"OZ to US" Aussie Gamer Photoblog
$1,900 of $3,200 goal
Firstly this is my first attempt at Crowd-funding. I’ve backed some 40+ Kickstarters and helped out with a few GoFundMe, but this is my first time on this side of the coin.
I want to be honest and upfront, so that I can be as transparent as possible.
I want to get to a certain gaming convention held in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, USA.
I, of course, mean Gary Con.
Next year will be the eighth time for this gathering of old guard, new guard, fans, friends, and family. After watching the last two online via photographs, I decided I wanted to go. Now, I’m not one for handouts. I had saved some money and had sold a few things that weren’t needed. Unfortunately some unforeseen expenses came along. So I took care of them and they took care of my cash. I then thought of a Kickstarter, to use my love of photography to pay my way to the USA. Alas, events in the last couple of months have halted that venture as well.
So, my lovely people (and you are lovely if you are still reading this) I have turned to GoFundMe with a clear set of goals and a means of paying you all back. I am a firm believer in “Nothing for Nothing”.
If I am able to raise enough to make it to Gary Con, anyone (and I do mean anyone) who contributes will receive a nice little folder full of high res photos of my trip over there. I intend to capture the spirit of gaming via photography. Anyone who wants to contribute a substantial amount can AMTDA (Ask Me To Do Anything) (within reason of course). You could ask me to take a photo of a game at the highest point here in Adelaide! You could ask me to send you a postcard via snail mail! You could ask me to find someone from your State / Territory / Provence / Country here in Adelaide! You could ask me to share some Christmas cheer with a complete stranger! You could have me play in one of your games at Gary Con! You could…. Well you get the idea!
Ok, so now you are probably wondering a little bit more about me. Who I am and why I want to do this. Well let me tell you!
My name is Heath Farnden, and I am, amongst other things, a gamer and a photographer. I’m an Aussie and I have travelled some of the world, but have not been to the US… yet.
My foray into gaming, more so tabletop gaming, started in 1988 with a solo gaming book called Lone Wolf written by Joe Dever, who in 1982 became the first British winner of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Championship of America. From that series of books I plunged head long into games of all genres, and in the near three decades since that first adventure, Dungeons & Dragons has always been the game of choice for my tabletop gaming. Tabletop gaming here in Australia is alive and well, however where I grew up in the Northern Territory it wasn’t as prevalent. This led to my wondering not just about the adventures to be had, but also of those who spent so much hard work making the adventures for us to enjoy. As a result I became a reader of Dragon Magazine, my first being issue 187 of the UK print. Copies were notoriously hard to get in the Outback and being the British version they were also expensive, but I persevered.
My passion for photography also appeared at that time. I vaguely remember getting a camera for Christmas 1988 and taking photos of my 2 year old cousin riding her rocking horse (I keep threatening her with them for a birthday or wedding…) and have had a camera of one sort or another within arm’s reach ever since. I have owned and still own my first SLR camera, as well as a veritable treasure/junk trove of plastic point and shoot cameras. Returning to Australia, after travelling in the UK and Europe armed with a digital point and shoot camera, I decided to purchase a digital SLR and really re-ignite my passion for photography.
I have two Facebook pages which contain my gaming and photographic passions; The Antipodean d20 ( www.facebook.com/TheAntipodeanD20) and Digital & Developed Photography ( www.facebook.com/Digital-Developed-Photography-1518690155085562/
). Both will attest to my love of gaming and photography and will hopefully show you my passion is real and genuine.
Ok, so now you hopefully want to help me, so I’ll get to the nitty gritty of it;
I have a very reasonable goal of $5000 Australian (approximately US$3600). This includes return flights, accommodation, food, and a few incidentals.
That may seem like a lot, but unfortunately living on the dark side of the moon… er, planet isn’t helpful as we do not have the same airline competition as in the US and Europe. Flights generally are about $2000-$2500 return to LA or London, that’s UD$1500-$1875. Needless to say I’ll be watching for sales! The Aussie dollar isn’t great at the moment, and that’s not the end of the world but it all stacks together.
Accommodation is another piece of the puzzle. I have booked into the resort hosting Gary Con for the full 5 nights of the convention. This will be approximately US$675 (I sure this includes any taxes). I did this on a whim when the location for the convention was announced earlier this year. I knew I wanted to go and it didn’t cost anything to book. I chose to book at the resort rather than another cheaper location was functionality. I am hoping to avoid having to look at a hire car and didn’t want to “waste time” transporting any camera and computer equipment to and from the resort. As I plan to be in the US for 12 nights, I will have to look for accommodation for the remaining 7 nights and this has also been factored into the funding goal.
If you, the lovely people of the internet, generously go past that goal, and/or I find ways to cut the costs of some of the expenses, then I will also make sure that the surplus goes to good use. I have yet to work these out, as I do not want to count my chickens before they hatch, but I have had a few good ideas. Some include; the possibility of producing an eBook of the photos with commentary by me about my experience, the possibility of visiting notable people of the gaming world who were unable to attend Gary Con, and the possibility of producing a short video of the convention as my DSLR has the capacity for video capture.
