How to Host and Plan a Hybrid Fundraiser

Many nonprofits and schools want to increase their donations cost-effectively but lack the expertise or resources to create and host a major fundraising event. A hybrid fundraiser gives you the best of both worlds: an engaging live experience that shares your mission with supporters while leveraging new technology for acquiring donations.

Hybrid fundraising events can be a great addition to traditional donor cultivation activities, being more targeted than telephone campaigns while also providing significant opportunities for engagement through social media sharing.

These types of events enable your nonprofit to do something different from what is expected of you, stand out from your competition and avoid becoming obsolete as time goes on. You get all this while still increasing revenue!

To have a successful hybrid fundraising event, it’s essential to research your options and establish a budget for the event. The next step is to assemble a team of people with different skill sets. You can then create a fundraiser website, promote it and execute your live event.

In the end, you will thank donors for their support and deepen donor engagement by keeping them involved after the fact. Finally, you’ll analyze performance data so that you can improve upon future events.

We’ve created this guide to take you through these steps one at a time so that you can learn how to host your own effective hybrid fundraising event campaign. Have fun!

Step 1: Weigh Your Hybrid Options

The following are ten steps to help plan and host successful hybrid events. First, let’s define some terms:

Hybrid Fundraiser: A hybrid fundraiser is a type of event that allows your supporters to donate online or during on-site activities. At the same time, they learn about your mission and engage with like-minded peers.

The donation method is up to you (cash, check, credit card). If the donation method is cash or check, make sure to have someone at the event record all gifts for accuracy and security purposes.

Step 2: Determining Tech Needs and Budget

While it can be tempting to “go big” on your first hybrid fundraiser and spend money on the most prominent venues and most elaborate activities possible, this strategy could end up costing you more than the revenue gained in the long run. Therefore, it’s essential to consider your budget and how much you want to invest in this project.

Keep in mind that when it comes time for planning and executing stages of your event(s), vendors will likely charge more if they think you’re not organized or serious about what you’re doing. Turning to professionals for help early on is a great way to get better rates while also avoiding setting yourself up for failure later.

To determine your budget, ask yourself:

  • How much do I currently raise during fundraising events?
  • What percentage of these funds do I typically see arrive after the live event is over (donations + additional revenue, e.g., auction packages)?
  • How much money would this represent for my organization if I could feasibly capture 10-20% more capital through a hybrid fundraiser?

Another vital thing to consider is the technology required for hosting your fundraisers. Do you have the necessary equipment and software (e.g., iPads or tablets with card readers & digital signatures, laptops with internet access and compatible presentation software, wireless microphones)?

Additionally, it would be best to determine whether you want to host more than one live event as part of your fundraiser. If so, will some of those events be held off site where participants don’t have Internet access? Can you rent additional equipment as needed?

Depending on what kind of activities you’ll be hosting, you may want to hire support staff such as videographers or photographers.

Tech Needs

  • Tablets/iPads with card readers and digital signatures for event check-in.
  • Laptops w/ internet access and compatible presentation software for speeches or activities.
  • Wireless microphones to connect with the audience or participants at offsite events.

Budget Needs

  • Additional equipment rental fees (e.g., sound system, wireless microphone/speaker system) if necessary.
  • Support staff (e.g., videographers, photographers) depending on what kind of events you’ll be hosting.

Note: You may also want to consider hiring a professional event planner to assist your volunteers and keep everything running smoothly throughout the weekend.

Step 3: Assembling Your Team

As mentioned above, it’s a good idea to hire a professional event planner to assist your volunteers and keep everything running smoothly throughout the weekend.

It’s also helpful to have an experienced fundraiser on-site during your live events who can:

  • Verify credit cards, cash, & electronic checks.
  • Collect and record donations accurately.
  • Address any technical difficulties quickly so they don’t impact participants’ experience.

Support Staff:

  • Event Planner (at least 1 for each on-site event).
  • Experienced fundraisers trained in credit card and check collection procedures.

Step 4: Building Your Hybrid Fundraising Site

If you plan on letting donors contribute both online before the event(s) and during on-site activities, then it’s essential that you set up fundraising pages ahead of time. This way, donors’ credit card information is already stored in your system when they arrive to participate in your fundraiser so you can capture their donations quickly and efficiently.

At a bare minimum, a fundraising website should include:

  • Donations page(s), where supporters enter the amount they’d like to give.
  • Payment Gateway(s), which accepts online contributions.
  • Funding Progress bar that shows how much has been raised so far.
  • Organization profile picture/logo and contact information.

To be successful, make sure your site invites donors to participate, not intimidate them. Also, keep in mind that very few people will want to go through the donation process unless there’s an incentive for doing so (e.g., free raffle entry, donation matching, etc.).

Step 5: Promoting Your Hybrid Fundraiser

Just because you’ve built an excellent fundraising website doesn’t necessarily mean people will visit it. We recommend promoting your hybrid fundraiser both before and during your events via email, social media, flyers, event invitations, or any other methods you think are appropriate.

Include images of your donor incentives (e.g., certificates for free raffle entries) to motivate potential supporters to get involved. You can also promote specific event details, such as the date(s) and time(s), website URL, etc.

Step 6: Excellent Tips for Planning Your Hybrid Event

  • Get creative with your on-site activities! The possibilities are endless depending on what you’d like to accomplish and how much time you have available. For more inspiration, think about previous events you’ve hosted or attended that were both successful and engaging.
  • Keep things moving at a fast pace, but don’t be afraid to take breaks if needed.
  • Wear comfortable shoes! If possible, bring an extra pair if one gets wet during an activity or is damaged by corrosive liquids (e.g., vinegar).
  • Make sure all required safety equipment is on-hand. This includes personal protective equipment (PPE), disposable gloves, safety goggles/glasses, and any other gear that might be required for activities.

