Creative Co-Ops

I find myself in a constant bind when it comes to equipment. I’m talking specifically about creative equipment – cameras, musical instruments, and the like.

First off, I like gear. Okay, to be fair – I LOVE gear. Software, hardware, gadgets, shiny high tech things. Whatever. It’s all toys to me and love experimenting with newer, better toys.

For a while, I suffered under a common delusion; that the equipment I owned (or didn’t own) was somehow holding me back creatively. “If I only had THAT, then I could do the amazingly creative thing I have in my head.”

Which is a total crock of shit, of course. That’s your gear controlling you.

So for a while a few years ago, I stripped myself of more or less ALL my gear. Sold my video studio, photography equipment…almost everything.

Then I realized…okay, well…I need SOME stuff if I’m going to be creative at all. So I started rebuilding my creative arsenal from scratch. Luckily, everything keeps getting cheaper.

So now I have a decent, thought-out collection of stuff – cameras, computers and so on. Just about enough to do whatever I want to do creatively – write, shoot, edit, record, play, produce, promote.

But I’m STILL in a bind. I’m caught between two truths.

1) There is other gear I’d like.

2) I don’t use the gear that I already own most of the time. It just sits there.

Examples abound. I own a camera. I’d like a better camera. But I don’t use the camera I have all that much. How does a new camera change this equation?

I think one solution is a concept that runs counter to our America consumer culture.

A creative co-op.  A bunch of equipment owned by a group and used as needed. It reduces the cost for everyone and solves the problem of equipment sitting around unused.

The problem (of course) is people. It’s hard to get two people to agree on anything. What equipment? Who decides what is owned? What if people get lazy and don’t take care of it. What if someone hogs it all. And on and on.

Still; I think it’s an idea worth considering. So I’m considering it.


  1. Another problem is location. Where is the equipment? Is everyone equidistant from it? How spread out is the group? And is the equipment stored securely?

  2. Why not set up a rental system?

    A person can hog all the equipment by paying for it. And the person who is renting it feels better about not having it around if he getting paid for it to be away.

    Just a thought…


  3. Locally we have a small non profit artist group with some decent video equipment that they loan out. However the commitment to the group outweighs the benefit if the amount of volunteer time you have available is an issue. It’s still a nice opportunity for those that need it.

  4. You can also join any community television association, take inexpensive courses and then rent their equipment and studios for very little, as long as you’re not producing for profit. Too bad more people don’t know and take advantage of them– they’re in every community that has cable, mandated by law. I still maintain my membership in A.I.M. – Arlington Independent Media– even though I no longer live there. One of the best in the country.


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