An Inventory of Play: Rob’s Progress #1

I record and publish The Paid to Play Podcast because I believe that other people can value the things we enjoy doing, and that if we stand by that value of our play, we can all earn money – whether a little extra on top of our day jobs or enough to support ourselves completely – from them.

But one thing I always want to make sure I do is to practice what I preach. If I reckon others can stand by their play and ask for reward from those who value it, then so can I. And the best way I can do that is to talk about my own endeavours.

The good bit is, there have been some recent and very interesting developments on that front that I’m keen to share with you!

What are my plays?

Let’s start with what I’m enjoying doing.

Voice Work

MicrophoneOnStandThis has been pretty quiet since my last lot of freelance work a couple of years ago. What changed? Well, a member of a freelance crazies group I’m part of who knew I was looking for voice work a wile back, got in touch about a project she’s working on. She was looking for a voice for a specific part within it and decided that mine was the perfect fit! I’ve done some samples and we’re discussing how I can help out on some other project she has in mind,

The great bit is that we’ve struck up a regular online correspondence, where we help each other brainstorm on our respective projects!


If you’ve been keeping an eye on my personal web log, The Society for Doing Things, you’ll likely have noticed that I’ve been posting the odd comic strip in the last few months! I was even trying to post a few every week.

I think I managed to burn myself out on that, though. The sketch books have been sitting on my desk at home instead of travelling around with me as they did for a while, and though I’ve had the odd idea for a strip I’ve been in no hurry to put it down on paper.

The Podcast

Speaking of burned out, there was a good chunk of time last year that I simply wasn’t producing any further chats for The Paid to Play Podcast. All of a sudden, since about the beginning of the year, I felt that it was the right time to start getting back into them. So I renewed the search for interesting folks, starting with the guests of Tropicon, the fan-organised pop-culture convention in Cairns at the middle of the year.

All of a sudden, thanks to a little help from some good mates (and some organised persistence on my part), I seem to have more folks accepting my invitations than I know what to do with! I’ve actually had to sit down and review my schedule so that I don’t burn myself out on it as I did last year. The original plan was to record a chat a week with an aim to producing one new episode a fortnight, and the fortnightly release schedule is still the plan, but it looks as though I could wind up doing two chats a week; one on a weekday evening and another during the weekend.

Other Play

Aside from those three, there’ snot much else going on. Board gaming has dropped off a little bit and I’m not sure when the last time I fired Alien: Isolation up was.

How am I monetising them?

I hate that word, “monetising.” It sounds like “weaponising,” taking something intended for another purpose and adding murder functionality. But it’s the simplest one I have for making pay from play.

Voice Work

Well, the good news is that my friend has already paid me for the initial samples and is keen to do more. The main thing I need to do is go through our correspondence and turn it into a clear statement of terms – a contract if you will – so that we can proceed onward in a smooth fashion.


Comics and monetisation aren’t going together for now.  Someone suggested Patreon as a way of earning money from comics, but trying to make consistently regular content was waht burned me out in the first place.

Maybe that’s not fair. I think that it was the idea of Making A Webcomic that caused me to burn out on doing more; most webcomics I’ve seen have a minimum schedule of three new comics per week, and after trying it for two weeks I found that I didn’t have the deep well of ideas or plotlines (not to mention the time) to sustain that kind of pace.

So for now, comics are staying on the back-burner, both in terms of monetisation and creative output,

The Podcast

Oo4th_patreon_nameWell, if you didn’t know already, let me say it again: The Paid to Play Podcast has a Patreon page and two patrons!

That means that, of the total of US$8 per episode, I see around US$7.20, which at current exchange rates comes out at around AU$9. So, I’ll be earning at least AU$18 per month (possibly $27 in a long month with three episodes, depending on how my patrons have set their monthly caps).

It’s a great start within a week of launching it, and it’s the main thing that I’m curious about right now. I’ve set up a few rewards (including three days’ early access to the folks who chip in US$5 or more per episode, hint hint), but I’m wondering what I can offer to entice folks to pledge more. At the moment, I’m thinking of voice samples, personalised video or even drawings.

I’m also trying to work out some goals for the Patreon page. A goal is, I think, like a business plan; I say, “If I get to earning $X per episode, it will enable me to do Y.” It means I need to do some serious homework about my expenses and how much the various things I’d like to do – hiring editors, bringing video in, even travelling to conventions to secure interviews or even do on-site chats – could cost.

But all of this is dependent on people knowing about both the Patreon page and the Podcast in the first place. Which leads to a kind of odd place for me. I stand by my Podcast; I believe that it can both help people looking to get Paid to Play and entertain people who like listening to chat shows. I’d like to maximise its chances of getting between the ears of both those kinds of people.

That said, I don’t want to drive myself nuts in some frantic attempt to up my likes or boost my page stats. I make Paid to Play because I enjoy making Paid to Play, and I’m leery of doing anything that could wreck that enjoyment again.

What’s next?

I’ve got three main plays and am making some money off two of them. I’m probably the most excited about the Podcast, as that’s the one that’s most directly under my control AND has the most fiddly bits of all of my plays. And boy, do I love to fiddle (you three up the back: snigger again and it’s a week’s detention).

But I also want to make sure I’m giving the voice work project with my friend its due time. AND I want to spend my non-day-job time with my wife and friends.

So how do I balance spreading the word about Paid to Play with everything else?

I think the first thing is to do my best to be patient. Accept that there’s a lot (like the popularity of the Podcast) out of my control and that there’s a difference between standing by my work and humping up and down, screaming “WHY WON’T ANYONE NOTICE ME?!”

The second thing: Set a schedule and stick to it. Put hard limits around how much time I spend on each thing, including organising, recording, editing and publishing chats for the Podcast. Keep to a chat a week. Make sure I put the requisite time into my friend’s project. Know when to walk away so that I can go and be sane for my lovely wife, our dogs and our friends. (And get the day job done.)