Step 7: Executing Your Hybrid Event

Here are just a few possible event ideas to consider:

Live-Action Challenge: Participants compete in teams of two or three by performing different tasks that test their problem-solving abilities under physical stress.

For example, participants could assemble flat-pack furniture with the help of only verbal instructions while wearing emergency “hazmat” suits that make it challenging to use their hands effectively! Other examples include timed cooking challenges, puzzle hunts, water balloon tosses, etc.

Food Tasting Competition: Each team must create the best-tasting dish out of a set of ingredients.

Cookie Decorating Contest: Each team tries to decorate the most accurate replica of your organization’s logo with icing and sprinkles.

DIY Activity Station: Different stations could be set up where participants make slime, fold origami fortune tellers, or color in coloring book pictures.

Seasonal Activities: These could vary depending on the time of year, but examples include building snowmen, carving pumpkins, and making ornaments.

Step 8: Ending Your Hybrid Fundraiser

Now that you’ve completed your hybrid event(s) let donors know how their donations will make an impact by sending them a personalized thank you message afterward. Showcase the great things your organization has accomplished with their support and how they’ll continue to help build a brighter future for the community.

Step 9: Deepening and Thanking Donor Engagement

We recommend following up with donors within two weeks of their contributions to maximize their likelihood of giving again in the future. You can do this via email or text message (if you’ve collected cell phone numbers) and include a personalized video message from your CEO, executive director, or other key staff members (s).

Other donor communication tips include sending thank you cards or gifts (e.g., pens, notepads, magnets), updating them on important news related to your cause (i.e., upcoming events such as fundraisers, open houses, etc.), and including press releases of your organization’s accomplishments in all communications.

Step 10: Analyzing Data and Evaluating Performance

Once you’ve wrapped up your hybrid event(s), it’s time to take a look at some key metrics and determine the next steps. How did things go? What could have gone better? How much money did you raise?

Things to consider include social media engagement rates (e.g., likes, shares, comments) on Facebook and Twitter; how many donors utilized the online fundraising page; the number of participants who attended/completed your event(s); and more.

Make a note of any learnings or insights that can help improve future events and make sure to follow up with donors and thank them again.

Panic Fest Marks 10th Anniversary and Return to Normalcy


As I sat in the main theater at Screenland Armour for the start of Panic Fest on Thursday, April 28, I couldn’t help but feel relief. That relief comes with the knowledge that since January 2020, I haven’t experienced anything like this in a little over two years. The pandemic extinguished the lights at repertoire cinemas across the country, but some managed to fight through the uncertainty to emerge victorious; shining brighter than ever. So Panic Fest 2022, the 10th iteration of the genre film festival, felt personal in the context that the pandemic is now over, we can begin congregating again to partake in films that make us peek at the screen between our eyes or laugh at absurd things with a large group of degenerates some of us refer to as friends or family.

The 10th annual Panic Fest kicked off with Joe Bob Briggs and Darcy the Mail Girl presenting a 20th anniversary screening of “Bubba Ho-Tep.” The second day of Panic Fest kicked things into gear with films ranging from the comically bizarre, “CRABS!,” to the gory insane, “The Sadness,” which kept the hundreds who were in attendance happy and horrified. The directors came out to play Saturday as Joe Lynch introduced, what he called an undiscovered gem waiting to become a cult classic, 1984’s “Surf II.” don’t bother asking me about “Surf I.”

Director Mick Garris was in attendance as a nearly sold out theater laughed along and cheered to 1992’s, “Sleepwalkers,” which I can only describe to people as a horror film featuring indescribable super powered cat people who are not only deathly allergic to house cats, but also incestuously horny. Spider One, the lead singer of Powerman 5000 and brother of Rob Zombie, attended the global premiere of his first film, “Allegoria.” Spotted amongst attendees Saturday at several films, including “Sleepwalkers,” was Lloyd Kaufman. Yes, that Lloyd Kaufman. Kaufman would be introducing his latest Troma film, “Shakespeare’s Shitstorm,” a Troma adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” on Sunday.

While the celebrities and filmmakers are just one joyous part of Panic Fest, the other joys come in the form of independent films looking to break the mold. This year’s line-up films ranged from tense thrillers about neighbors next door, “Watcher,” to nightmare fuel bat shit insanity, “The Outwaters.” Just like in 2021, this year’s Panic Fest was a hybrid of in-theater selections and virtual selections. For fans who only attended in-person, you missed out on some great stuff that was only available digitally through Panic Fest like “The Chamber of Terror,” which feels like a midnight film waiting to burst onto the scene and “Masking Threshold,” a serious contender for one of my favorite films of 2022. While a few films, both virtually and in-person, weren’t really my thing, most of the films were diamonds in the rough while others showed great promise for the future creators behind it.

While it’s clear that not everyone was ready to be back in a theater, Screenland Armour was hopping with life during the four days I was in attendance. It was refreshing to be around like-minded people devouring high-brow and low-brow horror content. While the pandemic certainly had an effect on 2021’s and 2022’s Panic Fest, it’s safe to say the founders haven’t skipped a beat when putting together a well-crafted mix of genre films and events that most certainly put a smile on everyone who sat down to once again enjoy the magic of the movies.

 

 

Kansas City’s Planet Comicon Is Back and Better Than Ever!

 

PHOTOS BY DAN LYBARGER

The past two years have not been good for fans of Pop Culture in Kansas City.  Due to COVID, 2020’s Planet Comicon was cancelled.  Last year’s event was well received but there was just something that felt a little off.  I attributed that feeling to the world still recovering from the issues of 2020.  With that being said, I’m happy to report that the 2022 Planet Comicon came and was a tremendous event.

Ralph Macchio addresses his fans.

