Did you hear? We revamped the Kickstarter profile page. To celebrate, we compiled a list of cool projects by category — maybe you can find that one last thing to fill in your color wheel with, eh?
Kickstarter on Anderson Cooper 360°
Last night, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360°aired a segment about Kickstarter, featuring co-founder Yancey Strickler, creators Alex and Mindy of the We Flashy project, and even a few of our own mugs (!). We all know Anderson could say “garlic juice” to a camera and we’d immediately pound the pavement in search of that suddenly irresistible elixir, but seriously folks, just hearing the word “Kickstarter” come out of that man’s mouth led to 22 pairs of unabashedly rosy cheeks ‘round here. Check out the clip!
The TikTok, Coming to An Apple Store Near You
It’s been almost six months to the day since Scott Wilson launched the TikTok+LunaTik project, his design for an iPod Nano Watchband that has completely changed the way people think of the miniature device. As Wilson put it in a recent interview, the TikTok+LunaTik “gave the Nano a home.” The real proof of that is in the fact that, according to the survey Wilson sent out to backers after his project ended, 76% of backers who pledged for the watchband had to purchase an iPod Nano just to use it! With that in mind, it seems fitting that Apple has just announced their plan to begin carrying the design in North American stores.
It’s almost flabbergasting how quickly Wilson’s idea went from concept to reality, and even more insane to see that reality enter the hallowed Apple ground. Next time I’m chilling at the Genius Bar, I’ll make sure to find the TikTok, tap some stranger on the shoulder, and say, “See this? This was a Kickstarter project.”
Birthday Greetings from Mother Russia
Birthday wishes are always nice to receive, but some folks in Russia took Kickstarter’s second birthday as an opportunity to…well…just watch the video.
First off, we’re blushing. We wish we could host projects from all over the Milky Way Galaxy, and rest assured that we are working on it. (Look out, Neptune!) While we may not be opening up in Russia tomorrow, we promise that we are working tirelessly to make the site available for all people with creative projects, regardless of zip code. We want to help make good ideas everywhere become a reality!
Now, secondly, let’s talk about that cake…
The Cosmonaut: Going Where No Project Has Gone Before
You may remember Dan Provost and Tom Gerhardt from their first project The Glif. Back then (it was November ‘10), Dan and Tom’s little project was the first to fully realize the potential of Kickstarter’s platform as a place to bring physical design projects from concept to reality. With over 5000 backers preordering Glifs, their one-off project grew into something bigger than they had ever expected. Dan and Tom found they had a new group of supporters interested in what they might be able to do next.
That next step launched today in the form of The Cosmonaut, a cleverly designed wide-grip stylus for tablet devices. While the project is once again a way to gauge their audience’s interest in the product and offer preorders, Dan and Tom decided they wanted up the ante a bit and truly make this a product that could only happen if enough backers sign on.
Inspired by the pay-what-you-want model that Radiohead used when they released In Rainbows sans-label, Dan and Tom have set up a single reward where if you pledge $1 or more, you’ll receive the Cosmonaut (shipping included!). The reward is limited to 3000 backers, and the project’s goal is $50,000.
You don’t have to be a mathematician to see that those numbers don’t quite add up. If everyone pledges $1, nobody gets the Cosmonaut. If everyone were to pledge the same amount, they’d each be pledging about $16.66. And if some people are feeling generous and pledge $25 or $30, suddenly there’s room for a few people to pledge $1 or $5 or $10.
It’s an experiment that Dan and Tom spent a lot of time thinking about, and one that they realized could only be possible with something like Kickstarter. Nobody loses if the project doesn’t hit its goal, and if they succeed, they have the means to bring another product to market with the direct support of those who want it.
But it’s also an intriguing experiment that reveals quite a bit about the psychology of backing a project. Why do some people pledge more than a reward is worth? It’s something we see often, and it points to an interesting type of behavior that’s neither wholly altruistic, nor is it wholly consumption-based. If Kickstarter sits at the intersection of commerce and patronage, then Dan and Tom’s new project is a perfect example of how those two worlds are constantly colliding when backers support a project.
After less than a day, it seems their theory of commerce and patronage is working well. They’ve raised over $12,000 so far from over 800 backers, which averages out to around $15.50 per pledge. But to make their $50,000 goal, backers will have to collaborate with each other a bit, adjusting pledges here and there to ensure the Cosmonaut makes it into the real world.
We’re excited to see Dan and Tom thinking about new ways to play with the Kickstarter platform, and like many of you, we’re curious to see whether this grand experiment will launch the Cosmonaut to new heights.
Trade School @ The Whitney Museum, Friday 3/25!
Ignited by OurGoods co-founders Louise Ma, Rich Watts, and Caroline Woodward who sought to “cross-polinate” “low-brow” with “high-concept,” Trade School uses barder-based education to demonstrate the “economic practices that reinforce values of mutualism, cooperation, social justice, democracy, and ecological sustainability.” In other words, it is a place where people give goods and services in exchange for learning techniques and tactics; a space for the generous and curious, where the interested and interesting come together to decide what is actually meaningful and gleefully share it with one another. It is, to be brief: rad.
