The Importance of Video

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Kickstarter projects aren’t required to have videos, but we highly recommend it. Video is the best way to communicate the emotions, motivations, and character of a project, and the sincerity and seriousness of the creator. It’s also more fun. Whenever I click on a project only to see there’s no video, I’m immediately disappointed. The project feels less complete, and it’s easier to question someone’s commitment to their idea.

These assumptions are supported by the numbers. Of the nearly 1,000 projects that have completed funding so far, projects with videos have had a success rate of 54% while ones without have had a success rate of 39%. A striking difference.

Of course it’s not the presence of a video alone. It stands to reason that creators who took the time to create and upload a video probably put more time into other parts of their project as well. And of course plenty of projects with video have not been successful — just having something there isn’t enough.

A number of projects have been particularly imaginative with their videos and storytelling. One of these is Kali Holloway’s Live Wrong and Prosper. (Full disclosure: Kali is my girlfriend but I had zero to do with her video.) Kali’s project is to turn her game of asking people what awful, ridiculous things they would do for $1,000,000 into a self-published party book.

For her video, though, Kali doesn’t talk about the book at all. Instead she and a friend walked around Brooklyn doing man-on-the-street interviews with random people asking them what they would do for cash. Take a look:

The video does a couple of things: it clearly conveys the essence of the idea without spelling it out, and it shifts the focus from the idea itself to Kali’s dedication to the idea. It’s humiliating to stand on a street corner and ask people questions; Kali’s willingness to subject herself to this makes her project all the more endearing.

A good video can also make you care about a project you never would have before. Karl Cronin’s Somatic Natural History Archive of the USA is one of those. The title is a challenge (what does that even mean?) until you watch his amazing video. The premise is that Karl is a choreographer working on dances/poses/movements that will evoke, imitate, and celebrate 10,000 different plants and animals found in the United States. Which sounds… weird. Until you watch the clip itself.

A regular challenge I see in project videos is how to approach rewards. How important is it to walk people through every tier and option versus letting people see it for themselves? Once people begin counting down each and every reward most of the time I’m reaching for the stop button. But there have been a couple of exceptions: Allison Weiss’ project (she was the first to do the reward walk-through) and Ben Hicks’ Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time. I won’t spoil Ben’s joke, but he very cleverly shares his reward options in the clip. I wouldn’t have pledged to his project without it.

There are many more of these of course, and we’ve covered some before here on the blog. I’d love to hear what videos have convinced you to back or at least take a second look. And if you’re a creator thinking about making a video of your own, definitely read Robin Sloan’s awesome video guide first. It will set you on the right path.

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