Normal has been turned on its head.
All of the everyday freedoms and predictable daily routines we took for granted have been swept aside in the global COVID-19 pandemic and perpetual lockdown. It has forever changed how we live and also how we create.
Patreon CEO Jack Conte was curious about how some of our most popular Patreon creators are managing isolation and quarantine and whether or not they are still able to pursue their creative outlets. In this YouTube video, he asked them to film themselves and showcase a day in their life as a creator during lockdown.
Jack also shared a behind the scenes look at his routine, which includes a morning cup of matcha, a family walk, and the occasional Patreon taco and funk night.
Steven Lim also gives us a look into his life. He's known for his Buzzfeed YouTube series “Worth It” and also co-owns a very successful channel called Watcher Entertainment, part of his production studio.
For Steven, quarantine means filming takes place at home. Conference calls with the filming crew, footage being dropped off for editing, and working with his team while social distancing, are all part of his new normal. One thing that hasn't changed is his ability to create with community in mind.
“We have tripled our content since the pandemic. We've been able to use our platform to do good. I wanted to help, so I'm glad I can channel this platform and audience into something good. Adversity is one of the greatest tools for creativity. And so, part of being creative in a pandemic...is really about channeling your energy in the right direction,” he says.
Ali Spagnola is a musician, comedian, artist, and YouTuber. In quarantine, she has found her audience focusing on different types of content than before, namely her fitness videos which give her community a chance to workout from home.
“I feel very lucky that all of my videos are about outrageous projects and crazy music I make in my apartment, so I can just keep doing that,” she says.
However, there have been challenges to creating the kind of work Ali wants to make, especially when it comes to gathering supplies for her projects.
“Normally I would just go to the craft store and find something that I could use... but now I have to order new materials online and wait for them to show up, which means I can’t finish shooting today. That's actually really stressful because I'm very serious about my publishing deadlines. I haven't missed a video for my patrons in four years, and I don't want to blow that,” she says.
Jessica has been honest about how overwhelming her current circumstances can be.
“So much of my brain feels like it's being taken up by what's going on around us, and in the world right now and worrying about my friends and wanting to make sure that my patrons are okay. It doesn't take a lot to send me over the edge right now.”
Yet she still manages to share her message of inclusivity and positivity for all. “I'm doing what I can to make things easier for people whose brains work differently in a time when the world works differently, but you don't have to be neurotypical, you don't have to be normal to do great things in the world. And so, I'm going to fight through it, and we'll keep going.”
Like most people out there, our creators have experienced challenges in lockdown. Jessica has found that some of her stressors have been centered around having to find new ways of doing things that don’t always go to plan. For instance, she can no longer rely on her creative director to film her, which has led to frustration.
“I decided to try and get a shot of me through the bathroom mirror, and I dropped my friend's vlogging camera. I had a frickin meltdown around it. And this happens a lot. This is the life of a creator, trying new things that you don't know how to do, messing them up, and having to figure it out,” she says.
Of course, that struggle to find a solution is the birthplace of many creative inventions and artistic expressions and Jessica has found that to be an unexpected source of joy and inspiration in this difficult time.
“Creativity loves limits, and we're all really limited right now, and creativity comes from pain. There's a lot of pain right now so for a lot of creators that I know, now is a really good time to make use of the limits, make use of the pain and create something amazing,” she says.
Patreon’s community of creatives and their supporters really represent a reciprocal relationship. It isn’t a one-way street at all, its an ongoing conversation between creator and audience, as Jessica explains.
“I am so motivated because I know how important it is to keep creating content to support people when they're losing so many other forms of support right now. We are a kind of support, as creators, that they can rely on.” Patreon creators work hard to build a community with their audience. In troubling times such as these, strong communities can help us to feel connected, valued, and understood. Even when so much is uncertain, Patreon helps to provide stability, due to the direct connection you build with your patrons.
Although all of their situations are different, they share the same sentiment that right now though times are tough and even when this is all over, keep making, keep creating, keep connecting, and keep in touch.