Welcome to our brand new blog. After everything that happened last year, we realized we needed a space that allowed us to do longer-form communication; micro-platforms weren’t going to cut it anymore. So Nathalie, as a part of their on-going effort to spruce up our website, has built out this blog for us. Pretty sweet, hey? We’ll be writing to you occasionally from now on.
We’d like to thank you all for your support after what happened in May (if you’re unfamiliar, here is some context for the sake of being informed, NOT for the sake of relighting torches: Nathalie’s original blog, The Outline’s piece.) It was certainly unexpected and overwhelming for everyone involved. Our very tiny event was suddenly getting way more attention than we ever thought it would. But what was most important to us was being careful about figuring out how we wanted to move forward. Too often, people feel pressured into making quick decisions for the sake of appeasing the speed of social media while the spotlight is still hot. That didn’t feel right for us. We told many people we couldn’t give a clear answer on how we thought things might go; we wanted to proceed gently, carefully, and in a way that had everyone’s interests being addressed.
Starting with our own situation, and then everything that followed in the greater games industry in August, we were left thinking a lot about what restorative justice meant to us. We did a lot of reading. We did a lot of talking to each other about what made us feel fulfilled in an apology, and what made us feel frustrated as we worked to find a resolution. We knew that a financial sponsorship would make a huge difference in the sustainability of our event. We also knew that just throwing money at the problem wouldn’t be enough to help us feel listened to, supported or healed. So, we figured out more than one way to define how being sponsored by Panic would make sense for us.
We’re writing this post to finally give you that definitive resolution you all were looking for- We have found a way to collaborate with Panic in a way that we feel invests back into our cozy little community. Some of that investment is literal, and some of it is more hands-on. It took a lot of thoughtful communication from both sides, but fortunately we both had the same end-goal: to find a mutual understanding of each others perspectives and a better way to move forward. With that as the foundation of our new on-going relationship, we’re looking forward to working together with them in the future; not just to smooth over this one incident, but to try to improve industry dynamics in general. We’re very proud of these efforts, and want to tell you more about what that will look like for us going forward.
First, as previously mentioned, Panic will be sponsoring us at an amount of $10k. This money will allow us to cover the tabeling expenses of our exhibitors, offer them travel stipends, hire guest curators, pay for the travel costs of our organizers (we’ve paid out of pocket up until now!), and hopefully even pay ourselves. Volunteering on a project like this is of course wonderful and fulfilling, but it’d also be wonderful to be able to invest back in ourselves while doing this work. We also intend to be radically transparent about how we distribute this money: We want to tell you how much everything costs every step of the way. Our goal here is to be transparent about how much this sort of thing actually costs and set an example for financial sustainability in an industry that’s known for exploiting its workers. We hope we can be the change we want to see.
Second, to invest in our future, Panic has offered to help us become a 501(c)(3). This will give us the ability to potentially be sponsored by other groups as well! Since that’s something we never set out to achieve, and we aren’t entirely sure if this is the right option for us, we’ll working together slowly and carefully to make sure this is the best option for us. Regardless, we think this is really exciting and are looking forward to once again gently approaching this in a manner that benefits our community.
Third, we thought it would be fitting for Panic to give back to our community by making a zine showing what it takes to gain this non-profit status. This sort of thing is always easy to do it when you’re someone with resources: Time, information, money, and so on. We’re all about removing barriers to entry and facilitating people from marginalized backgrounds having the same kinds of access as people of privilege. We think this is a wonderful way to create a resource of that kind, and we’re looking forward to sharing that with you after we go through this process.
Finally, members of Panic’s staff will be joining us at this year’s Playdate Pop Up. We’re really looking forward to them to come down and connect with our event just like they suggested in their original email to us. We see this as an extension of our desire to give artists a platform that they can’t often find in commercial game showcases, as well as a new way to put that work in front of people who might not otherwise find it. We’re hoping this will both help to broaden Panic’s perspective on how to make space for new kinds of creators on their platform, and create new opportunities for the people whose work we show.
Which is to say… That’s right, we’ll be back at the LA Zine Fest in 2020! You’ll be able to find us at Helm’s Bakery on Sunday May 31st.
We’ll be writing you again very soon with more details of what our plans and efforts will be like this year. We can’t wait to tell you more.
The Playdate Pop Up 2020 Team
EMi, Bela, Bee, and Nathalie