For two years now we’ve been bringing you (arguably) high quality, free entertainment with a uniquely thoughtful perspective and irreverent sense of humor at an admittedly infrequent pace. Critical Wits has always been a side project for us, but it is something we love doing and want to devote more focus to. However, life often gets in the way. I’m a full time student, club officer, and I work “part-time” as a Resident Assistant in my college’s residence halls. Tim works full-time for himself on his own creative projects and is currently trying to become fully self-employed in addition to having all the regular Full-fledged Adult Responsibilities you may have like taxes and rent and bills. A lot of our time is already taken up a lot of the time. This is before we even factor in social obligations and time to devote to our hobbies: that thing the show is about and allows us to have fresh content.
Let’s face it: making podcasts is work. A single 1 hour to 1.5 hour podcast takes about 4-7 hours to make. There’s usually around 2 hours of raw audio that has to be edited down into the much shorter format you eventually receive. I listen to each show around 3 times before doing a final mix, which then gets sent to Tim for quality check and doodle ideas. Then there’s writing blurbs, coming up with humorous episode descriptions, and drawing the doodle. This isn’t including the 20-30 or so minutes of rendering time and processing and upload times. All told, the process from start to finish is a a work day’s worth of effort. With everything going on in our lives it’s often hard to find the time to coordinate our schedules and devote the time to make new content on a regular basis.
Right now Critical Wits is on something like a quarterly schedule. Frankly, that’s not good enough for us, and we know that’s not good enough for our fans. We need your help to make Critical Wits a more frequent product. If we can drum up enough support we want to make this weekly. We want to make this our job.
So how can we do this? Well, to be honest, making weekly Critical Wits is something of a pipe dream right now. It’s what we’re striving for. In order to generate capital, other shows have ad breaks and sponsor plugs – little segments or breaks in their content to plug something for you – but we feel like this is an outdated model that doesn’t really work for the medium we’re working with. We talked a bit in Episode 11 about how we (specifically me) don’t feel like web content should have to play by the same rules as similar content in other mediums. Why should podcasts be segmented like radio shows or web shows have poorly placed and extremely obvious and intrusive Audible and Netflix plugs? And something like a Kickstarter for a “season” of Critical Wits episodes is too risky and doesn’t really solve any of the above problems. Getting the funds we need through these means doesn’t come with a guarantee that we’ll be able to prioritize the show, and adding something like a PayPal donation button seems tacky and desperate. Like begging. That’s where Patreon comes in.
Patreon is different from a Kickstarter in that instead of us getting one lump sum to cover production costs and promising rewards for once the project is done, we get the money we need in small increments every time we make an episode. Essentially, it’s a tip for the work we put into producing the same, (arguably) high quality production we will continue to put out for free. And instead of offering individual rewards like a Kickstarter (which we’ll still do!), we’ll work off of group rewards: Per Episode rewards. So even if you can’t personally donate to our projects, you’ll still see a reward from the community’s efforts. If 100 people each tipped us $1 per episode, that would be enough to get us on a monthly schedule. If we can double that amount per episode, they’ll come out twice as frequently. If we double that you’ll be looking at weekly content from us in addition to monthly articles and videos. For $3 per episode (a maximum of $12 a month) you get to help decide what topics we discuss. If you’re willing and able to donate more you get even better stuff. You may even be able to guest host a show or two! And if you think we’re uploading too much, you can set a monthly cap so that we’re not bleeding you dry.
So where does this money go? Well, it’ll be used for new equipment like microphones, mic stands, soundboards, and acoustic foam; web hosting; more advanced editing software and higher production values; ad revenue to grow our audience and reach more people via social media; and eventually things like living expenses so that we can devote more time to doing the show and possibly even studio time or our own studio space. We’ve already put countless hours and actual real world money into this show so it’s not going anywhere. Your support will help us put even more into the show to make it even better.
This isn’t a handout. We’re not begging for your money, nor are we charging you for future content. Critical Wits will continue to be free. Patreon is a way for us to incentivize our fans and ourselves to have a reason to prioritize making the show. For as little as $4 a month you’ll be able to help bring our brand of humor and insight to our listeners at a consistent pace. And if you can’t don’t worry about it! You’ll still be able to enjoy the same free content we’ve been putting out, but hopefully more often!