The Kickstarter Awards: More Creator Picks

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Earlier this week we asked some Kickstarter Award winners to answer two questions:

1. What’s your favorite Kickstarter experience so far? This could be something that happened as part of your project, a particularly cool exchange you had with another project, whatever you want.

2. What’s your favorite Kickstarter project(s)? And if you’d rather swap in another adjective for “favorite,” feel free. We want to hear what projects you found fun, inspiring, etc.

Here are some more inspiring responses.

Berlin Reed, The Ethical Butcher

Wow, I don’t know that I can point out one experience, I am notoriously bad with picking favorites! Most of all, Kickstarter has just been incredible with getting the word out about my project as well as my blog. I have gotten tons of press and even recognized in the grocery store and approached for two TV shows! No joke! Of course, not having much experience in TV, I wasn’t selected for the first one, but honestly just to be offered something like that was pretty insane. I am still talking to a Japanese TV company. I can’t imagine what that project will look like!

Another pleasant surprise was having a few vegans offer to apprentice for me, which was amazing considering the poorly informed diatribe some angry vegan blogger had laid against me around the same time. That was actually a pretty strange experience, mostly because the things the person said about me could not be farther from the truth. It was my first experience with that sort of publicity. I found the article more ludicrous than anything because of the misinformation and way overreaching comparisons. Within four paragraphs the guy said I supported veal crates and foie gras, called me Hitler, a Nazi and a sexist. Those are not only incredibly arrogant and insensitive insults but showed he didn’t do much research. I am a Queer person-of-color, pretty much the opposite of everything he compared me to and have never eaten veal or foie gras in my life! This was obviously not my “favorite” experience, but it was a notable first.

I have really been overwhelmed with positive responses to my project and the philosophy that drives it. I feel fortunate to have found this venue for reaching people from all over the world and talking about the issues I care about. I would not be able to afford to start my business on my own, and having people donate in amounts as low as $5 and as high as $300 really shows the support that is out there for small businesses like mine. It’s a great, off-the-effed-up-grid way to raise money for your own project outside of banks, record companies, publishers, etc.. I think Kickstarter is a lifesaver! If I can figure out a legal way to send you bacon, I’ll send you a slab in thanks!

I also loved seeing that I had been chosen as the best Q&A for 2009! That was so amazing!!

Kickstarter is full of inspiring and intriguing projects! I love that you can find book, film, music and food projects in one place. Once I have money again, like more than $5 in my wallet at a given time, I plan to pledge to several projects a month. Kickstarter is just such a vital and important forum exchange and exposure of ideas. I hope it just keeps growing!

Most Cheeky/Clever: I loved Live Wrong and Prosper. Such a simple question that says so much about a person. How far will you go for money? Or for that matter, fame? Some people will agree to do some pretty gnarly things for money….this project explores that in an intelligent and humorous way.

Most Deliciously Nostalgic (tie): I liked the Reality Bites project, mostly because real fig and fruit bars are one of the best edible creations in the world! I am exaggerating a bit, but the perfection of dense and sweet cooked fruit wrapped in chewy whole grain is often attempted, rarely achieved and totally appreciated. They always remind me of the health food store my mom used to shop at in the 80’s.

Van Wafels is another company that features a favorite snack of mine. Stroopwafels are these ridiculously good sandwich cookies from the Netherlands. The first time I had one was an outdoor market in Amsterdam on a snowy day in February. The warm, chewy yet soft cookies hiding melting syrup was at that moment the best thing I had ever tasted. Glad these guys are bringing these lovelies to our land for the enjoyment of all!

Most Exciting: I like Crap Hound #4. Chloe Eudaly was one of my backers and I have loved Crap Hound for years. The no-copyright zine is an invaluable resource for any artist. It’s so cool that they are reprinting the old issues again!

Most Inspiring: I am so happy to see the “Invest in a new folk opera about Sojourner Truth” project was successful. Sojourner Truth was such an integral player in the 1800’s as a courageous feminist-abolitionist and she does not get the attention she greatly deserves. I don’t think most people nowadays, especially young people, even know who she is, which is a tragedy. I really want to see this opera, I hope there will be a travelling component or at least a video version so that more people can experience and understand her life, achievements and contributions.

