Starlit Citadel Reviews is a board game review video channel hosted by Kaja Sadowski and Joanna Gaskell and funded by Starlit Citadel, an e-commerce board game store based in Vancouver, Canada. From 2011 to end 2014, we have produced 3 seasons of 114 videos, 106 of which were entirely self-funded. To date, we have over 21=4,000 subscribers and over 2.4 million views on all our videos. The series was intended to raise awareness of the store and educate viewers about some of the hottest new games that were being released.
After our first season in 2011, we ran a crowd-funding campaign to release more videos beyond the 26 that were being paid for by Starlit Citadel. We raised enough funds to produce an extra 7 episodes in Season 2 including a very popular play-through video of Red Dragon Inn. In Season 3, viewer donations let us bring in special guest, Paul Dean of Shut Up & Sit Down for our season special. We've been very grateful for our viewers' support over the years, and it's allowed us to expand Starlit Citadel Reviews beyond its original scope.
After a successful 3 seasons, Starlit Citadel Reviews has run its course as a marketing project. As the overwhelming majority of our viewers (85.7%) are based outside of Canada, the amount of sales the videos have generated for the store does not justify the expense of the videos. However, we are aware that these videos have become a valuable resource beyond their original purpose, and would like to offer viewers the chance to fund a 4th season, rather than shut down the series entirely.
This Patreon account is set to take per-video pledges from viewers who would like to see us produce Season 4 of Starlit Citadel Reviews. As we have reached our $450 milestone, we will be producing a 26-episode season for 2015. Videos will be released at the rate of 1 video every 2 weeks, for 1 year. All of our supporters will have a say in the games we review, with half of the games we cover being "viewers' choice" picks.
How It All Works
How do pledges work?
Viewers can pledge any amount they want per video. Every time we release a new review, your pledged amount will be paid into our Patreon account, using the payment method you've chosen. You can also set a maximum monthly cap on your pledge amounts, so that you don't overspend across multiple Patreon pledges. More details can be found in the Patreon FAQ.
We will be releasing 1 video every 2 weeks, so you can expect to pay for 2-3 pledges per month. As Kaja & Joanna have external commitments, we cannot (and will not) be shooting more than the 26 episodes for season 4.
Who am I supporting?
Our production team is currently made up of 4 awesome ladies:
- Joanna Gaskell (host, editor): Joanna is an indie filmmaking force to be reckoned with as the writer, producer, and star of geeky fantasy series Standard Action. She's one of our two great hosts, and is responsible for the series' post-production and animated opening and closing segments.
- Kaja Sadowski (host, writer, producer): Kaja is the former manager of Starlit Citadel, and a lifelong gamer and geek. She writes the gameplay summaries for each of our episodes, manages our shoots and scheduling, and co-hosts alongside Joanna.
- Carla Miller (videographer): Carla is another veteran of the Standard Action set, and brings a keen eye for design and composition to her work filming our reviews.
- Ashley J. Young (hair & makeup): Ashley is the one-woman team behind Cherry Makeup and Hair, is responsible for making our hosts look like they haven't been up all night playing games, and turning them into elves for Season 2's special.
Where does the money go?
Our base per-video goal is $450, which would cover our minimum production costs for each video. These include product costs and a fair wage for our writer, hosts, videographer, editor, and makeup artist. Each video takes around 20 hours produce, including writing (2-3 hours), filming (1-2 hours), and editing (15 hours), and we need to compensate our hard-working crew for all they do.
Patreon also charges a 5% fee per transaction, in addition to credit card provider and Paypal fees (for a full breakdown, see their FAQ).
Why the February 9th deadline?
It takes a lot of work and planning to put together a video shoot, and all of our crew work on other projects as well. We want to give viewers some time to decide if they're interested in pledging, but also need to give our crew a chance to plan their upcoming year of work. We're very committed to maintaining our high production quality for the show, which means that putting together a full season with a regular release schedule is preferable to putting out single videos here and there, whenever money becomes available. This approach also lets us batch videos for shooting, which makes our workflow more efficient and drops production costs substantially.
What if you don't reach your goal?
If we don't reach $450/video by February 9th, then Season 3 will be the final season of Starlit Citadel Reviews. We're proud of the work we've done so far, and would rather go out on a high note than leave the series if limbo if there isn't enough interest to produce a new season. With over 20,000 subscribers, we need only a small percentage of our subscribers and viewers to support us. As pledges are only charged when we produce new content, any supporters who pledge during our funding drive will not be charged any money if we don't reach our goal.
What if you exceed your goal?
If we make it past our goal of $450/video, any additional money pledged will go right back into making the videos better. Pledgers will have a chance to help us decide how these additional funds may be used. This may including buying new or better equipment to improve the lighting, sound, and video quality of our episodes, or setting aside cash for a Special Episode with guest-stars, higher production values or just set aside to pay for a future video.
We've been really fortunate to have grown such a passionate, engaged, and interesting audience, and it's been great to read your comments, see the discussions our reviews spawn, and meet some of you in person over the years. Thank you so much for your support of the series up to this point, and we hope to get the chance to continue making videos for you in 2015!