One of the oldest, and premiere, events in the Midwest, Planet Comicon once again boasted an eclectic roster of celebrity guests, some making their first Kansas City appearance.  After William Zabka and Martin Kove greeted throngs of fans last year, the Karate Kid himself, Ralph Macchio, was a guest this year, completing the “Cobra Kai” triumvirate. 

Also making their first appearances this year were Brandon Routh (“Superman Returns”), Mark-Paul Gosselaar  (“NYPD Blue”) and former NSync member Joey Fatone.  As I made my way through the crowds I was amazed at the diversity of Pop Culture Planet Comicon features yearly.

As with every Planet Comicon, there was an amazing array of dealers offering everything from Pokemon trading cards to your very own R2-D2.  I’ve never had the nerve to attend the show as one of my favorite Pop Culture characters – though I think if you excused the beard I could pull off a good Chief Brody -but the range of Cosplay characters I saw was impressive.  That’s the beauty about this event.  You can be WHO you want to be.

If you’ve never attended Planet Comicon, I urge you to get in line now for next year’s show.  FYI, it will run March 17-19, 2023.  BE THERE!

“Star Trek: The Next Generation” co-stars John de Lancie and Gates McFadden answer fan questions.

How to Afford Your Dream Trip

Many people have their dream trip they’d love to take someday, whether it’s in a faraway land or the chance to explore their own country. While the thought of going on that journey is supposed to be exciting, it’s easy to get stressed when thinking about the financial aspect of it. After all, travel is expensive in general when considering transportation, accommodation, and daily expenses. Luckily, there are several ways you can afford that dream trip, no matter your current financial situation.

Take Out a Personal Loan

One of the first options you have is to take out a personal loan. This choice is best reserved for trips that require quite a bit of expense. You can take out a loan from a private lender and receive flexible repayment terms and conditions. However, keep in mind that late or missing payments can lead to financial troubles down the road. Only go down this route if you know your budget can include loan repayments once you return.

Create a New Budget

One of the most obvious but best travel tips for any vacation, is know what you can and cannot afford. To put what you can currently afford into perspective, sit down, and create a new budget that accounts for saving for your dream trip. Calculate how much you can reasonably save in addition to bills and other expenses. You can put this leftover money into a new savings account at your bank that is purely dedicated to your trip. This way, you won’t mix it up with any other types of savings or be tempted to spend it. To make it even easier, many banks allow you to make auto-payments so the money is automatically put in the account every month.

Consider Alternative Accommodation

Sometimes, all it takes to make your dream trip a reality is to rethink your planning. These days, there are more options than ever before to save money while on your trip. For instance, you can look into house-sitting for locals in the destination you’d like to visit. Not only will this save you big on accommodation, but you have the chance to live like a local.

Pick Up Extra Work

Thanks to the internet, it’s easy for everyone to sell their skills for some extra cash. Consider putting your skills to work by signing up for side gigs online or via smartphone apps. Many websites hire freelancers for temporary jobs, such as writing, drawing, or computer coding. Taking on these jobs can help you build up some quick and easy cash that you can use for the smaller expenses on your trip, such as food or entry to desired attractions.

Be Flexible

Lastly, it always helps to be flexible. If you have a few places you are considering for your trip, seek out any travel deals or packages that these destinations offer. Research the cheapest travel times for these places and look into free, lesser-known attractions to visit. By being open about where to go and what to do, you open the door to more affordable traveling possibilities.

The Second Coming of Immersive Sim Games

At one point in time, one video game genre ruled them all: immersive sims. 

These games would have been trending on Twitch and YouTube if those platforms had existed back then. You’d have found dozens of guides, tutorials, and walkthroughs. But in the 1990s and early 2000s, the success of a game ebbed and flowed based on word-of-mouth alone.

Still, immersive sim games became a source of inspiration for players and future game designers. Games like Ultima Underworld, Thief, System Shock, and Deus Ex changed how players, developers, and even critics thought about video games. Game publishers threw money (and total creative freedom) at the likes of Warren Spector and Ken Levine, hoping to capitalize on their success in the same way Hollywood celebrates auteur directors. 

But then, in the mid 2000s, the immersive sim genre just kind of…fell by the wayside.

The games listed above all questioned and pushed the limits of what a video game could be. But while they received near-perfect praise from critics, they never quite became blockbuster hits with a huge audience. And as publishers shifted to chase revenue rather than recognition, immersive sims became a noteworthy but unsustainable genre.

At least, until their recent (and somewhat surprising) resurgence.

Defining The Immersive Sim Genre

Before diving into the resurgence of the immersive sim, it’s important to at least cover the basics of what this genre is and why it became so important for players and game designers alike.

The core idea behind an immersive sim is a game that captures the magic of a tabletop RPG where player agency drives the story and changes the experience.

If you’ve played games from Arkane Studios (Dishonored, Prey, Deathloop) or IO Interactive’s Hitman trilogy, you’ve got an idea of how immersive sims play. They worry less about a gripping linear narrative or a steady ability progression. Instead, the focus is on giving the player a set of tools and letting them handle missions and objectives in any way they see fit.

Most games provide a highly polished and guided combat encounter or “main story” level, presented in a cinematic way. Think about the jaw-dropping details in Uncharted 4 or The Last of Us Part II — these are incredible experiences from master storytellers.

Now, think about Prey or Hitman. The experience is less about a preset path and more about you, the player, discovering your own path. These are part of the DNA of roleplaying games, and immersive sims take those principles and pack them into an adventure game (rather than relying on random dice rolls and a list of skills to determine how likely you are to succeed/fail).

Imagine you find a locked building. Do you pick the locks to get in? Climb to a window or hole in the roof? Steal a guard’s uniform/badge to gain access? Or — in truest immersive sim fashion — do you skip the level entirely, forging a different path for your character?