Receiving some incredible press from the likes of WNYC and The New York Times to GOOD and Fox Business News, Trade School report cards came back flawless. A non-traditional learning environment where students barter with teachers really struck a chord with a community that—as Woodward knew it to be—is interested in supporting one another. And, thanks to 239 Kickstarter backers raising over $9,000, Trade School is now in its 2nd year. Joined by coordinator Saul Melman and dedicated volunteers Gaurabh Mathure, Elsa Hwang, Aimee Lutkin, Alex Mallis, and Christhian Diaz, this spring’s Trade School is typically located at 32 Prince Street in Soho.
BUT (!!) on FRIDAY, MARCH 25th, for One Night Only, Trade School will hold 16 participatory classes inside NYC’s Whitney Museum. Classes range from cartooning taught by a 10- year-old to plumbing taught by a philosophy professor, from Feng Shui to “How to Squat the Condos.” In exchange for these classes, students bring objects they’ve made to the museum. A former Kickstarter backer and artist who performed at the Whitney last year, Melman introduced the Whitney to Trade School. As Woodward explains, “this is the first time Trade School will host simultaneous classes, bringing enthusiasts of many disciplines into one space. A hybrid of school, art, design, and economic experiment, the barter for education model is unprecedented on this scale.”
If you can’t make it to the Whitney, Trade School still has a month of classes left. After that, word is they’re thinking about running another Kickstarter campaign to raise money for barter-for-education software so that people can open Trade Schools anywhere. …You know, they would.
Classes at The Whitney are filling up fast! To sign up for The Whitney event or the remainder of the semester, visit http://tradeschool.ourgoods.org/
If the New York Times Did a Kickstarter Project
Mike Linksvayer wrote a blog post the other day about what the New York Times' new payment system would look like as a Kickstarter project. When I got the “important notice” from the NYT in my inbox last week, I thought, “Here it begins!” but seeing as when it comes to most things newsworthy I have the attention span of a five-year-old, I never got to the how-to-pay part.
Linksvayer assures us that the Times' plan is too complicated for its own good, and really the whole thing would work best as a Kickstarter project: funding goal + tiered reward options + the assurance that you will only be charged if they do indeed survive the death of print/revolt of the internet. Behold his original post here or check out the meat of it below.
Roddy Bogawa’s TAKEN BY STORM Premieres @ SXSW
Some of you may remember filmmaker Roddy Bogawa’s Kickstarter project “Taken By Storm: A Film About Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis,” a feature documentary exploring the mind and work of the uncompromising and wildly imaginative creator of some of the most iconic images of rock and roll history. Well, he recently posted an uber-exciting update announcing that his film will be premiering at South by Southwest (SXSW).
Thorgerson, who is responsible for the surrealistic “photo paintings” that adorn iconic album covers like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy, is much beloved by nearly every person who’s ever picked up a guitar, decorated a dorm room, laid on the carpet, or just plain listened to rock.
The film features interviews with Thorgerson and Power (his co-designer at Hipgnosis) as well as many of those artists who’ve worked with them—from Alan Parsons, Steve Miller, and 10cc’s Graham Gouldman, to The Cranberries, Damien Hirst, and Robert Plant. There’s also plenty of never-before-seen footage and behind-the-scenes photos, revealing how the images that now permeate our collective consciousness were originally created.
Taken By Storm premieres tomorrow at 9p, Alamo Ritz 1. Click here for schedule details and tickets.
Kickstarter Heads to PAX East
We’re heading to PAX East in Boston this weekend to present a panel on using Kickstarter to fund game development projects. You can find us in the Cat Theatre from 12:30pm - 1:30pm on Friday, along with some wonderful folks from the following projects who’ll share their stories and experiences with you:
But there’s more! You also won’t want to miss Gameful’s Jane McGonigal deliver her keynote address (10:30am @ Main Theatre) or rock out to The Protomen on Friday night (you might even get a cameo in their currently funding documentary).
Hope you can make it, and if you do, make sure to stop by our panel and say hi — we’d love to meet you!
As the number of live projects grows by the day (more than 2,500 are funding at this very second!) the need for strong discovery tools has never been greater. As a result, today we’re introducing subcategories on Kickstarter. Really into documentaries? Looking for the next great product design phenom like the TikTok? With our new subcategory pages you can now find them.
Not every genre has a subcategory. This isn’t a slight on all the Post-Conceptual Renaissance Potters out there; we’re merely focusing on the primary groupings for now. Over time we’ll be adding more, and if your project doesn’t fit under one of the options simply choose the top-level category instead.
We’ve been working on this project for the past several months, debating which subgenres to include and subcategorizing more than 10,000 completed projects in the process. We’re excited to finally bring it to you, as well as the many amazing projects we hope you’ll uncover as a result. Enjoy!
