Aloha GftW community! Here we are at the end of our grant timeline. We had some successes, some failures, and ultimately have learned so much from this awesome experience. Extremely thankful for the teams at Coil, GftW, and Cinnamon for always being willing to communicate and listen to our concerns. We completed many of our timeline objectives but also failed to deliver live streams (more on that in the next section).
As I mentioned in our last grant report, there were several significant events that occurred that greatly impeded the progress we intended to make back in October 2020-Jan 2021. I left Maui in the midst of the pandemic to West Virginia to live with Zach and Cody for a 3 month period to execute our grant objectives. When we first began promoting our presence on Cinnamon, the Coil email leak happened. It was an unfortunate event that we had intended to hold back on promoting while we it let blow over and be lost to yesterdays news.
While we waited for the news to leak to blow over, the Ripple lawsuit happened. This was pretty serious because we weren't able to cash out of our XRP rewards without jumping through several hoops that simply don't justify the usage of the tech integrated with monetizing music and video content. We had hoped to attract a few more artists on Sweet Life Records to posting on Coil/Cinnamon, but only a few made accounts. A lot of the conversations we had with peers and friends always came with a discussion about if XRP was a "scam". If the SEC had not declared war against XRP, I think XRP would have broken ATH like many other cryptos, and caused a demand with people looking for ways to make passive XRP (aka ILP).
I had originally planned to finish all of our objectives while I was in West Virginia. With our timeline extension approved, we had to finish our project remotely as I had to return to Hawaii to begin working again. We decided not to rush a live stream with all of the bad press around the email leak and SEC case. The new plan was Zach and Cody would film the remaining bts type content and send it to me to edit, and do the live streaming on facebook and then reposting it as an exclusive recap to Cinnamon.
I take responsibility for our failure in the "Live Streaming" aspect of our proposal. Zach and Cody tried to get me to come on a mini tour they did across the US to finish off the rest of our content (3 live streams and some funny skits/bts kind of stuff) but life forced me to stay in Hawaii. The problem wasn't that Zach and Cody didn't film content, its that the person filming the content has yet to deliver it for me to edit and post. While my deadline to deliver this content has passed, it is something I am still working to get up on Cinnamon as exclusive content.
What I am most proud of and something I think I seriously stepped my game up on was the creation of my music video, "Paper Squares". I already had the majority of the song written before I got the grant and I knew I was going to make a 3d video in Blender for it. I became obsessed with it. 100+ hours of design, animation, and simulating plus another 40 hours to render. What I thought was going to be a cool looking abstract visualizer type video, turned out to be the exact visual representation of the vibe of the song I made with using every single 3d design/animation technique I have taught myself over the course of this grant. This was my first song I've ever released and its also the song that led into the first conversation I had about the GftW with The Sweet Life so its something I'm really proud of.
We found that the best way to get views and participation on social medias wasn't to publicly post, it was direct messaging. We sent a lot of DMs to people asking them to check out our videos on Cinnamon. We offered at least 100 people free Coil codes through The Sweet Life channels and have 120 followers on Cinnamon which I would guess is at least 50% fans we signed up.
The Sweet Life currently has 1344 views on the 11 videos we posted on Youtube. The "Paper Squares" music video was retweeted by Cinnamon and featured on the front page and has 51 views, 460 views on our Coil enabled Youtube page, and 2000 views on Facebook. We had intended to embed the Cinnamon video to Facebook, but it only posts the link now and wont display the video. As much as I am against the ethos of facebook and youtube, it is undeniably a better platform to post on if you want to get your art seen by as many people possible.
As a little side effort to promote Cinnamon, I have been sending customers that purchase my underwater photo packages in Maui a link to my 1 hour marine life video posted exclusively on Cinnamon. At first I was distributing Coil trial codes with the video and had the video as exclusive monetized content. Not many if any of the first 50 people I sent the link and a code to signed up to watch it. Since making the video public I am seeing daily views on my video correlated to the photo package sales.
One thing is clear to me. People do not want to sign up to a platform just to watch one thing. Ad free viewing is not enough to justify the 5-10 minutes it takes to create a Coil and Cinnamon account, especially when the quality and quantity of content on the platform is still quite low.
Another thing I've learned from talking to other creators outside of Coil/Cinnamon is that although they feel that the model behind Cinnamon is quite interesting and empowering for creators, they feel like they have an added promotional burden by getting their viewers/fans to come to a new platform still in beta when so many alternatives are already built out.
With our funded grant period complete, I am still sending weekly messages to try and get ahold of Zach and Cody's cross country footage and a live performance they did to post on Cinnamon. They sold out that concert so we are hoping we can convert some of the attendees to Coil subscribers so they can watch the concert recap.
Personally, my focus now is retiring from tourism/underwater photography and then moving to West VA to join The Sweet Life full time as their lighting/art director. I never expected to become so passionate about 3d design and animation and I'm super excited to be stacking content that will be unveiled when NFT functionality is added to XRP/Flare (both projects have to do with environmental sustainability so I feel it'd be wrong to release on ETH). Something tells me that efficient NFTs paired with ILP is going to make Web 3.0 a lot more realized. I will be changing The Sweet Life Twitter to my own Submerg5d brand.
The community has been incredibly supportive and helpful this entire journey. Shout outs to Peter from Cinnamon for always having time to chat and promoting our music. Huge thanks to GftW team for approving all of our additional time requests and this opportunity. I hope to fulfil all of our content objectives over the next few months and hope the community continues to support us.
All of the videos we created and posted can be found on our link tree!