This concept of player choice is the central pillar of immersive sim design. After all, this concept of “pairing old design philosophies with modern ideas” is what led to masterpieces like Breath of the Wild, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Elden Ring.

The Risks And Rewards Of Player Choice

It’s safe to say that the 2010s were the decade of open world games. Some game publishers fine-tuned the genre into a formula they could copy and paste into new titles and churn out huge, 100-hour epics that players could get lost in for weeks, months, or even years.

But eventually, those huge world maps got bogged down with hundreds of icons. Suddenly the question wasn’t “How can we make the world bigger?” or “How can we add more stuff?” Instead, it became, “How can we encourage players to discover their own story?”

Emergent narrative is at the heart of these games — it’s the idea of an event or interaction in a game that means different things to different players. Think about the “Nemesis System” in Shadow of Mordor or Shadow of War, where the main story took a backseat to the personalized experience of each player.

So when developers started looking for new ways to incentivize player choice and engagement, attention turned back to a niche sub-genre that had influenced a generation of game designers. After all, hadn’t immersive sims discovered the solution 20 years ago, long before anyone was even asking that kind of question?

The biggest game of 2022 so far has been Elden Ring, which sets a new standard for open world design and emergent narrative by allowing players to explore, fight, and solve puzzles at their own pace and (for the most part) in their own order. Elden Ring’s DNA is really just the most recent example of a modern game that uses old ideas to revitalize the industry.

Now, as most big publishers are asking what they can do to create their own Elden Ring, the answer seems obvious: It’s all about the careful balancing act between the risks and rewards of building games around player choice.

And, in doing so, it’s only building more credibility behind the idea that immersive sims aren’t just making a comeback — they’ve been inspiring the best new games all along.


Drew Gula is the copywriter at Soundstripe, a company providing content creators with royalty free music for Instagram and lofi hip hop music. He’s also a lifelong gamer (and immersive sim enthusiast) that is excited to see how open world games will continue to evolve.

The Best Casino Films you Wouldn´t Want to Miss

Casinos, bets and money have become one of the most intriguing topics in our society. It is not surprising that the film industry has decided to take inspiration from the universe that hides behind this gaming paradise. In the world of cinema you can see a multitude of realities, where casinos are in the background or even as one more character in the action. You can see that the atmosphere in these films is unique, whether they are criminal, outlandish, hilarious, tense or anecdotal.

Rain Man

Rain Man is a film from 1988 starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise. The film is about two brothers, Charlie and Raymond. Charlie finds out after the death of his father of the existence of the Raymond, who is also the legitimate heir of his father. The special thing about Raymond is that he is autistic. In the film, the protagonists spend a night in Las Vegas, where they manage to win a lot of money in a casino thanks to Raymond’s great ability to play. The film won four awards at the Oscars in 1989, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Actor for Dustin Hoffman.

Sydney

Paul Thomas Anderson entered the world of casinos with the film Sydney in 1996. Directed and written by him, it featured Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow and Samuel L. Jackson in the main cast. The film presents the union between Sydney, a veteran gambler and John, a young man who needs money to bury his mother. After convincing the young man to try gambling, they both go to the casinos to get the money they both need. This fleeting happiness will be interrupted two years later, when Clementine appears on the scene, a waitress and prostitute who is willing to do anything for money.

Croupier

Croupier is a film from 1998 directed by Mike Hodges and written by Paul Mayesberg. The film narrates the experiences of Jack Manfred, a young man who dreams of being a professional writer. While facing quite serious economic problems, he decides to start working as a croupier in a casino in order to improve his financial situation. However, what begins as a job to survive, ends up being the vehicle to establish a relationship with a woman who takes him down turbulent roads. The film was among the top ten films of 2000 for the National Board of Review. In addition, it was also nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Awards for best film.

Ocean´s Eleven

Steven Soderbergh started the “Ocean’s” franchise with Ocean’s Eleven in 2001. It starred faces well known to the public such as George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy García or Julia Roberts. The plot followed Danny Ocean, a charismatic thief who, after getting out of prison, decides to plan the biggest casino heist in history. In order to do this, he will gather eleven people, each a master in his field, in order to carry out his plan. The only complication is that the owner of the casinos is the current partner of his ex-wife. In casino films of this kind spectators have the opportunity to enjoy watching many games of chance which nowadays can also be played online and for free, for instance, to play at free casino table games, where you can gamble for free or real money on hundreds of classic casino games at the portal VegasSlotsOnline. The good thing is that these online casinos use the best technologies to ensure that user data is secure and the games are fair.

 21Black Jack

Robert Luketic released 21: Black Jack in 2008, inspired by the true story of the MIT Blackjack Team, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The film showed the success of a group of young university students who, through mathematics and statistics, develop the key to be able to win in Las Vegas casinos and thus be able to pay for university tuition. The plan is perfect and there is no a single loose end, since they have the help of Micky Rosa, a statistics genius who shows them all the tricks necessary to rob casinos. Seduced by the idea of amassing great fortunes, Ben joins the group. However, the risk will increase and they will have to always be one step ahead of Cole Williams, one of the most terrible security chiefs.

In conclusion, these casino films are the best option for you especially if you are into robbery and theft too.

Win Passes to the 2022 kansas City Planet Comicon

 

 

 

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at the Kansas City Planet Comicon to give (5) readers the chance for them and a guest to attend the show this weekend (April 22-24).

 

All you have to do is let us know below what celebrity guest you’d like to see at a future show.  Pretty simple.

 

(5) random entries will be chosen and those chosen will be contacted by email and advised how to receive their passes.   GOOD LUCK!

