On February 7, a project called Double Fine Adventure launched, and along with it a record-setting 24 hours. Things haven't really slowed down since. A third project reached $1 million, another revived an all-time great series, and 33 Kickstarter-funded films made it into SXSW. It's been a memorable month.
On Tuesday that month was bookended by Double Fine's big finish, commemorated with a live stream of the project's champagne-soaked countdown. The final tally? A startling $3.3 million pledged from 87,141 people. It wasn't that long ago that 87,000 people had even heard of Kickstarter.
Though yesterday wasn't quite the crazy 24 hours we experienced in February, it was close. From major new records ($1,664,432 was pledged yesterday, breaking the original Double Fine day record) to big debuts to exciting discoveries, March 13th was a day to remember.
Wasteland 2 Launches
Double Fine creator Tim Schafer closed their livestream with an impassioned speech: "I don't want to say this is the end of the game publishing as we know it," he said, adding: "I'm sure a few games will still need publishers."
Yesterday brought maybe the first glimpse of the post-Double Fine world. A new game project called Wasteland 2 launched with a big $900,000 goal. The original Wasteland was a beloved 1988 RPG and the inspiration for the popular Fallout series. Produced by the well-regarded Brian Fargo, the project is Double Fine-like in its ambition, approach, and underdog origins.
Also like Double Fine, Wasteland 2 is off to a stunning start. The project raised more than a half a million dollars in its first 24 hours, and it's on its way to becoming the fourth million dollar project already this year. Don't miss the project video, which cleverly satirizes what some developers go through to get their games made.
Blue Like Jazz premieres
In 2010 a project launched for a film called Blue Like Jazz. The project ended up raising nearly three times its $125,000 goal, and it still stands as Kickstarter's largest film project.
Last night Blue Like Jazz made its world premiere at SXSW to a great response. However there was something unusual about the film itself. Here's a picture of its credits, snapped at the premiere by our own Elisabeth Holm:
See the long, blurry list of names on the right-hand side? Those are the names of the film's 799 Associate Producers. Even for an indie movie that's a lot of producers! But those folks were actually Kickstarter backers who pledged $100 for the honor. Their names scrolled through the entire Blue Like Jazz credits, and ended up being even longer than the credits themselves. Crazy!
Blue Like Jazz wasn't the only Kickstarter news out of SXSW yesterday:
- There was big news for the Kickstarter-funded doc Brooklyn Castle. The film tells the story of the best junior high chess team in the country, which happens to be from a poor Brooklyn school. Yesterday it was announced that mega-producer Scott Rudin, the very same guy who is turning the Kickstarter-funded Indie Game: The Movie into an HBO series, has optioned the documentary's fiction rights. Congrats to them!
- The currently funding film Gimme the Loot won the Grand Jury prize for Narrative film. This award is as impressive as it sounds, and our hearty congrats go out to that whole team, too!
- Trash Dance, a documentary about a ballet starring Austin's sanitation workers, made a hometown premiere and got two standing ovations. We've seen the film and can attest to its tear-jerking greatness.
- And we can't forget yesterday's premiere of one of our favorite projects ever — Space Ducks, musician Daniel Johnston's first-ever comic book. The literary debut was celebrated with a crazy party at SXSW featuring the Kickstarter-funded R. Stevie Moore, Built to Spill, and others. We wish we were there!
Lost Da Vinci Found
Finally, yesterday brought perhaps the most unexpected milestone of all.
Last fall a National Geographic photographer launched a Kickstarter project to find a Da Vinci painting historians believed was hidden behind a centuries-old mural in an Italian church. While the Kickstarter project came up short of its goal, yesterday researchers announced that they believe they've found the painting in that exact spot! It's a mystery novel with an unbelievable ending. Watch the project video above for the whole story.
Congratulations to everyone on their remarkable achievements and another incredible day. Way to go!