Kickstarter offers way to fund some creative outdoor projects
The filming of a staged version of my new Christmas play, “A visit from Auntie Thresa Claus” was approved for an in-progress Kickstarter project with a pledge period of from March 1-February 4. View the project.
As a writer who lives in a small-market area and generates books, blogs, videos, radio shows and plays, funding is an eternal problem. Kickstarter provides a practical way to market test a concept, improve it during the funding process and raise significant amounts of money.
Kickstarter at www.kickstarter.com, allows a person to post an artistic project, set a fund-raising goal and ask for money. If the goal is achieved by the pledged amount of money, then the originator gets the money less approximately 10 percent administrative costs. If the project is over funded, the originator gets to keep the excess, less the 10 percent. So, this is an all or nothing venture.
The projects may not be “cause related.” For example, I am at this moment trying to raise $2000 to allow me to attend a conference to propose a 200-year plan for the restoration of the Mississippi River Delta. I attended the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force meeting in Biloxi, Mississippi, testified there and have a poster presentation approved for the 9th IINTERCOL wetlands conference sponsored by the University of Florida. I need money to pay the conference fees by March 16, 2012 and stay for the six-day event in Orlando. As a retired Professional Geologist I have significant things to contribute to this discussion, but I cannot finance this on Social Security income. This is why I first looked at Kickstarter, but this project is not eligible. (You can hear what I had to say on a YouTube video at: http://youtu.be/9k4yE6JTAd4.) .
I realized that while that project would not work for Kickstarter, I had a new outdoor-oriented Christmas play that would meet their requirements. I wrote this up and then did two new videos. One was a reading of the first version of the play that I did on radio shows in 2009 and 2010 and the other was a pitch for the play. Then I chose a funding amount of $10,000 to stage the play and make a video. This funding will allow a reasonable looking play, complete with sets and costumes, to be disseminated via the Internet that might attract sufficient attention to be re-made for TV or a short film. This project was accepted, written up, re-submitted, re-approved and is now live with a funding expiration date of Feb. 3, 2012.
My project has been posted on Kickstarter along with about 200 others. It is up to the originator to solicit funds, although regular Kickstarter visitors might occasionally brows and pledge a few dollars for a project that they like. Most pledges are small, so the originator must work his own mailing lists, friends and business contacts for support. This is exactly what I am doing with following message:
My new project is a outdoor-friendly Christmas play. The information below will give the details. The pledge period is from March 1- February 3 and as you will read, the support from the outdoor industry is vital to get this done. I think that you will find this interesting marketing and the video fun to watch.
On March 1, I did a Kickstarter launch of “A Visit from Auntie Thresa Claus.” This play includes gifts of a wild goose for Christmas dinner and a Daisy Air rifle to a young son. At this stage in the launch numbers are particularly important. Donations as little as $1.00 are accepted and will receive a reward. The first 100 who give $25.00 or more will also get a signed print featuring Thresa Claus. The first five who give $100 will see the performance/filming, attend the after-play party and have a chance to visit with me, cast and crew. Because I hunt, publish about guns, cook and eat wild game, this will turn off some potential donors who might otherwise support a new short Christmas play. The support of the wider outdoor community is necessary to overcome this funding gap.
Please pass this along to anyone who you think might be interested. For detailed information go to the following Kickstarter website:
Hovey’s Outdoor Adventures (The name of my radio show)
The production of artworks was already done for an audio CD that I never released and these aided the production of a video and gave “eye appeal” to the project. The video is what really “sells,” and that, with some good art and clearly stated objectives makes the project more likely to be successful.
Rewarding those who give is also important. There are strict guidelines as to what these might be. Most often these are something tangible that are given to the participant. They can be staged so that lower pledges get a lower-value reward and higher pledgers significantly more. Not all the rewards have to be offered at the same time. I will offer to do eight hours of free business consults for the first $1000 contribution (a $1600 value) next week and later a five-day turkey or deer hunt for two.
Some features of the project may be changed after launch, such as increasing the number of rewards or correcting/revising the write-ups. However the start-end dates or the amount of funding cannot be altered post-launch. Many projects close before their money-raising goals are reached while others fill-out very quickly and may achieve much more than 100% funding. This project is getting off to a slow start, but at least the ice has been broken and the first pledge, $5.00, has arrived.
During the pledge period, the originator may send messages to supporters informing them of any changes in the project and encouraging them to also contact their circles of friends so the project has a chance of going viral.
If this test of the project fails, that means that the public is not interested, and it is time to for me to give up on it and move on to something else. I hate to let my characters go, but if there is no market, there is no market. That is worth knowing.
Choose your best project, give it your best shot on Kickstarter while it is live, rejoice if it succeeds; but take your lumps and move on if it does not.