Tips for beginners in Music Themed Rock Mobile Slots

Slots are easy to play and you don’t need to know anything about online gambling to be successful while playing them. These are all important qualities that explain their popularity worldwide and the massive presence in the portfolios of online casinos. If you are new to online slots and want to enjoy a solid start, there are a couple of things you should know. These basic tips for beginners using online gambling sites for the first time is from personal experience and using trusted online gambling comparison websites like BingoSites.co.uk who have a huge list of verified reviews.

Choose a reliable casino partner

The long-term success of online gamblers is indissolubly linked to the quality of the casinos providing the reels. If you enjoy spinning the reels of slots, it is imperative to find an online gambling operator that can provide you with the right games. Those that are licensed and regulated while working with leading software developers should be given preference over unlicensed casinos. If the algorithms are checked for fairness by independent auditors, you have a better chance to fully enjoy the gaming experience.

Play the right online slots

This genre is incredibly diverse and beginners can be overwhelmed by the paradox of choice and the abundance of tempting options. It’s important to make the right decision when playing slots and there is one thing that matters above everything else. Pay attention to the average return to the player because this reflects the house edge, therefore your chances to win in the long run. You can easily find a game that has your preferred theme and game mechanics, without compromising the RTP.

Best maximum coins on progressive jackpots

Progressive jackpot slots are the most popular games at online casinos and for obvious reasons. These slots have the potential of triggering big profits, which makes them incredibly attractive for beginners and veteran punters alike. If you decide to spin the reels of slots that carry progressive jackpots, remember to bet the maximum coins. You need to do this to ensure the fact that if you hit the right winning combination won’t be deprived of the opportunity to win the jackpot.

Take advantage of free spins and bonuses

The main reason why players decided to gamble at online casinos is that bonuses are available to new and existing punters. If you are a slots enthusiast, you can consider yourself lucky because this genre benefits from more bonuses than any other game in online portfolios. In addition to matched deposit bonuses, you can take advantage of free spins, which can be used immediately to try any casino games. Some casinos require players to meet wagering requirements for the resulting winnings, on slots or other games.

These four tips are going to increase the odds of winning when playing slots, so remember them when you play for the first time. Don’t hesitate to try the games for free before making the deposit, so you better understand the core game mechanics.

9 Big Celebrities You Did Not Know Were Using Crypto

Celebrities have always been drawn to the lure of cryptocurrency. Their fame and influence can make them some of the most successful crypto investors. In the past few years, it has become a tradition to release songs, books, and movies paid exclusively with Bitcoin with the help of marketplaces like https://www.okx.com/markets/prices. Here are nine celebrities you did not know were using crypto.

Kanye West

Kanye West has spoken out about his pro-Bitcoin stance, often posting pictures of him wearing clothing with its logo. His most famous crypto-related moment came in 2015 when he launched his Yeezy Season 1 fashion line and accepted only bitcoin as payment.

Floyd Mayweather

The undefeated boxing champ and famous for his lavish lifestyle is now also a crypto investor. He has said that he will be leaving the bulk of his $400 million fortune to his children, and they will inherit his profits from his investment in Bitcoin.

Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton is one of the most famous faces to promote cryptocurrency. She has been involved with Monacoin, a cryptocurrency only available in Japan. She also promoted LydianCoin as a way to be paid for her social media posts.

Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx, known for his portrayal of Ray Charles in the biographical film Ray, is a self-proclaimed crypto investor. He also invested heavily in Bitcoin when it was still trading at $300 per coin and currently has coins valued at over $1 million.

Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg is an American rapper and producer. He has sold over 35 million albums worldwide since 1994 and is considered one of the most successful rappers of all time. He had been vocal about his interest in Bitcoin for a while now. He even released a song called “Smoke Weed Everyday” that was only available to purchase with Bitcoin.

In 2013, he invested in startups like Uber, Airbnb, and Robinhood, which all found success in the same way that Bitcoin has through decentralization.

Kim Kardashian

The Kardashians are a family of reality TV stars and social media influencers. Kim Kardashian is the most famous member of the family, mostly because she is also a celebrity actress and fashion designer. Kim Kardashian became interested in Bitcoin in 2014 when she tweeted that she wanted to accept it as payment for her clothing line.

50 Cent

In 2014, 50 Cent made headlines when he announced he was accepting Bitcoin as payment for his album Animal Ambition. The move was seen as a savvy decision as the crypto space was exploding in popularity at the time.

Jared Leto

Jared Leto is one of the most famous celebrities in the world. A musician, actor, and director, Jared Leto has been seen in numerous films, including Dallas Buyers Club, Fight Club, and Requiem for a Dream. He is also known for his work as the frontman for Thirty Seconds to Mars and his performance on Broadway in Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

However, what many people might not know about Leto is that he is an avid investor in cryptocurrencies. The singer-actor reportedly owns over $30 million worth of Bitcoin alone, which he invested in back in 2013.

Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey is the founder and CEO of both Twitter and Square. He has been an outspoken supporter of Bitcoin for years and even predicted in 2017 that it would one day be the world’s single currency.

The fictional elements of casinos portrayed in movies

Casino scenes have become very prominent in films, especially in Hollywood. These gaming destinations are glamorized with excess wealth, attractive dealers, and corporate-looking gamblers.

This practice in the film industry did not start today, as it dates to the early days of Hollywood. One would find such displays in blockbusters like The Sting, The Gambler and California Split. The casino movies and scenes developed even more glitz as the film industry evolved. So the display of wealth in films like Casino Royale, casino tricks in Casino Jack, and other recent movies have become even more exaggerated.

Impact of movies on the perception of casinos

For a long time, casinos were a controversial destination. They were associated with prostitutes, criminals, drugs, alcohol, and other forms of negativity.

Over time this perspective has metamorphosed, and casinos are now viable sources of recreation. The cinema played a massive role in this regard as it portrayed casinos in a glorious light with high-rollers dressed up in luxurious suits.

