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WATCH: Patreon Creator Panel Live from San Francisco

As part of our live Patreon Assembly event we hosted a creativity focused panel in Chicago with local creators. Here’s what we learned.


We gathered some of the biggest names in film, podcasting, art, activism, music, and media for Patreon Assembly, an afternoon of storytelling and performances. As part of our live event, we hosted a panel in San Francisco with local creators.

Our very own Ursula Sage was able to chat with Kat Robichaud, creator of Misfit Cabaret, a rock opera variety show, Cynthia Lin, a ukulele performer and teacher, Jessica McCabe, a mental health advocate who creates ADHD-friendly tools, and Henry Gilbert, producer, podcaster, and co-host of the “Talking Simpsons” and “What A Cartoon” podcasts. Here’s what we learned:

On being independent: At the 4:30 mark, Jessica says, “This is a big thing for me. Because of Patreon, I don’t have to be a slave to brand deals. I can do the content I want to do. I can support my community in the way I feel I can best support them without having to worry about the way I’m going to make money that month.”

On how independence requires constant self-evaluation: At the 7:12 mark, Cynthia Lin says, “You are forced to define your own path. And I’ve really learned to every day evaluate if the next step I’m taking is on the path I want. You actually have to evaluate that a lot. ‘What is the main thing that I can focus on that is still going to make me happy and make my audience happy and allow me to keep making a living without feeling like now I have a job?’ The challenging part of independence is that you have to watch out for yourself even more.”

On navigating the creative freedom: At the 9:51 mark, Henry Gilbert says, “We have to step back and learn that just because we want to do this special and unique to us topic, we need to listen to what our audience is saying too and what they want from us. It’s a constant negotiation to keep up with what they want and what we want at the same time.”

On balancing content creation with brand deals: At the 11:20 mark Jessica McCabe shares, “I’m always thinking about how I can serve my community when it comes to any business decision. Is this money going to allow me to serve my community better? What kind of impact is it going to have.”

On resisting complacency and the importance of parameters: At the 23:30 mark, Kat Robichaud talks about rules she set for herself when she started Misfit Cabaret. “I said to myself for every brand new Misfit Cabaret that you write, you have to write two brand new songs that coincide with the theme of the show. And I have kept to that. It sets a deadline, a goal, and also parameters, which is really fun.”

On the importance of the creator and fan connection: At the 39:33 mark, Cynthia Lin says, “The creator/fan relationship right now is more direct than it’s ever been and that’s amazing. It’s also a lot of work. There are people on Instagram and YouTube who respond to every single comment and if you enjoy engaging that way, you should do it, but if it’s not authentic to who you are, I think people can see that.”

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