October saw me returning to Istanbul after a month and a half’s absence. Berlin was fun, but Istanbul is home at this point. As I come up on the five year mark in September 2016, I’ve been thinking more and more about leaving. It’s probably time, but damn it I love Istanbul! It’s just a great place to live. If my video project survives beyond the US election, I’ll probably be happily forced to stay. As of this writing, between freelancing and Patreon I’m finally making enough money to live comfortably in Istanbul. Revenue would have to at least triple to allow me to move to even a small city in the United States. Also impacting these calculations, Most of my family and friends are in New York and Washington, DC, two cities that are not the least bit small or affordable.
Speaking of Patreon, October 2015 was a banner month in that department. Patreon is a kind of on-going Kickstarter that allows people to donate a buck or two (or 5 or 8!) for each video I produce. It started off slow. In October, after six months, donations had finally reached a point where it made sense to take my first actual chunk of money from the website. Seven months later, I now make as much as I did those first six months every month. I am extremely grateful for that. My video channel certainly has an audience, the 20 to 25,000 views I get each month make that pretty clear. But that’s nowhere near enough to keep bread on the table through advertising alone. Patreon is getting to the point where it provides a real chunk of that bread. I’ve only got a few Patrons that I don’t know personally, but the group now stretches pretty far beyond the people I see day to day, or even year to year. I’ve been honored by the willingness of folks from every phase of my life to support my weird little project. I’d be grateful if you too, dear reader, considered doing the same.
For October and November I secured a sub-let in Istanbul’s Pangalti neighborhood. It lent itself well to productivity. I managed six videos in October 2015. “Pope Francis’s Decision to Meet With Kim Davis Was Genius” was one of my most transparently headline driven videos ever. Have you already forgotten who Kim Davis is? Good. I won’t explain her. I think the video makes a valuable point though. The current Pope is an extremely effective politician. His willingness to advocate for more traditionally “left-wing” causes is a savvy switch on the part of the Vatican, after two more reactionary popes. I should probably do a Pope Francis take-down at some point. Sure, he’s a more effective 21st century communicator, but that doesn’t mean he’s any less of a weird medieval theocrat than Benedict was. Rarely have I been happier to be wrong than I was with “Marco Rubio Is Probably The Next US President“. And yes, even with the threat of a Trump Presidency, I still think it’s good that Marco Rubio has been shuffled off the stage. It’s a sign that the current two-party system, which has been failing so miserably for so long, is about to be scrapped as well. 20 years from now we’re almost certain to still have Republicans and Democrats, but they will both be very different animals. This process won’t be pleasant, but it’s getting us to a better place.
“Vladimir Putin: An Appreciation” points out what an incredible service that man has done for the American public. Putin’s actions have been horrible for Ukraine, unfortunate for Syria, and will almost certainly end up being terrible for Russia. But the way that he has run circles around Washington, DC has highlighted just what a mess the Military Industrial Complex has made of Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Facing up to this idiocy is long over-due. Putin should be thanked for highlighting it. Occasionally I’ll see a film so bad that I have to make a video about it. “Black Mass Is A Very Bad Film” is a product of exactly that kind of experience. “How Benghazi Gave Us Donald Trump” lays out the way that Conservative media made Donald Trump’s take-over of the Republican party easy. As a side-note, I’ve just changed the name of this video to “How Fox News Gave Us Donald Trump”. Changing the name and/or the Thumbnail of a video can help it to become much more successful. When I published the video Benghazi was in the headlines. Now that that has faded, it makes sense to high-light a more “evergreen” aspect of the video’s message. “Cops Are Victims Too“, this month’s last video, makes the essential point that society as a whole is much more to blame for the crimes of policing than individual officers are.
Views fell again in October 2015, falling down to 11,037 from 13,002 in September. One of the top five, and three of the top ten videos in October were produced in October. Four of the six videos crossed 100 views on their first day. 7 months later, all six videos have topped 200 views, and four have topped 300. At the end of October 2015 we had 125 videos, all but three of which were viewed in October, 65 of which were viewed more than 10 times, 21 of which were viewed more than 100 times, and three of which were viewed more than 1,000 times (FATCA, John Oliver, Hillary Clinton).