"The Dulcimerica Video Podcast" (iTunes - YouTube) launched in 2006 and has since produced over 200 episodes viewed by
more than a million unique viewers worldwide. When I first started producing the series, my equipment was state of the art. However, with time and much usage, the cameras began to fail, the software became outdated and the popularity of the show plus the immense data storage began costing me extra for bandwidth and server space. As a free program this is difficult to maintain, so I've added donation buttons on the sites and graphics asking for pledges right into the videos, but it's not been enough to keep things rolling smoothly.
For that reason, I'm initiating a crowd-sourcing pledge drive to raise
funds for the upgrades and I'm offering incentives for varying levels
of pledges so everyone will receive something cool for their
participation. Included on this page is a detailed list of
incentives, a F.A.Q. covering the who, what, where, when and why and
the specific gear and services that I'm looking to purchase. The
result will be a renewed ability to keep "Dulcimerica" rolling merrily
along into its 8th year of existence as one of the most popular (and still free!) dulcimer-related programs online!
What are the pledge incentives?
Pledge $10 or more
Every little bit counts! An "I Love Dulcimerica" sticker will be included in a personally handwritten letter of thanks which will be mailed to you on special "Dulcimerica" stationary sealed and stamped in wax. Classy!
Pledge $15 or more
The "I Love Dulcimerica" sticker, the Classy Letter Package and a
special autographed and personalized glossy photo
Pledge $25 or more
The sticker, Classy Letter, glossy photo and an "I Love Dulcimerica" t-shirt suitable for framing or wearing. Or framing and wearing.
Pledge $35 or more
The sticker, Classy Letter, glossy photo, the "I Love Dulcimerica" t-shirt
and a your name in the end credits of a special 8th Anniversary "Dulcimerica" episode.
Pledge $50 or more
The sticker, Classy Letter, glossy photo, the t-shirt, your name in the
8th Anniversary show and a 16-month 2014/2015 calendar featuring awesome moments from "Dulcimerica" (with your name listed inside the calendar as well!)
Pledge $75 or more
Sticker, Letter, Photo, T-shirt, Calendar, name in the Anniversary show credits AND calendar plus a quick personal phone call from me to tell you how much you totally rock!
Pledge $100 or more
Sticker, Letter, Photo, T-shirt, Calendar, name in the credits and calendar, quick personal phone call from me AND your name in the credits of "Dulcimerica" for a full year as a co-producer. Woot!
Pledge $250 or more
All of the above PLUS an ad for your business or just a special message inside the 16 month calendar (first come-first served on your choice of month.)
Pledge $350 or more
All of the above PLUS a DVD set, "Almost A Decade Of Dulcimerica", featuring full episodes, never-before-seen footage, outtakes and special features. High Definition goodness where you can see everything super-clear and real up-close!
Pledge $450 or more
All of the above PLUS 8 hours of one-on-one real-time video lessons with me on your instrument of choice; mountain dulcimer, Native American flute, ukulele, jaw harp, whatever you like!
Pledge $550 or more
All of the above PLUS an autographed copy of every CD I've ever released.
No flash drives. Tangible schwag!
Pledge $650 or more
All of the above PLUS an autographed copy of every book I've ever published. WITH the CDs that go in the back and everything!
Pledge $750 or more
All of the above PLUS a song written especially for you, showcased on a
"Dulcimerica" episode and released on an upcoming album. How cool is that?
Pledge $1000 or more
All of the coolness above hand-delivered PLUS a "Dulcimerica" episode shot at YOUR house where I will cook dinner for you and your guests! It's going to be a party! (Offer only good in the continental U.S.)
Pledge $1500 or more
Everything mentioned so far PLUS a private house concert for you and your guests. You'll really be workin' it then! (Offer good only in the continental U.S.)
Pledge $2000 or more
You are The Boss if you reach this level! Not only will you receive EVERY incentive listed here, but you'll have your choice of one of two options. Either I'll write and record an entire album for you based on your themes, suggestions and preferences (holy concept album, Batman!) OR a full week spent in the studio with me as I record and produce YOUR ALBUM. Not only will I produce your album, I'll set you up with digital distribution online so that you can start selling music straight away! And I'll take you out for Mexican food when we're done. (I'll bring the studio to you, so no need for travel or lodging arrangements.)
How much are you trying to fundraise?
What exactly is wrong with your gear?