Hollywood downplays the risk factor and maximizes the entertainment. So the casino is now less of a taboo.

The fictional elements of casinos in Hollywood movies

These movies often use real-life casinos but take some aspects to exaggerated levels. So you would find real-life casinos like The Bellagio in films like Ocean’s 11 or Caesar’s Palace in Iron Man. But what is the difference between what you see on screen and in the real world?

Unnatural luck: It becomes fiction when a movie keeps showing the character with perfect hands all the time. Even if a player uses a casino bonus finder to get some of the best promotions, winning chances are still nowhere near what’s portrayed in movies. 

Exaggerated bluffing skill: Bluffing is an essential part of Poker and involves tricking your opponents into backing down even when they have a better hand. However, in films like Casino Royale, the main character gets so good a hand that going all-in is the rational move. This takes away the crux of bluffing.

Telepathy: There are cool card skills, and then there’s telepathy. In most casino-centric films, the difference between these two is usually faint as the characters practically display superpowers. For instance, in the movie Rounders, Mike accurately told every player’s hand in a private table game. This might have impressed the players and perhaps the viewers, but it is pure fiction.

Aesthetics: When visiting a land-based casino, you’ll realize that there are hardly any patrons in $10,000 tuxedos as portrayed in movies. Gamers aren’t so happy in the hall as a lot end up losing their money. Also, the dealers around the casino tables are not all 6-foot-tall models as most movies suggest.

Conclusion Casinos make for fascinating movie additions with so many amazing features directors can take advantage of. There is a certain level of truth to how these scenes are depicted in terms of the gameplay. However, the plots are often over-dramatized to grab viewers’ attenti

Being an Independent Artist or Signing with a Label – Which Option is Better for You?

If you want to get into the music business, two main options are open to you. You can start as an independent artist and build your own name, or sign with a major label. Each option has its pros and cons, and you shouldn’t assume that one is automatically better than the other. For instance, a lot of artists seem to think that record labels are obsolete when they could actually benefit from them. On the other hand, some people think that signing a deal is the only way to go when it could severely hinder their career. Let’s take a look at whether signing a deal or staying independent would be the best option for you.

Record Labels Can Stifle Creativity

If you’re a true artist, you might suffer under a record label contract. This is because the record company will eventually have the final say on what kind of work you can release. Not only that, but they may pressure you to create music when you don’t feel like it or simply aren’t ready.

You have to remember that you will become a commodity once you get signed, and one of the things record labels like to stress is that you have to remain fresh in the public’s mind. This is why you will have to be prepared to release work regularly or they might stop supporting you, and this is when bad things start to happen.

Not being able to release the tracks you want can also be very frustrating. Even if you create an absolute masterpiece, the record label may tell you that they don’t want it on your project. And the worst thing in all of this is that you may never be able to release the song. This is enough to send some artists into a deep depression. So, if creative license is extremely important to you, think twice about signing a deal.

A Record Label Can Give You a Mainstream Push

One thing you have to know, however, is that signing with a major label is still the only way to reach international superstardom. This is because major record labels have a level of access that independent artists and labels will never be able to get.

Some companies are under huge international conglomerates and can get you everything from TV show appearances, to interviews on major radio stations, sponsorship deals, and more. If you feel like you have the total package and the potential to be a big star, staying independent may limit your potential.

Independent Artists Often Make More Money

If your main goal is making money, however, then starting a label could be a much better option. Not only will you be able to release your music when you want and have complete artistic license, but you’ll also keep a much bigger slice of the pie. Not to mention that you’ll be able to sign other artists that you like and feel would fit with your brand.

You have to know that starting a record label is hard work and that you’ll need to have certain things in place first. First of all, you’ll need to hire a good entertainment attorney and an accountant. They are probably the two most important people as one will help you draft and understand contracts while the other will ensure that you always stay on budget.

You will also need to start your search for a good studio. Here, we would suggest that you look at a music studio like PIRATE. They have locations all over the country and offer tons of freedom to independent labels and artists. You can go in for a studio session at any time of the day and bring your own engineers without having to spend on equipment. They also have some of the best prices compared to any professional studio you’ll find out there. If this sounds appealing to you, you can click here to book a session and see what the experience is like firsthand.

Independent Artist Often Struggle with the Business Side of Things

You cannot build a record label and expect it to be successful if you don’t understand business. So, if you don’t have at least a basic formation, you will need to consider getting one right away if this is the path you want to take. You don’t have to get an MBA or anything, but you should at least complete a course that will teach you the basics of the music industry.

These are all things that you will need to consider before making your decision to sign or stay independent. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice from people in the industry and take the time to carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both options.

The London Film Industry Remains Resilient During the COVID19 pandemic

The London Film Ind

COVID-19 posed a significant threat to global cinema chains and studios with its potential to decimate box office profits. Cinemas closed their doors, governments placed restrictions on large gatherings and people were advised to stay home.

However, the video production London industry managed to remain resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic and the different challenges it provided for the film industry to overcome.

How Has the Pandemic Affected the industry?

The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the global film industry. Many blockbusters and new releases were postponed or even cancelled altogether due to concerns over health risks associated with large gatherings of people in movie theatres.

How has the Industry recovered?

More people are turning to streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime for entertainment, which has had a significant impact on cinemas around the world.

However, film studios are taking the following steps to that assist in managing the success of the London film industry:

  • Careful filming at restricted locations

Wherever possible, studios are utilising to great effect the vacant train stations that are available around London.

With these unused stations, it provides a great avenue for filming important scenes without any interruptions from the public since these stations will be off-limits and not be able to be used for public use, meaning that public mass crowd gatherings can be avoided preventing COVID from being spread.

