Funding, and First Indie World Problems

So you know that feeling where you simply won’t let yourself feel excitement for something that’s actually pretty amazing? That’s where I am right about now.

About 8 months ago, SeeThrough Studios applied for 2 grants through the Interactive Media Fund, being run by Screen NSW. Last Tuesday, after what could tentatively be described as a ‘delay’, the first payment of our grants came through. The two grants have a total value of $100,000.

This is incredibly exciting news, and yet, for some reason, we didn’t announce it to you guys so you could share in our excitement.

This is because, despite all else, I’m finding myself continually tempering my excitement. I’m letting it out in bits and bursts, but mostly I’m holding onto it. The hope is that this will stop me from doing something stupid.

Why am I worried about doing something stupid? Because, quite simply, $100,000 is an easy amount of money to lose very quickly. I call it ‘enough money for us to shoot ourselves in the foot’.

Let’s say that we have 4 full-time developers (and we have more than 4). $100,000 divided 4 ways is $25,000 each, which has to last for a year and a half. And that’s assuming we have no other costs (and we do).

The money is marked for projects that aren’t Flatland (we started Flatland because we couldn’t wait around for this funding), which means that our slate is now pretty full till the end of 2013. This means that we’re going to have a hard time using contract work to keep ourselves afloat, so we’ll be relying mostly on our games and tools development. And our games will have to be fairly small-scale, simply because of the time constraints.

Now I’m completely aware that this is the equivalent of a First World Problem of indie game development, and that this money gives us a bunch of really amazing opportunities. I suppose what I’m trying to bring across is how easy it’d be to blow the money without properly working out a strategy for getting more. If that happens, there’s a decent chance we’d become reliant on the cash we don’t have, and that could break the company.

Which is why I’m determined to keep a level head. It’s why no-one is going to be paid a cent until we have a budget and a plan (I’ll be getting our Unity Licenses, but that’s about it). And it’s why this post is half a week late.

Hooray!!!! Ok, back to budgeting…

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