Jason Bitner, LaPorte, Indiana

First off, we want to say we’re incredibly honored to be chosen as the “Best Film Project” from Kickstarter.  We’ve see so many fantastic projects (film and otherwise) launching here every day, and we feel so lucky to be part of such a generous and creative community.

Joe Beshenkovsky and I conceived of this LaPorte, Indiana film in the spring of ‘09, just before we got wind of Kickstarter. We’ve both been involved with crowdsourced projects in years prior, but we’d always rued the fact that there was no easy way to create a system for collecting funds, so we were absolutely psychedwhen we came across the site. We made our best plea for one of the coveted invites (this was back in the beta stage) and we were thrilled to receive one the following day, and then the real work began…

After we’d reached our goal and the rewards shipped out, we’d started receiving messages from all sorts of friends and strangers interested in starting their own fundraising projects. And soon after that, I started learning about friends old and new venturing forth on their own fundraising efforts.  From Michael Hearst’s “Songs For Unusual Creatures” and Martha Bayne’s “Soup and Bread: The Cookbook” to Liz Armstrong’s “Garland: We’re alive!” and Maura O’Connor’s “Telling the BIG story of a small frog” — each of these is a totally unique idea and medium, depicting just how flexible and useful Kickstarter can be.

Therein lies the beauty of Kickstarter — not only is it a great community of like-minded people, but it’s an incredible tool for helping to breathe life into fantastic projects and for sustaining an amazing group of creative folks.

And again, Kickstarter, you’ve been instrumental in bringing the LaPorte, Indiana into being.  For that, we can’t thank you enough.

Kali, Live Wrong and Prosper

There have been a couple. One was meeting Jerry Paffendorf, the (very tall) guy behind all the LOVELAND projects, which I think are kind of mindblowingly visionary (and fairly radical and forward thinking in a number of different ways you might not initially recognize) when you get down to the details.

Also, being contacted by a few British backers was really nice –- I’m happy just learning that someone in, say, Cleveland had gotten wind of my project; hearing that an office of people in London were passing around the video and yukking it up was pretty great. International yuks!!! (I’m like the U.N. in that way…)

Favorite Projects: Mmmm… yeah, let’s swap out “favorite,” for “ones I liked a lot that I saw because, admittedly, there’s probably some stuff I missed.” The Little Brass Bird project was awesome; I think the short films they’re making are great both aesthetically and in terms of the very-nearly-surreal writing. The Bison Oleander Time Machine Project is sublime in terms of sheer ridiculousness -– I also love the fact that the creators clearly made that video for themselves. The Tigerbuttah project seemed cool. I think I’m forgetting some stuff, but those are just a few.

Sam Putman, Makerbeam

When we launched MakerBeam, we went to Balsa Man, a scale-model version of the Burning Man festival. We thought this would be a great way to celebrate launching a scale model building system. We ran into Jerry of Loveland, who is building an entire miniature city in Detroit, selling it by the square inch through Kickstarter. It was a magical miniature moment, and when I realized that there was a whole community out there.

Right now, we’re excited about a couple open hardware projects. Cubespawn is a project to scale down and open source an automatic production system: robots that will build you a bewildering variety of objects, automatically. Vince Lopresti’s Robot Legs for the Disabled is a project to build an exoskeletal walker. We think it’s fantastic and wish him great success.

We know of at least a half dozen open-hardware Kickstarter projects in the offing, and we’re really stoked to see that, because we think open hardware and Kickstarter are are great match.

Michael and Lenka, Mysterious Letters

This probably sounds rather crass, but probably our favorite experience was going over the target. We’d only set a two week deadline as we were a bit messily prepared, and it was a huge relief that, having gotten so palpably close, we did it. (After about a week it seemed like it really wasn’t going to happen, we had to tinker with our rewards a bit.) Luckily, the people who helped us all happened to be Gods and Godesses.

Our favourite Kickstarter project is Emily Richmond’s Let’s sail around the world. She was able to speak into the camera in a straightforward, no nonsense, casually charming way throughout. (We would’ve found it impossible to try the same thing.) And Emily’s rewards were set up creatively, the whole project was just extremely refreshing.

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