Failed But Not Dead Yet: A Taco Hat TV UpdateLast night on the phone, my mom told me she felt bad that our Taco Hat TV Indiegogo campaign failed. I was all, “No, mom! Don’t feel bad.” And then I talked her ear off about how successful the campaign was even if we didn’t make our budget, and how I’m actually a little relieved it didn’t succeed as we’d initially laid it out.

There are several reasons we didn’t stand a chance to raise $9,000 to make Taco Hat TV. A major one is that I had a helluva time approaching potential business sponsors. A big reason for this was that we didn’t have a concrete example of what THTV would be – we didn’t have a sample show, or even a sample script. Without that example, I was in the position of pitching business sponsors on ideas, alone, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned over and over in business, it’s that an idea might get me respect and it might get my foot in the door, but most people don’t want ideas, they want tangible products. And in the case of a business sponsor, they want to know exactly what it is they’re getting into. And we didn’t have that, at the outset.

And really, I don’t regret that. We could have set up a makeshift set in my studio and invited a guest to come over and shoot an episode. But it wouldn’t have had the magic, and it wouldn’t have been quite right, and the concrete example we’d have ended up with wouldn’t have left us the room to change and adapt as we needed to because people and businesses would have had a concrete idea of what we’d deliver, based on that example.

I struggle with this idea-versus-tangible-example problem all the time. I’m one of those people who thrives on the potential of an idea and shrivels at commitment when that commitment comes too soon. In the case of this campaign, this was a big-ole shotgun to my foot. And that’s okay, because the foot was figurative and I’m not actually in pain.

Now. I really do consider the campaign to have been a success. Our initial plan did shift and evolve over the course of the campaign, in large part because of conversations I’ve had with all sorts of people. Conversations I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t been able to point them to the Indiegogo campaign. And to be perfectly honest, I’m no longer sure a web show is the best way to pursue the idea of Taco Hat. I actually think a publishing approach is the best one for this project, and I’ve been having some very meaty conversations with publishing types about it. The kinds of conversations that could very well progress from idea to tangible product. (Not a print book, if that’s what you’re thinking. When I say “publishing approach” I mean digital. Digital done right, which is not really happening much, if you haven’t noticed. So really, I do mean multimedia. Multimedia approached more from a publishing mindset than a television mindset. That might only mean something to me. Sorry for the confusion.)

What I mean is, I’m quite confident we’re going to get this skills-focused DIY project off the ground, eventually. And it’ll be better than the web show I’d originally thought up.

I’m being vague, I know. What I mean to say is that the campaign has failed, but the idea lives on. We received quite a lot of enthusiastic support from people who want skills-focused DIY materials. And by “want” I mean “really, really want.” I’ve been hugged because of this idea. I’ve been high-fived. My conviction that we’re onto something has been validated over and over again. Which is, to say the least, encouraging. We’re not alone in wanting this kind of content. Good to know.

So, what next?

Well, first, thank you. Thank you for backing the project, for telling your friends, for blogging and tweeting and Facebooking and high-fiving.

And second, please stay tuned. Don’t dislike Taco Hat on Facebook or unfollow our Twitter account. We may not have a concrete schedule anymore, but we are dedicated to this idea. I am dedicated to this idea. The form won’t be the same as we initially laid out, but I’m determined to pursue this idea until it achieves a form that’s nothing short of outstanding. And that’s a viable business. And, because who am I not to be ambitious, that might just be a revolution.

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Nancy Cavillones

Have seen the new digital weekly called Gathered, published by the people who publish Mollie Makes (British, I think)? The way you describe your publishing approach reminds me of Gathered.


Whatever you do will be amazing. I think that a skills-based approach is badly needed, because it seems like learning proper skills often takes a backseat to producing something ‘cute’.

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