Red's move - we need help
IMPORTANT UPDATE - Okay, we are zeroing in on a very workable low-cost plan here.
The move will happen over the weekend of August 27. We are using some hired labor at the Ohio site, so we do not need any help there. We also have a hauling solution now, so we no longer need anybody's truck. We do need people in Richmond on Sunday morning, but we have heard from about six folks who might be able to make it and that's probably plenty. To those people, I will be emailing you tonight. The plan is to have you at the apartment on Sunday morning, and then we'll take you to a nice Richmond bbq dinner and give you some Erf goodies.
I'm trying to schedule time to keep writing script and doing the other stuff I have to do, because we've actually gotten a bit overwhelmed by the responses and offers. A couple of people have insisted on throwing some money at this problem, even though we said we don't need it. I really appreciate that, and I can't say it hasn't made things easier.
Tomorrow, I will be sending email replies to everyone I have not gotten back to yet. You all remain the best audience in webcomics, and I will fight any creator who says otherwise!
=====Original Post Below=====
Let's do the TL;DR first: Team Erfworld needs to move our developer Red from Bellevue, Ohio to Richmond, Virginia by the end of the month. The best quote we've gotten from professional movers is $2200, which is way out of budget. We do not need monetary donations (we're pretty sure), but we do have to bring that figure down as much as we can. Your help and advice (and maybe your labor and your truck) would be welcome.
The Background: Who is Red?
This is Red. He's an important member of Team Erfworld. He has some Transylvitian Signamancy. Red is his real name.
Red came to us at the start of 2014, joining John and Brendan on the web team. He was an Erfworld fan for many years before that, and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of the story. In addition to building the Toolshed, the new PartiallyClips archive, the new Hamstard sub-site, and being instrumental in the spring redesign, Red also assists the creative team by checking details in the scripts and art. Informally, he's our "Chief Continuity Officer." If you have helped the website development in some important way, he may award you the Shiny Red Star badge:
Red wasn't in a great personal situation when he joined Team Erfworld. He had medical and financial problems, no job, he was living "at home"... I've been there. A lot of us have.
At that time, Erfworld wasn't in the best spot, either. I don't like to think about the thinness of the ice we were skating on. The work that Red has done for us has been essential to putting Erfworld in the much, much brighter situation we're in now.
We want to help improve things for Red, as he has improved things for the comic. We are currently paying the web team as part time contractors, with their compensation tied to Erfworld's monthly revenue so we can stay afloat. We are not to the point where we'd have the money to say Red is full-time developer and pay him a competitive salary, but if we keep growing and he keeps creating new stuff for Erfworld, then there's a path to that.
Why is Red Moving to Richmond?
The last few weeks, we've been running an experiment to speed up our progress.
Red drove down to Richmond at the start of July and we got him into an AirBnB room. I wanted to see if our workflow and productivity would improve if we could regularly be in the same room, looking at the same screen, instead of this Hipchat/Email/Skype/IRC telecollaborating crap.
It has worked really well. Rather than having him move into his own apartment somewhere in Ohio, I'm convinced Erfworld needs him down here. We can get more done, fix bugs faster, and roll stuff out quicker. Plus, he wants to come to Richmond. Richmond's pretty cool.
You now have very nice site now. Why do you need three part-time web people, let alone a full-time one?
Okay, we don't actually get asked that question very often, but I do get asked all the time "when is there going to be an Erfworld game?"
My answer has always been along the lines of "when we're ready, we're in no hurry." That was another way of saying, "when things are not completely on fire." Now that our financial, creative, and technical things are not on fire, it actually *is* time to begin working toward an Erfworld game.
Don't jump up and down just yet. The timetable for this is very long. I've been doing Erfworld for almost a decade, and I've learned a lot of hard lessons about how to make workable plans. We will take a slow and organic approach. We'll develop it a piece at a time, as we can, while staying focused on the main comic and coming through for the community. I still have unmet promises to some Kickstarter backers to work on, for example. I still need to find the time to restart the backer stories.
But if we're finally going to start moving in that direction, then we need Red on board and working with me and Linda here in Virginia. He found an apartment that fits his needs and is sustainable within what we're paying him now, and I told him he should go ahead and sign the lease today.