Putty Hill Premieres in NYC
Exactly one year ago today, filmmaker Matthew Porterfield used Kickstarter to successfully raise $20,000 for his up-and-coming independent feature film, Putty Hill. Since that time, we’ve watched the film critically blossom, garnering accolades from the likes of Roger Ebert and The New Yorker, and have a warmly received premiere at the Berlin Film Festival. Now, we’re thrilled to announce it’s stateside premiere, February 18th at Cinema Village in New York City. Opening night will be accompanied by Q&A’s with an array of special guests, including our very own Yancey Strickler (so proud of you, boss!).
Putty Hill Premiere — Friday, February 18thCheck out a trailer for the finished film, below, and if you’re in the area, tickets for opening night can still be purchased here.
After 5pm screening, Yancey Strickler (Kickstarter)
After 7pm screening, Jonathan Caouette (Tarnation) with Putty Hill crew. Sky Ferriera presents.
After 9pm screening, Yance Ford (POV), Esther Robinson (ArtHome, Danny Williams: A Walk Into the Sea), and Ross Kauffman (Born Into Brothels) from Cinema Eye’s Heterodox Award
Introducing Curated Pages
Today we’re excited to unveil a new feature on Kickstarter called Curated Pages. As noted in today’s New York Times, Curated Pages are a way for organizations, institutions, and (soon) individuals to share projects they love on Kickstarter.
To help us launch this feature, we invited some of the most respected arts and cultural institutions in the world to curate projects from their communities, or simply things they found and liked on Kickstarter. You can see the fruits of their efforts below, or by going to the bottom of the Kickstarter homepage.
For logo-phobes, that list is: the Wooster Collective, Pitchfork, the city of Portland, Oregon, Rhode Island School of Design, the Magnum Foundation, Rhizome, Creative Commons, GOOD Magazine, NYU’s ITP program, Kill Screen, School of Visual Arts, and the Brooklyn Flea. The Sundance Institute and Creative Capital will be posting Curated Pages in the near future, too.
Thanks to all of these institutions for their time and their ongoing work in support of the arts. We’re thrilled to be working with them.
Interested in curating a page of your own? In the coming weeks we’ll be making the ability to curate a page available to everyone. Stay tuned!
Post-Sundance: Pariah & Resurrect Dead Awarded!
The Sundance Film Festival ended this past weekend and five Kickstarter-funded films were among its premieres: The Woods, Pariah, Resurrect Dead, The Strange Ones, and The Catechism Cataclysm. Plus, two of the films were honored at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Awards Ceremony.
Director Dee Rees had been independently financing Pariah, a coming of age feature about a Brooklyn teenager who struggles with conflicting identities, for over five years. After filming wrapped, she launched a Kickstarter project, hoping to complete post-production in time for Sundance. Not only did her successful campaign do just that, but the film’s cinematographer Bradford Young won the award for Excellence in Cinematography Award, US Dramatic Competition. We only wish we could have been there when, upon the award’s announcement, Dee called out to Bradford: “Yo! You won the cinematography award!”
In addition to receiving critical accolades, Pariah was picked up by Focus Films, the popular art-house film distributor responsible for Academy Award-winning movies like Traffic, Lost in Translation, and Brokeback Mountain, among others. This makes Pariah the first film in Kickstarter history to have been bought by a major distributor! Very exciting news, and congrats to the whole team!
The tantalizing Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles was crowned winner of the U.S. Documentary Competition Directing Award. In his victory speech, director Jon Foy, who dropped out of school and moved to Philadelphia in 2005 to pursue completion of the film, said, “I had no idea that such things were possible in life. Just a few weeks ago I was a housecleaner… This is for all the artists working in obscurity out there… Never give up, because if you do, you know what will happen. If you don’t give up, you don’t know what will happen.”
We’re right there with you, Jon. Congrats to all the Kickstarter films at Sundance this year! We can’t wait to see what’s in store for next.
Kickstarter and the Sundance Institute
Thirty years ago Robert Redford founded the Sundance Institute to nurture and celebrate independent film. In the years since, the Institute has used its platform to launch the most prestigious film festival in the world; a groundbreaking labs series to develop promising screenwriters, producers, directors, and playwrights; and the careers of some of the most distinguished filmmakers in the history of cinema. Its impact on film cannot be overstated.
Today we’re thrilled to announce a new collaboration between Kickstarter and the Sundance Institute. Beginning next month, Sundance will begin curating Kickstarter projects from its distinguished alumni of artists. There will be plays, documentaries, feature films, shorts and other works from current and former Sundance Fellows utilizing Kickstarter to bring their visions to life.
These will not be the first Sundance-affiliated projects on Kickstarter. Last year Sundance Fellows Zana Briski (Born Into Brothels) and Allison Anders (Gas, Food, Lodging) launched successful Kickstarter projects, and this year’s Sundance Film Festival included at least five films that had received funding on Kickstarter: The Woods, Pariah, Resurrect Dead, The Strange Ones, and The Catechism Cataclysm. It’s an incredible accomplishment for all of these filmmakers, and we’re proud of the part Kickstarter played in their work.
Expect the first projects from this collaboration in the coming weeks. We’re looking forward to them.