How much does it cost to make one episode of The Brain Scoop?
Someone left this question on our Facebook page once I mentioned that we are accepting donations in order to help support the channel, and I have been puzzling over it ever since. This type of thing is largely impossible to quantify, in my opinion; there are too many variables. I’ve made an attempt to break it down, however, using only the number of people profiting from the show (three; myself, Michael, and Hank), and weekly ad sales earnings based off of views on YouTube.
One week this month we made $173.28 from ad sales - the next week we made $404.51. That’s a big difference. So, the average between those two weeks is about $288. Divided by 3 people is $96/week per person. Divided by 2 episodes/week is $48, per person, per episode. Let’s assume we spend 10 hours on one episode — this includes my research time, writing, editing the script, filming it, watching footage, and editing it together for an easy episode (this is a very low estimate of time cost per episode, for the record).
We are each making $4.80/hour per episode.
But wait! That is just the (rough estimated) amount of time spent filming and editing. What about the time spent on social media? This is a large part of my job and takes up a significant amount of time as well - between Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and answering emails I estimate that I spend an additional 5-6 hours a day reading, responding, and doing whatever else to help foster this community we’ve established. If you include 20 hours/week filming and editing, and 35 hours/week spent on social media/emails/interviews/articles, that’s 55 hours/week for $96; I’m making less than $2/hr.
But what about videos we don’t earn anything from? It took us around 7 hours one day to skin the wolf, and another 5 the next. 12 hours of work time for filming alone - not to mention the days we spent editing footage to make it a 15-minute episode [there was probably an additional 20-25 hours editing time], and since it has become age-restricted we have earned virtually nothing from a video that took perhaps 30 or more hours to create.
This is why we appreciate your donations so much. I don’t enjoy asking for money, but I feel that it is important for our viewers to understand how much time and effort goes into producing one episode. There are many more variables we could factor in: meeting times, chats about merchandise, other investment costs - but I think you get the idea. This is my only source of income while I juggle six credits of graduate school work on top of everything.
I love our show and I would not stop creating content unless something completely out of my control forced me to quit.. like, if I died. It has certainly become one of the most important aspects of my life and I don’t want you to think I am complaining that I’m not making a living: even if I earned nothing I would still do everything in my power to continue producing episodes. We aren’t about to stop.. but your support certainly makes it easier for us to carry on.
[Photo by Kristen Franklin]
Channels like these rely on YOU, not only to share and watch, but to literally help get them made. Emily is doing great stuff, hopefully we can help her keep doing so.