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How To Leverage Long Blog Posts To Build Your Brand
submitted by W1ZZ4RD to juststart [link] [comments]
You guys were not joking with the amount of shit posts that are ending up on this sub lately.
So, in order to change that, I thought I would throw out something that I have done in the past and am still seeing success with today. Leveraging your blog posts/articles to build a BRAND.
I did it, you did it, almost everyone does it. They get started, they crank out some content, and they expect money to come in. You can make a great living doing this, but you will find it almost impossible to hit the "next level" unless you focus on building a brand. You see the rare comment here of people hitting 20, 30, 50k+ per month....I would bet almost anything their site is a brand that people actually CARE about.
In order to actually get there, you have to create value, have a strategy and create trust with your audience. But how the hell do you create value and trust with an audience that does not yet exist?
One of those ways is utilizing a platform that people already trust: Amazon.
The basic idea before we get into the actual guide is twofold. 1:
You are going to take your longest article or articles, and turn them into an ebook. You will create a coveinterior and publish this on Amazon via the KDP platform. Chances are, no one will actually want to buy your 99 cent ebook, so you are going to make it FREE (with a work around) and use this as a lead gen for your website/email list. 2:
You are then going to take your longest article/articles, and turn these into an AUDIO book, which again acts as a springboard from Amazon to your content to build trust, educate and let them know about your website.
Step 1 brings you no money up front, but if you do this right can net you a LOT of affiliate income and build your list at the same time. Step 2 actually surprised me when doing my taxes. I currently have a single audio book live and it brought me in a few thousand dollars in royalties the past year and I havn't looked at it or touched it since.
Here is a bit of proof that this works and has led to hundreds of thousands of downloads:
So, let's first go over the free book, and then the more exiting method the audio book. Creating A Free Book On Amazon With Your Blog Posts
I am not going to go into detail on how exactly to create a book (this is fairly straight forward), but you will need two things. 1:
Get a KDP Account (free): https://kdp.amazon.com/ 2:
Get a Smashwords account (free): https://www.smashwords.com/
Create your book, format it, and get it uploaded to KDP. This is so straight forward (Google it)
In order to get your book perma free on Kindle, you need to get your book free on other major retailers that Amazon actually has some respect for. The one that I used was Barnes & Noble and this took about a week. Here is how to do it! Smashwords
Smashwords is another retailer of ebooks. What makes this service so powerful is that its free, and they also distribute to major retailers such as Barnes & Noble, OverDrive, iBooks, and Kobo. Upload your Book and set a price of free
It will almost immediately go online at Smashwords as a free book. On your dashboard, you will see that it has been submitted for premium status. This is where the magic happens. A real person will take a look over your work, and if it has followed all of proper formatting, then it will soon show up in the big retailers mentioned above.
It is VERY important that you follow their style guide. It can take a few days at a time for Smashwords to review your book. If it is not up to par, they will deny you, give you a list of things you need to fix, and then you can resubmit it. One of the things that I did wrong was do my table of contents a different way than they wanted.
Another reason I was denied was that my book had links back to Amazon, so remove those as well if you want perma free status. Premium Status Achieved
Once your book has been looked over and has achieved premium status on Smashwords, it is just a waiting game from here.
Eventually, your book will show up on Barnes & Noble. This is one of the only online retailers that Amazon seems to care about. I tried to ask Amazon to price match me as soon as it was free on Smashwords, but it seems they have no respect for this service and I had to wait. Emailing Amazon
Now, you could wait and wait and eventually Amazon should pick up on the fact that your book is free somewhere else. If you are not in the business of waiting for months on end, it is time to do something about it!
What I did was take the URL from Barnes & Noble, and email Amazon from inside my KDP dashboard. At the very bottom of your dashboard, in super small text, you should see Contact Us.
Click on Contact Us –> Pricing & Royalties –> Price Matching, and send them an email asking them to help you out. I told them I had a reader on my blog disappointed that he could get my book for free on my website as well as Barnes & Noble but had to pay for it on Amazon. A few hours later I got an email back stating that while they can decide to price match or not, they had forwarded it to the correct department and a few hours after THAT it was priced to free!
Do keep in mind that this is going to be geo dependent. If you want your eBook free on All Amazon TLDs you need to give them links from all GEO URLs from the major retailers Note:
There are a million and a half Facebook groups for free books. Go post in a few of them to get the ball rolling. Once you have those initial downloads, everything should take off and remain a stable stream of downloads and traffic back to your site if you put links in your book. ALSO, make sure to put some sort of ask at the end of your book for a review, a subscribe to the email list, or give the reader something if they visit your site.
Now, let's get into how even more money is made, by taking that same book/books and turning them into audio books spreading your brand around the internet. Making Money Selling Audiobooks (ACX) Through Amazon Note:
I am going to be copy and pasting images from my own site because there is no way I am downloading a rehosting these. Feel free to complain about self promotion in the comments XD.
In order to be a successful internet marketer, you always have to be testing new ideas and markets. Time and time again I see people who want to make their first dollars online actually succeed in doing so but after many months or many years, it all dries up.
Because these people were not willing to adapt and keep learning. This is the number 1 reason that people fail. They do not want to test the market but keep doing the same thing over and over again, getting stuck in a vicious cycle.
During some downtime a while back, I stumbled across a video of a guy doing thousands of dollars through audiobooks. What really perked my interest is that these books are being sold through Amazon, or more importantly, Amazon’s audio book platform audible.com.
This is one of the biggest audiobook portals in the entire world and I myself have purchased a few during some long road trips.
When I first started selling t-shirts online, the driving factor and where most of my success came from is that they are being sold on Amazon where the customers already are. I did not have to drive traffic at all, only give an existing audience what they wanted. This opportunity looks EXACTLY the same and the competition is so low, its crazy! Chances are, your blog posts will fit right in. Why Audible.com (Amazon’s Audiobook Platform)?
The very first thing I did was take a quick look at how much traffic the platform was getting. I was seeing people put up some pretty impressive numbers (into the 10 figures a month range) so before I dove in, I wanted to make sure the market was actually there.
What I did was take the domain (audible.com) and run it through similar web. This website is incredibly helpful in estimating the amount of traffic that a platform receives each and every month. It is WILDLY inaccurate, but gives a brief overview. https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/audible.png
As you can see at the time of writing this (I wrote this ages ago), there is almost 22 million visitors per month with an average duration of close to 5 minutes.
This is exactly what I want to see!
Lots of traffic, and relatively little competition because there are not that many books out there.
I was down to give this method a try and to my surprise over a year later, it actually worked. Getting Your First Audiobook Published on ACX
Before you attempt to put up an audio book at all, you need to make sure you RESEARCH the niche. Just as with everything else when it comes to internet marketing, you need to make sure that there is customer demand, but that you can break into the market in the first place.
The way we do this is pretty simple. Audiobook (ACX) Niche Research
First, you want to look at Amazon.com for books (NOT audiobooks). For the sake of this example, lets use the first niche that came to my head “merch by amazon”.
Head on over to Amazon.com and just type in the niche you are interested in. If you are pulling back results that are not books, just follow it up with “book”. https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/amazon-page.png
At the very top of the image, you can see that there are over “10,000” results for this niche. This is a good sign, that means there is customer demand there! Customers want to read and learn more about this niche.
I also happen to hold the first and third position for this keyword (those are my books) so it makes this experiment a little easier to start!
Even if there are a lot of results, you want to make sure to click on the first page of products, and look at the BSR or best sellers rank of an item. The lower the rank, the better it is selling.
You can see this in the product details section of the product page: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/product-details.png
The best sellers rank is dependent on the category you are selling in. In this particular instance, this book gets about this many downloads per day: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/merch-by-amazon-book.png NOTE:
Old screenshot but this book still averages almost the exact same downloads per day even over a year later.
Now that we have determined that there is customer demand here, we need to check the competition on Audible.com
In the upper right hand corner you will see the search box. This is where you want to put the same search term that you checked over on Amazon.com.
Click on search and see what comes up!
In this particular case there are ZERO results (note: there are now more than a few results). That means that there is definitely customer demand over at Amazon.com and there are literally zero books on this subject on the audible platform that Amazon owns (and gets 20+ million visitors each month). There is clearly an opportunity here.
After you get good at searching, you will realize that almost every niche under the sun has very very little competition.
What you want to look for is where there are lots of results with a good BSR (under 100k on Amazon.com) and you want to see that there is less than 100 results on Audible.
The opportunities here are almost endless. Remember, it is all about niching down! Vegetable Gardening: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/veggy-gardening.png Sleeping better: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/sleep-better.png Make Money Online: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/make-money-online.png
If one of the most competitive niches on the internet (making money online) has such small search results, then you KNOW this is an untapped gold mine. NOTE:
Screens are from when I published the book. Numbers are changed, but go check. Still stupid low competition in most niches that your blog posts are in. Getting Your Audiobook Created
Now that we have a niche, we need an actual book! Any one of you reading this has the ability to write their own books. It does not matter if you are a great writer. However, if you are NOT a writer, no interest in being a writer, and simply want to get a book up to test this method, there is an easy way to do that.
I will be going over how to outsource the actual book creation as well as the audio voice over for that book once it is complete.
Your book can be as long as you like or as short as you like. However, how long it ends up being is going to determine what kind of royalty you get once the entire process is complete. Because of this, I would recommend about 20-25k words per book. This should put your final audiobook at just over 3 hours in length and this is where you make the best money. To hit this, you may want to take a few of your articles and combine them.
We have a niche, we have a target length for the book, now we just need to find someone to actually write the thing!
Go hire someone or do it yourself. This is pretty self explanatory.
I find that having a general outline for your book is the easiest way to get a good quality product. You can do this by looking at the chapter headings of some of the best sellers. Compile a list of all the headings, and then formulate your own online so that your book will be the most comprehensive book on the market for that niche. Upload Your eBook to Kindle (if you didn't previously)
Before you can actually create your ACX book, you will need to upload your book to Kindle. This is a platform for ebooks that sell on Amazon and ANOTHER avenue for you to make money with your book (outside of audible sales).
Head on over to kindle here: https://kdp.amazon.com/
Sign up for an account and enter in all your information so that you can get paid.
Now that you have an account, you need a few other bits before you can actually upload your book.
First, make sure you familiarize yourself with the cover requirements here: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201113520
You now need to get a cover for your book created. The idea image requirements for kindle for your book cover are 2560 pixels by 1600 pixels.
Your book cover is important!!
I know everyone always says not to judge a book by its cover but we all do it. You do it, I do it, and your potential customers are going to do it too!
Because of this, head over to upwork and post a job for an ebook cover designer. There are a lot of very very talented artists out there and you should get an amazing cover for your book for $20-$30 dollars.
You can see here the cover that I went with that sticks out on the page: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/blueprint-cover.png
Now that you have your book and your cover, let’s upload to Kindle!
Log in to Kindle and click on the Kindle new title button: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/create-a-new-title.png
After you are done adding the Kindle eBook, I would highly suggest adding a paperback as well. We will not be focusing on the paperback, but this is just another avenue that you can make money from your book.
Give your book a title (what is on the book cover), an author, and a description.
Make sure your description is long and detailed. I like to tell a little bit about what is in the book as well as outline the chapters and what the customer will be learning when they read the book.
After you have filled those out, it is time to enter in some backend keywords. These are keywords that you want the book to rank for. Think like a customer here. Whatever they might search for, enter these as your back end keywords.
You have 7 boxes of keywords to fill up here. No need for any punctuation. As long as the keywords are relevant, enter them in.
Once you have your keywords selected, choose a category for your book, and then click on continue.
Now all that is really left is to upload your book, the cover, and pick out pricing: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/manuscript-.png
You do not need to enter an ISBN so go ahead and click save and continue at the bottom of the page.
Set your book at $2.99 or above, and select the 70% royalty share. If you price below $2.99, you will get a much smaller cut. Since we will not be focusing on the actual ebook, every time it sells, we want to maximize our profit. (This is if you are just doing audiobooks and not the free book method mentioned above)
Now all you have to do is scroll to the bottom and click on publish your book! https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/publish-your-kindle-book.png
It can take a while to publish, but I typically see all my books going live within 24 hours. You need to wait for your book to go live, so in the meanwhile, I would suggest publishing the paperback version as well! Publishing Your Book to ACX (Audible)
If you have made it this far and are still with me, impressive.
So far you should have a book with a cover, and it is published on Kindle meaning it is for sale on Amazon.com.
This means we can FINALLY start creation of our audiobook!
To begin, head over to ACX.com and sign up for an account. This is the dashboard for audible.com which is where we want to publish our book.
Again, fill out all your information and take the tax interview. Once you have done that, click on “Add Your Title” from the upper right hand corner.
Search by keyword and find your book on Amazon.com. Once you have found it, click on “This is my eBook”. https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/my-ebook.png
Once you select your book, you will see a popup that asks what you want to do with your ebook: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/produce-ebook.png
Now the fun part starts!
You can either upload audio for the book you already have (which I assume you don’t), of you can find someone to narrate the book for you. This is not going to be free, but you can find some real talent out there that will read your book and allow you to publish audiobooks without ever using your own voice.
Select the first option and click on continue.
Accept the terms and conditions, and click on continue.
The next page is where you want to fill out your book information. Since your book is already on Kindle, most of this is going to be selected for you.
The interesting parts are these: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/book-deetz.png
This lets you say that you want to receive auditions from narrators but also lets you describe the voice you are looking for. I like to select this based on the topic of the book and what would fit best.
