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INTRO I'm David, a sculptor from Barcelona

Abrodos

Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Sep 25, 2019
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Barcelona, Spain
Hi! I've been posting in the forum for about a month without proper introduction, so here it is:

My name is David Abrodos , I'm 30 and I'm from Barcelona, Spain.

I studied Fine Arts and I've been working as a comission sculptor since 2013, working for theatres, making custom trophies for sports clubs and other, and creating life-sized monster puppets for a Catalan tradition called "correfoc", a fire parade where these dance with fireworks attached.

Also, I've been learning about investing for many years. I belong to an investor's club here in Spain, from where I got my Unscripted book.
I've lost money with the club, following high yield strategies from a guru, I've also lost money on my own, and now I'm concentrating on saving, raising my hourly wage and elevating my income.
I've also volunteered as a counselor for 10 years, so I'm now starting to work as a teacher. It is a relatively well paid job here (more than 1500€ while the average is 1100), I really enjoy it, and I feel like I need to have a "rest" after so many years of economical uncertainty. This job also allows me to keep doing my artistic comissions on the side, so I might be doubling my income, and the most important thing, working with kids makes me happy and is one of the things I'd be doing if money wasn't a problem.

Business-wise, here's where I am:
- My monster making business is very low-yelding and time consuming. They are unique, historical pieces (each town has its beast with a personal story, some of them are centuries old,), but that means they are non-scalable. Also A LOT of technical problems appear with each different monster, which imply overcosts, but the performance groups that comission them are amateur and always very low on cash. Public funding from town halls is present, but very hard to get.
On the good side, these pieces are very impressive due to its size and personality, so they make for a very interesting advertising material, especially on fairs.
Some of the ideas I'm working to scale the beast-making business are:
-Stop working with these amateur groups (usual price for a beast is 6k) and focus on big companies/show producers, that have no problem in spending 30, 50k or more in a project.
-Keep designing and sculpting monsters but keep them small-sized maquettes, which I would make videos of, and monetize them with Patreon, or by replicating and selling them as resin kits.

-Theatre scenery is way different: I work with a young but very renowned scenographer, and the gigs he brings me are scarce but very professional. There's no problem in fixing my rates, they pay me for the preproduction work even if the project is cancelled. Overall I'm very happy with it. The main problem would be the physical needs: making scenery usually requires a big workshop, expensive materials and is very messy. I'd like to restrain myself to just designing, but what people value from me is the ability to create anything, in any shape and with any physical characteristics (ex. a chess piece that turns into dust when pressed).
-I could expand this business by going to speak with theme parks, escape rooms, or by offering themed stores/kids'bedrooms, but the main problem is the amount of money, space and energy "wasted" on the physicality of the pieces. Lots of trips to the store and recycling facility, heavy weights, expensive materials, unused materials, rent money for a workshop, hiring workers...
So I'm not sure about scaling it, I feel it's not efficient and would cause me more trouble than benefits.

-And finally, trophy making:
I think it's by far the most efficient way to make money for me right now. It has several advantages:
-I need very little infrastructure (I can set up a small workshop in my garden or garage), and the materials are very cheap.
-The pieces are replicable: I design and sculpt one piece, mold it, and cast it several times. Many times, my clients "repeat" every year, so I have a relatively stable source of income.
-The clients comission my works because they like them, everything is custom made and I offer them several designs for them to choose. The amount they pay for is normally 500-1000, so very little problems with unpaying clients. I care for them and they care for me, it's something much more personal than a regular trophy shop.
-Recently I've been able to multiply by 4 my hourly rate. It's happened by chance. Normally I charge 20-30 per piece if 15+ pieces are made, but it raises to 80-100 per piece if I'm asked to do just 2-3 trophies, because of the fixed costs. I was asked to do two "artistic" trophies and I charged 80 for each. But they told me they want to comission me 20 of them next year, and they had in mind to also pay 80 for each, because it makes sense for "artistic" trophy to be that expensive (the process for making them, materials cost, is the same). That showed me a very interesting way to raise the value that I'm focusing to implement from now on.
-The main problems are the difficulty to raise the price to recurring clients, and that the resin used and dust produced might have a long-term effect on my health, which I don't want.

After reading Unscripted, I've focussed on developing a scalable business and getting progressively rid of all this physical, space-needing, once-in-a-time commissions.

My choice has been to create printable tabletop scenery for sci-fi wargames. I'm now designing and modelling a series of pieces that will be converted to 3d files, which my clients will buy and 3Dprint themselves. I'm going to run several crowdfunding campaigns, and develop a wide series of models that will be sold in an online store.
I've used the design phase to both get to my potential clients, via a Facebook page, and get feedback from them. I'm already planning on an E-book about how to design organic, flowing, dynamic scenery layouts (which is my area of expertise and something that very little people are capable of doing).

