I used to think that every project you work on should somehow or another bring in some sort of income. If you're a creative professional, you rely on your projects in order to maintain your livelihood and pay your bills. Whether it's Legacy Drive book sales or filming wedding videos, the hope of every project I take on is that it will not only pay me back for the money I invest in it but also generate streams of revenue.
So how do passion projects fit into the world of a creative?
For several months now, I've been working on a Star Wars fan fiction novel. What started out as a simple idea which I began to implement on the website Wattpad on a weekly basis (a new chapter every week) has morphed into something bigger than I could have initially imagined.
I guess with the way my mind thinks, this shouldn't come as a surprise. The gears are always turning!
What I have planned for this Star Wars project is bigger than any of my previous projects—even Legacy Drive (in its current form of just the first book). Not only do I want to continue to develop and flesh the story out, but I want to go as far as to hire a professional editor and cover designer. To top it all off, I want to create a full blown live action cinematic trailer to help promote the book.
Can you hear that? That's the sound of my bank account being emptied.
Yes, the problem with ALL of this is I'll never make a penny off of it. I don't own the Star Wars IP, nor am I licensed to create an official Star Wars novel. Everything would be from my own pocket and the money I spend on it would never return to me. Much like the YouTuber 'Star Wars Theory' spent six-figures on a less-than 20 minute fan-film which only served as the first part of a series he plans to create, I foresee that I will be going down a similar path.
The book would be free to read online in its entirety. I will most likely use Wattpad unless I find a better platform. From there, readers can rate the story, offer feedback and (most importantly) enjoy it at their leisure.
There's a lot of fan fiction out there. Some of it is great (see the Star Wars fan film Reign of the Fallen) while some of it has me convinced that it was filmed with a potato or written before spellcheck was a thing. That's why I want to go the route of a professional editor but I also want to have feedback from other die-hard Star Wars fans.
Some would ask, "Why spend all that money on something that will never bring you anything in return?"
First, I love to write, I love Star Wars and I have an awesome idea for a story (or at least I think it's awesome). Moving forward with my own novel only seems logical. Second, it will bring me something in return.
It's no secret to those who know me that I'm a fan of motorsports. I've raced in the past and spent thousands to get there. What do I have to show for it? Nothing. Well, maybe a few pictures. But it's mostly just memories of the good times and friendships I developed along the way.
To me, that's the essence of a passion project. Even if it won't take you to the top of the world or make you a billionaire, the journey is what counts.
Like all projects I work on, they bring me joy, they challenge me and more than anything, I love the feeling of finishing them and sharing them with other folks. My hope is that this Star Wars project will do just that.
I hope to share more updates with you about this in the future!
Have a passion project you've been wanting to work on? Tell me about it in the comments below!