Just the FAQs

Frequently (and fairly infrequently) Asked Questions

What makes this different?

This is a human-to-human teaching scenario, it does not operate like other websites where your subscription simply gets you access to thousands of videos. This is an entirely new way of teaching.

What if I am a total beginner? Am I still welcome?

Absolutely! Most people that join are beginners. Having a Master and that true human-to-human connection should really help you to “Level Up” quickly!

What are the Levels?

Refer to the Leveling Guide for Photography for an example.

What is the purpose of all of this?

To bring more art into our lives, and thereby, enrich the world. This is a re-envisioning of the Master & Apprentice relationship while using modern tools and communication technologies in a fun & fantastical augmented reality world that forms real human connections while we all engage in a global salon.

How many Apprentices does a Master have?


Who matches up the Apprentices and Masters?

Our system matches you to a number of Masters who suit your style of photography and learning goals. You get the final say on which Master you learn with, after previewing what they offer.

How much time do I spend with my Master?

It is the goal of all the Masters to make sure that you, the Apprentice, have enough attention to guide you down your own artistic path. There is ample time spent in the Critique sessions with the Master as well as inside the community of the Cohort with the other 19 Apprentices. See the Leveling Guide for Photography for more information about the what the Apprentice does and what the Master does.

Where do I hang out with other Apprentices?

We have one huge private Google+ Community for members of The Arcanum. But, perhaps more importantly, we think you’ll get a lot out of hanging out with your fellow Apprentices within your Master’s Cohort. Each Master will create their own private Google+ community. For example, Jessica Lark has a private Google+ Community called “The Arcanum – Jessica Lark’s Mastery Cohort” where her 20 Apprentices chat, submit images and bond.

What are the Core Values of The Arcanum?

They can be seen on our Core Values page.

How much does it cost for me as an Apprentice?

There is no application fee and no charge while previewing Masters. After you select a Master and join their Cohort the monthly Membership Dues of $79 USD kick in. There is no long-term obligation and you can cancel any time. See more on the Pricing page.

What if I’m worried I don’t have time to keep up with the program?

No worries! You don’t have to progress at the same rate as the other 19 Apprentices under your Master. You can go at your own pace, but just know that your Master will there to prod you along the entire time and remind you of what is coming up next. It’s a bit like having a personal trainer for the artistic soul.

Can I switch Masters, and if so how often?

If you later decide that you do not like your Master, or simply do not get along, you can always drop out and join another.

How is Trey Ratcliff involved – is he a Master? What the hell is Level z?

Trey worked with some trusted friends and Masters to start up The Arcanum. His redonkulous “Level z” you see is a vague reference to something unknown, and it also indicates he’s not one of the Masters. He’s kind of like the Dumbledore of the Academy, senile and bumbling, and could die before the series is finished.

About how long it would take to reach Level 20; Do all Apprentices start at the same “Level”?

All apprentices start at the same Level, Level 1. There is no minimum or maximum time requirement for Leveling up. Leveling up is based on one’s progress on their own path. That said, completing Level 20 will some take some Apprentices 2 – 3 months, for others it may be longer. Keep in mind that there is no shortcut for experience. 😉 For an example, see the Leveling Guide for Photographers.

Do Masters get paid?

Yes. Masters receive remuneration for their efforts.

What’s a typical week like?

There is no typical week because it is very individualized. Some Apprentices are very busy with real life and will Level Up in their own way. Some will be super aggressive and fully engaged. See this sample Leveling Guide for Photography.

Where does the name “Arcanum” come from?

It’s based on the word “arcane” and the Latin word “arcanus,” which means hidden, personal, trustworthy. It is also heavily influenced by the name of the academy in “The Name of the Wind,” a book Trey recommends to friends if they want to Level Up as said friends. 🙂

What happens in a Critique session?

There is a Critique session every five levels, so Level 4, 9, 14, 19, 24, 29, so on. These are major and significant levels! It is the scheduled opportunity for each Apprentice to spend one-on-one time with their Master. The goal of course is for each Master to get to know the art of the Apprentice even better for continued guidance down their own personal artistic path.

How often do I interact with a Master? Daily, weekly?

You interact with your Master several times per month both directly, during one-on-one Critique sessions that happen on every 5th Level, and indirectly as part of your Cohort. You and your fellow 19 Apprentices work on challenges and in a fun environment set up by the Master.

What are Spheres and what Sphere am I in?

A Sphere represents one cycle of learning. The cycle happens through the completion of 10 Levels within each Sphere. So Sphere 0 and Sphere 1, the “Foundation Spheres,” contain Levels 0-9 and 10-19, respectively. Sphere 2 is the first “Focus Sphere” and it contains Levels 20-29. Sphere 3 contains Levels 30-39, and so on.

Currently, Masters are either Level 20, 30 or Level 40. Level 20 Masters train up Apprentices from Level 1 to Level 20, which includes Spheres 0 and 1. Level 30 Masters train Levels 21-30, which is also known as Sphere 2.

Why do you have increasingly exclusive levels of Spheres?

Because great Masters that excel at mentoring, creativity, and producing art are very hard to find. Eventually there will be Masters in higher Spheres who are extremely skilled and in great demand. Because a Master generally only has 20 Apprentices, this simply limits and dictates the economics of the situation.

What is Sphere 2?

Sphere 2 represents the dawning of the “Focus Levels.” Sphere 2 is Levels 21-30. These are quite different because the Leveling Guides are totally unique to each Master. For example, one Master may have a completely different set of quests for Level 28 than another, based on the discipline and particular style of the Master. Naturally, the entire Arcanum experience from Level 1 is personalized, but at Sphere 2, things get much more personalized and focused.

For the Apprentice, Sphere 2 is an opportunity to Apprentice with another Master and build new relationships with Apprentices that share your passion for continued growth and Lifelong Learning.

Do I need Google Glass?

No, any device that connects to the Internet will work. Many of our Masters use Google Glass for live broadcasts and recorded videos, allowing for unique vantage points that hitherto have been impossible. No matter what technology you use, the key is that you’ll have a personalized human connection to your Master and your fellow Apprentices.