In this episode, Jeff Finley and Bill Beachy sit down with Jesse Sloan and Todd Gauman to talk about Weapons of Mass Creation Fest. Plus, they share what makes a great design conference and music festival.
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Sponsor of this Episode
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Go Media Quick Tip: Landing Projects with Good Proposals and Communication
- Mark on your calendar 3-5 days after you’ve delivered a proposal to follow up. See if they have any questions or concerns with the proposal or estimate. It’ll usually start a conversation which will give you another opportunity to land the project.
- Find out why you were or weren’t chosen. Why did they decide with another company? Or, what was it about you and your proposal that sealed the deal? By doing this, you can find out what adjustments you can make on future proposals that might make for a better experience.
- Sometimes, spec work is okay.
What’s Go Media Been Up To?
- We’ll be having our annual Year in Review company-wide meeting this month. We’ll be heading out of the office for the day and going up to Punderson State Park for a day of reviewing last year, setting goals for 2013 and some general team building and fun. Lots of prep has been put towards that.
- Bill’s been spending more time with his upcoming book titled, “Drawn To Business: Designed For Success”.
How Did Weapons of Mass Creation Fest All Start?
- The idea for WMC came out of an ad campaign we were going to run for The Arsenal. We flew in artists that we admired to our studio for a photo shoot to feature them and their work with the tagline, “I am a Weapon of Mass Creation.” However, the photo shoot became a secondary part of the event as everyone was sharing stories and sketches and just enjoying the company of other artists in the community. They all wanted to do this again at some point. Simultaneously, Jeff Finley wanted to start an art/music fest. We combined the two ideas into one, thinking it would be great to bring in artists and let them share their stories while having a bunch of bands to see. Boom, WMC was born.
- Todd and Jeff were connected by Jenny Kelley, from Kelley Green Web. Todd came from NeoVentures, his own event planning business.
- Jesse Sloan was brought in to organize and schedule bands. Jesse and Jeff were connected because Jesse was a fan of Jeff’s illustrations and wanted to work together with him. He also plays in the band Cherry Cola Champions.
- The first fest, which could have been called “Jeff Fest”, was a punk rock music fest with Jeff’s favorite artists and designers. He even screened a few films from some of his favorite directors.
- The third year, Joseph Hughes was brought in officially after volunteering the year before to organize and schedule speakers. Joseph was able to sell the fest from a fan’s perspective. So, he was able to tell speakers why it’s important and why they should be involved in ways that Jeff couldn’t.
- Creativity doesn’t just have to live on the West Coast or the East Coast. We want to make Cleveland a destination for creativity and inspiration.
What’s Coming in WMC Fest 4?
- WMC Fest 4 will be in Cleveland Public Theatre in Gordon Square. Instead of having each part of the event isolated at different locations, this year everything will be under the same roof. There are multiple stages in this amazing theatre. One place to buy tickets, one place to enter into the community experience.
- Another huge change is that there will be more seating for all speakers. So, no need to save your seat. You can get up after a speaker, go see a band, come back later that day and still be able to find a seat.
- Hopefully no more power failures. We’ve hit power failures at every Fest so far. But, CPT was built for simultaneous events.
- At Cleveland Public Theater, there will be a bunch of different spaces inside of a beautiful 101 year old building. You like beautiful decay? It’s here in this “fun house of design”. 1 theater dedicated to bands, another for speakers. Featured music acts will also be on the main stage. There will also be an outdoor stage for music again this year. The design gallery space will be a huge upgrade this year. We’ll also be doing video and audio streaming of the event, as well as putting on live podcasts throughout the event. Rumor has it that Adventures in Design will be coming to Cleveland to do a live podcast…
- WMC has been very organic with it’s growth. But, we constantly have been trying to outdo ourselves each year without spreading ourselves thin.
- Melissa Olson and Katie Dawson are helping Jesse organize this year’s band list. Music options will be changing as well. Not just one or two genres. Alternative and punk will still have a presence like always, but we’re opening our minds to jazz, alt-country, big-band, etc. It’s not about bringing in bands that everyone’s heard of. It’s about bringing in up and coming creative leaders into the community.
Question of the Month
From a financial standpoint, an event like WMC Fest costs anywhere from $75,000 to $150,000 to put on. Go Media puts in a portion of that cost and, at times, has barely broken even. Over the last 3 years, we’ve depended on our Kickstarter fund to help support this event. However, some fans questioned our annual usage of the fund raising platform, so we’re considering dropping it. But we’re not sure!
So, we ask you now: for an event in it’s 4th year, is it acceptable that we are still using Kickstarter as a fund raising platform?
In the meantime, we’ll be doing a benefit show on March 22nd, 2013 at the Beachland Ballroom. It’s the first Weapons of Mass Creation event in 2013.
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