The Thinking of Speaking
Issue #25 January / February 2017
Parrot Time on Patreon
by Erik Zidowecki
January / February 2017 | 

Many of the great works of the Renaissance period were produced as commissions, paid for by others. We like to think that artists create for the sake of creating, but that is usually not the case. Even if it starts that way, they will eventually need to be paid for what they make in order to survive.

The funds for their work often came from sponsors, or "patrons". These were men and women, individuals and families, religious and secular groups, and even civic bodies and rulers. Without these patrons, so much of the art and architecture we now enjoy would never have been possible.

The term "patron" comes from the Old French word "patron" meaning "a lord-master, a protector". It comes even more directly from the Medieval Latin "patronus", meaning "bestower of a benefice; lord; master". A more modern day definition could be "a person or group who gives financial aid or other support to a person, organization, cause, or activity".

One of the most visible examples of patronage is in religious works from the Renaissance era. The Roman Catholic Church and Protestant groups both sponsored religious art and architecture, as seen in their churches and cathedrals, in the forms of paintings and sculptures, to promote their teachings.

But it wasn't all paintings and pillars. Over the centuries, artists across a diversity of fields have enjoyed the generosity of their patrons. Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and William Shakespeare are among the best known and celebrated. It also pertained to music, with figures like Mozart and Beethoven also benefiting from this system to a certain degree, before the European culture moved away from individual patronage and more into that of mass corporation sponsorship of the modern day.

That isn't to say the idea of being a patron is gone. We still use the expression "patron of the arts" in English to speak about someone who donates to a highly skilled craft or presentation.

The idea has been reborn in one way with the website "Patreon". There is a large variety of projects and products which need or would like financial support from modern day patrons. The content ranges from videos & film to comics to games to dance.

Now, Parrot Time has been added to that eclectic collection.

Becoming a Patron

The idea is surprisingly simple. Creators post about their works and people can help support their endeavours by donating a certain amount of money on a regular basis. Rather than getting a specific product for yourself, however, you are making it possible for the producers to continue their work.

The creator may form different levels, based upon preset amounts, for which a donator might get a "reward" of some kind. This could be anything from a "thank you" to access to anything they post on the Patreon page to physical rewards, such as copies of the product.

There may also be specific amounts of money that designate specific "goals", like if that amount is reached, then a website may no longer post advertisements, have money for an upgrade in technology, or be able to pay for liability insurance (I hate to ask about that one).

Payments are made either monthly or on a "by product" basis. The first option is for anything that is simply ongoing, like a website teaching languages. The second option is for a specific item being produced on a regular basis, like a podcast, comic, or magazine.

I See Where This is Going

If you have read this far, then you have probably figured out that we, the creators of Parrot Time, are looking for support from you, the readership. Producing the magazine requires many hours of writing and formatting, and no one doing it is currently compensated in any way except with a "thank you". With funding from people who already appreciate the magazine, we can work towards improving it.

The web version does have a few commercial ads, in the form of targeted ads from Google and affiliate links, but they simply don't even cover the basic operating costs.

This is why we are now turning to Patreon, in the hopes that you, our regular readers or those who recently found our publication and would like to see it continue, might be willing to aid us. Your contribution helps to cover the cost of writing and formatting on dual platforms as well as allowing us to bring more and varied content to you in the future.

While we are not producing a great work like Michaelangelo's David or Mozart's La clemenza di Tito, but we do feel we are producing something of worth for a larger community which benefits everyone.

Why Patreon?


$1 - Level One - Patron
Every dollar counts! For $6 dollars a year, you get
• private access to our Patron news feed
• your name on our Supporters page

$2 - Level Two - Benefactor
You are wonderful! Giving more helps us more! For $12 dollars a year, you get
• private access to our Patron news feed
• your name on our Supporters page

$3 - Level Three Champion
This is amazing! We can't thank you enough! For $18 dollars a year, you get
• private access to our Patron news feed
• your name on our Supporters page

$5 - Level Four - Philanthropist
Your dedication to us is very touching! For $30 dollars a year, you get
• private access to our Patron news feed
• your name on our Supporters page

$10+ - Level Five - Angel
You've completely blown our minds with your generosity! For $60 dollars a year, you get
• private access to our Patron news feed
• your name on our Supporters page

Words can not express how much we thank your for your continuing support!

Sign up here!

Asking for people to donate to work or a product online, called "crowdfunding", has become popular in recent years. Sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are teeming with creative products requesting hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars to make an idea into a reality. Their campaigns run for a very limited time, and even if the target amount requested is reached, there is no guarantee that the promised project will ever become tangible.

Patreon is aimed at projects that are always in production and (hopefully) will continue to be. Rather than requesting a huge amount at one time, the patron process only asks for small donations per issue, to maintain a continued existence.

So What Do I Have To Do?

To become a patron of Parrot Time, you only need to create a Patreon account (it is completely free), fill in your billing information, and visit our Patreon page. There, you can select what level / amount you want to donate per issue.

We offer five levels of patronage, though you are, of course, allowed to give whatever amount you want. The levels, by title and amount, are Patron ($1), Benefactor ($2), Champion ($3), Philanthropist ($5), and Angel ($10+).

What you pledge here is charged from you automatically each time we release an issue of Parrot Time, which is six times a year. Doing the math, that means you would be donating $6, $12, $18, $30, or $60+ a year, corresponding to the levels. Those rates are comparable to what you might be paying for a regular subscription magazine, but here, your donation is your choice, and you can cancel at anytime.

Why the Titles?

Glad you asked! We are already providing Parrot Time at no charge, so to show our appreciation for your donation, your name and contribution level will appear in the magazine's "Supporters" section. This will appear in both the online and PDF versions of the magazine, and your name will remain there as long as you are a patron.

Patronize Us!

Whether you choose to donate financially or not, we hope to continue bringing languages, linguistics, and culture to you with every issue. You are welcome to contribute to us with an article on any of those topics as well. We encourage you to share Parrot Time with your friends, as always, because you are the reason we write.

Parrot Time on Patreon
Writer: Erik Zidowecki

All images are Copyright - CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Share Alike) by their respective owners, except for Petey, which is Public Domain (PD) or unless otherwise noted.


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