Thursday, October 20, 2011

Kickstart your Arts Endeavor

I am a big fan of the web site Kickstarter. It is one of a new set of fundraising platforms that use the idea of crowdsour or in this case "crowdfunding" as a model to generate money for your art project. They aren't all art projects, but most are. One project that I have backed is the book and film, "The Cicada Princess" from which a picture appears above.

You have to apply to Kickstarter and are vetted by the folks who run it as to whether your project is likely to succeed, or meets their guidelines. Because this is a subjective process, you will find a LOT of detractors on the Web. Google "Kickstarter Scam" and see what I mean.

However, my experience as a "backer" on several projects has so far been a very positive one. I probably won't be backing more in the future until some of my current backed projects come to fruition. However, as an exercise in shadowing how projects get done (and face obstacles unforeseen) it is extremely valuable. For someone who is interested in getting a behind the curtain glimpse at the ups and downs of getting an artistic endeavor out the door, it is cheap. You are able to follow along with your project and if the timeline gets pushed for completion, there are generally plenty of other backers pushing for news. That may not be comfortable for the person creating the art, but they sign up for it when they use the site.
The project owners are required to fix a deadline and a target minimum of funds to raise. If they aren't able to reach that target amount by the deadline, no funds are collected. The money that is pledged by donors is collected using Amazon Payments.

So are, of the projects I have backed, all have hit their targets. Some at multiple times their minimum level. With the exception of the Stageright Productions folks and their unique performance of the "Pirates of Penzance", all have seen their projects pushed out. Some by a little, due to shipping timelines from China or from production errors. Others because they chose to take more time to finish.
Because I know some of the parties involved, I am not worried about the delivery. With others, it is obvious that they have a lot of friends and family backers, which makes the need to deliver all the more important.

I am looking forward to two family Christmas presents from my backed projects: The board game "The Road to Canterbury" and the Wo card game "Borogove".

If you are looking to fund an arts project, or even a product like "B-Squares", take a look at the site. Make no mistake, you will still need to do the heavy lifting as far as contacts are concerned, but the mechanism they provide, even at a 5% fee, may be a good value to you.

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