On September 20, Kickstarter is inviting our staff to participate in the Climate Strike. Here in New York, staff are welcome to take the day off to attend the protests. We’re also supporting team members who work remotely and want to take time off to join a protest in their area.
When Kickstarter became a Public Benefit Corporation in 2015, we included our planet as one of the stakeholders we consider when making decisions. Being an environmentally conscious company is something we’ve baked right into our charter. We've manifested this commitment through our work with the Environmental Defense Fund to create an Environmental Resources Center for creators and through the day-to-day choices we make in our office space, such as launching a composting program and using low-energy lighting.
While some companies participating in the Climate Strike may choose to shut down entirely, our platform will remain live. We’re taking this approach because we know that thousands of creators, many of whom are small and independent, rely on our platform to bring their ideas to life. If you're a creator with a live project and you want to express your support for the Climate Strike on your project page, we have a graphic for you.
When the temperatures cool and the sky turns a bit grayer, it generally signals the beginning of my favorite time of year: the fall performance season. Each year Kickstarter plays host to dance, theater, and performance projects that comes in all forms—and this year is no different. From a techy sendup to a performance inspired entirely from one playwright’s dreams, here are some of our favorite things to catch this fall in NYC, London, and Seattle, many of which found funding through our Performance: In Progress initiative this spring.
The nerds at fictional corporation Silicon Hills like to party. They’re in the middle of a celebration at their massive headquarters when the audience joins in the fun. As you order a free drink from the singing, computer-generated assistant built into your table, a swirl of operatic voices, EDM and crime jazz surrounds you. With Looking at You, you’re invited to enter a story of high-tech espionage and sultry romance.
For the fall season, international dance festival Dance Umbrella highlights two commissions from “choreographers of the future” Mythili Prakash (USA) and Georgia Vardarou (Greece). Catch their newest works, as well as dozens of other great dance works, this fall in London.
Auto-diction technology has a problem recognizing Blackness. The resulting glitches—heart-wrenching, eye-opening, and sometimes even funny—are turned into a live soundscape and concrete poem in the hands of James Allister Sprang.
Martha Graham once called epigenetics, or changes in our heritable gene expressions, our “blood memory.” Seattle choreographer Jessica Jobaris and a team of local performers are creating a new dance-theater performance inspired by this concept.
How do you bring a dream to the stage? This play, produced and performed by Billions’s Asia Kate Dillon, takes the dreams of its playwright and manifests them in this epic production written for and created by an all-star TGNC team.
For three years running, we’ve invited creators to join us at Kickstarter HQ to start something new. Earlier this year, we announced an open call for the fifth edition of our Creators-in-Residence program. We received hundreds of applications from amazing, independent creative people, and today we’re thrilled to announce five incoming Creators-in-Residence at our HQ and four creators who will be participating in our first-ever digital residency program for the fall 2019 season.
Previous Creators-in-Residence have used our in-house theater for screenings, recorded new episodes in our podcast studio, and hosted events and gatherings in our library. Many have gone on to accomplish exciting things in their fields:
Director Dafina Robert’s web series, Giving Me Life (in the Land of the Deadass), launched during the residency and is now distributed through Xfinity, UrbanOne, Gravitas Ventures and RevryTV.
Filmmakers Dan Schoenbrun and Vanessa McDonnell’s cult variety TV show, The Eyeslicer, was funded and partially shot at Kickstarter’s HQ, and will soon debut as part of the Radical Film Fair.
Artists Jennifer and Kevin McCoy’s film Public Key / Private Key is now in the Whitney Museum's Special Collection.
This season, we’re also running a pilot program to provide guidance to creators beyond NYC in collaboration with On the Boards. OtB is a non-profit that produces and presents innovative contemporary dance, theater, and music. On the Boards and Jessica Massart, Kickstarter’s Senior Performance Lead, will mentor performance makers in the Seattle area as part of our new digital residency program over the course of three months as they plan, launch, and fulfill Kickstarter campaigns.
Learn more about the incoming residents below, and stay tuned for their projects.
Join us in welcoming five creators into our Brooklyn HQ for the next three months
Adele Free Pham is an activist and filmmaker, with experience in all aspects of documentary production. Her feature documentary, Nailed It, which tells the genesis and culture of the Vietnamese nail industry, premiered on PBS in May 2019–and is the highest streamed film of the America Reframed series. While in residence at Kickstarter, she’ll be working on a campaign for her next feature, State of Oregon, which investigates the murder of Larnell Bruce Jr. by a white supremacist in 2016 as a touchstone to Oregon’s founding as a white homeland state.