After you upload a test piece of your book for your narrator auditions, click on next.
The next page is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the entire process. You can pick how you pay the person that is narrating your book. https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/pay-narrator.png
By default, the first option is going to be selected (Royalty Share) but you do NOT want to do this!
If you have a successful book, that means you will giving half your royalty away for many years to come.
Instead, select pay for production and pay your narrators up front. I have found that the lowest level of $0-$50 per finished hour (PFH) works well and you get some quality people applying to narrate your book.
For a book of 20,000 words, you can expect to pay a little over $100, but you do not have to do any of the work yourself!
You will start getting auditions almost immediately over the next few days and you will be able to see this in your top menu. https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/auditions.png
Make sure to go through all the auditions and listen to each one of them as everyone has their unique style and some attach specific notes about the project to their audition: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/auditions2.png
Once you have someone selected, all you have to do is then make an offer, and they will do the rest!
The narrator you chose may send you a few questions over messages, so make sure you are watching your email whenever those come in.
Once your narrator has finished the book, you have to approve it. After you approve it, you MUST pay your narrator before the book will go live on audible. This is not very clear for a first time user.
I was expecting the system to use my card on file, but had to follow up and actually send the narrator the money over paypal. After that occurs, they will also approve the book, and it will get final approval from the ACX team! https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/approval.png
Once you receive that email, it is just a waiting game as the book is pushed out to retail! https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/book-to-audible.png TIP:
If you email the ACX team and ask nicely, they will give you 25 codes for free books so that you can give them out to people for review. This is a good way to bump your book inside of audible and start getting downloads. Wrapping It Up
When building your business, use every tool at your disposal to drive traffic and build up your audience. Focus on building a brand and not just a website.
2017* Electropopflops Rate (Allie X / Charli XCX / Kim Petras / Tove Lo)
submitted by hikkaru to popheads [link] [comments]
Hello everyone, and welcome to the 2017 Electropopflops Rate! I'm your friendly neighbourhood women-singing-over-electronic-production stan and I'll be your co-host this month, alongside the stellar u/worlds-okayest666
! After a few cycles of attempting to get these albums rated, it is FINALLY happening! We're super excited to celebrate pride month by rating these ladies that are very appreciated by the LGBT+ community for their support and, for a couple of them, inclusion within said community.
Here's what flops we'll be rating this month: Allie X - CollXtion II
After making her official debut in 2015 with the EP “CollXtion I”, planned to be the first in a series of five releases, Allie X quickly garnered momentum in the pop world and got to work on her first full length album. In 2016, Allie announced the project “CollXtion II: Unsolved”, which saw her releasing various demos and potential album tracks throughout the year to see what fans wanted on the album. Finally, in 2017, “CollXtion II” was released, with only three tracks from the Unsolved project making it onto the final tracklisting. The album revolves around themes of longing and being lost, with each track intended to represent different pieces of herself. Ranging from moody, strikingly personal synth-pop tracks to pure 80s-pop inspired bangers, the album is somewhat more Top 40-friendly than CollXtion I but luckily manages to still retain her unique aesthetic and dark pop sound, resulting in an album that’s anything but generic. Despite some of the singles charting relatively high in Canada, the album itself ended up seeing little commercial success and failed to appear on any major charts. While it may not have reached the heights it deserved to, CollXtion II is a perfect showcase of the reason Allie’s garnered such a dedicated fanbase; her sheer talent in crafting perfect pop songs. (-u/worlds-okayest666)
Charli XCX - Number 1 Angel
- Paper Love
- Need You (feat. Valley Girl)
- Simon Says
- Old Habits Die Hard
- That's So Us
- True Love Is Violent
- Casanova (Remix) (feat. Vérité)
In 2016, Charli XCX released “Vroom Vroom”, a collection of 4 tracks produced entirely by PC Music affiliate SOPHIE. This EP saw Charli eschewing the pop punk attitude and commercial appeal of her previous album, Sucker, in favor of a more experimental electropop sound. Although reaction to the EP was somewhat divisive at first, this didn’t deter Charli, who sought to bring this sound to the mainstream with her third studio album. Unfortunately, the album would go on to suffer various delays, causing Charli to become frustrated with her label and start recording music behind their back. This would end up resulting in her third mixtape, “Number 1 Angel”, created in two weeks with PC Music founder A.G. Cook, as well as several other producers associated with the label (including previous collaborator SOPHIE). Boasting features from MØ, CupcakKe, and Uffie, among others, the 10-track mixtape builds upon the avant-pop style of Vroom Vroom while also fusing it with Charli’s ability to write amazing commercial pop hits, resulting in a surprisingly cohesive project with some of her biggest bops to date. Although the record is often overshadowed by its far more experimental successor, “Pop 2”, Number 1 Angel is a fantastic record in itself and a highlight of Charli’s discography. (-u/worlds-okayest666)
Kim Petras - Era 1
- Dreamer (feat. Starrah & RAYE)
- 3AM (Pull Up) (feat. MØ)
- Blame It On U
- Roll with Me
- White Roses
- Babygirl (feat. Uffie)
- Drugs (feat. ABRA)
- Lipgloss (feat. CupcakKe)
Kim Petras, already known for her appearance in the media as a teenager while she transitioned, debuted in 2017 with the synthy, bratty, and infectious single “I Don’t Want It At All”, which kickstarted the career of one of pop's most promising newcomers. Over the next year or so, Kim released ten other tracks to accompany her debut in a singular “era”, signified by the rainbow neon outline of her visage on the single covers. Though not officially released as an entire album, Kim and her fans alike have taken to calling this group of singles Era 1, and it is certainly a cohesive enough project to be considered an entire project - each song is an unabashedly electropop bop. With the release of these songs, Kim was gaining many new fans, but she was also garnering a lot of criticism for her decision to work exclusively with Dr. Luke in her music despite the lawsuit wherein pop icon Kesha accused him of abuse and sexual assault, and unfortunately Kim has said very little on the matter. Still, she’s managed to carve out a solid fanbase, and is a trailblazer for trans artists seeing mainstream success. (-u/hikkaru)
Tove Lo - BLUE LIPS (lady wood phase II)
- 1,2,3 dayz up (feat. SOPHIE)
- Homework (feat. lil aaron)
- If U Think About Me...
- Heart to Break
- All the Time
- Can't Do Better
- Faded (feat. lil aaron)
- Slow It Down
- Hills (feat. Baby E)
- Hillside Boys
- I Don't Want It At All
Following her explosion into the mainstream across the world with the smash hit “Habits (Stay High)” and follow-up single “Talking Body”, Swedish artist Tove Lo looked to continue that with 2016’s “Lady Wood”, an album that stuck to current trends in attempt to gain another hit. However, that album failed to replicate the success of her debut, with the lead single barely charting. Lady Wood was the first of two albums in an anthology, with the sequel Blue Lips releasing just a year later. While Lady Wood aimed for success, Blue Lips goes completely raw and dark - tracks range from emotional wails backed by roaring synths to sweaty (and very horny) club bangers like lead single “Disco Tits”. Ultimately, Blue Lips failed to come anywhere close to Tove’s first two releases on the charts, with it debuting at #138 on the Billboard 200 in lieu of the top 20 positions she had seen previously. Despite that, Blue Lips is a solid and immensely cohesive album that certainly deserved far better. (-u/hikkaru)
- disco tits
- shivering gold
- dont ask dont tell
- romantics (feat. Daye Jack)
- 9th of october
- bad days
- hey you got drugs?
- bitches (Remix) (feat. Charli XCX, Icona Pop, Elliphant, & ALMA)
We're both incredibly pumped for this rate, and are equally nervous and excited for the messiness it is sure to bring. The rate will be due July 17th! If you have any questions about this rate or rates in general, feel free to ask any questions in the comments, DM either of the cohosts, or find us in the popheads discord server!
- Listen to every song listed below and assign each of them a score from 1 to 10. Decimals are allowed, but refrain from going past one decimal place - 7.5 is fine, 7.75 is not!
- You may give ONE song a 0 and ONE song an 11. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to. These should be reserved for your favourite track and least favourite track!
- Rate all forty-five (45) songs! If you skip any, your ballot won’t be counted (We will let you know if you do so you can remedy that).
- Please use the pre-prepared link to submit your scores! Note that if you're trying to access on a mobile device or on the new reddit layout it may not work - as such, we have made it so the link will take you to old.reddit.com, and you should use a computer to send in your scores if possible! If it still does not work, a pastebin with the submission form is at the bottom of this post and may be copy/pasted into a DM if need be!
- If you desire to change any scores after you’ve already submitted, simply message either of the cohosts (u/hikkaru, u/worlds-okayest666) and we'll be glad to help!
- We will be keeping an eye out for sabotage, and there will be a minimum average enforced for the albums. If you truly do have very strong opinions on a song or album, leave a comment explaining why and things will go over much more smoothly.
- It is highly encouraged that you add a comment to your song ratings! Do this by adding a space after the score and then typing to your heart’s desire, like this:
Lipgloss (feat. cupcakKe): 10 Miranda Cosgrove is shaking
- You may also add comments for whole albums! You may do this by adding a colon to the album title in the rate form, like so:
Album: Blue Lips: Why is the album cover red?
Apple Music Playlist
Pastebin of submission form (in case the link below is not working)
Why Super Mystery Dungeon is My Favorite PMD Game
submitted by AMP_Kenryu to MysteryDungeon [link] [comments]
Just as a reminder: the statements I make in this post are how I personally feel and I don't expect everyone to agree with me; but that's OK, I'd like to see how other people feel about my opinions. Additionally, this post will include many spoilers of the game's plot so if you have not played Super Mystery Dungeon, I suggest you turn back now. With that out of the way, I will start explaining why I love SMD the most.
The story of Super Mystery Dungeon just touched my heart in a way no other PMD game's story has been able to. I will be discussing how the story blends together, the buildup of the villain Dark Matter, the use of foreshadowing, and the character development of the partner. How the story blends together:
The story starts you in a quiet little village called Serene Village. The plot starts a bit slow; you and your partner go to school and get into trouble just like any kid would (sneaking out of the house late at night and getting lectured by the adults). The Serene Village portion of the game is meant to have a very specific tone: life in the village is not too exciting, but it is peaceful. The hero and partner realize as they are leaving that they have many friends and family they hold dear to their hearts and want to protect.
The story then leads you to the second portion of the game: the Expedition Society portion. The second you get to Lively Town, the tone becomes much more exciting with upbeat music and funny antics with the Expedition Society. You also start to learn more about the incidents of Pokemon turning to stone (seeing that Legendary Pokemon have become targets) and you eventually find yourself fighting a Legendary Pokemon yourself, after you fought smaller opponents such as Gabite and Beedrill. This portion of the story is meant to give the plot a progressively more serious tone to the story after the lighthearted events of Serene Village. This arc ends with player having more questions that need answers: What are the Harmony Scarves? What is Yvetal's ultimate goal? Why has Nuzleaf, your parental figure, betrayed you?
The next part opens with you seeing what has happened following the events on Revelation Mountain's summit: Yvetal sends a message to the entire world stating that all Pokemon will be turned to stone and the world will end, This scene sets the dark and grim tone of this portion of the game. The hero and partner wake up in a dark world known as the Voidlands. Here, you learn about the true threat to the world, Dark Matter. They are able to reunite with other members of the Expedition Society, giving them a sense of hope. However, that feeling quickly disappears as their see their friends get taken away one by one and ultimately, the hero and partner are the only ones able to escape the Voidlands.
When the hero and partner wake up in the Pokemon world, they come to see a terrible sight: the quiet and peaceful hometown that the player had experienced at the beginning of the game has been wiped out. All of the residents the hero and partner held dear to them, gone. Each portion of the game has a purpose in the plot and each arc blends together really well, especially when you think back to the Serene Village portion of the game when you see the state of it after escaping the Voidlands. It affects the player's emotions in a way other PMD games aren't able to. The Buildup of Dark Matter:
Dark Matter's existence is first displayed during the Serene Village arc; you simply see some distorted voice describing one of the hero and partner's interactions as "feelings of discontent". The player then wonders what that voice is and what they are talking about. During the story, you learn more about weird occurrences such as the incidents of Pokemon turning to stone and the sun seemingly becoming bigger in the sky. You eventually come to learn that Dark Matter is linked to Nuzleaf and Yvetal's ability to turn Pokemon into stone and that Dark Matter is leading the planet TO COLLIDE INTO THE SUN
. Let's list how the game displays Dark Matter's buildup:
- Gives some Pokemon the ability to turn other Pokemon into stone.
- Sets the entire planet on a collision course WITH THE SUN.
- Presumably turns ALL of the hero and partner's hometown into stone.
- Traps NEARLY ALL of the Expedition Society members AND the Legendary Beasts in the Voidlands.
- Turns nearly all Pokemon and Legendary on the planet to stone, INCLUDING ARCEUS.
- Nearly brings the hero and partner to the point of giving up after they have lost nearly everything.
All this buildup leads up to the beginning of the second phase of Dark Matter which is accompanied by the best final boss theme in the series. The other final bosses in the series don't have nearly as much buildup compared to Dark Matter. The Use of Foreshadowing:
This game uses foreshadowing in the writing VERY WELL.
First, let's look at Nuzleaf's affiliation with Dark Matter. Let's think about something: keep in mind that every now and then, Nuzleaf would leave his house every now and then to conduct some business. Additionally, some time after Nuzleaf leaves Serene Village for a while, a Pokemon is turned to stone. After Nuzleaf leaves the hero at home for the first time, Wailord is found to be turned to stone. And a few days after Nuzleaf visits the Expedition Society's base, the team finds Entei turned to stone on Showdown Mountain. This is a very subtle and clever way to hint at one of the game's major plot twists.
