Holding out the tin cup does cut across the grain a little - I turned 60 last week.
I have been a journalist for 90 per cent of my working life.
Initially it was on an agricultural machinery magazine payed for by the adverts
then to Farmers Weekly - paid for by the cover price and the adverts
then to the BBC paid for by a hypothecated tax (license fee).
Now I make films about my life long passion which is sailing.
Initially the films were behind a paywall - people payed $4.99 a quarter to access all the films
for a while I had 1,000 old blokes coughing up
but bandwidth was low and streaming rare.
The demand for the DVDs started to pick up - which allowed me to replace the 18 footer when the inboard went zip.
Then the DVD sales died so out came the tin cup.
I get a few comments from people questioning why they should pay for my sailing
although what they are doing is paying for my film-making skills (such as they are).
Some of the blokes, apparently find the the films, watch a couple of hundred and then suddenly find the ones with the nag on the front pointing out that the films have been paid for by old sailors just like themselves - and they get a bit angry at me for pointing it out.
However, my offspring are now early 20s and this is the world they have grown up in
you get stuff for free and then you give if you wish
how many of us using Firefox to browse this forum. For some reason windows ten is being given away free.
In the past when words and pictures were spattered onto wood pulp or films had to be magnetised onto VHS taper or burned onto DVDs there was a physical production and transport side to distributing words and images
now they flow like water across the world - the cost of distribution per gigabyte is almost zero.
We now pay to not have the adverts on spotify or use an ad blocker on google.
I cannot really see any alternative to asking for money - either people give it or the project dies.
In my own circumstances without the donations I would sail a lot less and make no films. My boat would have been moved to the closest sailable river and I would have idled my closing years away just pootling around.
My guess is that the two million sailing youtube hits and the 12,000 youtube subscribers mean that the work is appreciated in some way
if one in 20 or one in 100 is motivated to encourage me to keep going in the new way by sending paypal taps then that is marvelous
as to those who choose not to pay but to continue watching the films as I make them......
well it has not cost me anything to get it to them. the films are still there after they have watched them.
What amazes me is the people who get angry about being given the opportunity to chip in to a project they have obviously enjoyed in some way.
The ones who take the buscuit are the ones who send me a 200 word rant about they are not going to pay because they can't afford it and there in their avatar is a 30 footer.
Do I pay for free things on the web?
I give Mozilla money and Wiki.
I do not chip in to any of the eight or ten other video cruisers out there because it is not my sort of sailing - clear warm water, scuba diving, big boats.
but if a bloke started making decent films about the North American coast, the chesapeake and PNW and told me a bit about the history, showed me some boats and tried to keep the wind noise off his films then I would give him money to encourage him to make more films and keep going.
I have never done a project like this before.
When I started I was doing it just for me. Eight years ago I had a 20 week a year contract with the BBC - that was enough to fund what at the time was a personal indulgence to sail around my own island.
Three weeks after the start of the journey I got one of those calls from the boss man at the BBC telling me that the contract would not be renewed - I was 52 and I sobbed a little sitting in the cockpit. But I have been a freelance for 30 years and bosses are like busses - another will be along soon.
Now I have 1000 bosses -old blokes who tap me money. When I am sailing I often imagine 1000 old small boat sailors offering critiques of the way my sails are set or mumbling that I am going the wrong side of a buoy
imaybe even expressing disgust at the latest recipe from the KTL school of nautical cuisine.
the old blokes send me pictures of their boats - which I love seeing in my inbox.
best of all I am sometimes sitting in the cockpit and some old fellah will come walking down the pontoon and proffer a bottle of cheap scotch.
This year I aim to get a drone for occasional use.
the boat is currently in Mylor in Falmouth
a few of the blokes watch me rig and head out and I try to sail around in front of the cameras for a bit
I assume that fairly soon I will have a web cam on a stick on the back of the boat and they will be able to watch an ugly old bloke sail a **** boat up a muddy river with a real natuical history.
One bloke said that the films are the next best thing to sailing - and I will go with that.l
- so if some ice bound canuck on his excercise bike is minded to bung me $5 every time I make him forget he is on his excercise bike then fekkingoodonim!
Is that any worse than paying to watch a DVD or paying for a magazine before you buy it?
so if any of you are MOB tappers - thanks boys
if any of you have watched 200 or 300 of my films and still not tapped in - well no harm done
PS - therm MOB stands for mainly old blokes. Youtube tells me that 97 per cent of the people who watch the films are men - most are aged between 50 and 70. Over half are in North America. One of the blokes in a comment on the website used the term Mainly Old Blokes and they started self identifying as MOBs.