Since I went full-time as a musician, and because I don't charge a fee for "Dulcimerica", there hasn't been a budget to upgrade software or repair damaged equipment. One of the two cameras that I use for shooting sustained water damage on tour which wiped out the LCD viewfinder. The motor for the lens assembly malfunctioned later and has to be propped open in order to view anything. The secondary camera uses Hi8 video and will not be compatible with the next round of Mac OS upgrades. My only tripod is broken. The Final Cut Pro editing suite that I have, along with DVD Studio Pro and LiveType, are all outdated and are no longer supported by Apple. I've been holding off upgrading to the latest OS because it will render these programs completely unusable.
The other problem has nothing to do with gear and everything to do with too much of a good thing! "Dulcimerica" has over 200 episodes which all need to be stored on a server in order to feed both the current iTunes directory and also the archives on the website. Besides the ever-growing server space, there is the tremendous bandwidth involved as people from all around the world access the data and either stream or download the media. My current internet provider has warned me that I'm taking up too much space, so I need to move all of the data to a different provider. The show has grown too big. Kind of a nice problem to have - but it's still an issue.
What will $5000 purchase?
Here are the items we've identified and their respective costs:
Server Data Relocation/Implementation/Setup/Hosting
Raw Materials For Incentive Production
Packaging and Shipping For Incentives
Thankfully, software costs have gone down. Final Cut, Motion, Compressor, Logic Pro are the updated tools that will allow me to edit, design graphics, record and mix sound and export online and to DVD. They will all be compatible with Mac's latest OS, Mountain Lion. The cameras are in the mid-$800's apiece and are not quite professional-level, but have features that will speed up the production process (one of the big issues we've had - an investment of over 8 hours for each ten minute episode due mostly to logging of video tape. These cameras work off of flash drives and can even send the footage via wi-fi to the editing bays.) Finally, the moving of all the data from the current server to a new host where we'll need to pay for a year up front. The rest of the funds will assist in producing and delivering the incentives.
Why aren't you using Kickstarter for this pledge drive?
According to Kickstarter's rules, you have to have a finished project to show at the end of the drive. Our fundraising drive's main purpose is to upgrade equipment so that we can produce an ongoing video podcast. There will be a brand new DVD set, "Almost A Decade Of Dulcimerica", that comes out of this drive. However, it won't even be possible until we purchase the equipment to make it happen. Unfortunately, we don't qualify under Kickstarter's rules, so we're conducting the drive on our own.
What is the timeline you're looking at?
We'd like to have raised all of the funds by the end of 2013 with an eye on delivering the incentives in January of 2014.
Can I get a refund on my pledge if you don't meet your goal?
Can I pledge with a check or money order instead of PayPal?
Yes, you can. Please make it out to "J.O.B. Entertainment Inc." and mail to:
J.O.B Entertainment Inc.
P.O Box 560727
Orlando, Florida 32856
Who can I talk to if I have any questions about the pledge drive?
You can talk to me, Bing Futch, either by e-mail (email@example.com) or by calling me directly. (E-mail me first and I'll give you my phone number.)
Will "Dulcimerica" continue in the meantime?
Yes, I'm currently uploading episodes from footage shot this summer and will shoot some additional episodes throughout the next few months. No matter what, "Dulcimerica" will continue. We're just hoping to streamline things to make it easier to produce and manageable for everyone concerned. Thanks for your support and thanks for watching!
