(this is a repost of what I wrote when ending my Patreon campaign on Mar 30, 2023, since apparently that post became inaccessible as a result)
I’ve decided to end my Patreon campaign. This has been on my mind for awhile now, and now’s as good a time as any. The campaign is currently paused, so April’s billing won’t happen, and then after that I’ll shut it down.
I greatlyappreciate everyone who’s contributed over the years – it’s meant a lot, and it’s been motivating to see! This decision isn’t a reflection on any of my supporters in any way. Rather, it’s the result of lengthy ruminations on the difference between the forest and the trees, and what that reality means from my perspective.
My rationale is simply that I’m at a point in life where I no longer have the drive to pour energy into avenues that don’t give me some kind of tangible return proportional to the effort invested. I have limited time to spend, and Patreon has increasingly been slipping further and further away from the core of what I want to spend that time on.
The original intent of my Patreon campaign was to allow me to go beyond what I was able to create otherwise, but the hidden trap of it was in thinking that there would be a direct correlation between effort invested and payoff received, and that it’d be worth that time investment.
Unfortunately, it never really was – not even at the peak of it.
Patreon acted as a justification for me to spend inordinate amounts of time making material that I believed in, but that could never be justified as a result of them being niche topics, Youtube working the way it does, and my own refusal to “play the game” (Youtube, that is) in the way it’s designed to be played. That’s all on me – those are decision I made because I believed them to be the right ones. I don’t regret it, but I don’t have the desire to continue with it at this point. I see what greater levels of success in this realm looks like from those who have achieved it in milsim or milsim-adjacent game channels, and it simply isn’t appealing to me. Quite the opposite, in fact.
I learned a lot through the Patreon-Youtube combination over the years. They gave me the excuse to create a great deal of material that I likely never would have otherwise, because it made it feel like it was being recognized and rewarded. To a degree, it certainly was – every person who chipped in to show their appreciation and provide direct support was a tangible, meaningful motivation to continue. Many of you have been showing that support for years, and it has meant a lot to see it.
That leads us to the other trap of Patreon – where you end up in a cycle of not wanting to disappoint people, and when combined with the idea that effort equals reward, you can easily find that cycle continuing endlessly as it slowly but surely spirals further into a misaligned, unhealthy state.
My last set of videos showed me the situation as clearly as I could have hoped for.
- The Hindsight series, despite being something I found incredibly interesting and thought was rather unique material, went nowhere. I couldn’t justify that kind of investment of time with such a weak response, so I stopped.
- My most recent Art of Flight and VTTP videos, despite all the effort I put into them for things like 3D visualizations and such, had mediocre response. I couldn’t justify them, so I stopped creating them.
I’m proud of all of it, I wish I could have made more, but the support never hit the level required to do that, and I’m no longer feeling emotionally masochistic enough to chase that unachievable goal.
The last major video I did, not counting the YIRs, was the Reforger reveal. It served as the final nail in the coffin, the confirmation of truths I knew, shown in the most clear-cut fashion I could have asked for. Effort meant little compared to subscriber counts, and I couldn’t change that. My video was a comprehensive, high-effort production, but that didn’t make any real difference. Lesser efforts gained more traction for the typical Youtube reasons. I’m not alone in this regard, of course – it’s becoming more and more common to see other creators talking about similar frustrations with effort:payoff ratios on Youtube, people who create wonderful material that should bring them far more success than it does.
I’ve also considered what this means for me as it relates to future aspects like Reforger or Arma 4. I’m not terribly interested in learning the new scripting language of those for the present time, and the way they handle cinematics and the workflow associated with it is absolutely glacially slow compared to what I do (and develop) for my day job, and I don’t have the patience for it at this point. I can’t see myself justifying it as a hobby, either, at least not for now.
So what’s next for me as far as video work goes? I’ll keep making session videos, because I do those more for me than anyone else. Same with the YIR videos – I’ll keep trying to achieve those despite the time it takes, because capturing those memories in such a succinct form is incredibly valuable to me. VTTP, Art of Flight, Hindsight – everything high-effort along those lines is going to be on ice for the forseeable future.
I don’t think that’s likely to ever change.
Patreon was a worthwhile chapter for me, I’m grateful for the support shown over it, but it’s time for me to move on.
Thanks for having been a part of it!
– Andrew // dslyecxi