Secondly, let's look at a big one: the partner being a reincarnation of Mew. There are a couple things that can be linked to multiple things:
- The fact that the partner is afraid of ghosts. Mew is a Psychic type, which means that he is weak to Ghost-type moves.
- The partner's ability to read ancient Pokemon writing fluently. This fact is explained as soon as you learn the partner is Mew, who stopped Dark Matter for the first time long ago.
When you think about these facts, it shouldn't be too confusing when it is revealed to you that the partner is Mew. Again, the way they foreshadow is subtle and clever. The Character Development of the Partner:
There are quite a few lovable characters in Super Mystery Dungeon such as Ampharos and Jirachi. However, none of them have quite as much character development as the star of the show: the partner.
At the beginning of the game, your partner comes off as a little annoying sometimes; keep in mind, your partner is a child going to school, so this is fairly normal. Your partner confronts you about this and asks you about it and it hurts them to hear your opinion on them. The partner acknowledges their flaws and try to get better with it. Another thing I love with the partner at the beginning is that unlike other partners in the series, when you try telling them that you are a human that turned into a Pokemon, they don't immediately believe you. It's super realistic. When you try to warn the class of the potential danger Budew is in, the partner is willing to ditch class to help you save them. At the end of the day, your partner promises to stand by your side and that establishes the partner's loyalty to them. Other partners in the series don't exactly create compelling reasons why the partner is so devoted to the hero in my opinion.
Now let's talk about the parts where you really start to love the partner; immediately after escaping the Voidlands and seeing nearly all of their friends from the Expedition Society get taken away from them, they are greeted with the sight of the village completely empty. However, instead of staying around, the partner tells the hero that they are leaving as it may make them unable to continue forward thinking about it. Keep in mind, the partner is a child, so the fact that they have the mental strength to push forward after seeing something like this is just amazing.
And when the duo get back to the Expedition Society's headquarters and find Espurr, the partner runs away in shock after having confirmation that his pops didn't make it (realistic). Additionally, after fighting Beheeyem, the partner just charges at Beheeyem in a huge rage and knocks them onto the floor with all their might and starts to beat them up while they are on the floor while yelling at him for attacking his village; the fact that this kind of scenario is so realistic just hits me, especially when you remember the partner is a child.
Lastly, let's remember what the partner does after the Yvetal fight: even though the Tree of Life is flying into the sky, the partner's first instinct is to platform through the rubble falling from the sky and reach the Tree of Life. Like anyone else would've just felt that all hope was lost, but the phrase "give up" is not in the partner's vocabulary and this cutscene establishes that.
After seeing all this, the ending of the game hit me EVEN HARDER when the hero was told it was the partner that was leaving instead of them, which is the biggest plot twist in the entire series.
Now, the gameplay of Super just set the standard for peak PMD gameplay, and I am super happy that Rescue Team DX integrated a lot of the gameplay mechanics from Super into itself. I'll be talking about general gameplay balance changes, the looplet and Emera system, and the general post game experience. Game Balance:
Super Mystery Dungeon is the first game in the series where I felt that the gameplay was super balanced. There are a few things I want to list in regards to game balance:
- Changes to the way many moves work: one of the major changes to moves in general is that many moves have had their attack range changed; for instance, Ember has been buffed to have a 2 tile range rather than a 1 tile range in previous games. There is a reason for this: enemies in Super are a lot tougher to deal with compared to enemies in previous PMD games; you are not just able to one shot literally every enemy that walks in front of you like in Sky, you usually require multiple attacks to take down a single enemy. So the player is given much more access to ranged combat to counteract this. Additionally, some moves have been changed to be more accurate to main series effects. For instance, in previous PMD games, Reflect and Light Screen would only provide defense buffs to the user. However starting in Super, the screens became party wide defense buffs to protect the party for a few turns. Due to changes like this, more moves have become useful in the series that were otherwise subpar in previous installments.
- The Quality of AI Teammates: In past games, the AI weren't exactly the smartest. The AI would engage enemies that you did not want them to, they'd step on traps you stepped on a few seconds ago (unless you grinding a million IQ for Trap Avoider, which for some reason is locked behind a grind), and a number of other things. They got a huge improvement in SMD; if they have a ranged attack and an enemy is drawing near, they will be able to position themselves to snipe them from a long distance and predict where the enemy is going to be; they will walk around traps that you stepped on but didn't trigger; and they will be able to follow orders through tactics very well (if you set them to Follow me, they will not engage enemies at all unless you start a fight with one).
- The Emphasis on Items: Now, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon is a game of the roguelike genre. A big thing with roguelikes is the heavy emphasis on using all your resources to your advantage to ensure your survival. Super does a very good job at emphasizing this point. For instance, in one of the first few missions on the Connection Orb, you are sent to fight a Salamence that just completely destroys your level 10 team with every attack. This mission is meant to be a tutorial for emphasizing why you should use items; if you spam Slumber Wands or Sleep Seeds on this guy and then proceed to use about 3 Blast Seeds on him, he's done. And then the game awards you with the ability to use a level 50 Salamence on level 10 Pokemon (at the cost of making them take a 5 week long vacation due to you being an extremely low level relative to him). This game makes items seem way more important and encourages you to use EVERYTHING at your disposal.
- New Gameplay Mechanics: There are a couple of gameplay mechanics Super added. First, we have the addition of pushing a Pokemon rather than swapping places with them. This can be VERY strategic if used properly; let's say you spawn in a room and a Pokemon with a room clear move nearby but you can't really walk close to them before they try nuking you but your partner is closer to them. You can push your partner towards that enemy so that they can start trying to take them out without using up their turn. Secondly, before I mentioned that range is very important in Super; 1 tile ranged moves are more risky to use due to having to be right next to the enemy and risking taking a lot of damage. However, a way to counteract this is to use an Alliance on an enemy to immediately get your close ranged attacker to point blank range. Alliances are a good thing to use when there is an enemy you just want to get rid of.
Because of a lot of the things I listed above, I rarely ever feel like I died in an unfair way. Since there are so many options available to you so generally if you die, it's mostly due to being careless and not properly using your items. Looplets and Emeras:
Another big aspect of the roguelike genre is the sense of randomness in every dungeon you go to. Random items, random dungeon layouts, etc. Now enter looplets and emeras; looplets have notches on them that allow you to equip emeras, which are items that will give you helpful buffs for the duration of the dungeon. This system really adds to the feel of this being a roguelike since you can have radically different emera experiences every dungeon you go to. You may get a lot of offensive-oriented emera such as Barrage or Better Odds; other times you may get more defense-oriented emera such as Guard Boost. You may even get a bunch of utility emera such as Clairvoyance thrown at you. And even if you find an emera you don't like, you can crush the emera to give yourself a temporary stat boost for the rest of the dungeon, so any emera can be of use to you in some way. The Post Game Experience:
After the epilogue of the game (which unfortunately, isn't too extensive), there are MANY THINGS to do in the post-game.
- There is the treasure collection for you to fill out; exploring the world to find special items is such a good experience. It really gives you a sense of adventure seeking these things out. And seeking these things out is completely worth it. Some of the treasure looplets are VERY worth your time to get; some may boost a stat significantly, others may have tremendous utility for you.
- The Connection Orb missions are plentiful. I will admit, the fact that these missions don't really vary really lower the replayability value of the game. However, this system gives you the easiest time recruiting every single Pokemon which is good considering this game has 779 connections. And lastly, seeing the Connection Orb on the bottom screen eventually form a huge compilation of stars is so great to see.
- The most exciting part of the post game is the boss battles you can do. Oh boy. These fights can be very difficult and intense. For instance, you walk into the Sky Ruins, and then you are greeted to a fight with BOTH GEN 5 BOX ART LEGENDARIES at the same time. This fight is really fun since there are 2 behemoths you have to overcome at once and they hit like trucks; but once you beat them both, you feel extremely satisfied. And one of the best things about Super post-game bosses is that you really aren't able to trivialize fights with a simple Sleep Seed; you have to fight these guys the old fashioned way. Super post-game boss fights are some of the best boss fights in the series in my eyes.
And that's about it for my explanation on why I love Super. There is definitely a bunch of things I missed but this post is already long enough as it is, so please feel free to add things that I didn't cover in the comments. And if there are points that you disagree with me on, that's fine; we can discuss things like that in the comments below. Thank you for taking the time to read this long post.
Applying to ART College: A Megathread
submitted by batsbatsrats to ApplyingToCollege [link] [comments]
Hi! After using this sub for much of my junior & senior year (on a separate account), I've noticed there’s fairly little information on applying to art college. As such, I thought I'd compile all my knowledge and research about applying to art school as someone that used to obsess over the A2C process for both normal and art schools.
This ended up MASSIVE as I tried to stuff everything I could think of related to applying to art school in here. Hope it helps some of y’all out there :-)
Introduction Having applied and researched applying to both art and normal schools, I feel that applying to art school is much more straight forward. There are so fewer moving factors and it's definitely much less of a crapshoot than applying to T20s and Ivies. If your art is good enough and you know what they're looking for, I think getting into even the top art schools is very doable and a lot less scary than one might initially think.
For some context, I'm currently an incoming freshman at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and was accepted with highest merit scholarship to all art schools I applied to, including RISD, Parsons, Pratt, and SVA. I was a 2019 and 2020 YoungArts winner in Visual Arts, a 2020 Scholastic National Gold Medalist, and a 2017 Congressional Competition where my art was hung in the U.S. Capitol for a year.
While part of it was hard work, another part of it was also figuring out how to navigate the process and choosing where to apply my effort. Figuring out what AOs want is super important if you want to maximize your chances at success.
Applying to art college is ultimately a game that anyone with a drive to create art can learn how to play, no matter how much art experience you have. And if you know how to play, it becomes a lot easier to succeed!
The Portfolio The portfolio is no doubt the MOST important part of your application. This is a selection of your artwork that AOs will look at to determine if you're qualified enough to be admitted. Grades and ECs often matter little to none depending on the school, so if you're set on art school, make sure to focus on creating the best portfolio you can.
Depending on the school, they may ask for anywhere from 10-22 pieces. Each school has different quantitative requirements; make sure you check their website and/or Slideroom portal (where you'll upload your portfolio) for details.
Important note: Please keep in mind that my portfolio was mainly 2D fine arts with a little bit of Graphic Design from my time at RISD Precollege, which I attended in the summer before 12th grade (2019). As such, most of the research I did was about fine arts portfolios and I don't know if the information here is as applicable to portfolios with or centered on photo, video, animation, etc. It's also most specific to RISD & other top art schools in the U.S. (but we're all overachievers here anyway lol).
Major-specific vs Non-major-specific portfolios Some schools want portfolios that are specific to the major you apply to (though this is relatively rare) or portfolios that are "focused" on (rather than only on) a specific major (this is a little more common). They may not even mention it explicitly on their website, so make sure you clarify what the school wants.
The advice & info I'll give is about non-major-specific portfolios (which schools like RISD (especially), Pratt, Parsons, SVA, SAIC, MICA, etc. want/accept), so keep that in mind!
What to include in a portfolio? (For art schools) While this honestly varies from school to school, I know that top art schools not only want to see technical skill, but conceptual thinking and experimentation as well. I think a current RISD student that gave a portfolio lecture at RISD precollege put it really well—RISD (and many other top art schools) look for things that they admit they can't teach you, like a POTENTIAL to grow, a drive to experiment and explore, a proclivity for a type of thought-process that they think makes great artists. Realism and technical drawing skill are all things that anyone can learn with enough practice (and at many art schools like RISD, Pratt, and Parsons, you WILL be practicing through foundation year studies).
That being said, schools still want to see that you have adequate technical skills to build upon. You want a mix between technically-strong pieces and conceptually-strong pieces, i.e. pieces that show off your rendering abilities and pieces that show off your ability to put ideas and thought behind your pieces. Of course, these two categories can heavily overlap (and it's probably better if they do!), but if they don't, make sure you have BOTH in your portfolio.
Technically-strong pieces Technically-strong pieces are pieces that demonstrate your mastery over your medium. Many this means super-detailed colored pencil still lives, well-crafted and purposeful sculptures, intricate landscapes, accurately rendered buildings, etc. In addition to making things detailed, technical skill also includes a strong grasp of color, light, composition, form, space, etc.
Tip: Composition especially is something many art school applicants don't pay much attention to (according to some AOs I've talked to), so make sure you're not putting everything right in the center of your page/canvas/etc. Also, play with cropping and having parts of the subject & objects go off the page rather than containing the entirety of the subject/object within the bounds of your page.
Conceptually-strong pieces Having a portfolio of impeccably rendered but purely technical pieces may get you into some schools, but top art schools will still turn you down. I know of so many people who've submitted portfolios full of hyperrealistic graphite shoes or tools or other objects, only to be rejected. Such portfolios show that the artist lacks the ability to go beyond depictions of life and given another dimension to their art—a conceptual dimension.
By "conceptually-strong" pieces, I mean pieces that are idea and thought-driven rather than just purely technical. Think about how you can indicate a narrative within your piece or say something.
Think also about how you intentionally choose certain compositions, certain lighting, certain colors, certain styles, certain painting techniques, etc. to help subtly build the narrative of your piece. This is really important as it shows you're thinking about these things.