This is his new place:
Empty, isn't it? And here's his furniture:
This stuff is in storage in Bellevue, Ohio. It costs $70 a month to keep it there, in one 10' x 5' and one 10' x 10' unit. These are Red's worldly possessions and he needs them to sit on, sleep on, and eat off of.
Best quote we've found for a certified & licensed interstate moving company to pick all of this up and put it into his new place is $2200. Red doesn't have that. Erfworld has the cash, but it's slated for other important things, such as paying artists, paying taxes, getting merchandise made, and some enterprise stuff I'm not ready to talk about yet. We can swing it, but we didn't expect a hit like this right now. It would ruin some of our plans for fall.
I think there's got to be a better way. When I moved to Richmond, I furnished my whole place for under $4K. There must be a way to get an apartment's worth of furniture 10 hours down the road for like a thousand bucks, right? Right?
Maybe not, but we're asking for help and advice here.
What do you want me to do about it?
Probably nothing. If you're in Scotland or California or South Africa, then just treat this post as an entertaining story in the meta-saga of this webcomic. This is not a fundraiser. Erfworld readers have always been extremely supportive and generous, a fact that I do not ever want to take for granted. Moving Red is a solvable problem. I'm pretty sure I'll come asking for money again when we've got an impossible one.
This is just another kind of experiment, crowdsourcing the problem rather than crowdfunding it. Fans have contributed time and talent and expertise and sometime tangible assets in the past, like the time we needed a MacOS machine.
I don't know what to do about Red's move, but maybe you do. Maybe you know a better way to go about this. Maybe you're near Bellevue or Richmond and wouldn't mind helping load or unload a truck, for example. Maybe you know somebody that can do this for half our quoted figure.
And...maybe we hit the jackpot. Maybe you have a big enough truck and you wouldn't mind hauling a bunch of furniture ten hours down the road in exchange for meals, gas, some signed Erfworld stuff, dinner with the team, and a few hundred bucks. It's not likely, but it seems worth asking.
So post your general links and suggestions in this thread. To make a specific offer of direct help, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I wouldn't be surprised if helping rescue his favorite sofa might also qualify you for a Shiny Red Star. :)
I can't help with the move, but I'm about to restart my computer science studies and have been planning to find projects to work on while I'm in school. If Erfworld wants free development from relatively new programmers, I can certainly help with that when it's time. What I'll get out of it is the experience of working for a team. My course load for school will be relatively light since I completed most of my first year courses about a decade ago, around the same time I discovered Erfworld, so there shouldn't be any issues with commitment.
On the topic of an Erfworld game, I'm more curious what style of game you'd want to make more than anything. There's lots of opportunity to enter just about any genre with the way Erfworld is written.
I recently moved from Seattle to New York. I threw out most of my stuff. It's way cheaper to buy new stuff at Ikea than to to transport it across country. Uhaul can install a trailer hitch onto your car fairly cheaply and then you can rent one of their trailers. Soooo much cheaper then getting an actual Uhaul truck. So all your must haves can be moved with this trailer and your car. Happy journey!
One thing to keep in mind if you are looking at renting a trailer from U-haul, They have a list of vehicles they won't allow you to tow with. Generally small cars are a problem, but they still won't let you tow with any flavor of Ford Explorers. I've been told that goes back to tire and roll-over issues in the 1990's when they decided it was better to lose those customers than to get tangled up in lawsuits involving Ford and Firestone.
Duece beat me to https://www.1800packrat.com/ I have used them to move before. The key is knowing the arrival date and then the pickup date that needs to be planned behind it. The issue with packrat maybe dropping off/picking up from a storage facility. I was at a condo complex when I did it. They had the best price for this kind of service.
Quick update - it's Saturday night and Red's stuff is in Richmond, waiting to be unloaded! We have 3 people confirmed and 1 possible for 10:45 tomorrow morning. Assuming everyone shows, this should be all the help we need and will go pretty quickly. We will be providing lunch and goodies for our volunteers. It looks like this move will happen at a fraction of the quoted price, which means no disruptions for our other plans for Erfworld this fall.
We had several Richmond-side volunteers we did not follow up with because you were in Charlottesville or North Carolina or Maryland and we really didn't need the extra bodies badly enough to make anyone drive more than an hour. But whether or not you're locked in to help tomorrow or you got off the hook, we appreciate that you were willing to step up for Red.
Pics from the move soon.