I must stress that I do not want to look like I am asking for a handout, rather I am asking for a little help in exchange for great photos and fun interaction with you, the backers!
Many thanks and my heartfelt appreciation,
PS, for some silly reason GoFundMe says this campaign has been going since Nov 2nd... I signed up on Nov 2nd and clicked the button to start a campaign but that was just to look at the process.... weird...
Not quite a trip to Mordor but I made enough tunnelling jokes to make the Balrog wonder if I would ever get to Lake Geneva!
It's been a few weeks since the last update and during that time I made it to Lake Geneva for Gary Con!
A massive thank you to those who have helped me directly and indirectly! I don't think I would have done it without you! In fact, I am pretty sure I wouldn't have!
I have returned with almost 2000 photos to sort and grade. Then the photos that are worthy (just like Thunderdome) will be flagged for editing. It's a long job but I am confident that you will all love the photos as much as I did taking them.
I'd like to also put out a huge thank you to my #1 supporter (who still wishes to remain anonymous) for loaning me the difference (over $1000) to get me over the mark!
A few fantastic people both at Gary Con and those who weren't there have asked if they can still contribute to this GoFundMe, the simple answer is YES! Anything that anyone wants to "chip in" is most welcome and will continue to help defray the costs of the whole trip (and the loan). Anyone who contributes to my GoFundMe will get a folder full of final edited photos (watermarked) for their use on social media and personal computers / devices before anyone else! This will most likely be via DropBox or an equivalent service.
I've also had people ask me if I intent to publish the photos in some form of digital or physical book.
The short answer is yes. Most certainly some sort of digital book with selected photos and text. As another thank you for your contributions to my GoFundMe, this publication would be discounted to you! If there is enough interest in a physical printing of the book, I am quite willing to see my hard work put to print! :)
Well, that’s enough rambling from me, back to the photo editing!
I may have been quiet for just over two weeks, but be assured that it has been work, plan, and sort, behind the scenes here!
I thought I'd give you all a quick financial update on this GoFundMe, as sometimes it doesn't seem quite so straight forward, and right from the start I had promised transparency.
Right now, my total is sitting on $1655.00 (and thank you all so much for your continuing generousity!)
Attached is a breakdown of the money contributed so far (including my own):
Go Fund Me $1,655.00
Yet To Clear $-
Fees to GFM $109.55
Deposited by GFM $1,231.72
Offline Cash $230.00
My Cash Contribution$189.55
Go Fund Me $1,655.00
Yet to Clear $-
The cash contribution of my own of $189.55, includes my part covering the fees taken out by GoFundMe.
I've also renewed my passport (AUD$255) and covered my visa to the US (AUD$20).
From that progressive total of $1655.00, I've spent AUD$1151.71 for a return trip from Adelaide to LA, and AUD$347.70, one way from LA to Chicago.
Well, that's all for finances for now. If anyone has any specific questions, please feel free to ask! :)
Shut the borders. Call the State Troopers.
Warn the populace. Stay indoors.
In just over 4 weeks, you are going to be invaded by a crazy Aussie!!
Woo hoo!! High-fives for everyone!
But, wait a minute there, the GoFundMe didn't meet its goal of $3200 yet... How are you going to make it?
Well, good thing you asked. It was looking like it wasn't going to happen for this year. Up until about a week ago I was sure I wasn't going to make it, but didn't give up hope.
But, I have had a supporter, who wishes to remain anonymous, offer me a loan of the difference. They realise how important this trip to Gary Con is, and believe in me and my photography that much that they are willing to loan me the shortfall!!
I was floored! After long consideration, I have accepted their generous offer and have paid (in full) for my flight to Los Angeles!! There are still some things to sort out including domestic flights to Milwaukee and some accommodation details during the convention, but I am looking forward to seeing you all in person (or in spirit if you aren't there!)
The loan is to be paid back to this lovely person after I return to Australia and I have a few ideas to offset this. If you were considering contributing a few dollars, please still do! There is still my Ask Me To Do Anything task and I'll be able to incorporate unsuspecting victims... er, helpers at Gary Con to help me! If you budget is tight, then that is ok, no harm, but please feel free to share my GoFundMe on my behalf. My many many thanks to those who have already contributed via some cash, liking the posts and/or sharing the posts. You rock!
GARY CON VIII, HERE I COME!!
Some great news!!
I've sat down and redrafted the budget, and with the generosity of some of you with offers of transportation and accommodation, and a huge special price hopefully locked in for a return flight to LA, I've been able to reduce my goal from $5000 (USD$3600) to $3200 (USD$2300)!!
And the current amount of support you lovely people have shown me, $1500, means that I am halfway there!
Watch this space....... :)