This DOESN'T necessarily mean that there has to be some explicit "moral" or message to your piece; trying to spoonfeed a story through very explicit (i.e. not-subtle) imagery can result in cheesy symbolism and pieces that feel cliche.
(I hope to add more to this later when I can put it into words better—this category is so broad and vague and I wish I could be more specific. Feel free to ask more specific questions about it below!)
Mastery over a range of mediums Top art schools like seeing that you skillfully use and experiment with different mediums. Maybe if you mainly work with pencil and pen, you can try paint, which is wet and a lot looser than highly controlled dry mediums. Maybe you can try 3D!! Many high schoolers are scared of it so it'll make you stand out (if it's well-executed).
Tip: You can also play with combining multiple mediums in one piece. Consider less conventional mediums like e.g. painting on wood (having the wood show through under the paint can create a cool effect, plus you can also burn wood to create designs & cool effects), creating texture with crumpled newspaper, incorporating wires to create a 3D aspect, etc. The list goes on and on!
That all being said, don't put in a bad piece just for the sake of showing that you work with different mediums. If the piece isn't very good, it can end up hurting you more helping you :')
Additionally, some art schools may not care all that much about seeing a range of mediums. This is definitely more of a thing at schools like RISD.
Life studies: figure drawings, still lives, landscapes, etc. Art schools want to see that you can draw from life. This means literally looking at things IRL and drawing them instead of drawing from a photograph. These pieces don't have to fully executed, fleshed-out pieces—it's common for people to send shaded black-and-white charcoal sketches of figures. They can also be sketchbook pages from sitting at a coffee shop, a park, a train station, your room, and just drawing the people, animals, objects, scenery, etc. around you. This is also a time to combine mediums if you want to add a splash of color to pen/pencil drawings. You can have fun with it!
That being said, it's still very important to display well-executed technical skill, ESPECIALLY for still lives as those are probably the most common life drawing + are in nearly every single portfolio and probably the easiest of the 3.
Tip: Put shadows underneath your still lives; don't just have them floating in a blank white page! Try to also draw at least some part of the background so that the object is indicated in a space. Play with composition and try to break away from putting everything right in the middle of your page/canvas with nothing going off the edges (bc still lives are like that and it gets very boring!)
If you can't access live nude models for figure drawing, there are some online resources where you can draw nude models meant for this exact purpose, both timed and untimed (posted below!). Though it won't be from life, it may still be worth including as human anatomy is important and something many art schools focus on, especially in your first year.
Although the vast majority do, some schools don't care about life studies or purely technical pieces at all (notoriously parsons!), so make sure you do your research through attending National Portfolio Day & contacting admissions with questions (more on that later).
Note: You should only submit a few of these!
Sketchbook pages This very much depends on the school—some really want to see them and some may only want to see your best, most completed work. Typically, a school that DOES want sketchbook pages will explicitly ask to see them. Make sure you check their website or ask them!
If they DO want to see sketchbook pages, you can include thumbnail sketches, planning for another piece, life drawings, small experimentations, anything that gives a "behind the scenes" look into your art making and thinking. It's great also to show sketchbook planning for another piece you have in your portfolio. Schools like RISD really want to sketchbook pages so make sure you keep one!
Note: You should only submit a few of these!
School-specific assignments/tests Some art schools will require you to create art based on a specific prompt. This prompt may change every year or stay the same. This is an important chance to show how you tackle an art assignment given by the school itself and a good assignment response can really boost your portfolio. I wouldn't go as far as to say these "make or break" your portfolio, however, as schools have explicitly stated that the rest of your portfolio is also important and not to devote all your time and energy onto the assignment at the cost of a lower-quality portfolio. Still take it seriously though!
Cooper Union (tbh it's the only school I know of that does this) gives a "home test" where they mail/email you a list of prompts to make art from that they assess you on. There's also a bunch of questions you have to answer (I don't know much about the home test so please let me know if this info is wrong or misleading!).
RISD's this year (just released a few days ago!) is "Identify something in need of repair. Use any material or approach to fix it." and an accompanying written response (further details here).
Be creative. Come up with unique concepts. I'm sure someone out there is reading this thinking, 'Well, DUH, it's art school! Of course I have to be creative,' because I'd probably think the same. Yet, you'd be surprised how often AOs continue to see still lives of fruit or glass bottles, green landscapes, a portrait painted with a flurry of unnatural skin tones, etc.
Don't make things just because everyone else is making them. I guarantee you that you don't need a still life of fruit to get into art school. Instead, think about what pieces like that show AOS (for still lives, it'd be technical skill) and think about ways you can show those same skills but in a less-generic way. This piece by @lemoncholy_(IG) (link to a timestamped youtube video) is a great example of a fun and original still life that also works in a narrative while displaying technical skill.
Break out of rigidity Common among applicants who are really skilled in realism are portfolios full of tightly rendered portraits and scenes from life, but nothing else. This is bad because it shows you don't know how to experiment and that your artistic skills and vision are limited within the very narrow realm of photographic realism.
Play with adapting a "looser" hand. Watercolor is great for this because it's so fluid! You can also play with combining realism and abstraction or illustration. An artist that I think does this well with oil paint is Jenny Saville. You can also experiment with stylizing some of your realism. Degas's pastel portraits
Don't place everything in the center I mentioned this earlier, but placing things in the dead center is probably the most common composition that high school applicants use, usually without a particular reason why and just because it's the "default." Many AOs I talked to really emphasized it so definitely play with putting things off-center and asymmetry!!
Have backgrounds. Yes, even to still lives! Also mentioned earlier, but pure white backgrounds should be avoided whenever appropriate. They can make pieces look unfinished and usually happen because people are scared of them. Break out of your comfort zone! Even if the background is simple, it still indicates the object in a space instead of it just floating in space.
Don't be afraid of color Try to make more than half of your pieces in color! I'm not sure if this is as much of a problem now, but don't be afraid of it! It's much easier to work with it when the colors are controlled, like with colored pencils, versus when you have to mix your own colors, like with watercolor.
Make your artistic choices intentional Why did you choose this certain composition? This color palette? This style? This lighting? Realism vs semi-realism? How can these choices help build a narrative without having to shove it down the audience's throat through explicit imagery?
Answering these questions can help you make more intentional and meaningful choices! and explaining these choices in the description will definitely give you a boost as it shows you're thinking deeply about critically (critically thinking) about your art-making.
Spend time on your written descriptions Honestly, even if the work itself is subpar, a stellar description that reveals a lot of depth to the piece can save it and show that you think a lot about your artistic choices and art-making in general. From then, it just becomes an execution issue which you can work on in school.
Quality > quantity, but don't add too few pieces either Don't try to reach the max-pieces limit with "filler" pieces that aren't very good. It'll bring the overall quality of your portfolio down.
At the same time, don't include too few pieces. If it asks for 20 pieces, try to give at least 13. If it asks for 12, try to give at least 9. Not every piece has to be absolutely outstanding!
A purely technical portfolio I'm sure I'm beginning to sound like a broken record at this point lol, but this is super important!! It's so so common for technically amazing applicants to get rejected because their portfolios are all just technical studies without any narrative or conceptual thought behind the majority of their pieces.
Tell narratives through your art. Go to art museums. Ask yourself what it means to be an artist and your role in society. What power does art have that other methods don't? How can you use your art to say things and reach others in ways that only art can?
Fanart or anime Especially anime. They don't like it at all. The reasons are a little BS imo :( but you can't fight them; just don't do it.
Master copies Mastercopies are when you replicate/copy famous pieces of artwork—art from "masters"—as accurately as possible.
This is a lesser offense than including fanart/anime and whether schools actually care will vary from school to school, but I know that schools like RISD & Parsons really don't like them and RISD specifically advises against them. They don't show any originality and the display of technical skill is also damped by the notion that it was copied from someone else's art.
Personally, I think master copies are actually super beneficial to people learning a certain medium and I really encourage people to do them as studies. Just don't put them in your portfolio!
Badly photographed pieces The documentation of your pieces is an often overlooked yet highly important part of your portfolio. Try to take photos of work outside in bright but shadowy areas. This way you get natural light but not the glare of direct light. Rent a camera and learn how to use its basic settings or use a phone with a high-quality camera.
Crop your photos to the edges of your piece. Alter weird lighting, contrast, and color inconsistencies using a photo editing software. Photoshop is perfect for this as it's super powerful. If you don't have a subscription, PM me and I can help you with getting it for free.
Art Prof also has tooons of stuff on documenting your work here in the middle/second column of links near the top.
What makes the best portfolio? (For NON-art schools) When submitting a supplementary portfolio to non-art schools, non-art schools typically prefer high-technical skill works and fully fleshed-out, finished works. Unless your experimental pieces are also highly skilled, it's best to go for very well rendered pieces that also have some conceptual thinking behind them.
The people looking at your supplementary portfolio may often be normal AOs that don't know much about art, and high-skill pieces will seem most impressive. And whereas the applicant pool for top art schools like RISD consists of many high-technical-skill low-conceptual-skill portfolios, supplementary portfolios to non-art schools on average usually aren't as good so you don't need as many risky, conceptual pieces to stand out.
Plus, non-art schools don't give two shits about your "potential to grow" in art so show off all the current skill you have rather than what you could have in the future! Especially if you don't even plan to do art in college.
Ordering your pieces The order of your pieces does matter. You want to leave the best impression you can on the AOs and psychology plays a part in it. People generally agree that the first two and last two pieces should be your strongest pieces. You want to start and end with a bang.
Other than that, it's up to you and depends on your portfolio pieces. You could try grouping similar pieces together, but if two pieces are too similar to each other, it can seem repetitive and you should probably take one of them out (instead of just moving it somewhere else). You could also play with mixing things up, but be careful not to break the cohesion of your portfolio by jumping between pieces that have completely different purposes and moods—you want the order of your pieces to flow without seeming boring or repetitive.
What is Slideroom? Slideroom is a portfolio uploading site where the majority of schools (including non-art schools) will ask you to submit portfolios on. Each school will have their own Slideroom portal (usually something like "[schoolname].slideroom.com") and you'll have to submit your portfolio separately for school you apply to.
When you upload pieces onto slideroom, you'll have the option to add a title and description for your piece. You may also have a box for year, medium, size, etc. depending on if the schools asks for it.
Tip: I highly recommend creating a separate document/spreadsheet with all your artworks' names, mediums, years, sizes, and descriptions as you'll have to put in that information again each time you submit a portfolio to another school (there IS an option on Slideroom to copy all your entries from portfolio A into portfolio B, but portfolio B may ask for yeamedium/size/etc. while portfolio A may not, which would require you to put it all in for portfolio B).
More tips! Two ~1hr Youtube videos about "art school portfolio secrets" with tons more tips from Clara Lieu (former adjunct RISD professor) @ Art Prof!! Here and here.
A bunch of portfolio tips + more common mistakes by Art Prof (again lol) here (same link as the one about documenting artwork)!
Grades, Tests, Extracurriculars, Awards, Classes, etc.
Academics Generally, grades and test scores very little to art schools. Most art schools barely care about your GPA and SAT, if at all. Even RISD, which probably cares the most out of all the art schools, has accepted people with sub 3.0 GPAs and sub 1200 SAT scores. Contrarily, many 4.0 UW 1400+ SAT people have been rejected because their portfolios are subpar. And it makes sense when you think about it, as academic strength matters little relative to your artistic strength when at art school.
Extracurriculars are more or less the same deal. Some schools only ask for art related ECs, so it's nice to have a few. It also may give you something to talk about.
Art Competitons/Awards From my understanding awards also don't matter very much to art schools, and at least not as much as your portfolio. I know people who've won numerous Scholastic National Medals that were rejected from schools like RISD. IMO this makes sense, as art school AO's would definitely trust their own judgment when looking at someone's portfolio over that of a competition's that they aren't affiliated with, especially since they're admitting them to art school, which values potential, while competitions value skill.
Some schools give a few scholarships based on art competitions like YoungArts, Scholastic, etc. I always think it's a good idea to try for these as you often have nothing to lose except for your time and the application fee and you may end up with some portfolio pieces while preparing for them.
There are mainly two large art competitions that I know of:
Scholastic Art & Writing Awards This is probably the largest art competition in the country. It has both regional and national awards. It's not too difficult to get some regional awards and it looks good on a resume. Anyone 7th-12th grade can apply and you need to do it while affiliated with a middle school/high school art teacher.
They have many different visual arts categories such as photography, drawing & illustration, sculpture, mixed media, design, digital, comic art, etc. They also have a whole writing section that also has a bunch of different categories.
National Youngarts Foundation This is a fairly prestigious competition with only ~50 winners nationwide, only half (or less) of which are Finalists. For visual arts, you submit a portfolio of 10 pieces that generally follow some unifying theme (the specifics change from year to year so make sure you check their site for details). Anyone 15-18 OR in 10th-12th grade can apply (so many college freshmen still qualify!). The due date is in October and if you get notified if you're a winner in December.
There are also many other categories outside of visual arts, such as theatre, writing, singing, dancing, classical music, etc.
AP Art I personally never took this class as it wasn't offered at my school, so I wish I could say more about it. From my understanding, this class is a good portfolio builder, and many who take it before 12th grade end up with portfolio pieces. I think most art colleges don't allow you to use AP Art credit in college.
School Art Classes and Private Art Classes In terms of getting you into art school, I don't think having these on your transcript or resume will increase or reduce your chances at all. However, these are definitely great opportunities to work on portfolio pieces and get feedback from teachers and peers.