José Rivera Jr. creates glam musical paintings using powerhouse vocals, athletic dance, and video art. Building for stage and screen, José orients toward a Queer Future by queering narratives of love, power, and vulnerability. José has made work for YouTube, Radio City Music Hall, La MaMa ETC., NYU Tisch, The Flea Theater, and Fordham University. During the Kickstarter residency, José will plan and launch a campaign for LQQK, The Way I Look, a visual EP featuring four original songs and choreographies.
Katya Grokhovsky is an artist, curator, and educator. Katya has received support through numerous residencies and fellowships, and has been awarded the Brooklyn Arts Council Grant, NYFA Fiscal Sponsorship, ArtSlant 2017 Prize, Asylum Arts Grant, Chashama space to create grant, Australia Council for the Arts ArtStart Grant, NYFA Mentoring Program for Immigrant Artists, Freedman Traveling Scholarship for Emerging Artists and others. While in residence at Kickstarter, Katya will plan and launch a campaign for The Immigrant Artist Biennial, a platform for a large scale multi-disciplinary exhibition and a series of public events of critically engaged contemporary art made by immigrant artists.
Rachel Kauder Nalebuff is a writer exploring community. She is the editor of My Little Red Book (Twelve Books, 2009) and co-editor of The Feminist Utopia Project (Feminist Press, 2015). She directs 3 Hole Press, a small press for performance works in printed formats. As a Creator-in-Residence, Rachel and her collaborators will work on a campaign to turn 3 Hole Press into a long-term, sustainable endeavor.
René Kladzyk is a musician, writer, perfumer, and cultural geographer who performs under the moniker Ziemba. Drawing from a background studying feminist geography and the U.S./Mexico borderlands (René is a native of El Paso, TX), her work frequently interrogates identity, culture, and ethical issues in the performing arts. Her most recent full length album, ARDIS, functions as a series of portals into a fragrant sci-fi adventure and parallel world. René also co-leads Xoir, an experimental vocal collective, along with Berlin-based artist/musician Colin Self. While in residence at Kickstarter, René will work on a new project addressing the gender imbalance in the music industry.
As well as four Creators-in-Residence joining us digitally, in collaboration with On the Boards
Dakota Camacho dedicates yo’-ña creative practice to the re-k/newal of ancestral knowing and the expression of Matao creativity. MALI'E, Camacho’s current work, is a performance research project re-k/newing the traditional Matao practice of embodied, improvisatory, collective, singing where oral history and prophecy converge.
Fox Whitney is an interdisciplinary performance maker and artist working at the intersection of dance, film, theater and visual art. Fox is the choreographer/architect of Gender Tender, an interdisciplinary performance project that centers his transgender, point of view. While in residence, Fox will plan and launch a campaign to expand Melted Riot, a queer meditation inspired by the Stonewall Riots of 1969.
Imana Gunawan is a storyteller, multimedia journalist, dance artist, and creative director. She leads breaking news coverage of Indo-Asia-Pacific for Dataminr. As an artist, Imana creates scenic, surreal dance-based worlds that center the stories of marginalized peoples, their ancestry, and their futures. During the Kickstarter residency, Imana will be developing on an editorial lookbook and digital album featuring original songs by local QTPOC musicians.
Naomi Macalalad Bragin is a dancer, performance scholar and community artist-activist. Naomi will run a campaign for Little Brown Language, a dance-incantation using aural kinetic rhythms of shared voice to remix historical texts of Spanish colonization and Catholic conversion, in their collaborators' linked motherlands of the Philippines and Venezuela. Naomi, Milvia Salvatierra Pacheco and Angel Alviar Langley perform these collective acts of cultural translation/reclamation to activate psychic ancestral patterns of memory, recovering their relationships to land, language and each other.
Visual and performing artists are the cultural backbone of the United States, helping us rethink our past and imagine a better future. With the addition of self-taught and outsider artists, college-educated artists who hold a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree are launching projects (on or off Kickstarter) every day.
