team members
- Discuss openly and clearly
- Have good paperwork (contracts)
- Communicate directly with your funding bodies
- Read paperwork carefully so requirements are met

- Define what makes you happy
                - Is it a project for you (the artist) or for someone else?
                - Work as a producer or director is considered more stable
- Do paid work can help future funds
- Architect studios work to this model of 2 types of projects they take on
                - The ones that generate income
                - The ones that offer challenging design opportunities

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