Private art classes (if you find a good one) are definitely a great place to work specifically on portfolio pieces. Usually your instructor will work closely with you to build a portfolio and create pieces. Having not really done or learned anything in my school art classes, private art classes definitely helped me churn out a lot of art for the first half of high school.
Choosing an art school
Your major matters The quality of your education at a certain institution will be VERY major dependent. While it may be tempting, don't just look at acceptance rates because they can mislead you (sidenote on this: try to get acceptance rates from students or the school's website because the ones Google reports are always much higher for some reason).
Even reputation can sometimes be misleading—for example, while RISD is sometimes considered the "Harvard" of art schools, it has a poor animation, video, and photography department. Contrarily, SVA has a great animation program despite having a high acceptance rate and despite some of their other departments being questionable in quality.
Flexibility in switching majors If you aren't sure which major you want to go into or unsure if you necessarily will want to stay in your current major, keep in mind how easy or hard it'll be to switch majors. Some schools require you to apply to a certain major and are very inflexible about changing majors. For example, to do Fashion at parsons (which is famous for their fashion), you have to specifically get into the Fashion major because it's so competitive and they probably judge the applicants at a different standard.
Additionally, their first-year curriculum is completely different from all the other majors' first-year curriculums (which is usually a foundation year where ALL majors take the SAME classes on fundamental art skills like drawing and design). If you get into Parsons for something else, I've heard it's relatively easy to change majors from say Illustration to Graphic Design to very hard to change majors into Fashion.
It also may be hard to transfer out of such majors. Animation at SVA has a different first-year curriculum than most of the other majors (which also have a foundation year) which SVA brings up as why you can't switch from Animation to GD or Illustration but why you can switch form GD to Illustration or vice versa. I've heard of people who went into SVA for animation but realized after their second year that they didn't actually like animation. As a result, they either had to stick with it for another two years and 140k later or drop out.
Location This is true for both art and non-art schools. Depending on your major, it may be easier to find work in more urban areas or certain cities. That gives schools around SoCal or NYC an advantage compared to schools in, say, Florida. Make sure you consider if that's something important for you and your major.
Connections/Networking This may only be applicable for 'industry majors' like Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Textiles, etc. and not so much for very fine-arts majors like Drawing and Painting. But for those formerly mentioned majors, I've been told straight up that you pay for art school for the connections and the networking. Reputable schools have well-connected faculty and networking events with renowned companies and employers. This is super important in art industries like Graphic Design, where your salary can fluctuate GREATLY depending on where you work.
Ultimately, the name doesn't matter that much While prestige may help someone graduating from a NON-art school find a good job, for art schools, your graduating portfolio matters a LOT more (NOTE: The portfolio I mention in this section is the one you build during your time at art college. The portfolio I mention in the next section and for the majority of this post is the one you apply to art school with). This is the body of work that you come out of college with and is what hirers (for industry majors) are looking at to decide if your artistic vision and skill is what they're looking for. The best art school for you then is the one that helps you build your best body of work, and that may not be the well-known big-name schools.
Do you like their student work? Some schools have an affiliated Behance site where students (and alums) can post artwork that they make. You can usually filter the work in the site by major and year. The URL is typically "portfolios.[schoolname].edu" but I'd look up "[schoolname] portfolios" or "[schoolname] student work" in google as many schools don't have an affiliated Behance site.
This is a great way to see what students are currently making. You may find that you particularly do or don't like the work produced, and that's a really important indicator for whether that school would be a good fit for you.
Art at a non-art school This can sometimes be risky imo as art programs in non-art schools are often small and not very good. Especially when there's only one professor for your major, you run the risk of getting a limited/narrow education in a field that requires fresh ideas and creative problem-solving (for most majors). The quality of the education may also just not be very great, and you'll also have fewer peers to grow from (Your classmates in art school are super important imo as you'll constantly be learning and growing off each other. You literally spend a third of your time in art school getting feedback from your peers.).
That being said, there are definitely some non-art schools with a strong arts and/or design department, like Yale, UCLA, and Carnegie Mellon. It can be hard to find stuff about this online and I wish I knew some better ways to research this, but it's best if you can talk to a professor or art student who's more 'in the know' about this stuff.
What if I don't only want to do art? Most art schools only offer a very arts-centered education. Some have an art history/liberal arts requirement but those classes are limited. You'll still have to take some non-art classes, and if that's enough for you, great! But if not, you could consider doing art at a non-art school, where you'll have access to the school's non-art majors and courses too.
At RISD, you not only have a (relatively) heftier liberal arts requirement, but you also have the opportunity to take classes at Brown University right next door starting your sophomore year. However, I've heard that it's actually pretty difficult to schedule these classes as RISD classes are usually really long and the two universities don't really work together to coordinate classes.
Dual Degree Programs There are also some dual degree programs, most famously the Brown | RISD dual degree program. This shit is competitive as fuck to get into (3-4% acceptance rate) but an amazing opportunity as you get a degree from both Brown University and RISD after 5-years. You can find a lot more info about it online. Overview of some specific logistics about its admissions here. There's also the Tufts SMFA 5-year dual degree which also has a 4-year option if you only want a degree from Tufts.
I only recently got into art/I don't have a lot of experience. Do I still have a chance at top art schools? Contrary to popular belief, people who are good at art are rarely truly "talented." Much of it is really just practice, practice, and more practice. Even with talent, practice is still essential (just like how talented athletes still have to train really hard in order to do well).
But imo, you can practice "smartly" and not-so-smartly. I know of multiple people who only started making art mid-high school or never took an art class before an art camp the summer before 12th grade and these people got into some of the best art schools in the country! They weren't secret Van Gogh's who had finally uncovered their god-given talent; they just knew how to build a portfolio that highlighted their strengths over their weaknesses and showed they had potential above all else.
How expensive is art school? Top art schools are as expensive as top non-art schools. Some, like RISD, are notorious for being stingy about giving money. It's a sad reality. However, there are definitely other affordable but decent options outside of the big-name schools. Remember that a school might be alright overall but really good for your major, specifically!
How do I know if art school is right for me? I struggled with the same question and am honestly still struggling with it. Is art to you a hobby or a passion? Would you be ok with doing art as a job, even if it means sucking some or most of the joy out of it? Would you be willing to go into debt for a degree that may be hard to pay back?
Do you want to go to school with passionate and driven students doing what they love? Do you want to go to school with students all more-or-less doing the same thing as you? Are you ok with focusing mainly on art but dabbling in other subjects too?
Ultimately, you can also always transfer schools!
Resources Oh boy,, my favorite part lol. Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with any of the links or organizations below :’)
Portfolio reviews National Portfolio Day - A collection of days throughout the year where you can have your portfolio reviewed & critiqued by representatives from a whole host of art schools. There's typically one in a certain state/region per year. It's a great opportunity to get legit feedback on your portfolio and I highly recommend people to attend if possible, especially if they're unsure about what direction to move forward in with their portfolio. Also a great time to ask art schools questions!! Calendar here.
Virtual National Portfolio Day - NPD but online through Careereco. Many schools also attend. Dates for upcoming VNPDs are on the NPD website. Their most recent one (as of the time I'm writing this) was on May 22nd, 2020; you can find the details for that one here.
This is still fairly new (first one was in 2019) and can get very hectic with long wait times but the whole thing usually runs the whole day from ~6 a.m.–5 p.m. EST. I'd definitely recommend NPD over VNPD if possible.
AICAD - If you can't make NPD, you can submit a 5-piece portfolio online to have it reviewed by a select list of art schools that you get to choose from. Not many schools participate but some decent ones do, like RISD and MICA. You'll get an email with feedback.
In my experience, a lot of schools used it as an advertising platform and I didn't get that much useful feedback on my portfolio. However, some schools (like RISD) did give feedback and it's definitely worth trying though if you want as much feedback as possible!
Art Prof Portfolio Critiques - Art Prof, a free online art education service, posts 30+ min critiques of user-submitted portfolios on their Youtube channel. The reviewers include art school professors and grads. You can buy a review on Art Prof's website.
They also have a ton of live art piece critiques (scroll through the created playlists) on all categories of visual art that you can submit your own art for for free!
Portfolio Examples Admitted Portfolio Youtube Videos - A playlist of admitted art school portfolios + tips + general videos with info about art school. As of now, it hasn't been updated with the Class of 2020 acceptances, but has most of the ones from before then.
Art Prof Portfolio Critiques - (as mentioned above!)
Learning Art Prof - The HOLY GRAIL of free online art education. The founder and head, Clara Lieu, is a former RISD Adjunt Professor. There is a TON of useful stuff on here, including tutorials in oil paint, marker, animation, printmaking, 3D, etc; ideas for art and portfolio pieces; guides on composition, light, portraits, etc; guides for photography art; etc. Literally sooo much useful content.
Here's a post with a ton of useful info on art school portfolios!
They also have a Youtube channel that is also incredibly useful and heavily integrated with their main site. As mentioned earlier, they have a lot of full portfolio critiques which you yourself can also purchase. You can also submit art on their site to get critiqued on their channel. They have tons of useful guides on just about everything art related, like it's seriously crazy. Literally God Prof.
New Master's Academy - Tons of solid lessons on all sorts of fundamental art skills, including anatomy, oil paint, watercolor, etc. A not-free subscripton based service. They also have a Youtube channel where they post some critiques and lessons here.
Figures (nude and clothed) Line of Action - Timed nude and clothed models. Also has facial expressions, animals, landscapes, etc.
Quick Poses - Timed also; same as Line of Action but the images vary more in quality (though they're also more diverse).
Artmodeltips.com - Tons of nude poses with some clothed. Not timed.
Senshistock on DeviantArt - Clothed and nearly-nude poses. Many are from dynamic perspectives and they're overall more suited for anatomy reference in illustrations but still serve as good practice.
Royalty-free images For when you want to heavily reference a photograph that isn't yours. It's a good habit to start building as it's you could get sued using copyrighted photos + it's looked down upon. Take reference photos yourself if possible!
...and tons more!
Hope this was helpful! I knew this would be long but it's now very very close to the 40k character limit lol and I'm out of space. I'll definitely try adding and editing stuff as I remember more art school-related content.
Feel free to ask any additional questions below and I'll try to answer them if possible!! I'm sure there are some things I've unintentionally glossed over, so please don't hesitate to ask :') If you have questions about specific schools, I may also be able to help!
UPDATE: As a dad with a full-time job, pretty pleased with [ 2020 ] MTT results (PokerStarsPA)
| || | submitted by AccidentalGrenade to poker [link] [comments]
Previous Post: https://www.reddit.com/pokecomments/eizw2j/as_a_dad_with_a_fulltime_job_pretty_pleased_with/
First things first. Since my last post here on poker
, things have thankfully continued to trend in the right direction! Although perhaps with some hiccups along the way: PokerStars PA MTT Results, from Site Launch 11/5/2019 - Present
Hey everyone! I am a micro/low stakes tournament player and streamer over at https://www.twitch.tv/accidentalgrenade
. I've played video games on my stream for a long time, but JUMPED at the opportunity to play regulated poker with the launch of PokerStars in PA where I now live. It's been a FANTASTIC journey as both a player and a streamer, and I wanted to continue to introduce myself to the community here. I've met some amazing people in the PokerStars PA community through streaming, and I hope I can make some similar connections with you all - I visit poker
pretty much daily - there's some really underrated content here, on both the education side and the memes.
HIGHLIGHTS RECENT BIG CASHES
(see graph above for reference)
- ~MTT #590: WON The Hot $10 for $723 - This one will forever have a soft spot in my heart as my first MTT win on stream - super HYPE! Ran pure, played great at the FT and out-pipped my opponent heads up for the win with Q8 to his Q7
- ~MTT #930: WON The Big $10 for $1042 - One of my goals for the entire YEAR was to have my first 4-digit score in online poker, and I completed it about halfway through 2020!
These two wins were at the top end of my bankroll, although I've since decided to take poker seriously and sprinkle in some $20 buy-ins in the mix. My next goals are to win a series event and/or a $5K+ score! HOW I GOT THERE
LPP effect on my Personal MTT Results
- LearnProPoker Story - I purchased a LearnProPoker membership on February 9th (around MTT #330 on the graph above). I had a pretty quick return on my investment with a big cash around MTT #400 at the end of February, but honestly I was still making mistakes. I focused my study a LOT, and probably gained the most from watching the detailed group study sessions and full tournament reviews of prominent streamers/pros on LPP. Ryan LaPlante has worked hard to become an amazing teacher and I honestly think LearnProPoker is an insane value that pays for itself SO fast. I credit my wins in both the Hot $10 and the Big $10 to the stuff I learned on LPP, and there's still so much more to unpack!
STREAM AND COMMUNITY
- If you guys are interested in trying out LPP, they are still on a summer sale so it's the best time to pick it up. Full disclosure, these are affiliate links, so you'd be helping me out if you use them if you DO decide to give it a try! Normally $40 a month, you can get some rare discounts right now (only until July 5th!):
- Satellite Strategy - This book has been huge in giving me an edge in satellites to bigger buy-ins. So far, I've only pretty much broken even in the bigger tourneys I've sattied into, but I know if I keep getting there it's only a matter of time. Many players make HUGE mistakes in satellites, and in my opinion you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't learn how to play them properly. Being able to get practice playing bigger without the risk of torching your roll is incredibly +EV for both your bankroll and your overall growth as a player!
- AccidentalGrenade on Twitch - This is me, and where you can find me most of the time! Come hang out and say hello, I'd love to have you in the chat.
