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[VIP] Spook Central VIP Area Opens

 By Paul Rudoff on Jul. 23, 2019 at 6:02 PM , Categories: Spook Central, VIP Exclusives
VIP Exclusives

The Spook Central VIP Exclusives Area and VIP Area on Patreon 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) 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.

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 a Spook Central VIP Area on Patreon as a way to help me out.

The Spook Central VIP Area on Patreon features a single tier, known as the "Minions of Gozer", which is available for Spookies 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. (UPDATE - Click on these links for a list of all exclusive content posted in 2019 & 2020, and all exclusive content to be posted in 2021.)

As the name implies, this is content that doesn't appear elsewhere on the Spook Central website. You will either find it here on Spook Central in the VIP Exclusives Area, or uploaded to Patreon. Some of the content uploaded to Patreon is linked to throughout Spook Central where appropriate. Some of the exclusive content includes "bonus materials" for some Spook Central articles. In the future, you may also find exclusive articles in the VIP Area.

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 as a Spook Central VIP Exclusive.

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 VIP Area gives me an outlet to provide those raw materials for all of the Ghostheads who may want to see them.

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.

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.

Every December, all active VIPs who have been supporters for the previous twelve continuous months or longer (at least since January of the current year), will be sent a holiday gift in the mail. (Those who have cancelled their membership or have had their payment method declined by Patreon are ineligible.) It will be a completely random Ghostbusters item, in either new or lightly used condition, that may have been previous used in a Spook Central review. Around the beginning of December, I will directly e-mail all active VIPs to get their mailing addresses and to get answers to a quick questionnaire to determine which gift they may like the best. I don't want to send something related to the 2016 film to someone who absolutely hates it. Ideally, I will send out a gift to all supporters worldwide, with the VIPs who live outside of the U.S. getting something small and lightweight since I can't afford to ship large and heavy items internationally. If that ends up not being feasible, then I will have to limit this benefit to supporters in the United States only. This benefit is while supplies last and is subject to termination without advanced notice.

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 in the VIP Exclusives Area or in the VIP Area on Patreon, please let me know.

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