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WATCH: Patreon Creator Panel Live from Seattle

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 Seattle with local creators.

Moderated by Angela Raiford, Head of Community Happiness at Patreon, this panel featured shipbuilder and sailor Leo Goolden, game designer James Portnow, artists and oil painter, Happy D, political writer, editor, and reporter Erica C. Barnett, and Patrick Groome the brand manager for Penny Arcade.

Here’s what we learned:

On independence: “Independence for me means the freedom to be able to take risks,” Portnow shares around the 7:30 mark. “Our industry is very risk-averse. For us to be able to talk about history, politics and the meaning of the art that we do, it’s in a way we’d never be able to do if I didn’t have the independence Patreon affords me. That’s really of great value for me.” Barnett echoes his appreciation of freedom of expression —especially as a journalist. “One of the things you discover when you work for publications is you have to have their voice,” she says around 8:05. “When working for local papers, I had to adhere to somebody else’s voice and not my own. Being independent means I can cover the things I want to cover and express my own opinions.”

On building community: “I’m a big fan of deciding what kind of people you want to like your content,” Groome advises at the 22:10 mark. “I don’t believe in just casting a hugely wide net, trying to appeal to everyone. Decide who you are, and who you represent, and let people know. Don’t try to be bland.” Happy D also has some important advice on creating boundaries between the people who are involved in and passionate about your community, and those who are just trying to get a rise out of you. “Devote more attention to the people who actually want to be there,” she says around 26:50. “Those who are asking you and want to learn from you and connect with you in a real way. Just ignore the haters, as we always say, but it’s truly a vicious cycle.”

On imposter syndrome: “The imposter syndrome thing I find pretty interesting,” Groome says at the 37:40 mark. “Because I think everyone has it. I can’t convince myself I’m not an imposter, but it doesn’t matter. You do the best work you can, and you hope that people will engage with it, and that’s all you can really do. You’re not going to get rid of imposter syndrome, but you can ignore it.” On the other end of the spectrum, Goolden shares the best advice for creatives everywhere — we’re all faking it. “It’s really useful to realize to realize that almost nobody in the whole world, no matter where they are in the game, actually knows what they’re doing,” he laughs at the 41:55 mark, closing out the panel on a humorous note.

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