In the last few days, I've felt a bit like Ikki, the bronze saint of the Phoenix constellation from Saint Seiya. If you, like me, have been a great fan of the series since childhood, you'll know that Ikki excelled at two things: making dramatic entrances and spending endless episodes recharging his cosmos inside a volcano. In fact, for me, Covid has been a very similar experience: stuck for an indefinite time in a confined space with infernal temperatures.
However, I'm happy to announce that the moment when I can make an entrance worthy of Ikki is getting closer, as I've been feeling much better for a couple of days now! Of course, I'm still a bit battered, and my mucus production could satisfy the decade-long needs of the snail kingdom, but at least now I can complete a low-intensity activity (like making a plate of pasta with sauce) without wishing someone would rip my head off. I want to take advantage of this first glimmer of health to catch up with everything I had to put on hold in the last two weeks, and considering that a lot has happened, it's better to get a move on!
THE ORCS OF INNEATH
The first topic I want to address is, of course, the Orcs campaign, which ended just before I was hit by that Streetcar named Covid, and on which I haven't yet shared my thoughts with you.
It was tough, very tough. I would be lying if I said I am completely happy with the outcome of this campaign, but I believe you've gathered that too. The Orcs of Inneath was the Kickstarter campaign that collected the least, in terms of backers and money, and I'm still trying to understand the reasons that led to a result a bit below expectations.
Did I mess up the timeline? Did I mishandle the campaign? Did I make a mistake with the product itself?
As you can imagine, I've had many thoughts since the early days of the campaign, and the final result caught me a bit off guard, something that pricks my pride in itself.
I still believe that the Orcs of Inneath range is the best I've done so far, but it's clear that something didn't work as I hoped, and it will be important to understand what I need to improve in the future because, unfortunately, certain figures are not sustainable.
Note: When I say certain figures are not sustainable, I'm not talking about the funds needed for the production of the product itself but rather about my profit margin. Although a bit underwhelming, the campaign has still raised all the necessary funds to be produced and delivered to the best of my ability, so on that aspect, I want you to be reassured: there's no danger on the horizon.
When I set up a Kickstarter campaign, I always try to be very transparent about its management, so I want to take advantage of this post to help you understand a bit, from an economic perspective, the various facets hidden behind the cold numbers.
The initial funding goal (generally 9-10 thousand euros) that I set is the minimum amount I need to complete the project, using my emergency funds that I've set aside over the years of work. So, it's not an "invented" or fictitious figure, but it's still a really minimal amount to bring the product from Kickstarter to reality.
If the campaign reaches 25 thousand euros, generally, I can say that I have reached a level of "autonomous" sustainability, meaning the funds are sufficient to produce the product to the best of my ability, using only the money received during the crowdfunding campaign.
From 30 thousand euros and above, I can say that I start to earn something myself, net of taxes.
You'll understand that, based solely on the numbers of this campaign (there is still the pledge manager, which will bring new resources to the project), the situation is certainly serene, but my personal gain is almost negligible: I'll have the funds to replace my current camera, which is still a positive thing, but my wealth will certainly not increase.
I'm not a greedy person, even though I'm Ligurian, but after two years of work, I would have liked to be able to set something aside, which unfortunately will not happen with this project.
However, rather than complaining, I think it's important now to think about what to do in the future, understand where I went wrong, and try to create a product that is more appealing and sellable.
In short, it's a somewhat peculiar situation because, on the one hand, I believe that in the last 10 years I have greatly improved the quality of my products, but on the other hand, the sales feedback is starting to make me think. There's an elephant in the room, I'm sure of it, but at the moment, I don't think I can focus on it.
MONTE SAN SAVINO SHOW
My first edition at the Monte San Savino Show was, I dare say, providential. At first, I had some doubts about my participation because, coinciding with the last 3 days of the campaign, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to fully enjoy it. However, I must say that from an emotional point of view, it was a fantastic experience and distracted me from the limping progress of the Kickstarter campaign. I met old and new friends and immersed myself for 3 days in the pure essence of this hobby. At a time when I was a bit disappointed and bitter about the results of my commercial projects, I must say that reconnecting with everything I love about this industry was crucial to finding serenity and positivity again, as well as inspiration to immediately start churning out new ideas.
Sometimes events come together to help us overcome the inevitable obstacles and stumbling blocks in our lives, and I believe it's important to make the most of the assists that life puts in front of us. In this sense, the Monte San Savino Show was an experience that happened at the right time; let's say it was like a sign from heaven. It reminded me why I decided to become a miniature designer and made me fall in love even more with this world.
ALBERTO, THE CONTEST
I wasn't able to close the event as I would have liked, since Covid really knocked me down, but I must say that this first contest went great! Over seventy participants and a level of quality and enthusiasm well above my rosiest expectations: you made me emotional!
As with Monte San Savino, Alberto was also an event that reconciled me with the hobby, although I must say it was not at all easy to play the role of the judge. I felt a strong sense of responsibility and felt guilty for all the participants who did not receive a prize: inside me, I kept telling myself that this is how it works in any competition, but a part of me couldn't help but feel cruel in deciding who to reward and who not.
It was still a very formative experience, and I hope all of you who participated are happy and satisfied with this event. It was very gratifying to read your positive comments, and even at Monte San Savino, I was able to talk to some participants, and I am very proud that the spirit of the contest was not only understood but also appreciated.
In a world where the term "inclusivity" is increasingly central in everyday life, I wanted to sow a small seed to create something that could over time gather around an enthusiastic community, and I must say that the first feedback I had with Alberto was much more than comforting.
Obviously, the success of this format is mainly due to you: I have often praised the community that has been created around my projects, and this contest has been yet another proof that the human material around me is excellent.
In a world where controversy and anger are the social glue, I must say that it is of enormous help to know that around me and my projects, there is instead a community of cheerful and constructive people.
I can only thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.
TOWARDS THE FUTURE!
I am still recovering from the aftermath of this terrible relationship I had with Covid; I hope it won't take much to return to full swing, but I still can't do everything I would like to do (I still get quite tired, as soon as I focus on something a bit difficult, like painting or writing). The next few months will be entirely dedicated to the production of the Orc range and the release of my first modeling book: I can't wait to start! Meanwhile, I'm working on a small side project to celebrate the ten years since the first miniature I created under the Durgin Paint Forge brand (remember Drakkol Stoneborn?).
2024 will be a very delicate year because there will be a major restructuring in everything related to DPF; I feel the need to take stock of the situation and understand how to prepare the ground for the debut of my miniature game, which will see the light in 2025.
I thank everyone who has been following my projects from the beginning or who has discovered me only recently; it is thanks to you that, like Ikki, I can rise again from my ashes!