One of the most famous underground stations that are no longer in public use is Aldwych and previous films that have been filmed at that station include 28 Weeks Later, Darkest Hour, and V for Vendetta

  • Using green screen technology

In cases where social distancing is not possible, studios are using green screen technology to create indoor scenes. This allows them to continue production without having to worry about the potential health risks associated with COVID19.

  • More content for television

Many studios have also begun producing more content for television rather than cinema screens – which means that they are no longer reliant on box office revenue alone.

This has been welcomed by many as an important step forward for British filmmakers who are struggling during these difficult times.

Why is London a key relocation destination?

London is a global centre for media and entertainment, with a rich history of filmmaking. The city has a large pool of talented workers and world-class production facilities.

London has so many talented people with creative skills and the film industry has reacted to the pandemic by providing new opportunities to help train people who were badly affected by the pandemic.

Neil Peplow, BFI director of industry and international affairs, said “At the moment we’re seeing a range of skills that we need in production management and accountancy.

We’re looking at how we can retrain people who are already in these areas because there are lots of shared skill sets with industries which may have been more significantly impacted in terms of job growth than ours.”

An example of successful skills retraining can be demonstrated in Pinewood Studios’ scheme in conjunction with the Department of Work and Pensions to help retrain people from the aviation industry to work in the film industry.

Final Thoughts

Netflix and Amazon Prime’s streaming services have seen a significant rise in use over the past year as people have cut back on going out and seeing films at their local cinemas.

 Many studios are taking advantage of this by still producing high-quality content to cater for this trend. With access to streaming services higher than ever before, the opportunities are endless for studios to continue to create quality content across genres to appeal to their target audiences.

London has many filming benefits and has helped maintain the city to become a constant hub for media and entertainment.

High Flyers in the Gaming Industry: Which Companies are the Best for Gamers in 2022?

It’s an excellent time to be a gamer. The gaming industry has time and again demonstrated itself to be a major money-maker to executives, inspiring investment and competition that ultimately improve the games and services offered to consumers around the world. But what do sectors of the market look like at the moment? And what companies are best for gamers to go with in 2022?

Live-Service Gaming

One major feature in gaming that has seen widespread adoption since its beginnings in the seventh console generation is that of the ‘live service’, where games receive seasonal updates including new gameplay content, limited-time-only game modes and opportunities to gather or purchase cosmetic collectables. Games that are predominantly played online make the most of this feature, engaging and rewarding the loyalty of a core player-base with an ever-expanding, ever-changing crop of content and gameplay loops.

Arguably one of the most successful companies in delivering a live service to gamers is game developer Bungie, the developer behind the hugely successful gaming phenomenon that is Destiny 2. The sprawling, cross-platform sci-fi title sees regular updates with new story content, new weapons and armour, and regular balancing of game mechanics in accordance with player feedback. As such, Bungie demonstrates care and respect for its player base, whether casual weekly players or hardcore competitive players – respect that has paid dividends, as evidenced by the more than 38 million people that have played the game to date. Of course, live service technology is not only benefitting gamers in terms of AAA video gaming.

The live service platform has also paid dividends in other sectors of the industry, such as online casino gaming. With faster and more capable devices both in homes and in pockets, even casual gamers can access and play online table games like Texas Hold’em and Caribbean Stud Poker with ease. Mr Green Casino is an example of a thriving brand within this industry. It has leveraged live service tech effectively, offering a diverse range of live and mobile casino games as well as live betting to engage players and encourage loyalty. The fact that live-service gaming is adopted throughout the online gaming sector, from Destiny 2 to accessing a sportsbook, demonstrates its success, as well as how significantly consumer trends have changed over the last 10 years. 

Distribution Platforms and Storefronts

The way in which we consume games has changed significantly as well, again owing to the swift increase in accessibility of higher-spec devices that can handle games of all kinds, without the need for a disc or cartridge. Valve’s Steam distribution service has been at the forefront of innovation all the while – but today, distribution platforms are in close competition as they acquire exclusive rights to IPs. Despite excellent showings from CD Projekt-owned GOG and Fortnite developer’s Epic Games Store, Steam remains one of the best options for gamers, with a comprehensive array of AA and independent titles to choose from and new hardware innovation in the form of the Steam Deck.

The future has always been bright for the gaming industry, with an ever-growing audience of players and healthy competition between companies at the top of their game in each sector of the industry. The above companies are going strength to strength, and in 2022 are sure to represent the best-in-class for gamers worldwide.

Toy Review: Playmobil “The A-Team” Van & Figures

“The A-Team”

A-Team Van/Figure Set

Playmobil

Our Score 4 out of 5 stars

“If you have a problem, if no one else can help” Playmobil has you covered with the debut of the A-Team Van/Figure set. Pulled from the iconic 80’s television series and delivered straight to your playroom the newest edition to the Playmobil brand comes complete with the team’s signature black and red GMC van, numerous accessories and of course Hannibal, Face, B.A. and Murdock figures.

Having been a huge fan of “The A-Team” growing up upon hearing of this release I was anxious to share my love for the series with my son who has become a fan of all things 80’s and 90’s. After giving him the backstory on the show and answering a slew of questions about each character we popped open the packaging with equal excitement. Before really digging into the assembly process, I had to appreciate the internal packaging which features a fiery insert showcasing the van along with each character which is housed above and denoted by name. From a collector standpoint this makes for a very cool display option. Assembly was pretty straight forward and compared to some other recent Playmobil releases was minimal as was the stickering process. As a parent the quick setup time was a major plus as if you have been in the situation where a toy requires extensive assembly you know how daunting an anxious child wanted to play with that new toy can be.

