From Wired How-To Wiki
Curate a money magnet with these handy tips. Screenshot of a successfully funded Kickstarter project/Kickstarter.com
Producing a quality [www.kickstarter.com Kickstarter] project requires little more than computer access, a functioning camera, and some old-fashioned wit. A clear and dedicated passion for the idea you’re pitching doesn’t hurt either. Your video can be as simple as putting on your friendliest, more sincere smile, and telling the folks on the other side of the camera exactly what you want to do, but some projects can get so intensely artsy that they become more like contestants at Cannes than a fundraising campaign.
Be sure to get your main idea across before attempting Un Chien Andalou II, and follow these tips to ensure your project gets funded.
This how-to is written by John Flanagan, a Vermont-based freelancer whose Kickstarter idea to turn his apartment into a full-scale model of Pee-wee’s Playhouse was self-diffused shortly after conception.
Remember that Kickstarter wants finite projects only, which means making a video asking donors to fund your charity, desired purchase, or your passion for horseback riding won’t fly. Choose a project with a concrete beginning, middle, and end. For example, funding the production of an album or a video game offers clear-cut goals. As Kickstarter points out, they wouldn’t support a project proposal to start Kickstarter, since the business requires maintenance beyond completion.
Also, be sure to read the Kickstarter guidelines:. There you’ll learn that Kickstarter launches projects within the following fields only: Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, and Theater. Chances are if what you had planned doesn’t fall within this expansive list, some minor idea tweaking will set you back on track. Consult their Style Guide, too. It’s optional to conform to the Kickstarter colors, but as they warn, it might look weird if you don’t. And be sure to consult their not-so-fine print so as not to get sued.
Set perks for your backers in-tune with their amount donated. The women from New York-based Rhinestone Gorilla Burlesque, for instance, earned $3,501 to go on tour via graduating rewards beginning with “one fine upstanding Facebook shoutout” ($1) and ending with an offer to perform at your “bachelorette party, birthday, or funeral” ($1,350).
Be sure to set tangible rewards. A potential donor is much more likely to shell out if it will gain them a token of appreciation later, be it through a visible ‘thank you’, access to content you produce, or a physical goodie. But make sure your rewards are realistic. If you’re making a movie and you offer each donor a copy of the DVD, you probably won’t have much money left to actually make the film. Some of the biggest bounties, such as an Executive Producer credit on a film, or a personal thank you on the dedication page of a book, are absolutely free.
Kickstarter funding is all or nothing, which means you increase the risk of not funding your project by setting a ridiculously high goal. Be practical and consider the types of people who would actually fork over their hard earned dough for your idea. Also, consider finding a way to let donors see exactly how you’re spending their money. Kickstarter will automatically alert backers whenever you post a project update on the site, but consider going beyond with a Facebook page or personal blog. Kickstarter’s own advice: “Be as transparent as you can.”
Down to the Wire
Kickstarter’s Kickstarter School page advises you keep your deadline around 30 days. The limit is 60, the minimum is one. Show confidence, but not unrealistic pomp. Be like the tech-age Buddha and take the middle path.
On the Set
You don’t have to make a video, but you should. Kickstarter reports that projects with videos are 20% more successful than those without. Don’t be shy – just let your idea do the talking.
Check out examples of successful Kickstarter projects to see first-hand what works. You may be surprised at how lo-tech and imperfect some successful campaigns have been. For instance, Dorottya Mathe’s video asking for donations to help fund a documentary about a Native American woman and her husband’s quest to cure her cancer with traditional methods exemplifies how fundraising is more about the quality of the idea than about the quality of the pitch. In her video, Dorottya speaks clearly and sincerely into the camera as she makes a strong case for her project. A few photos of her subjects appear, but nothing else. Her pared-down approach earned her $6,097 from 125 different donors.
Say who you are and what your project is right off the bat. How far have you come already? Exactly what are your next steps? This information should come before telling your audience how much your friends like your idea or other items of lesser importance. Also, be sure to explain why you’re project is unique, relevant, or newsworthy.
Razzle Them Dazzle Them
Use graphics and music to beef-up your multimedia plea. If you’re an illustrator, show your work uniquely. If you’re a writer, figure out a clever way to get your words on the screen. Make sure any songs you include are convivial to your project. Also, it’s distracting to have songs with lyrics playing while you speak — consider staying instrumental. Musicians should pick the crème de la crème of their songbook if they want people to help fund their album or music video.
State the consequences of not achieving your goal. Don’t be too drastic though — pity will only get you so far. Children’s author Steven Riley executes the importance of his project perfectly by showing how much work he’s already put in to his next book, “Little Ty Cooney and the Yellowstone Mystery.” Sketches of the young raccoon and his forest friends in duress makes not supporting the project seem like animal cruelty.
Be enthusiastic about your project, but not to the point of annoyance. Don’t be zany just to be zany. Be you! (Unless you’re annoyingly zany.) Also, avoid taking for too long. Say only what’s necessary and aim to keep the video’s length to a minimum. Avoid being too abstract, either. Kickstarter videos thrive off creativity, but make sure it’s immediately obvious why people should throw their money at you. In one particular video, a minute or so of dada messages written on slips of paper is interrupted by the artist’s delayed introduction: “I am going to use a network of ass-thumpingly beautiful trails.” As this makes no sense, please avoid using “ass-thumpingly” in your Kickstarter video and elsewhere.
Avoid Elocution Pollution
Let Strunk & White proofread your script before shooting; the clearer your message, the more effective your pitch. Be sure not to start your sentences with “Um,” and avoid overstating, over-qualifying, and over-explaining. This goes for your written project description, blurb, and any other associated copy as well.
When titling your project, be sure to pick something that explains who you are and what you want to do. One recent successful project is “BOOTLEGGER – A doc film based on John Hallwas’s book.” Clunky? Yes, but it works. It also might provoke a few John Hallwas Google searches. “In Between the Lines,” while tagged poetically, still had 72% of its goal to reach with only five hours left on the clock.
Post, post, and post some more. After sending off your Kickstarter page to the friends and family most likely to donate, plaster Facebook, Twitter, and all social media avenues you generally use for communication. Again, don’t be annoying, but be persistent. Kickstarter also recommends contacting any local media outlets to try and score some press for your endeavor. But don’t forget the long-reach of old fashioned word of mouth — just start gabbing and watch your donations rise.
Use the transparency devices you came up with earlier and make good on your promise of tracking progress. You can build your own captivating narrative by acknowledging conflicts and celebrating successes publicly. The updates will also allow for feedback from donors.
Kickstarter’s Backer Report will help you gather any extra information you might need from supporters before you mail out their well-earned spoils. The information is automatically compiled and can be exported as a spreadsheet. Communicate with your backers while you work to get them what their owed. Kickstarter recommends sharing pictures from your packing party — just make sure they feel appreciated and in-touch. After sending off their goods with a sincere thank you, get some sleep.
Like eating a Reese’s, there’s no right way to film a successful Kickstarter video. Listed above are rough guidelines — but rules are made to be broken. Many successful videos are completely abstract and take forever to get the point across, though they supplement their anomalies with high-quality and artistic know-how. Via the means, be as out-there as you want. What’s most important is that you understand your audience and know what approaches will win their support. Good Luck!
This page was last modified 20:28, 16 May 2012 by howto_admin.