2016 Year's End Blog Part 3: Announcements
With a new year comes change, and we like to think we have a good amount of it coming up very soon in 2017. This final part of the Year's End Blog showcases our upcoming changes to the TOTF campaign. We are excited about change, and we hop you are as well!
welcome bryan nguyen to totf
A few months ago we were fortunate enough to bring on our friend Vince as the digital content/social media manager for TOTF. Shortly after his acceptance, he was given a fantastic career opportunity that was too good to pass up, so he, understandably, had to relinquish his TOTF responsibilities. So it is our pleasure to welcome our new Social Media Manager to TOTF: Bryan Nguyen.
Bryan is a good friend of ours who has avidly been following everything we do with TOTF and is always willing to help out and give feedback in any way that he can. He has a knack for social media and spreading the word, so we are excited to officially welcome him into the TOTF project. You also might have noticed that he wrote a TYT track for us a little while back as well, and that is because he actually works as a composer like we do!
In the future, he will serve as more of the online face of TOTF. He will be the one working all of the magic on our Facebook, Twitter, and some of YouTube. He has already begun to do so and is having a strong start. Please give Bryan a warm welcome, and thank him for all of the work he is putting in!
expanding our team even more...
As TOTF has grown immensely over the course of this year, so have our responsibilities. It is difficult to direct all aspects of such a diverse project when we are also creating a large part of it ourselves. Because of this, we will be making efforts to expand our team beginning after Episode III is released. We do not have many details to share yet, but we are discussing the positions we'd like to fill, including having full-time artists on the team to hopefully save money and invest it into new and exciting things for TOTF!
As we get closer to the release of Episode III, we will be sharing more about our recruitment efforts through our website. If you are a creative professional and would like to get involved, please stick around!
BIG PATREON CHANGES!
Since launching our Patreon, it has become the main source of funding for our content. Because of its importance to the survival of TOTF, we decided to take a look at everything about our Patreon model to see how we could improve it to make it more appealing to our TOTFans who aren't currently patrons and clarify our confusing model for anyone who is already a patron or is looking to join.
This video covers all of the Patreon changes discussed below. Feel free to watch the video or read the blog!
New "charge up front" model
This has been implemented recently. With this change, new patrons will be charged instantly for the month they signup when they become a patron. After that they will be charged the 1st of every month like existing patrons. A big reason for making this change is to cut down on exploitation of our content. Up until the change, you could have become a top tier patron, downloaded all of our content, and cancelled your membership, all without paying a dime. Another big reason for doing this is to clarify what we are calling "episode cycles." We will talk more about that soon, but first let's get to the big stuff.
patron tier changes
- The $5 and $10 tiers have been lowered to $3 and $5, respectively. This is to help patrons' expenses fall more in line of how much our content costs. $1 still remains $1. If you were previously a $5 or $10 patron, you now have the option to reduce your monthly contribution to $3 or $5. YOU'RE CONTRIBUTION WILL NOT CHANGE AUTOMATICALLY. YOU MUST DO THIS YOURSELF. Even if you choose to stil contribute $10/month, you will not receive a poster. If you were a $5 patron, you're contribution is still $5 but you are in the $3 tier. Keep in mind you can change your tier to the $5 tier and still be paying $5, and receive the $5 rewards.
- Patrons will be mentioned in the credits of any episode that they help fund. (We have retroactively done this on Episode II if you check our site store or Bandcamp.) This only seems fair to credit our patrons and thank them for making these episodes possible! PS: We use the name on your Patreon account for the episode credits.
- All 3 patron tiers now receive the Patreon-exclusive monthly tracks. Considering a track typically costs $1, it only made sense to allow all of our patrons access to these tracks, instead of just the top tier. IMPORTANT: Each monthly track will only be available from when it's released until the 5th of the following month (when the next one is released).
- $3 and $5 patrons will now only receive the episodes that they help fund. Currently, if you become a patron that qualifies for episodes, you will have access to our episode posts even though you did not help fund them. This will no longer be the case in the future. More on how that will work below...
- $5 patrons will have download access to the TOTF legacy tracks. This is no different than how it is now, but we are simply rebranding our singles (Prologue: Forgotten, Ground Zero, Hydrostasis, and Zsera Suite) as our "legacy tracks."