- BadBeatTV - Once a week on Mondays I stream on BadBeatTV, which is a channel that primarily supports Mixed Games, something I'm growing to love more and more (play a lot of PLO/PLO8 on my own channel when I can!). All of us at BadBeatTV are sponsored by/affiliated with Bad Beat Clothing, a site that makes some fantastic poker merch and promotes smaller poker content creators. Fun tidbit: my Big $10 win was actually on my FIRST BadBeatTV stream, which was just an amazing freak coincidence.
- Poker Community - I would be remiss not to mention my occasional co-host and teammate, Naigo. If you enjoy complex hand analysis and aggressive bluffs, go check out my dude! We are planning a lot of community involvement things including competitions with viewers and (COVID permitting) a meetup game in Pennsylvania eventually! There are many others who deserve your attention as well:
I'm sure I'm missing some. We're a small but passionately growing community and I'm super happy to be a part of it!
Thanks for your attention guys. If you made it this far, thanks for not folding pre and instead reading the whole post. GL out there and stay safe everyone!
How I got from first stream to affiliate in the first month - I hope this helps you, too. (I spent a lot of time on this, here’s hoping it doesn’t get lost in new)
Hi friends, submitted by DrWattsTV to Twitch [link] [comments]
I want to first say that this isn’t a scheme or magical program to make Twitch growth “easy.” It also isn’t an effort to get you to subscribe or donate to my channel. The sole purpose of writing this is to attempt to provide all of the information and strategy I’ve used to date in a single, concise and digestible post -- something I wish I had on day one. As such, everything I have to share is below and there’s no link to bring you anywhere else. For those of you that I’ve talked with about this (friends, followers and subs) and those of you I don’t know, I really hope it helps!
Just over five weeks into streaming and I feel very fortunate to say that I reached affiliate status only a few days after the one-month mark. I’ve got 83 followers (only four of whom are people I personally know), 10 organic subscribers and nearly 1,000 views. No programs, No follow for follows, No boosts, No bot viewers/follows, etc. -- No BS. This past week, I averaged around 8 viewers, with some times higher and others lower.
This isn’t a brag. This is to say that there are things that I’ve learned in the past month, read from various resources, and watched over the course of countless youtube videos, that have propelled my stream forward much faster than I ever would’ve anticipated. Some growth strategies you’ll read about from only six months ago may no longer work due to the saturated nature of Twitch, while others may have been developed years ago and still work to this day. Perhaps to you, my numbers are quite low, or maybe you’ve been on your twitch journey for months, still seeking affiliate status but don’t quite know where to go next. Either way, I hope I can offer something to help you below.
Introductions aside, here are the points I’ve found most critical thus far in no particular order;
CAM - It seems to be the consensus among larger streamers and content creators that you absolutely need to have a cam if you want your channel to get anywhere. I completely agree with this sentiment. You are the focal point of your stream. Without a cam, your viewers are essentially watching gameplay footage with commentary here and there which can just as easily be done elsewhere. If you don’t have a cam and can’t afford one, that’s okay! You can actually use your phone as a cam and it’s much easier than you think it would be. Just google “EpocCam.” In my opinion, the app made it fairly self explanatory to set up. There’s a free version of the app and a paid version for something like eight dollars to get rid of the ads. It’s well worth the eight dollars, because the ads make it a frustration and you’ll already have plenty of those elsewhere when setting up your stream for the first time. P.S. I’m not endorsed or sponsored by this company -- If you’ve got a more efficient/inexpensive way to get a cam, take it!
PERSONALITY - Let the you who is you shine through. I just made that up. It’s 4:00AM. In all sincerity, this will likely be the most critical element of your channel. I have a theory on the success of this point which comes from a personal favorite streamer; the two-time himself, DrDisrespect. Doc clearly plays a well-developed character, but it comes across genuine. This gave me the impression of embellishing who he really is. Is Guy Beahm (Doc’s real name) actually an 80’s super villain, destroying anyone and anything in his path from behind the wheel of his red 1990 Lambo? No. BUT is he a guy who’s into the 80’s aesthetic, rages at games, and is a little overly competitive? Probably!
This got me thinking about the idea of taking your own personality and embellishing the bits which make you, YOU. I’ll give you an example. I’m a Zen Buddhist. I’m obsessed with Eastern philosophy and practices of Zen, presence and meditation are a significant part of my life. Therefore, on stream, I take these components and make them the focal point. If you ever watch me on stream, you’ll notice that in moments of absolute chaos and high tensions on screen, I remain almost comically calm and poke fun at the intensity of otherwise high-stress situations. I don’t tilt in moments that might frustrate others and will instead flip situations like these around into thoughts and questions about why we might feel that way. Even when I have engagements with toxic players, you’ll see that rather than engaging them with the reciprocal toxicity they’re looking for, I might say something like “Aw, friend, what happened today? It’s okay, you can tell me about it.” Not sarcastically, but in a genuine way! It’s fun to see if we can take the toxicity out of a teammate, BUT there is one more component to my stream which I would consider most significant. This leads us to our next point.
PASSION/REASON FOR STREAMING - Most people will tell you if you’re in it for the money, get out. I’ve read this sentence a million times. My feeling is that it’s not quite that simple. It’s perfectly okay to approach streaming with the goal of making it your full time job -- That’s exactly what I’m doing! HOWEVER, Consider a person who wants to be a rockstar, but has never written a note of music. Or held a guitar. Or sang outside their shower. They want to be a rockstar for the fame, money, etc. but they’ve got no passion for the art itself. I think we both know it’s very unlikely they’ll get anywhere at all. The same is true of streaming. There’s a point where passion and effort coincide with return. You do it because you love it, but you can’t put everything into it without it becoming your livelihood. You also can’t make it your livelihood without putting everything into it.
Perhaps your passion is the game itself and the will to share it. You want to be a Radiant rank Valorant player, teaming up with Shroud and Summit to play against pros while your fans watch and spam your chat with PogChamps and KEKWs. That’s fantastic and that passion will take you far. There are plenty of passions that can fuel your drive to put in the work when the odds are against you!
When I watched my first Twitch stream, the first thing that struck me was the way that the streamer was able to engage with so many people in chat, while they were simultaneously engaging one another. A more specific point that took my interest was that it was all, for the most part, anonymous. I immediately had the thought that this would be a great platform for people to have a place to get things off their chest. Almost like the next level of jotting frustrations into a diary -- only here, others can see, relate to, and even respond to the things you write in real-time. Even further, what if there were a streamer who, while delivering satisfying one-shot sniper content, could calmly talk over the chaos and offer perspective on the topic for that person and anyone else in chat going through the same sort of difficulties. For me, the passion is the potential to help people who are experiencing anxiety, depression, etc. with the same principals which helped me through these issues while creating a community where my viewers can offer the same for one another, if they choose to. That was the beginning of DrWatts.
UNIQUENESS - This should act as a sort of *bonus point* to the two above points. In a competitive game environment, it should be a given that you are at least decent at your game. It’s unlikely you’d be streaming it otherwise. Even if you’re great at it, it can only play to your advantage to push the aspect of your skill and offer something that few other channels can. While this can mean nearly anything, I’ll share with you the example of what I believe makes my on-screen content unique.
I predominantly stream VALORANT with regular switches to COD Warzone sprinkled between. In Warzone, I solo queue into Trios and use only the Kar98k, regardless of range, with success for the most part. In VALORANT however, it gets a little more elaborate. Essentially, I developed a stream “mini-game” within VALORANT wherein I only use the Marshal scout weapon. Throughout a match, certain things can happen which will force changes to my loadout. Additionally, I’ve added interesting and fun modifiers that chat can activate with channel points to make this “mini-game” more challenging or slightly easier on me. It’s a fun way to keep the gameplay fresh and interesting while keeping chat engaged with the gameplay. You can see the “DrWatts unrated VALORANT rules” in the about section on my channel if you’d like to see this in action. Perhaps it’ll give you some ideas!
OVERLAY - While it isn’t as essential as having the cam feed itself, it is still a critical component in my opinion. Have you ever been on twitch, perhaps looking at a lesser watched game, and decided to click on one of the handful of streamers playing it? Which did you click? I clicked the one with the best looking overlay in that tiny thumbnail box. Why? Because, as a viewer, It says something to me about “They put work into this” - “They care about the quality of their stream” - “They probably know the ropes and are NOT NEW AT THIS” -- even if we are ;). There’s a few ways to approach this hurdle, some more costly than others. You can try to take on making your own overlay (more on this later*), purchase a premium pre-made overlay, or pay someone to custom make one for your channel. While the latter is ideal, I think most of us at the beginning will want to begin with a premium pre-made overlay. For around 30 bucks, you’ll have your stream looking, for the most part, pretty professional.
SCHEDULE AND CONSISTENCY - It is important to have a consistent and identifiable schedule. Your viewers need to know when and where to find you! Try out different schedules as early as possible and find one that works for you. Once you’ve found what works for you and your lifestyle, stick with it as closely as you can. If you want for streaming to become your job, you’ve got to treat it like one! If you’re going to be late or need to change the time of a stream, handle it the same way you would with any other job. Do what you can to let your audience know and try as much as you can to not make a habit of it. Life happens and there isn’t anything we can do about that, but the more consistent you can be, the better!
An important note on this point: Sometimes you need to take a day off and I’d never make a case to prioritize your stream over your mental or physical health. Holding yourself accountable for your schedule is important to your success on Twitch, but nothing is more important than your health, friends.
PLAYING WITH GROUPS - I have mixed feelings on this point. You are the focal point, don’t forget that. It’s great to play with other streamers and friends, but I’d recommend limiting this to a section of your stream, rather than making it an expectation or identifier of your channel. Use it as an enhancement to what you’ve already got to offer, not as a crutch if you aren’t quite feeling confident solo yet. It’s an excellent opportunity to practice engaging your viewers and --if we’re being honest-- talking to yourself! Even when there’s no one to engage with, the lurkers in your chat won’t lurk for long if you’re sitting quietly playing the game. It is absolutely critical that you can stand on your own two feet, so don’t let playing with others inhibit your ability to do so!
BRANDING - This may seem like a point that “doesn’t matter til you’re big.” Remember when I said if you want it to be your job, you’ve got to treat it like a job? Your channel is your business and unless you treat it as such, it will be a failing business. Take that personality you developed and visualize it into a logo. Maybe you know photoshop, or maybe you get a friend to draw it for you. Maybe you make it in MS paint (I hope not). You really just need something that is identifiable as YOU. Once you’ve got it, put it everywhere. Everywhere. Twitch, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, Steam, Discord, Facebook. It will never hurt you to secure your brand on every platform even if you aren’t perpetually posting to each and every one!
If you guys would like to see a follow up post involving the social media marketing stuff I mentioned earlier, this would be another point that I would likely expand on as well.
KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING YOURSELF INTO - This point isn’t to scare you. It’s to encourage you because YOU CAN undoubtedly do this. Further, this is more of a point for those who favor the densely saturated, top played games (Valorant, Warzone, Overwatch, League of Legends, etc.) This is the category that I fall into. You’ll do much more work off-stream than you do on-stream. From social media marketing to a constant influx of content creation, there’s a lot of work to be done. In games like these, you will never see organic growth via Twitch alone. It’s not because you’re not working hard and it’s not because you’re not amazing -- you definitely are. It’s because with only a few viewers, your channel will be buried by 70 pages worth of others trying to do exactly what you’re doing, leaving your only option for discoverability elsewhere -- at least at the beginning. If anyone is interested to see how I’ve approached these aspects of my stream, I’ll gladly do an additional post to cover them (Social media scheduling apps, content curation and editing, etc.)
BUYING FOLLOWERS / FOLLOW FOR FOLLOW / LURK FOR LURK / ETC. - Don’t do this. Just don’t. This is an absolute trap and serves no benefit to your channel. If you meet another streamer along the way and you mutually enjoy each others’ content, that’s awesome (This will happen!), but don’t follow each other simply for the number -- it helps neither of you. There are countless reasons for this being the case and I’ll gladly talk about it with you in a PM or even on stream, but suffice to say there are too many reasons to list why this does not benefit you, nor the people exchanging with you.
MODS - For the obvious reasons, they’re important. You never know when the bots will show up in chat or, worse, when little Timmy is having a bad day and wants to let it out via profanity spam in your chat. Unlucky. Have a close friend or two to help you with this at the start if/when they’re available.
DON’T BE DISCOURAGED - Kudos to you if you’re still reading. I’d definitely wager that you’re committed to this and this point may be moot for you, but still I feel that it’s an important one to address. Developing growth on a streaming platform is hard, that’s for sure. But it’s not impossible and we’re all capable so long as we maintain our commitment to the passions we identified earlier. I have a life experience which taught a particular lesson and still to this day, it’s the most valuable lesson I’ve ever learned. I’d be glad to share that story with anyone who is interested, but it’s applicable to most low-odd gambles and goes something like this:
Every time you get that sensation of “this isn’t working, I want to quit,” so are a 1000 other channels. When those moments happen, YOU are going to be the one to say “No, I’m going to keep going.” Even after a seven hour stream with only 2 viewers. With no willingness to give up, you’ve already differentiated yourself from 50% of channels. THOSE DAYS WITH 3 VIEWERS WILL STILL HAPPEN, I HAVE THOSE DAYS TOO -- Even your most loyal followership will still have a life outside of twitch. Keep that in your mind and don’t allow those discouraging thoughts in. Continue on the same as you would if there were 10, 100, or 1,000 people in chat. One day, friends :)
++ BONUS POINTS - This point is not at all essential, but is more of an ‘above and beyond’ that’ll benefit you along the way. During the course of my Twitch journey thus far, I’ve take it upon myself to learn Adobe Photoshop, Premier Pro and After Effects. I’m by no means a master of any of these programs, but I understand how to use each to a point where I’ve developed my own logo from scratch, made emotes, animated my logo, created a stream commercial and more. As I said, this is by no means essential, but if you should decide to take this point on, It’ll stand to benefit you going forward as it has for me.