Other than that, my interests and business ideas are numerous:
- Plenty of experience in theatre and performance, talking to large groups, etc. I might explore being a comedian/actor/singer, maybe making some Youtube videos just to try.
- Lots of ideas regarding erotic art, sex toy designing, stuff for the fetish community, as it appeals a lot to me and I know the crafting processes;
- Some small sculptures and paintings, which I've been trying to sell but without much response;
- And many specific ideas to develop (about 60-70 waiting in my "gumball machine").
- I'm thinking to offer a prototyping service here in the forum, as I see many would take good use from my abilities and knowledge of materials. So if anyone is interested hit me up at david_abrodos@hotmail.com.

Also, my main weaknesses are:
- A tendency to work alone and do everything by myself, which often ends up with half-done projects (let's say an unfinished website),
- Being a perfectionist instead of taking action (a tendency which I'm happy to be changing at the moment),
- And a big fear to failure/rejection/not having control, which has a direct effect on how I (don't) show my most personal work to others, how I feel unconfortable flipping stuff, and how I don't actively seek female companionship.

To finish, I want to also share the fact that I'm living with my parents even though I'm making between 1000 and 1700 a month. That has allowed me to save about 45k, which I'm quite proud of (talk about hardcore-side-laning!). I have no girlfriend and no siblings, the house where I live is big and beautiful, and my relationship with them is good, so I don't see a reason to move on my own. I lived in a big loft/workshop for some time, but living and working in the same place, alone all day in a different town wasn't good for me, very little social life led me to a depression that I have now overcome.
The estate price/rents in my area are also extremely high now (about 850 for a flat rent and 250k for a land plot) so my current goal is to save 100-150k and maybe build a house from shipping containers/natural materials in a cheaper area.
Also, my overall goals are not that high: with less than 500k and good investing abilities I'd be able to retire without problems. I don't fancy lambos and luxuries, but a small house in nature, and having time for my family, for volunteer working and for creating my art, would suffice.

So, that's roughly who I am!
If you've reached to the end, thank you very much!

Here are my social media sites, if you want to take a look at them:
David Abrodos is my art portfolio.
Spirit Wargame Scenery is the page of my CENTS-based scenery project, and
David Abrodos (@davidabrodos) • Instagram photos and videos is my personal IG account, even though it's mostly work.

Thank you for the attention!
See you all,

David
 

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MJ DeMarco

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Excellent intro and interesting craft you have! It seriously sounds like you might be under-pricing your talent. Any chance you can focus on high-net worth individuals, folks who might have a bigger ego than most and would commission for statutes of themselves, or their family?

Thanks for the official intro.
 

SamRussell

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Hey David,

welcome! and cool intro!

I have a friend that has a side gig selling sex toys... they are crazy cheap to import from China, and you can mark them up pretty nicely! Her margins are crazy.

It sounds like you have a few pretty good ideas there that could work nicely. People spend crazy money on wargames (just look at Warhammers brand / prices)... so if you can 3D print your designs.. sounds like a good market! Maybe you could build a story into your designs, create campaigns and scenarios to go with your scenery... ? Releasing a new campaign and scenery to go with it every few months could get you recurring clients.

High net worth individuals wanting some fancy statues is a cool idea...
 
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Abrodos

Abrodos

Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Sep 25, 2019
42
80
103
30
Barcelona, Spain
Any chance you can focus on high-net worth individuals, folks who might have a bigger ego than most and would commission for statutes of themselves, or their family?
I should definitely explore that. I have the ability to create very accurate portraits, both in painting and sculpture. I've been thinking for a long time about making portraits of famous people (TV hosts, singers) which would give me a lot of exposure.
I have a friend that has a side gig selling sex toys... they are crazy cheap to import from China, and you can mark them up pretty nicely! Her margins are crazy.
I'm thinking more of a Bad Dragon business type, prioritizing design and material quality over big quantities. There are a lot of health issues with cheap stuff from china. Again, that might be an excuse that I'm giving myself to avoid doing more profitable "real business" and focusing on my craft which is my confort zone.

It sounds like you have a few pretty good ideas there that could work nicely. People spend crazy money on wargames (just look at Warhammers brand / prices)... so if you can 3D print your designs.. sounds like a good market! Maybe you could build a story into your designs, create campaigns and scenarios to go with your scenery... ? Releasing a new campaign and scenery to go with it every few months could get you recurring clients.
The idea is to make the clients recurring ones, make some kind of "collections", so I can sustain each client as long as possible. People will spend about 100-150 every 2 months, but not 3000 at once for a full set.
At the moment I'm targeting specific factions of Warhammer players, but I also want to explore the idea of creating a standalone game, for different reasons:
-The Warhammer community is smaller than it looks. A standalone game can be bought by anyone into rpgs and stuff, even by less geek people. But the Warhammer community is estimated to be about a million people worldwide, that means about 100k players for each faction, so there's a big problem with potential market (even though a TV series is in preparation, which could mean a popularity explosion like Game of Thrones was to the books).

-The most successful kickstarters I've analyzed are for standalone games with their expansions. They can make as much as 150k, compared to the 10k at most that a single terrain project could make.

Thank you very much for the insights! They 've been really helpful. Reading and replying to them I have also been able to identify some important resistances.

Thanks,
David
 

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