Hello all! Thanks to Google buying EVERYTHING, it's been interesting trying to cross-post between YouTube and Blogger while maintaining a connection with Apple iTunes. I know some of you view "Dulcimerica" via iTunes almost exclusively while others prefer to watch the higher-quality videos on YouTube. Some do come here to this page as an introduction to the series and then make choices based on where you are at the time. So, I'm experimenting with posting the YouTube videos here. I'm not sure how that will read in iTunes, but if it turns out to be a huge mess, then I won't. That would explain the triple posting of YouTube videos earlier today; just a test. In any case, thanks for watching and for your patience during the long hiatus this summer. There are a number of reasons for that, most notably that I was on tour for nine weeks. The other reason is that my equipment is falling apart and, except for iPhone videos and videos shot graciously by other folks at festivals and events, there have been no instructional episodes, song demos, two camera shoots or the kind of mini-movie productions that I used to do. Videography is no longer my career, so I haven't upgraded my gear and software since going into music full-time. The result is, much of my equipment is outdated, non-compatible with current trends and pretty broken down due to heavy use. The production of an old-school "Dulcimerica" episode is highly time-intensive. Besides the actual shooting itself from multiple angles with multiple takes, there's: • computer graphics design for titles • editing • sound mixing • rendering • uploading to both YouTube and Blogger • maintenance of podcast feeds and web pages for the two streams Of course, this doesn't include the actual creation of the content for each episode, whether it be a lesson on blues mountain dulcimer or a tour through the Great Smoky Mountains; all told, there's about eight hours of work into each ten minute "Dulcimerica" video. Modern technology would help trim that down a bit, but like I said, my gear is anything but. Starting some time ago, I began posting PayPal donation links in the video descriptions, on blogger posts and in the end title graphics, hoping that many of the millions of "Dulcimerica" viewers and subscribers would annually donate between $5 and $10 to help with production of the show. Believe it or not, I can count on both hands, in the entire seven year (going on eight) run of the podcast, how many times I've received a PayPal donation. Frustrating, to say the least, but I've never wanted to put the show behind a pay firewall because that would take away the option of watching it for many people. For those who have donated, thank you so much because every little bit counts!
I'm considering a couple of different things at this point. One thought is to really make a big push for donations. Perhaps many people don't watch the end credits or read the descriptions or see the links in each blog post about donations, so I've taken to adding a donation graphic at the beginning of each episode along with annotations on YouTube that point out the PayPal link in the video description (YouTube won't allow a direct link in annotations, unfortunately, or within the comments section. But the link works fine in the video description.) My other thought is to launch a full-blown Kickstarter campaign to raise production funds for new equipment, software and support, not to mention server space for all the episodes past and future plus bandwidth costs. My main camera, a SONY HDV, has no external viewfinder due to moisture damage on a shoot long ago. My secondary unit is a standard definition HI8 camera that is obsolete and uses a completely different type of recording media. Logging the footage from both of these cameras for one episode takes an excruciating amount of time and then, once they're in the editing bay, the quality of image from each camera is way different from the other. I'd like to get back to producing high-quality episodes of "Dulcimerica" featuring the stuff that you like most; the song demos and workshops, interviews with other players, travelogs through parts of the country and festival excursions. Though I know you enjoy watching the concert footage, it's not the same as the content that I used to produce. In order to get there again - I need to catch up with the times. More than anything, what I really need is to hear from YOU, the viewer and subscriber to "Dulcimerica." What do you think I should do? Is the donation route enough or do you think a Kickstarter campaign would be more effective? I'm not in a hurry to make any quick decisions, so if you'd like to weigh in, there are a number of ways to do so. First - you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Second - this blog post will end up on Facebook and you can post your input in the response section there. Third - you can add your comments right here on this blog, attached to this post. Fourth - you can respond via Twitter, where this blog post will be linked. I'm interested in what you have to say, share and add. The analytics on "Dulcimerica" are out of this world on YouTube and you have consistently made it one of the most-watched dulcimer-themed podcasts on the service. Many of you have inquired about more lessons and I figured it was about time to lay out the deal for all to see. My current software is actually quite capable of continuing the work - it's mainly the two cameras, the server space and bandwidth that has slowed things down; unfortunately - they cost money. So let me know what you think. It seems to me that most consumer or prosumer cameras in 2013 are going to flash drives, which means no moving parts on the cameras, less wear and tear and quicker download times for video. That would surely speed things up on the production side. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I look forward to not only hearing from you, but also continuing forward with "Dulcimerica", one way or another, into 2014 as we celebrate 8 years of existence. Thank you for making it happen and thank you for watching! Sincerely, Bing Futch
The second of a series of videos from the 61st Annual Florida Folk Festival in White Springs, Florida. In this clip, Bing Futch uses a RC-30 Loop Station to lay down mountain dulcimer tracks as a backdrop for Native American flute during "Sweet River."
The first of a series of videos from the 61st Annual Florida Folk Festival in White Springs, Florida. In this clip, Bing Futch is introduced and performs Native American flute along with the Lead Belly tunes "Pick A Bale Of Cotton" and Take This Hammer."
Jeff Hames performs "Sweet Child O' Mine." When he's done, Bing Futch, who has never played it before, begins to noodle with the chords. Jeff kicks it back in and the two jam out to this classic Guns 'N' Roses song.