There’s not much I hate more than having to ask people for money. It’s always awkward for everyone involved. The person asking feels embarrassed and nervous. The person being asked feels put on the the spot. That’s the single greatest benefit I can see of being crazy rich: you don’t have to ask people for money anymore. You do what you want.
As it turns out, I’m not crazy rich. And I’ve been in a ridiculous number of situations in which I’ve had to ask people for money. Some of these situations have been totally worth it; the vast majority, however, have not. I give you:
A Sampling of Situations in Which I Have Had to Ask People for Money and the Ensuing Awkwardness:
- Elementary School Trinket-Peddling: Remember that? Going door-to-door, selling all kinds of useless crap nobody needs/wants, just because you wanted to sell enough merchandise to get a free slap bracelet? Or a radio? What the hell was that? I can truly say, I don’t even know what that money was going toward. Not to mention, who ever thought it was a good idea to send kids door-to-door? STRANGER DANGER. Anyone who buys scented candles from an 8-year-old on a stoop is not to be trusted.
- High School Candy Bars: This was a step up - at least people like candy bars. But considering how awkward it was for a 15-year-old to talk to strangers about anything, let alone make a sales pitch in support of their Odyssey of the Mind Team (don’t judge), this mostly turned into all of us consuming roughly 20-40 candy bars each during the course of the fundraiser. Which our parents paid for. And we wonder why there’s an obesity epidemic in this country.
- College: Yeah, that’s right. I’m pretty sure I was an essay contest slut. I would write an essay about anything, for anyone, anywhere if there was a scholarship prize attached. Calgon Take Me Away? Check. Wonder Bread? Check. Duck Brand Duct Tape Stuck at Prom Contest, in which you had to make a prom dress out of duct tape for a chance to win a scholarship? Ugh. Yes, fine, why not. Nothing like starting out your academic life whoring for every namebrand on the planet.
- On-Campus Job: I managed to snag a sweet student job making phone calls for the university fundraising department. At least, it seemed like a sweet job. Making phone calls for $12 an hour, plus bonuses if you managed to get large donations. Oddly enough, people don’t like to be asked for money over the phone. Especially not by the college they spent a significant amount of money to attend. And definitely not during dinner. The real low point came when I called and asked for a woman who a) was a former university basketball coach and b) had been fired from her position at said university for sleeping with one of her female players which c) ended her marriage and d) the husband had kept the house and phone number. He was not interested in donating.
- Awful Real-Life Job: I read somewhere that the vast majority of people only get raises because they ask for them. That you have to be proactive, confident, and willing to politely request the raise you deserve. So I did that a few years ago at my grown-up job, thinking, hey, I’ve been here for a full year, I work hard, I’m reliable. I’m worth it. Aaaand my boss informed me he’d be happy to write me a glowing recommendation if I needed to look for a position with another company. Which I did, and it paid better, so there. But leading up to that conversation, in which I had to outline my value and ask for corresponding compensation, I couldn’t help but think it was the worst thing I had ever had to do.
The point of all of this, is that I hate asking people for money. It’s the worst. And I’m sure you’ve heard by now that I have a Kickstarter, in which I am voluntarily putting myself through the misery of asking people for money every day for 30 days. I feel like this deserves an explanation, so here it is:
I believe you should make the art you want to see in the world. I’m not a fan of complainers who don’t bother helping to create. You don’t like all the inane shows on television? Then make a better one. And I don’t mean write a script and hire actors and buy a camera - although, if that’s your dream, then go for it - I mean do what YOU can do to make that happen. Watch the good shows. Talk about the good shows. Throw a fit when they fire Dan Harmon. And put your money where your mouth is. When you see someone working to make something you’d like to watch, and they ask you for a few bucks, throw them a few bucks. I’ve done it, and I’ve never missed that $5 bill.
A very smart lady once told me, “You’ll never regret the money you spend on art or books.” Clearly, this was before Fifty Shades of Grey happened to us. But I think she was mostly right. It’s a gift to live in a place and time that we can create art that makes us laugh and think and talk and argue. And I will never regret cutting back on my Starbucks spending for a few days in order help make that art happen.
Yes, I have a Kickstarter. I’m asking you to give me some money. If you click on the link, and watch the trailer we’ve created, and think “This is the absolute worst thing I have ever watched, oh god, my eyes, MY EYES” - don’t give us any money. I mean, SERIOUSLY - don’t give us any money. We’re clearly doing something wrong, and should come up with a better idea. We can handle it. But if you click on that and think “Hey, that wasn’t half bad, I wouldn’t mind watching that film” - throw us a few bucks. We’ll do everything in our power to make something worth watching. Because, honestly, there’s no way in hell I would go through the torture of asking all of you for money if I wasn’t desperately trying to create the art that I want to see in the world.
Thanks, and here’s the link: