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[VIP] Spook Central VIP Area/Patreon Page Opens

 By Paul Rudoff on Jul. 23, 2019 at 6:02 PM , Categories: Spook Central, VIP Exclusives
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The Spook Central VIP area/Patreon page has just been launched. Read on to find out what it's all about...

Next month is Spook Central's 23rd anniversary. When I first launched the site back in August of 1996, I never would have imagined that it would still be going over two decades later. A large part of Spook Central's long run has been due to the gracious support from Raffaele Ruffaldi, who has given the site a home for the past 15 or so years. While that has helped sustain the site, it doesn't solve everything.

Over these past 23 years, I have spent more hours working on Spook Central than I have in all of the real-life jobs I've ever had combined. In spite of this, the site doesn't provide me with any income. Unlike the rest of the internet, or even other Ghostbusters sites, I've never once ran ads on the site - aside from the Amazon links and the occasional pimping of stuff for myself (Spook Central store, eBay stuff) or for friends (free advertising, as I've never charged my friends). None of that brings in the big bucks. If I'm lucky, I'll get $10 from Amazon every few months, and maybe I'll sell one item on eBay in any given month.

I don't have YouTube videos that I can monetize, either. Yet sites like MovieStillsDB.com will go and steal MANY high-res images from Spook Central, add their watermark to them, and then charge people to download them!!! Those images would not be online if *I* didn't (1) Pay money for the original physical photographs, (2) Scan them in, (3) Clean up the scans, and (4) Upload and add them to Spook Central. The same for the Blu-ray screenshots that site has stolen, too.

The one thing I've done well since August 1996 is archive, curate, and present Ghostbusters materials in the highest quality available as an informational resource. I'm kinda like the curator and archivist of the Ghostbusters museum, and even museum workers need to be paid for their service. Thus, there is now an official Spook Central Patreon page as a way to help me out.

The Spook Central Patreon page features a single tier, known as the "Minions of Gozer", which is available for patrons who support Spook Central for $10.00 or more per month. I had to set this minimum amount because of the FOUR FEES that Patreon charges creators. I detail this more on Patreon, but in short... FEE #1: The Pro Plan Fee of 8%. FEE #2: The Payment Processing Fee of 2.9% + 30¢. Both Fee #1 and Fee #2 comes right off the amount that you pledge, before it even gets into my account. FEE #3: The Currency Conversion Fee of 2.5% per transaction. This one only applies to Spook Central supporters who live outside of the United States, so thankfully, it's not applicable to every donation. FEE #4: The Payout/Withdrawal Fee of $0.25 per payout (usually once a month). This cheaper fee is for payout directly to my bank account. If I opt to be paid through PayPal, I get charged a higher fee of 1% of the amount transferred with a minimum of $0.25 and a maximum of $20.00. Yeah, Patreon has the balls to charge me a fee just to get paid. I guess the 10.9% + 30¢ they take off the top isn't enough for those greedy bastards. I can reason fees #2 and #3, as they cover operating costs, but then again, that's what the Pro Plan Fee of 8% should be for. Instead, that 8% is 100% pure profit to Patreon. I can't justify the payout fee, especially to a bank account, which costs them nothing... and again, should be part of that 8%. So, yeah, please don't think I'm getting the full amount that you're donating each month.

So, what do you get for your monthly donation? Well, let me detail it for you. Do be aware that this is all subject to change without notice.

EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
As the name implies, this is content that doesn't appear on the Spook Central website. Some of it includes "bonus materials" for some Spook Central articles. Right now, there's the PKE Meter Sticker Book, an eBook PDF of the tiny sticker book featuring really cool 1980's-inspired Ghostbusters stickers that came with the Running Press Mini P.K.E. Meter Deluxe Mega Kit a few months ago. In the future, you may also find exclusive articles in the VIP area.

ARCHIVAL CONTENT
I have over 25 years worth of stuff cluttering my hard drive, which includes 24GB of Ghostbusters content. Most of this stuff can no longer be found online, and some of the newer Ghostheads will have never seen the stuff that dates back to the 1990s. So, whether it's an old video or image from 20 years ago, or a collection of materials I saved for 2009's Ghostbusters: The Video Game, eventually you'll find it on the Spook Central Patreon page.

WORK-IN-PROGRESS CONTENT
Many years ago, after Hurricane Sandy destroyed my old home of 23 years, and destroyed many of my vintage Ghostbusters magazines and collectibles (such as the cast photo signed by the four guys and Sigourney), I vowed that I would scan in all of the Ghostbusters materials in my collection (including the magazine remnants that I was able to salvage) and preserve them on Spook Central. While a lot of that material is on the site, there is still a good chunk of raw scans and other materials that I have not finished cleaning up to make presentable. Since I may never get around to doing that work, it would be a shame if the materials never see the light of day as a result. Thankfully, the Patreon page gives me an outlet to provide those raw materials for all of the Ghostheads who may want to see them.

HIGH QUALITY CONTENT
Spook Central is home to a lot of great material. I'd like to make it all available in super high-quality for everyone, but thieves like MovieStillsDB.com ruin it for everyone. As a result, only Spook Central supporters will have access to the highest quality copies of materials. Right now, you can find three out-of-print albums in high-quality 320kbps MP3s - The Real Ghostbusters soundtrack album, and the Lincoln and Varese Sarabande releases of Elmer Bernstein's Ghostbusters score - while the Spook Central website only provides streaming 128kbps MP3s.

DISC PRESERVATION PROJECT
For many years, Spook Central has spearheaded fan efforts to preserve rare and out-of-print Ghostbusters materials so that pieces of the franchise's history are available to all, and are not lost to time. The natural progression of that is Spook Central's Disc Preservation Project, which is dedicated to the preservation of rare home-made and promotional Ghostbusters discs. This project aims to present high-quality materials that were never made commercially-available for the general public, be it as DVD-rip MKV video files, or full ISO disc images suitable for burning to DVD-R discs. Although the project has NOT BEEN OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED YET, a test run is on the Spook Central Patreon page and there is a limited-edition physical flash drive release that I've put up in the meantime.

MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED
I have a lot of plans for Spook Central's VIP area. Currently, it's the Spook Central Patreon page, but in the future, it may be incorporated right into Spook Central, or be a separate subsite where I have more control over content than on Patreon.com. I may even give out physical holiday gifts every December for those Spookies who have been supporters for the previous six continuous months or longer. None of that is officially happening right now. These are just IDEAS about the future of the Spook Central VIP area.

Please note that the money paid to me as a Spook Central supporter is for my hard work in bringing this material to you since August 1996. You are not paying for the content itself. The money I receive is used to fund Spook Central and to pay for my living expenses.

Well, that about covers it. If you, my dear readers and loyal Spookies, have ideas for what else you'd like to see on the Spook Central Patreon page, please let me know.

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