Worried about new direction
3w
killgannon
I'm not sure if this has been addressed in a livestream or elsewhere as I haven't had time to watch through everything but I'm worried about the apparent direction Proko seems to be taking. The thing I've always loved is that the content is free and open to everyone but the premium is there for extras and as a bonus. Now it feels as though the bulk of the content is gated off and has to be purchased and the free content, as substantial as it may be, is merely there to herd you towards making a purchase. From what I've seen so far the free lesson is usually a later chapter in the course which not only makes you want to continue but also makes you feel like you're already missing part of the puzzle which feels a bit manipulative. Again, if this has been addressed and the site will continue to operate as before with full free courses on the way and these new courses are the exception then please disregard but as the title says I'm worried.
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Charline B.R.
That is a very unfair point, art is a paid jobs and teacher here are working pro in industry with family and bills as well. The time they spend learning skills to get here is worth something, they can't just give it away like a fart. Same for the time actually creating the course, it's not like friends exchanging cooking recipe, we speak about industries with competition and pricing someone "life experience". If it wasn't for these paid content, there would be no content at all and everyone would stick to their lonelyness trying to figure out how do this or that. Or you would actually pay x10 for art school or direct mentorship, because again, knowledges have value. Also, these pro might be your competitor one day, they take a risk to share their "savoir faire", which is what make money. Nobody want to suicide a living, so it's normal they exchange it for something. "We" cannot ask them to give up stuff like it's worth nothing while we crave to get it, sometime to make ourself a living, that's close to robery.
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killgannon
I think you've misunderstood the point I was making, I'm not saying that their expertise should be given away uncompensated, but given that the 'free courses with premium extras' model has taken Stan from making videos in his garage to a thriving business with employees shows there is more just a living to be made from doing so. My point was that for the longest time Proko has boasted about being open and free education that is complete in itself with premium content being a bonus to now seemingly being one free chapter per course acting as an advert for the paid whole. If you're fine with that shift in priorities then fair enough but as a long time follower of Proko it leaves something of a sour taste to all of a sudden being locked out of 90% of the content unless I cough up money where that wasn't the case before as he was building the brand.
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Gannon Beck
I'm a little afraid to reply given your name. I'm going to assume it's just a cosmic coincidence and not that we're natural enemies;) I think it would be great if everything had the mix of free to premium that Stan's original courses have, but even if they don't, I'm incredibly happy with what is available. One could spend a lifetime mastering the the free material. I'm an art director and working illustrator, and I STILL don't feel like I've completely mastered them. I feel like I will spend the rest of my life trying. The paid courses, while not free, are far more affordable than going to art school. As an example, a year at SCAD costs $37,575. That kind of price tag is prohibitive for most people. Good for you if you can swing it, but those of us who can't have to find another way. I believe Proko is that way. The pieces are falling into place to make Proko not only the most affordable online art education, but also the best. I don't think that's hyperbole. Proko is assembling the best art teachers in the world, recording their lectures, and editing them to a fine polish. As these courses accumulate, and as the community learns and levels up, there is no telling how far each of us can take our art. The big thing that Proko has unveiled, and what I think it was desperately needing, is this community. We needed a place where we could easily compare notes and learn from each other, and now we have it. Also, the forum itself is free, and it certainly didn't need to be. That's my glass is half full take, except it feels like it's 90% full. I wish it existed when I was 15, but short of that, I'm glad it's here now.
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killgannon
Haha no worries, no enemy here :) Don't get me wrong the quality of the content and teachers are superb, my argument isn't that they're somehow not worth paying for. It's like I've said in another reply my argument here is that since the beginning Stan has made a point of saying the courses are all free and open; that art education should be open to all so that money isn't a barrier from learning and the premium content is there if people want to pay and take a deeper dive in to a subject for more knowledge. Which given how successful Proko has become as a brand that model has clearly worked well for them, but for them to all of a sudden only give one chapter of a course for free and lock you out of the rest unless you pay up goes against that philosophy that was a cornerstone of the brand for so long. For me that leaves something of a sour taste and as someone who as purchased many art courses over the years this isn't about the money per se but rather the sudden 180 in what Proko as a brand has stood for since the beginning.
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Izak van Langevelde
I don't think it is realistic to compare Proko to a real art school, where instructors are sitting on your shoulder to guide you, to critique you, and to keep you from taking the next step until you successfully passed the previous step. Art is based on skills, and learning a skill requires guidance from a competent teacher. I doubt whether Proko will ever be more than a collection of really good videos.
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Dan B
I think the other key thing here that hopefully continues is that the instructors/pros are actually engaged in the community, providing critiques and feedback. I really hope this continues and the Pros do jump into the general community a bit more as that helps keep it thriving. The direction I would worry about is if the instructors/pros retreat to just publishing course material, because then we lose a lot of value from the site.
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Casey Holtz
I also feel a little worried about this! I was recently really excited about a new course, only to realize that the entire course was locked behind premium besides the first video which was basically an ad for the course followed by a random lesson from it. I understand Proko and all of the artists collaborating here to make this happen have to make their income, but I feel like there will still be plenty of that even with a greater percentage of free content. Personally, what is so incredibly exciting about Proko to me is that I can access high-quality, in-depth art education even though I can't afford to pay for it right now. I know that this content will take me to a point where I will be able to make a steady income myself, and I speak genuinely when I say that at that point, I will ABSOLUTELY be returning to all my favorite courses to complete them with premium content. I think that will be true of many here, and having more free content will draw more users overall which would also benefit the social side of Proko. I think people would be able to sense quickly if the site was "herding" (as killgannon called) users towards purchases and be discouraged from participating and investing in the first place.
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