1. Great Moments in Project Videos

    After coming across some fantastic new pitch videos in the past week, I began compiling a list of my overall favorites. Some are serious and moving, others clever and original, and a few just plain goofy. They nicely demonstrate the variety of Kickstarter’s uses — from earnest missions to ideas so weird they just might work.

    I’d love to hear your nominees in the comments, but first let’s look at my top ten, in no particular order.

    Allison Weiss makes a record: Well, there is some order I guess. Allison’s pitch video was the first that really blew us out of the water. It’s personal, it’s goofy, it’s informational, it very quickly imbues the viewer with confidence that this person knows their shit. Very impressive.

    Other projects agreed: Allison’s video has been one of our most-imitated to date, even down to Allison’s cheery, “Hello internet!” It also includes this very compelling reason for backing:

    Roosevelt Dime just needs a kickstart: I embarrass pretty easily, and I often get cringe-y when I see videos referencing Kickstarter itself — it’s just strange to me. I can’t explain it. But Roosevelt Dime’s video is a whole other matter. They’re a Brooklyn ragtime band raising money to make a new record — simple enough — and their pitch video is an incredibly catchy song about Kickstarter. It’s less than two minutes, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. The best lyric:

    "Don’t want no handout/ We’re just trying to get the word about our band out"

    Amen to that!

    Unveiling the Wonder City: Courtney Zell and Justin Rivers’ Wonder City project is one of my personal favorites on the whole site. It’s a graphic novel about the history of NYC, and the project is presented so dramatically in the pitch video that it feels like the trailer for Kavalier & Clay: The Movie. We’re always in favor of project videos featuring the creators themselves, but Wonder City handles this charmingly. Watch their video until the end to see how.

    PS: Check their updates for images from the graphic novel. Very excited for this one.

    Brent Rose’s fifty characters: Brent Rose is an actor/writer who wants to create 50 unique characters — with short films for each — in 50 days. Ambitious. And his project video unveils one of them: an awesome, nerdy dude obsessed with things being “classic.” Highlights include playing H-O-R-S-E using Street Fighter II moves (the fireball montage is indeed classic), some impressive yo-yoing, and just generally being hilarious. Many many many laughs.

    April Smith makes a record: April Smith’s pitch video was another big trendsetter. April went with a montage approach coupled with some clever narration on her part, and it does a great job of giving you a sense of who she is, which is so important. Throw a rock on the site and you’ll hit a project that imitates it in some way. The sincerest form of flattery!

    Sam Winston demonstrates A Dictionary Story: Sometimes less is more, and Sam Winston’s explanation and demonstration of his art book A Dictionary Story is particularly charming. He makes you care about the craftsmanship and concept, and you’ll finish the video thinking, “I can’t believe I can get one of those for $20!” You know a video is good when it gets you thinking like that.

    Behind the scenes of Lake Beast: What’s better than an extremely talented person demonstrating the nature of their art? Lake Beast is by an animator named Vance Reeser, and it’s a very moving short film. Vance’s video goes far beyond what you would expect: he demonstrates how he makes his films and shows you the work in progress. (Check his project updates, too.) A great job of sharing why his work is special, and why people should back. I would put Shawn Feeny’s BFF, which unfortunately was not successfully funded, in this boat as well.

    Robin Sloan writes a book: We loved Robin’s video so much we asked him to write a guide to making a Kickstarter video. So that should tell you something. What Robin did was create something that felt professional, demonstrated his personality, contained little flourishes that made you think “this guy knows what he’s doing,” and very clearly explains the purpose and nature of the project. A home run from every perspective.

    The Quiet make us LOL: The Quiet are a band from LA, and for their project video they decided to make a Time Life-style commercial for their project. Generic footage of the surf rolling in while song titles scroll across the scene. A pair of hosts — one wearing the world’s fakest mustache — exchange hilariously canned dialogue in front of a laptop running a fireplace screensaver.

    So good.

    The Fishes document every Sizzler in the US: Liz and Reed Fish are entertainers by trade, and it shows in their video, which is warm and easy. With tons of charm they explain their ridiculous mission to photograph all 206 Sizzlers so convincingly you won’t question it in the least. Very well done.