How does an idea turn into a viable thing? What makes someone want to do a project? We talked to ten creators to find out.
Jacob Krupnick, Girl Walk//All Day: I had the dream of making a feature-length music video that would be filmed in public space, using real people as the extras, and NYC as a backdrop. I wanted to give this amazing dancer I'd met a lot of room to move and improvise. I hoped the project would make a statement about all the rules and surveillance in the city. In that way, it's a very post-9/11 project -- the core idea, I think, was freedom.
Anthony Weintraub, Menurkey: My project was the brainchild of my son, who was nine years old at the time, and inspired to bring his idea to the world. I introduced him to Kickstarter when he was six or seven. We spent some time on the site, backing favorite projects and learning about entrepreneurship. When he came up with the idea for the Menurkey, he said he thought it was more than just an art project, that he wanted a lot of people to learn about it and enjoy it. When I explained that it might cost a lot of money to finance the manufacturing, he said Kickstarter was the natural choice to raise the money. I initially said no, thinking I really didn't want to put a nine-year-old up on Kickstarter. There was no way to represent it without featuring him in the video and I was not about to claim the idea for my own. Eventually he badgered me enough until I gave in.
Lauren Krakauskas, Freaker USA: We’ve always had big dreams, but we also had an inkling that traditional funding wouldn’t let us have the creative freedom to do things our way. For example, we ended up using most of our Kickstarter money to buy a boxtruck, turn it into a neon studio-apartment, drive it around the country and throw free grilled cheese parties for strangers. I’m not sure how a traditional investment situation would have responded to that, but we have some educated guesses.
Peter Platzer, ArduSat: We really wanted to provide affordable access to space. It was very clear that the cost had finally come down enough to make space exploration a reality without a billion dollars. Most people only “connect” with space and space exploration through TV. Or maybe the super rich can buy themselves a ride for tens of millions, but we wanted to make space accessible to everyone, especially the next generation, the ones that will drive innovation and solve the world's greatest challenges.
Eric Kersman, BRCK: The initial BRCK project was born out of a desire for better internet connectivity in Africa, where we have constant power outages that mess up our routers and where we need more mobility in our devices. The Kickstarter project came about after we had been designing and engineering the BRCK device for about a year and it served as a way for us to see if there was anyone else in the world who needed something like this as well.
Coulter Lewis, Quinn Popcorn: It took us a year to get our popcorn ready. During that time we didn't tell anyone what we were doing. Kickstarter was our chance to see what the world thought of our idea of creating a better microwave popcorn. It's was terrifying, but we needed to launch, we needed to see how people would respond. Thankfully our campaign kicked butt!
Brian Dwyer, Pizza Brain Pizza Museum: I have three other partners, each with their own reasons for diving in headfirst to this project. For me though, it was a growing fascination with the seemingly boundless cultural reach of pizza. I'm also really into the diminishing art of true shared experience. Pizza is probably one of the purest forms of that, really. That being the case, it was a huge driver in pursuing this idea beyond something that was merely our heads, and shaping it into a thing other people could experience alongside us. The fact that no one up until us in pizza history had thought to express it the way we have, well, that was a gigantic bonus. For those reasons and a multitude of others, we felt compelled to pursue this project with extreme vigor. I guess you could say the project chose us, even. Pizza is the great equalizer. It's all around us, all the time.
Rebecca Abernathy, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra: The campaign’s goal was to generate funds enabling me, the ASO Archivist, to begin digitizing certain audio and video items housed in the ASO Archives. Our priority was to preserve and digitize items that were considered high risk— high risk in terms of tape degradation and lack of available equipment to even play the audio tapes.
Benedetta Piantella, Open Source Lion Tracking: My partner in the project, Justin Downs, had been helping a wildlife conservation group and while out in the field with their team he had a chance to observe their methods and tools and noticed a lot of hindrances and issues. When he returned to the US, he told me about how proprietary and expensive the wildlife conservation tools were, and how inconvenient they were for the researchers. It struck a chord as something that we should absolutely try to tackle. Plus there were lions involved and I am a huge fan of all cats! It was important to fight for those researchers and try and show those companies that users today want to own and modify their own tools, and it was all for a great cause.
Siena Oristaglio, Marina Abramovic Institute: A primary aim of Kickstarter is also a major theme of Marina's forty-year career in performance art: to close the gap between artist and audience in an exchange that transforms both. By inviting the public to contribute to phase one of our development, we were able to directly communicate with an audience who believes in the MAI mission and can join us on the journey to its creation.