Kickstarter has worked to elevate student work and partnered with programs like RISD and MICA, helping artists tackle all sorts of projects from their thesis exhibition to executing their first print run or product. Even seven artists featured in the 2019 Whitney Biennial launched Kickstarter campaigns to fund their work, many of which ran during or immediately following their Master in Fine Arts programs.
But here on Kickstarter’s Arts team, we’re all too familiar with the challenges that come along with pursuing an art degree. The top 10 MFA programs in the U.S. on average cost $71,133 in total, and since 2010, nearly 17,500 students complete their Master’s degree in fine arts annually, adding to 2019’s $1.5 billion dollar student debt crisis. Exacerbating this financial burden is the reality that programs simply do not set students up for financial stability or give them the professional tools to help them navigate their career as an artist after graduation. The Creative Independent’s recent survey found that a majority of artists believe their MFA or other art-related programs did not help them become financially stable.
From workshopping grant applications to calculating artist stipends to crafting public art proposals, there is so much territory to cover. This is why we want to take Kickstarter’s 10 years of experience helping artists fund and realize projects and create a resource center for new and emerging artists and better guide them toward financial stability.
Setting a funding goal is a critical step in launching a project — but it can be a confusing one. We’ve released a new tool to help make at least part of this process easier and more transparent.
Our start-a-project area has a section where you enter your funding goal. Creators will now see a new calculator icon there. Clicking on it opens… a calculator! Creators can enter the amount they’ve determined they need to bring their project to life and fulfill their rewards (see some guidance on that here). From there, creators can select how much they want to set aside for taxes. Based on these amounts, we compute the fees creators should budget for (Kickstarter’s 5% fee, and our payment processor’s roughly 5% fee). The final output is a suggested funding goal that will allow creators to take home the amount they’ve determined they need for the project after taxes and fees.
Our mission is to help bring creative projects to life, and we want to ensure we’re doing this through the full cycle of a Kickstarter campaign. We’ve heard from creators that taxes and fees can sneak up on them, potentially eating into the amount they need to actually complete their projects. We built this new tool to add transparency around this and to help creators feel more prepared and confident before they launch their campaigns. Watch for more help with budgeting, coming soon.
Here are some more recent improvements to Kickstarter for backers and creators.
This September, Kickstarter Film is partnering with The Eyeslicer, a secret TV show blending the boldest new American filmmaking into mind-expanding, mixtape-style episodes, to bring a new, free film fair to our Brooklyn headquarters.
Akin to the spirit of a comic or record fair, the Radical Film Fair will be a place for film lovers, independent filmmakers, distributors, publishers, zine-makers, and indie theaters to come together, meet fans, and sell their work.
Vendors including Oscilloscope Laboratories, Meow Wolf, Nitehawk Cinema, Kino Lorber and many others will be selling merch and communing with fellow film fans. Several more organizations will be participating in a pop-up Film Clinic, an on-site station where Creative Capital, POV, DCTV, and others will be offering free advice and mentorship.
Indie filmmakers will present short lightning-round talks throughout the day, including Penny Lane (Our Nixon, Nuts!, and Hail Satan) and Rashaad Ernesto Green (Premature and Gun Hill Road). The Eyeslicer’s Season Two will be playing in the theater, and there will be an immersive video installation of each episode in several different rooms.
We’re fortunate to have first-hand experience meeting hundreds of independent filmmakers and film lovers through our work at Kickstarter. It’s time to put that network to good use and connect them to each other! We hope that this experiment will serve as a repeatable proof of concept for a new way to sustain, celebrate, and support truly independent filmmaking as a community.
For the exhibitor list and updates, and to register for a free ticket, click here.
The Games team brings glad tidings from Indianapolis! We’ve just recovered from Gen Con, the largest gathering of the tabletop games community in North America. This year’s event was extra special for us because two Kickstarted games took home top honors at two different award shows at the conference. We’d like to give a quick shout out to these games and every Kickstarter-funded game that was nominated and honored at Gen Con. If you were looking for an excuse to feel good for a little while, we give you permission to celebrate with us.
This October, Kickstarter is teaming up with shesaid.so, a global community of women in the music industry, to offer funding to five Europe-based women, trans, and nonbinary folks interested in attending MEETSSS, their inaugural conference. Taking place October 3–6, 2019, in Portimão, Portugal, MEETSSS will feature workshops, discussions, panels, and more for music executives, artists, and others working in entertainment. The conference is open to people of all genders.