I’m launching a program today that I’m really excited about. The idea is this: I wrote and printed Annabel Scheme; it’s out there in the world, people are reading it, and I’m getting good feedback. Cool. But I have to say, what I really lust after—maybe irrationally—is like… Annabel Scheme fan-fic. Images of Scheme herself, or Sebastian Dexter or Jack Zapp, by some kid at deviantART. Tracks from the Beekeeper’s server. Remixes, reimaginings, and reboots!
I’m under no illusions; this is asking a lot. People want to appropriate and remix the pantheon: Batman, He-Man, Sherlock Holmes. Who cares about some new story that’s only existed for two months and only a few thousand people even know about?
Economists talk about using well-designed incentives to correct market distortions or to encourage a certain kind of development. But to my knowledge—please tell me if I’m wrong—nobody’s ever released a piece of work under a Creative Commons license with much of an incentive attached. Usually it’s just: “Hey, do something… with this… if you want?”
So, I’m experimenting with a Remix Fund for Annabel Scheme.
There’s an important dimension to the fund that I really like, but am having a hard time explaining clearly: You can pitch an idea that you yourself want to do, of course, e.g. you’re an artist and you want to draw a portrait of Annabel Scheme and you’d like $400 for your efforts. But you can also pitch an idea that you’d like someone else to do. It could be a friend of yours, of course; it could also be someone whose work you admire, e.g. another writer you dig, a webcomic creator you love.
This is a bit tricky, obviously, because, like, don’t the creator get any say in the matter? Of course they do: if an idea pitched on someone else’s behalf gets the green light, I’ll email them and explain what’s up. I actually have a theory that this could be a powerful message to get: “Hey, out there in the world there is someone who’s a big fan of yours, and they set it up so that you could do this mini-project and get paid for it.” I don’t know; maybe it will be too out-of-the-blue. “Wait, what? Who are you? Annabel WHAT?” But I’m hopeful, and I want to try it out, because that’s the only way we’ll know for sure.
Anyway, this is fair game for Snarkmarket readers, obviously, so check it out.
In 2010, every media budget should have a line item for remixes!