Well, friends, we made it. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post and genuinely hope that you found at least a point or two which will help you along your journey through Twitch and beyond. As I said in the beginning, I’m not looking for any kind of return from this post, but feel free to stop by my channel if you’d like to see how I apply all of the points above! I’d be happy to further elaborate on any of the above on stream as well! I have followers that watch regularly who are interested in a lot of the same and enjoy stream discussions.
Let me know in the comments if this helps any of you achieve affiliate status! Thoughts and criticisms are always welcomed as well :)
Best of luck in your Twitch journeys, friends.
Amazon Affiliate Site from $118/m to $3,103/m in 8 MONTHS (SOLD it for $62,000+)
submitted by jamesackerman1234 to juststart [link] [comments]
Hello Everyone, after having so many responses on Amazon Affiliate site CASE STUDY from 0 to $7,786/m in 11 months,
I have decided to share another case study which involves growing and SELLING your existing Amazon affiliate site
(the site we grew was already making around 118 USD a month).
For this case study, 8 MONTHS OF WORK LED US TO SELL THE SITE for $6X,700
(can't reveal exact price due to contract). Check the screenshot here
The payment got wired in the client's account on 2nd April 2020. After all the fees and everything, we got $5X,355.88
(can't reveal exact amount due to contract).
Check screenshot here
I have observed this community for a while now and it never ceases to amaze me how awesome you guys are. So, I will try my best to explain everything in detail (including the exact numbers like # of articles, backlinks, criteria, process and more) and if you have any questions, please do tell.
It's an AMA! What we did:
We created a smart content strategy
to get niche relevant, targeted traffic that we knew would convert well. Uploaded, formatted, onsite SEO
'd the content really well. Devised a thorough link building strategy
and executed it. Outreached
to thousands of prospects. Got amazing links, ranked and made money
It seems pretty simple. Now, let me share an overview of the numbers (you can click the links to check the screenshots): RESULTS SUMMARY: TOTAL EARNINGS: AMZ Earnings + Ezoic = $7,801.24
For organic traffic, we lost access to Google analytics so we cannot share month by month. But, here is the screenshot
for an idea.
The huge spike of around 10,000 visits a day
is because we got an article viral.
Note: For all the months other than Dec, we have mentioned US earnings and NOT global earnings because of Amazon Dashboard settings. Please note that the total earnings were MORE than what we have shared because we had AMZ affiliate programs in Europe and Canada as well. However, due to the dashboard limitations, we are unable to show those here except for December.
ANOTHER IMPORTANT POINT: You usually sell a site for 30x average monthly profits over a period of last 6 months. Our accounting period was Nov., Dec, Jan (3 months). This deviates from the usual evaluation period of 6 months because after thoroughly checking this website, the broker saw consistent growth, high quality, proper SOPs, efficient management and no shady practices. He agreed to consider a period of 3 months. Now, let's take a look at the quick summary of what we did: QUICK SUMMARY OF WHAT WE DID: Created a comprehensive Content Strategy
Write content, upload articles, format, onsite SEO:
- List of money making keywords (relevant to niche, rankable, enough search volume)
- These money making KWs were properly categorised into topically related categories
- Content/article topics that will bring in backlinks (Check "Skyscraper technique" for info)
Outreach and Build Niche Relevant Backlinks
- TOTAL ARTICLES ADDED: 53
- Categories: 9 (some categories had more articles than others)
- Initial number of articles when we started: Around 150
- Total number of articles on site when we finished: Over 200
- These articles were properly formatted (over 50% CTR to AMZ) and onsite SEOd (important)
Criteria for links that we got:
- TOTAL LINKS BUILT: 88 - 98
- Links through outreach: 68
- DR 10 - 20 links: 12
- DR 21- 30 links: 9
- DR 31 - 40 links: 12
- DR 41 - 50 links: 12
- DR 51 - 60 links: 13
- DR 61 - 70 links: 9
- DR 71 - 90 links: 1
- Organic links built as a result: Around 20 - 30
- To get these links we had emailed: 3500 Niche relevant prospects
Link building only yields results when it's done right. That's why just like other processes, we paid close attention to this area as well. Here is the criteria for sites that we get backlink from:
- Niche relevant- DR > 20
- Ahrefs Traffic > 500
- Site does NOT have a SUBMIT GUEST POST PAGE (might or might not consider it)
- There were other pointers too but subjected to various conditions
- Site ownership: NOT MINE. I provided consultation and services to a client who reached out
- Niche: Won't reveal
- Project Nature: Content Strategy, Production, Uploading, Formatting, Onsite SEO, Publishing/Scheduling and most importantly LINK BUILDING
- We did write a few articles that went viral too. We didn't make a lot of money from those, but it helped us get in good books of Google
I believe this is one of those realistic and very doable Amazon Affiliate content site projects that you can start, grow and sell.
It wasn't a 6-figures exit. However, if you consider the investment, the ROI has been super impressive (much better than real estate, venture capital, stocks etc.). Enough for the client to consider reinvesting
the proceeds into developing a whole portfolio of passive income generating content sites.
Last year around May, I had 6 sites making around 1000 to 8000 USD each and I was starting 4 more. Right now, I own over a dozen of these sites (all profitable and we are heavily investing to grow the portfolio even further).
The goal is to treat these profitable content sites
as a serious investment, grow monthly profits even more and increase the valuation substantially.
Another perspective is that with this horrible Corona Virus
situation or the COVID 19
as most people call it, the sales have actually increased
as more people are ordering online. The epidemic
is a tragedy but these sort of businesses have thrived to their very nature.
Anyway, I wish you all the best in your endeavours as well. And if there are any questions, please feel free to comment or message.
I would be happy to help :)
Regards, stay happy and stay safe :)
PS Special thanks to the site owner who gave permission to share this case study with all of you. :)
New Music Monday (Week 27)! All the fresh tunes from the past 7 days | New releases megathread [+weekly updated playlist]
submitted by TELMxWILSON to DnB [link] [comments]
1. The Prototypes - Enter The Warrior [The Prototypes] Recommended if you like: Tantrum Desire, Mind Vortex, Metrik
LEAN BACK. HOLD BACK. DROP BACK. DANCE.
These vocals. That intro that gets me hyped every single time. The addicting melody and all the little variations in the drop. You guessed right, The Prototypes are back in town.
If you watched any of their live appearances in the last year or so, you might recognize this one. Be it Let It Roll, their 24h Livestream or one of their many gigs in a little town near me, Enter The Warrior has been a staple in their sets for a while. It is part of their forthcoming second album Ten Thousand Feed And Rising, which was originally scheduled to come out during May, but got pushed back to later this year, for obvious reasons.
My album delivery status says October, but I feel like that’s not the best source ever, so lets just go with “soon”. There’s some good news too though. The Brightonian duo intend to beef up the album and release a single roughly every month until release. I wish I knew more than that, but I trust them to not disappoint.
Back to the tune. For this third album single they recruited newcomer vocalist B3NDU for a vocal that is second to none. Her vocal performance is just perfect. But it doesn’t end there. The Prototypes managed to integrate this great vocal perfectly, from the slow buildup (they’ve always been amazing at those) putting the first verse on the center stage to the absolutely hype way they built the vocals into the after-drop and breakdown. And did I mention how catchy that drop is?? …Oh I did? I guess it’s worth repeating though. This album is looking better with every release. I can’t wait to see what else they have in store for us.
2. Droptek - Symbiosis Remixed Part 1 [Korsakov] Recommended if you like: Unique Hard-Hitting Dnb, Joe Ford, DC Breaks, The Outsiders
You know what album isn’t talked about enough? Droptek’s debut album Symbiosis. It combined all kinds of different sounds and tempos into one big sonic adventure ride and showed the world that Droptek is one of the producers to watch. I especially enjoyed the more melodic tunes like Sentient and Illusions, their style just reminded me a lot of Memtrix or Joe Ford.
I was probably not the only one who thought that. Because guess who is the first on the list of producers Droptek enlisted for part one of the Symbiosis remix album. No, not Memtrix. Joe Ford! There’s still at least one more part to come, so Memtrix is not completely out of the question, but given his recent lack of releases, I’m not super optimistic. Droptek did manage to get an impressive amount of big names to do remixes though.
While Joe Ford went back to his Where is the Sun sound on the Sentient remix, InsideInfo put his signature weirdly catchy and attention-grabbing style to good use in his Minutiae remix. Audio delivers the only non-dnb remix of the bunch on Comply, Skantia is shifting into a more-melodic-and-mellow-than-usual gear on Extrapolate and Gydra pumps up the danceability of the atmospheric Devoid in a way that is noticeably Gydra-esque.
The Outsiders, one of the best newcomers in recent years, give us a techy reimagining of the half-timey Invoke, spanish duo Dub Elements turn Revolver into one of the more massive foghorns of this year, while Madster shows off his diversity by effortlessly switching between a 4x4 dnb techno type tempo and halftime on his Bloodline remix. Finally, Smooth and DC Breaks finish it off with their dancefloor spin on Comply.
Let’s hope the sequel keeps this quality up!
3. Various Artists - Overview Part. 1 Remixed [Overview Music] Recommended if you like: Bredren, Synth Ethics, Ill Truth
You want more remixes? Overview Music has got you covered!
Overview is one of the best underground labels for deep drum and bass the scene has to offer. You might recognize the label founder from his days at the now-defunct Lifestyle Music, a connection that becomes obvious when you compare the releases on both labels. With all around amazing releases from Sustance, Nectax, Nausika, Ill Truth, Wingz, Waeys and gyrofield, 2020 has been an incredibe year for them. Especially the last one is a definitive highlight of the year for me.
Two years after their debut VA release Overview Part. 1, I’m still not quite sure why there is a dot in that name. But once thing’s for sure. The dot returns for the remix album of said debut release. And they pulled out some big names for this. Ill Truth, the winner of this years Rebel Music’s Dub Wars competition, kick the remix EP off with a seriously heavy remix of Save Me. Shogun rock stars Koherent bombard us with 16th notes on their Strained remix.
Rizzle follows that up with a slowly creeping and eventually all-encompassing wall of sound that is his remix of Blue Circle. Finally we have two remixes of Fin Absolue by 1985’s Cesco, who once again produces sounds I’m not sure my headphones are capable of reproducing, and a half-time remix by newcomer Bidl.
This week kind of feels like a remix week for me. Aside from the ones mentioned above, we also had:
- Empaths - Hope (Rise Up) (Telomic Remix)
- Charlotte Haining - Daydreamer (LSB Remix)
- The Fragmented EP on Differential
- Deuce & Charger - Never Out Of Sight (Kritix Remix)
- Askel - Portmanteau (Physics Remix)
- Seven Lions - What’s Done Is Done (Delta Heavy Remix)
- Marcus Visionary - Real Warrior Remixes EP
- BTK - 40 Channels of Funk Remix EP
- The Remix Vol 3 on Grid Recordings
4. Madusea - Stupid / Qualm [Calibrate Records] Recommended if you like: Wingz, Skylark, Black Barrel
If you enjoyed the Overview remixes, you might also enjoy this week’s Lucky Find Of The Week™.
Brought to you by Montrealian newcomer Madusea, a Default Recordings veteran, on Calibrate Records, the deeper sister label of Bay 6 Recordings, which you might know from last month’s Back To Bay 6 Vol. 2 compilation. Phew, so many names. Of which I only knew the last one, at least until last Friday. After having experienced the lovely strangness of this double single, I’ll surely be checking out the rest the label has to offer. If you like deep dnb, you are in for a treat.
I wish I could remember how I found this excellent release, but I’m sure glad I did.
