May 16 2010
I was talking to a very nice woman the other day, and she said how getting laid off from her office job was the greatest thing that ever happened to her. Or one of the greatest. Because now, after putting it off for almost a decade, she’s being forced to finally pursue a dream as an independent filmmaker. (It’s amazing what an unemployment check could do.)
But unemployment check aside – it was a joke, people – I’d argue she’d have a slightly harder time chasing this dream 10 years ago. Or 20 years ago. Or – heck – 300 years ago. Simply because back then, the struggling indie artist simply lacked the tools that are now at our disposal. Not just technological tools – cameras, Final Cut Pro, whatever software you feel appropriate – but the resources: the important people across the creative feeding chain that helps bring an idea to fruition. And this applies to anyone involved in the creative process: from musician to filmmaker to artist to craftsperson. I thought about this – along with lunch; I was famished – as I checked out UnanimousCraft.
UnanimousCraft is a a tagable, sortable index of resources for crafters, artists and indie business owners. In their own words, they “submit our favorite resources and welcome the community to do the same. Once you become a member, you can submit resources you like, review and rate other resources and curate lists of your favorites.”
There are two levels of membership on Unanimous Craft: the basic membership is free and you can post and review resources and make lists of resources you find useful. Premium members are given access to a customizable profile that links to their various social networking sites and provides a place to upload images. One premium member profile is randomly shown on the home page and changes each time the page is refreshed. Premium members also receive $10/month off Unanimous Craft advertising.
There seem to be four main activities one can do on this site, and I’d like to briefly walk through each (each also has it’s own tutorial, which is nice.)
- Become a Member – I did this! I was then able to add resources of your own, rate other resources and curate lists of resources with the same theme. (I’ll get to the “curate” stuff in a sec.)
- Add a Resource – This is where I, were I a craftsperson, artist, or whatnot, would add my resource. Simply fill out an easy-to-understand Create a Resource form, and you’re good to go.
- Rate a Resource – This is cool. Go in and gush about how much you like a certain craftsperson or group (or be mean.) You can enter a 1-5 writing and then enter a written description. All of these reviews roll up to a nifty part of the toolbar called “Popularity Contest.” There you can view resources with the Most Views, Most Viewed of All Time, and Highest Rated. Naturally, I wanted to see who was number 1. Can you blame me? But I ended up clicking on #2 (always like the underdogs), Ornamentea. This brought me to an overview of the resource, which I’ve shared below.
- Curate a List of Resources – Here you can create a mini-page of resources you like – your own personalized advertising page.
What especially struck me was the jocular, informal vibe of the actual copy of the site. It makes it a cozy place to visit, and I instantly not only understood the type of businesses they were looking for, but considered myself one of them as well. You know the humble, innovative, funny, creative type?
So now, as I sit back with some final ruminations of UnanimousCraft, my thoughts turn to a “developing” neighborhood in Oakland, near where I live, where all the small businesses help each other out. (One restaurant, for example, won’t serve a chicken sandwich because the one next door has been around longer.) So we’re not talking about Coke vs. Pepsi stuff: indie business aren’t – and in many instances, shouldn’t – be in fierce competition with each other. Quite the opposite: if one thrives, others may thrive as well. A rising ride lifts all boats. No indie business is an island. But if it were, say, a chain of islands, each connected by, say, a water-navigation system or agency, that agency would be UnanimousCraft. It recognizes the value of indie-to-indie networking and gives creative businesses an easy-to-use forum to advertise, advocate others, and grow.