- With the change from $10 to $5, top tier patrons will no longer be receiving a poster after each episode is released. Due to a large part of our patrons being located internationally, shipping costs have proven to exceed our budget. It has also been a cloudy area when it comes to determining who should get a poster, considering our episodes are months apart and someone might not be a patron for the timespan that the episode is being created, proving unfair to others who have paid every month. But don't worry.. If you'd still like a poster, we will be selling them exclusively on our site store for $9.99 USD (excluding shipping) after each episode releases.
IMPORTANT NOTES, PLEASE READ:
- All existing monthly tracks and episodes will be removed from Patreon before January 1st to keep in line with our new model. If you helped fund Episode II, we will be working to create a Google Drive folder for you to access your download in the near future.
- Download access to Zsera Suite for all patrons will be removed before January 1st.
- WE REPEAT: If you were previously a $5 or $10 patron, you now have the option to reduce your monthly contribution to $3 or $5. YOU'RE CONTRIBUTION WILL NOT CHANGE AUTOMATICALLY. YOU MUST DO THIS YOURSELF. Even if you choose to stil contribute $10/month, you will not receive a poster. If you were a $5 patron, you're contribution is still $5 but you are in the $3 tier. Keep in mind you can change your tier to the $5 tier and still be paying $5, and receive the $5 rewards.
- We are actively trying to think of new rewards for $5 patrons. Because the legacy tracks are a one-time reward, we are looking for something else to give to the top tier for their contributions. If you have any ideas, please feel free to reach out to us!
episode cycles: how do they work?
In order to make content feel more exclusive and rewarding for patrons, we will only be distributing episodes to those who helped fund them. In order to do that effectively, we came up with what we call "episode cycles." We made a handy chart to explain how they work.
Basically, the day an episode is released is the day the next episode's cycle starts. All money raised from that day until the day before the next episode is released will be going toward creating that episode. If you make a payment to TOTF any time within that timeframe (and as long as you are in the $3 or $5 tier) you will receive the episode when it is released.
For example, if you become a patron for the first time in Episode IV’s cycle, you will only receive Episode IV once it’s released and subsequent episodes that you help to fund; you will not receive any episodes prior to IV. This will prevent exploitation of content and make longtime patrons feel more rewarded for their continued patronage.
"CHARGE UP FRONT" MODEL FOR CLARITY AND MORE OPPORTUNITY
As we stated above, with the implementation of the new “Charge up front” monthly payment plan, new patrons will be immediately charged their chosen donation value after becoming a patron. After that they will be charged the first day of every month like normal. This will rid of confusion as to when an episode cycle ends, and allow people to become patrons up until the day before a release and still receive that episode (because they will be charged immediately and thus technically still help fund that episode).
how is content delivered now?
With our new model, our content will be handled a little bit differently. This new delivery method aims to create more exclusivity in our Patreon community and make our patrons feel more rewarded for directly supporting us month-to-month.
- MONTHLY TRACKS - These will be delivered in the same way as they have been (through posts with the attached audio files on Patreon). The change we are making is that each month's track will only be available until the next one is released. When the 5th of the next month comes, the previous monthly track post will be deleted and the new one will be posted.
- EPISODES - Episodes will no longer be directly attached to Patreon posts as .zip files. Instead, if you helped fund an episode during its cycle (see above), you will be granted access to an exclusive Google Drive folder that contains the episode. On the episode's release day, we will make a post on Patreon that contains the link to the folder. Only the emails of those who helped fund the episode will be able to download the episode. Any requests to access the folder from others who did not help fund the episode will not be granted. If you do not have access to the folder and believe you should, please feel free to contact us and we will be in touch.
AND ONE MORE THING...
If you didn't catch it in the image above...Episode III will be released February 15, 2017 (for patrons) and February 22 for everyone else!
Thank you for an amazing 2016. We have come so far in such a short amount of time and it's all thanks to you. Our community has helped carry us to success and we couldn't be anymore grateful. If you have any questions regarding these changes please feel free to reach out. We hope you stick around in 2017 for more exciting TOTF things to come! Happy new year!
The TOTF Team