Other Hidden Gems:
- Kin:etic - Vastu [Incurzion Audio]
- Wake&Bake - WHAT U GOT EP [Histeria Records]
- Drytek - Machines EP [Rawdio Recordings]
- Acid Lab - Secret Weapon EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Askel, Elere - Losing Game EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Atom UK - Tearout / How We Do It [Beatport]
- Btk, Presence Known - 40 Channels Of Funk EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Bungle, Need For Mirrors - Flip / Slow Down [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Bytheproduced, Collected:1 Various Artists [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Charlotte Haining - Daydreamer (Lsb Remix) [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Chris.Su, Fedora - 'M Fine (Without You) [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Command Strange, Danny Wheeler, Blu James - Ordinary Love [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Critical, Modulations: Modulate VARIOUS ARTISTS [Beatport]
- Danger, Master Error - Rise Up / Problems [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Danny Byrd, Rene Lavice - Boomshaka [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Dee Tones - Parallel Universes [Beatport]
- Differential, Fragmented EP Various Artists [Beatport], [Spotify]
- DJ Marky, Pola & Bryson - Run The Streets EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Droptek - Symbiosis LP Remixed Part 1 [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Drumsound & Bassline Smith - Can Never Get Enough [Beatport]
- Drytek - Machines EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Duoscience - Daily EP [Beatport]
- Ed Solo, Deemas J, K-Warren, Benny V - Jungle Rebel [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Ego Trippin - Maui Wowie / Let Go [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Empaths - Hope (Rise Up) [Telomix Remix] [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Essenger - After Dark (Protostar Remix) [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Fanatics - Oleander EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Fixate - Glare EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Fosgate - Loud Pipes [Beatport]
- Fourward - Ascension [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Frame - If U EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Funkware - Monologue LP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Furney - Quentino EP [Beatport]
- Fx909 - Jungle Drops 21 [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Glm, Pengo - Feel The Night EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Goldie - Still Life / The Rain (2020 Remasters) (Photek Remix) [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Grinder - Maze / Warrior [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Hedex - Let Me Go [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Henry - Frozen EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Inna Rhythm, The Cream, Vol. 2 VARIOUS ARTISTS [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Iso:R - Destruktion EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Jon Void - Disconnected EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- K Motionz, Duskee - Hack It [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Kin:Etic - Vastu / Can’t Let Go [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Krusty - Boom Bye Bye / Dark World [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Kumo - Born Soldier EP [Beatport]
- Madusea - Stupid / Calm [Beatport]
- Marcus Visionary - Real Warrior Remixes EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Max Baker, Grafta Mc - Remain Unharmed [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Mentah - Fire Pit EP [Beatport]
- Merkey - Desire [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Missledz - Infinite [Beatport]
- Mistrust - Dreamer [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Ob1 - Common Ground EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Operator Unknown - Gnite EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Overview Part. 1 Remixed Various Artists [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Ozma - Wow [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Peshay, Abbie Adi - Dreamer [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Phantom, A.M.C - Flows & Hooks [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Primitive Instinct, Sydney - Reflections [Beatport]
- Primitive Instinct, Sydney - Reflections [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Raize - Psycho / Horns [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Rameses B - Children [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Rebel Scum, Born I - Evolution [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Ricky West, Without Wings - Revenge [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Satl - So Much Better [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Sd, Dunk - Transitory Amnesia EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Sequent, Skruff - Should / Ethereal [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Seven Lions - Find Another Way (Remixes) [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Shoot Recordings, Shoot015 VARIOUS ARTISTS [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Skantia - Jubilant [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Stillz - Don't Be Scared EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Stompz - Moonship [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Stompz - Moonship [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Sublow Hz - Musical Murder EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Subwave, Bop - Escape From U [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Taelimb - Pegasus EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Teddy Killerz - Panic Attack EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- The Prototypes, B3ndu - Enter The Warrior [Beatport], [Spotify]
- The Upbeats, Shapeshifter - Uncharted (Workforce Remix) [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Tim Reaper, Dwarde - Globex Corp, Vol. 8 EP [Beatport]
- Trac, Valiant Emcee, Cyber Posix, Anastasia, Hd, Josiah Scribes - Never Too Late EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Trigga, Dutta - Cali Packs / Vibe With Me [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Trill - Illusion [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Tritonal, Brooke Williams - Someone To Love You (Koven Remix) [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Truth - Without You EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Twisted Individual - The Remix Vol 3 EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Viewer - Out Of This Planet EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Visages - Hurting Me EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Visages, Jfo, Beatmool - Hurting Me EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Voicians - Unbreakable [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Whiney - Bubblers Part One EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Zeba - Lets Get Dark / Two Shades [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Zero T, Loah, Mango X Mathman - Lonely Night (Zero T Vocal Mix) [Beatport], [Spotify]
- Zilli, Karina Skye, Levite - Free To Fly EP [Beatport], [Spotify]
Hard Worldbuilding vs Soft Worldbuilding (in TTRPGs)
submitted by nagonjin to mattcolville [link] [comments]
A link to a worldbuilding video essay
, Hard Worldbuilding vs. Soft Worldbuilding | A Study of Studio Ghibli
, cowritten by YouTuber Hello Future Me
(Tim Hickson) and Ellie Gordon (hereafter H&G), was submitted to /worldbuilding
a few days ago, and I found it really interesting. I have no affiliation with the channel aside from having watched that one video.
In the essay, H&G outline two 'methods' of worldbuilding (Soft and Hard) in fiction (in general), though I think that the ideas presented there deserve more discussion in the context of TTRPGs as more involved/collaborative storytelling methods. I see their video as an invitation to reflect on the choices we make as world builders. I'd like to try and expound on their ideas in a post here, and see what this classification can buy us as DMs and worldbuilders in the fantasy RPG genre. Primarily, what I think merits further discussion is the impact of having either a Soft or Hard world as a primary setting for D&D campaigns, how to use the advantages each of the types of world to maximum effect, and how to navigate the pitfalls of each choice as well.
H&G identify Hard and Soft worlds as ends of a spectrum determined roughly by the priorities that the author has in mind for the narrative, the characters, and the setting itself. Hard worldbuilding, according to H&G, prioritizes internal consistency, a focus on groundedness and internal logic, and transparency of the deterministic processes active in the setting toward the audience
. They offer Tolkien's Middle Earth and Martin's Westeros as examples of more detailed, grounded worlds with many moving parts and an internal structure that is explained to the reader, typically via lore dumps. Soft worldbuilding, H&G offer, prioritizes thematic or tonal impact on the audience, atmospheric effects, and uses an intentional lack of exposition/reductionist logic (my words) to invite the audience to experience wonderment and speculate about the nature of the world.
Soft worlds can be seen in the works of JK Rowling (Harry Potter), or Hayao Miyazaki, such as the worlds of Kiki's Delivery Service
, Howl's Moving Castle
, and Spirited Away
Hard: Consistency, Concrete rules, Transparency, Realism Soft: Conscious use of the unknown, Flexible rules, Readers' imaginative involvement, Otherworldliness
Advantages of each method
The advantages of Hard worldbuilding are that the audience can be wowed by the sheer depth of the world that's presented to them. Further, the reader may come away with a sense of understanding the world better as an effect of the exposition delivered to them. Of course, this exposition does not deny availability to speculate about things not explained, but there is less need for such speculation in comparison with Soft worldbuilding. In the context of TTRPGs, all of this detail (given enough time and organization) means a DM can do a ton of prepwork in advance by already knowing how PCs would get from random Point A to Point B, and who/what they would see along the way. Having a comprehensively detailed outline can also facilitate relatively consistent experiences among different groups of players exploring the same setting. It can also lessen the burden of improvisation for those DMs who would rather do less of that.
As for Soft worldbuilding, one advantage touted by H&D is a relative increase in creative freedom that the author has, compared with the Hard method. Freed from the constant need for justification, the author creates a setting that can be weird and interesting enough to be (as H&G put it) "enchanting . Additionally, H&G argue that the flexibility of the Soft method allows for the introduction of new obstacles or solutions as required to progress the narrative or challenge the characters, thereby creating opportunities for us to learn about them and for the characters themselves to experience growth. Finally, Soft worlds struggle less with pacing as a result of simply having less exposition to share in order for a tale to make sense. In the context of TTRPGs, I see the advantages of a Soft world as facilitating prep via the reliance on more targeted prepwork such as random encounter tables and on-theme NPCs rather than researching Medieval demographics to understand population density, infrastructure, economies, etc. Some DMs like doing this for their own edification, but for others the commitment to consistence feels more like shackles.
Disadvantages of each method
The list of disadvantages of each method of worldbuilding, as H&G outline them, could be expanded more in the domain of TTRPGs, as I'll get to momentarily. For Hard worldbuilding, there is a general problem with pacing the exposition necessary for a story on a Hard worldbuilt canvas. In some ways, I can see this as analogous to the temptation that some DMs have to 'railroad' party decisions once they get a particularly enticing story set in their mind, a gaming version of the Sunk Cost fallacy. Also, the Hard method is very time and effort intensive; Tolkien and his son have spend decades on Middle Earth. One additional, related disadvantage of the Hard method that I would add is that the sheer volume of information about that world becomes cumbersome and difficult to remember or sort through as a DM. When players ask us a question that we wrote out an answer to, we have to find it, the process of which can deflate immersion and tension during a session.
Soft worldbuilding, on the other hand has the disadvantage that it typically suits character-driven stories better. Now, at first glance this is an odd thing to say for a game like D&D, but we don't often know ahead of time
what the characters' emotional arcs will be in order to determine the small number of necessary expository bits and the most appropriate themes and moods that will enhance that story. Player agency is an important element of TTRPGs that, I argue, often constrains the advantages of the Soft method of worldbuilding because we as DMS don't know where the story will go a lot of the time. If a character choice would not be on-theme, or the player is not interested in a particular mood, or they become super invested in finding an explanation for some burning question of theirs that distracts from the story then they may chafe under Soft worldbuilding.
Having seen the advantages and disadvantages of each of H&G's methods of worldbuilding, we can ask ourselves what style we prefer, and to really reflect whether we're getting the most out of that method. What can we gain from the other method. For example, I probably fall more in the Hard worldbuilding camp since I published a 190+ page setting guide of my own world. I notice that, when playing, I like that I can answer off the cuff questions about how the world works. But, it can be hard to keep track of all of this information or extrapolate from the information I do have
if I am asked something I technically haven't written an answer for yet. I like that I can describe to a player 1-2 places their character probably hails from if they give me a race/class/background combo, but if they don't like those options, then I have to improvise anyway just like if I had done nothing at all. What I can gain, as a Hard worldbuilder, from the Soft worldbuilding paradigm is strategies for strengthening my inclusion of themes and moods (which are especially incredibly important for dark/gothic fantasy). After this video, I also reflected on how to better maintain tonal/atmospheric consistency which I sometimes sacrifice in the pursuit of lore consistency.
I think a Soft world builder might benefit from a Hard worldbuilder's attention to detail regarding the "essential lore" of the setting, if nothing else. And they might like the narrative freedom, the less-is-more effect that you get by inviting players to exercise a fuller use of their information.
On settings in TTRPGs
Now, most published settings and campaign guides written for D&D are written more in the style of the Hard method of worldbuilding: they have maps and descriptions of each region, pantheons and who worships what, lists of factions and what they fight over, detailed (often itemized by Year) histories explaining the world from creation to the PC's current time, calendars, and economies, and more. And we might first note that the reasons most setting guides use the Hard method has a lot to do with the advantages of Hard worldbuilding - that having all of the relevant information ready ahead of time puts less of an improvisational burden on other players in that setting and that since you don't know what specific information might be handy for building characters or calculating the consequences of in-character choices it's just better to have it all thought out anyway. It probably also has a lot to do with the lasting impression that seminal works of fantasy like LoTR, Narnia, ASoIaF, inter alia
, have had on us as fantasy gaming hobbyists, causing us to seek to emulate their formats for how to design a world.
I think an important thing to consider, also, is that many players these days have an incredible appetite for setting lore and may ask questions that we DMs will feel compelled to create answers for. Players may expect us to already have them
because of the plethora of settings out there that do seem to have all the answers (Forgotten Realms, Exandria/Wildemount, etc
Recipe for a Soft campaign setting?
So, what then would a Soft Campaign setting guide look like, and how would we make it work for us as TTRPG gamers? I think one of the nearest examples of a Soft world in the contemporary D&D setting is the 5e Curse of Strahd
module. That module puts far less emphasis on the inner workings of the plane and society and puts a greater emphasis on mood, atmosphere, and the story of Strahd vs the players.
The first thing that Soft worldbuilders may want to keep in mind when making a D&D campaign setting is what tone/mood/atmosphere
you want to maintain during the stories/ sessions. If you (like me) prefer a more dark fantasy sort of game, then you may prioritize the moods of dread, despair, and the theme of struggling to overcome rampant adversity. If you like a more hopeful game, then there should be many stimuli for feelings of hope , triumph, and progress in your games.
Then, create what H&G call the "essential lore" to suit those thematic choices. You'll need to keep a list of imagery, random details and characters and locations that reinforce those desired thematic elements
. These can be descriptive elements like common phrases, flavorful adjectives, character and place names. Or you can have a list of substantive elements that reinforce particular themes like NPCS that exhibit or inspire particular moods, locations that evoke desired responses and set the atmosphere appropriate for the story, plot hooks that are selected to seed on-theme stories for the characters to become involved in, artifacts with small details (like a sword permanently stained with the blood of its first victim), random tables of the above populated to reinforce certain moods and story beats and referenced when needed. I'm envisioning a dark fantasy travel table full of weird things to see on the road with no attempt to justify them, like a ten mile ditch dug by undead diggers who died and never stopped working.
Next, you'll need to exercise some effort during sessions to get player buy in for the types of story that you want to tell (Nothing ruins horror faster than wackiness.) We should talk to players about the arcs that they envision for their characters as individuals and as a party.
Some effort can also be spent randomly dropping hints to bigger elements outside of the story to provoke curiosity and wonder. Finally, we want to be sure not to kill that sense of curiosity and wonder by smothering it with an explanation.
We should also exercise restraint in the amount of explanations/stucture we create. One great method for this, that does amazing things for feelings of verisimilitude/immersion, is to simply have things that NPCs do not know
. Just like in our world, we may be experts in a particular field, but outside of that narrow area our individual knowledge of biology, economics, physics, medicine, linguistics, anthropolgy, religion, history pales when compared to the omniscience that a Hard worldbuilder has over his own world. Even our collective society doesn't know or disagrees about a great many things that fictional peoples take for granted in many hard settings (e.g. how many gods there definitely are, what they do, etc
). So, we can leverage the powers of ignorant and unreliable NPCs to keep players speculating about the world.
So, fellow subs of /mattcolville
, what do all of you think about this? Are you Soft or Hard worldbuilders? Is one of these methods inherently better suited for D&D settings? What would a Soft guide to your current campaign look like?
Thanks for listening to my hastily written, scotch-fueled, late night ramble!
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