Once the van had its tires and signature red spoked wheels attached, we loaded up the vehicle through the three opening (rear doors, side door, removable roof) with the included assortment of accessories consisting of a multi piece tool kit, removable welding unit and various other mission-based items (binoculars, walkie talkies, flashlight). However before hitting the rode we had to do some outfitting of the included characters each of which conjured up memorable lines or moments from the show which had since been buried deep within my memory. Hannibal don’s his signature blue shirt/tan p-coat combo topped off with wispy white hair while Face remains dapper as always sporting an ascot and pocket square. B.A. comes decked out with his signature beard an mohawk while dressed in his trademark cut off vest and is adorned with multiple gold chains and bracelets. Last but not least and easily my favorite is “Howlin” Mad Murdock who is fitted with his blue ball cap and leather wolf bomber jacket. With a nod to Season 2 the figures has a “Bring Back the Dodo” shirt and also includes Murdock’s sock puppet sidekick “Socki the Talking Dog”. Yes, you might have some odd looks and additional questions as to why this guy thinks his sock is a talking dog but, that only adds to the fun and interaction between you and you loved ones as you play with these great toys.

Playmobil continues to raise the bar within the play/collector market and the “The A-Team” release is no different. From its colorful display packaging to the quality made toys inside you can be sure that if it says Playmobil you are going to get a quality product. Missing from this release however were lighting and/or sound features. Unlike previous release such as “Star Trek”, “Ghostbusters” and “Back to the Future” which all featured one or both details sadly “The A-Team” did not get this level of treatment. Don’t get me wrong this is still a great addition to any Playmobil or “A-Team” fan, but I can only imagine how much fun it would have been for the van to play the show’s theme song or to have some of those vintage explosion noises synonymous with each episode available at the push of a button. We pity the fool who hasn’t already gone out and grabbed themselves one of these great play vehicles.

Top 20 Best Movies About Gambling

It’s a gamble to go to the movies. Every time you buy a movie ticket or watch a movie on Netflix from your couch, you’re taking a chance. Will the investment be worthwhile? Will the two-hour time investment be worthwhile too? Of course, when choosing movies to watch, there is always a risk, but there are ways to reduce that risk, such as reading a list of the top movies in the gambling genre.

  1. Uncut Gems Uncut Gems‘ greatness lies in the main character, Howard’s ability to draw us in and convince us that, yes, he might be able to carry off this mad escapade he’s created — yeah, maybe this is how he wins.
  2. The Hustler – Fast Eddie Felson’s early years as a notorious poolroom hustler are chronicled in The Hustler. Throughout the film, audiences will see Eddie compete against a billiards champion, fall in love with a woman who carries a lot of emotional baggage, and meet an experienced gambler who wants to mentor Eddie.
  3. Ocean’s Eleven – Okay, we all know this isn’t a gambling film. But, c’mon, it has Vegas, poker, and slot machines in it. Plus, robbing three casinos is a bit of a risk.
  4. Casino Casino is one of the lesser-known gangster epic movies. Despite this, because it is set in Las Vegas, it is arguably the most well-known of all gambling films. It’s not for the faint of heart, and it can be rather brutal at times.
  5. Croupier – An aspiring writer is recruited as a croupier at a casino, where he discovers that his experiences as a croupier would make a fantastic novel.
  6. Rounders – While managing his relationship with his fiancée and his responsibilities to law school, a young, rehabilitated gambler must return to playing high-stakes poker to help a friend pay off loan sharks.
  7. The Gambler – The game of blackjack has been the subject of numerous casino films, and The Gambler is no exception. Mark Wahlberg plays a literature professor who enjoys playing blackjack as a recreational activity.
  8. 21 – It can be challenging to find a gambling film full of suspense, thrills, and humor. All of this and more can be found in Robert Luketic’s classic film 21.
  9. Guns, Girls & Gambling – Take Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and set it in Las Vegas, and you’ve got Guns, Girls, and Gambling on your hands.
  10.  The Cincinnati Kid – At the time, it was thought to be a rip-off of The Hustler, but this picture, which focuses on poker rather than pool hustling, holds up just as well, if not better, than that one.
  11.  Maverick – Consider that Maverick was nominated for an Academy Award in 1994 if you don’t believe it’s a fine parody. Mel Gibson can sell any joke, firefight, or card game.
  12.  The Sting The Sting – which includes tonnes of poker and a fraudulent off-track betting operation – never stops dragging you into all of its traps because it is so full of twists and turns at every unexpected moment.
  13.  Ocean’s Thirteen – After casino owner Willy Bank double-crosses one of the original eleven, Danny Ocean gathers the gang for a third robbery.
  14.  High Roller – The story of Stuey Ungar, a poker legend. Ungar, a gambler since the age of ten, amassed a fortune through card games.
  15.  Owning Mahowny Owning Mahowny, one of the best gambling movies of all time, stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as a real-life Canadian banker who went too far.
  16.  The Hangover – Although the film isn’t about gambling, various gambling sequences are sprinkled throughout it. With a cast of well-known actors, The Hangover isn’t too shabby.
  17.  Bugsy – This film chronicles the story of criminal Bugsy Siegel and his idea of constructing a gambling oasis in the Nevada desert, which would ultimately become Las Vegas.
  18.  Bob Le Flambuer Bob le Flambuer is a film that depicts what occurs when someone is forced to put everything on the line. When his fortunes turn sour, and his excellent luck fades, the people who once loved him the most decide to desert him.
  19.  The Color of Money – Paul Newman earned his lone Academy Award for The Color of Money, in which he reprised his role as Fast Eddie Felson from 1961’s The Hustler. The sequel is a film about an aging pool shark who finds himself at a fork in the path.
  20.  Hard Eight – Anderson’s debut film, about an experienced card player and a lonely orphan, is a gripping investigation of the guys who spend their lives in Vegas, assuming you enjoy your casino flicks with a touch of sadness.

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