Our project creators make good teachers. Once a week, we ask one post-success project creator to take a break from the packing and shipping, put pen to paper, and give us their best lessons learned for making and running a great Kickstarter project. Today we talk to author David David Katzman of the writing project "A Greater Monster."
1. The most exciting part about launching my Kickstarter project was that there really wasn't a single most exciting thing. It was a constant stream of buzzes coming throughout the project. The first mass of donations that barreled in at the beginning from my personal connections. Then there was the first donation from someone I had no connection to whatsoever (who just found me from Kickstarter and valued my project). Then there was my first higher level donation — $100 or above. And then every higher level donation was a buzz! Then watching the total keep going up was exciting! Predicting when it would cross the line AND fear I wouldn't make it was exciting, too. Crossing the finish line, of course was a huge thrill. And then having even more money come in after I passed it, every contribution was a buzz. And even more, the positive comments posted on my project, were very exciting — hearing back from the donors that they were inspired or how awesome they thought the project was. Those were truly exciting as well. Lastly, was getting picked up by your blog! That was really cool.
2. My approach to making a project video was to get a rough idea of what I was going to say and then wing the actual script. To shoot a bunch of different takes of it, as well as a variety of scenes and then see what worked best in post. To shoot some random shit that might also be useful in post, you never know. Which worked because my talk came across as spontaneous and real and had surprises in it (it surprised me this way). Also, we got some of the funniest shit just by improvising random things then adding voiceover from other takes to them. It's KEY to have a good editor. And good quality video helps, too.
3. I started to experience some anxiety about not making my total when I hit a lull in the donations about 2/3 of the way through — and I had already hit up all my personal contacts.
4. But then it picked back up at a rate that carried me through, and that was so great!
5. One thing that I really didn't expect was being featured in a Kickstarter blog. Another thing was the great number of random people who funded me that have no connection to my social network.
6. The one thing I wish I had know before launching my Kickstarter project was that it was going to produce a lot of anxiety worrying that I wouldn't make my goal.
7. When I reached my goal, I felt tremendous relief.
8. The toughest part post-funding was producing the rewards (in my case, the letters and emails took a lot of time), so my advice to future creators is to make sure to take very seriously the time commitment required for their rewards, especially if they get more funders than they expected.
9. My plans next are to get the book out more broadly. I had my book release party, it will be up on Amazon soon, and I'm going to work to get bookstores to carry it, get a national distributor, etc.
10. My other tips are to not neglect the static image that will exist in the video player before it plays. It's essential to have an attention grabbing image. To think of your supporters as a new network you can communicate with about your project. Make the most of that. Keep them interested with exciting updates (photos & videos) and also recruit them when you can to help with the work in other ways (like spread the word, write reviews of it, etc.)Make the video personal and honesty, an authentic representation of yourself and your project. People will respond to the personality as well as the project, i think.