An incredible gesture

Every once in a while, something absolutely wonderful, that I never even dreamed of, emerges out of nowhere. I recently produced a video on Citra Solv image transfers. This video is a result of a very generous member of our community reached out to me, and offered to sponsor this video. (this person has chosen to remain anonymous)

Gelli Plate & Stencils Tutorial Shoot

I was absolutely FLOORED. I cannot remotely explain what an immense relief it was to be able to take the time to shoot a video on a DSLR camera. I know an 11 minute tutorial may not seem to be a lot of work, but on average a video of this length takes 1 hour of prep time, 1 hour to set up the camera equipment, 2 hours of shooting, and at least 7 hours to editing. (and often more)

Citra Solv Image Transfer Tutorial shoot
Shoot notes for the Citra Solv tutorial

Shooting these tutorials on my DSLR cameras has always felt like a luxury I cannot afford to indulge myself in. Our ongoing budget concerns still keep me up at night and consequently, I often have to prioritize tasks that will bring in revenue. (when you make all your content free, it’s a problem in terms of budget)

To maintain enough revenue to cover all of our expenses, it means I have to spend a ton of my time doing grunt work that is boring, tedious, and often really annoying to work on. None of the grunt work is difficult to do, its just there is so MUCH of it. I think there is an assumption that YouTube ad revenue is easy, passive income.

Citra Solv Image Transfer Tutorial shoot
Shooting at home means a cramped space!

Don’t ask me to explain the YouTube algorithm, but all I can say is that our monthly revenue from YouTube hasn’t budged in 2 years. I always assumed than an “obvious” source of revenue for a YouTube channel would be sponsors and ads.

You often read about channels getting a lot for these sponsorships. Pursuing sponsors is one of my least favorite tasks, it’s slow, very rarely gets results, and often infuriating. You would think art supply manufacturers would want to advertise on our channel?

Nope, I either get ghosted, led on with multiple phone calls and emails that ultimately lead to nothing, (for real, 1 sponsor said to me “well we just don’t know what we would do with that.”) or, they will decide to do 1 ad, (after tons of emails and phone calls + me producing the ad) and then not renew.

Plein Air Oil Pastel & Watercolor Painting
Oil Pastel & Watercolor in Southern Utah

Then there are all the wacko suggestions/demands I get: 1 sponsor was so insistent on me appealing their copyrighted music choice to YouTube and sent me a video on how to do that, 1 sponsor told me that the scheduled time for our live stream was “a little late in the day.”

I cannot count the number of times that I have received condescending emails about the way their product HAS to be used. Did I mention that it’s once in a blue moon that I get paid without a minimum 3 email reminders?

No exaggeration that out of 30 emails, I am lucky to get 1 person who actually expresses interest, and even that is no guarantee that anything will happen. Considering all of that, it’s really, really hard for me to justify spending time producing a video like this since it brings in zero revenue.

Acrylic Portrait Painting: Linda
More wires, extension cords, our lavalier mics

I constantly stress about our budget, so I just never end up creating content like this Citra Solv tutorial, which will have absolutely no financial impact on our budget.

When this lovely member of our community reached out and sponsored this video, wow it felt INCREDIBLE to produce content I enjoy making, at a high caliber of quality I really don’t have time to do normally.

On top of that, I didn’t have any guilt spending time on this tutorial, because we had the financial backing from this generous supporter. So instead of spending my time producing some ad for a sponsor which produces so many headaches, which does not benefit our community at all, I got to work on what I love, AND that provides free content for our community.

That got me thinking, if there is 1 person on the planet who is willing to help us in this way, perhaps there are others? That’s why we launched this page on how you can sponsor a video.

We provide many options for video formats and lengths you can choose from on the Google form, and you can even propose a specific video topic and technique or art supply.

Clara & Maggie
Maggie keeps me company during the day, she owns the living room couch.

Yes, everything from Chris Pine’s chin to me dancing with Maggie is on the table here! I confess that I am often pessimistic about our budget being a healthy, robust one, but this sponsorship from a community member gave me the biggest boost I have had in a very, very long time.

The fact that this person would offer this to us is one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for us. I’m still pinching myself that something like this could happen.

-Prof Lieu