The Kickstarter Blog

New Projects Are Walking On the Moon

  1. Guest Post: On Crafting the Perfect Pitch Video

    Most project creators will tell you that making the perfect project video is really tough. It's true! But when artist Lori Leaumont sat down to make the project video for her small (but big-hearted) crafts project Girl Stories, she learned a few lessons that might make it a bit easier for the next time you have to hit "Record." Read on!

    Girl Stories - sculptures that tell stories by Lori Leaumont's video poster

    One of my Mom's favorite sayings is “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.” This is a truism that was particularly true for me the day I tried to make my Kickstarter video.

    My Kickstarter was supposed to be ready to launch on July 22nd, but sadly, things did not go as smoothly as I'd planned. I needed a video, and I'd been wracking my brains trying to come up with something cute or clever, but I had nothing. Finally, I decided to film my daughter Maddy running around the backyard in a cape, but it was brutally hot and she got really overheated, and then my camera battery died. I was totally stumped. I can write, and I can make art. But getting in front of a camera? Soooooo not my thing! I had no idea what to do for this, and everyone told me the video was so important. My camera was charging up downstairs. I didn’t know if I should just sit down in front of it and ramble a lot, or keep trying to think of something better. I just didn’t know. I wanted this project to be awesome! I wanted it to show people how excited I was about this, and tell a good story.

    I was so frustrated and nervous about making that video, I almost didn’t launch at all. Now that I see the wonderful response I’ve gotten to my idea, I am so glad that I went through with it. Just putting it all together and telling my story was a great experience for me.

    I realized that part of my hesitation came from a lack of confidence in my work and ideas. There was a nagging little voice in the back of my head that kept telling me that this was stupid, and would never work. I had already convinced myself that the project was going to fail, and I was wasting my time. I had psyched myself out before I even began.

    I was also trying to make a video that looked like everyone else’s. My friends had made a video that was silly and endearing, and I really wanted to make something similar. I got so stuck on that idea, I just couldn’t move forward. When it came right down to it, I’ve never been comfortable in front of a camera, and I had to realize that that was just not one of my strengths. Rather than fighting myself, I had to let go and do something that was comfortable for me.

    The other thing I realized was that I was trying to do it all by myself. I’m not always good at asking for help, but when I finally did, my friends came out of the woodwork to offer proofreading, video ideas, camera equipment, and to help me film. Telling my friends about my idea got them excited about what I wanted to do, and that boosted my confidence. I couldn’t have done that alone!

    I was doing a project about girl’s empowerment; when it came down to it, I was really doing it to empower myself. Once I realized that, and I knew what I wanted to say to the world, I found my determination to get it done. Finishing that video was one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done!

    I’d like to quote one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman: “Trust those that you have helped to help you in their turn. Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story.” I think that sums it up for me pretty perfectly. Making a Kickstarter video was a way for me to share my story with the world, and I had to trust in my story and myself. I’m so glad I did!

    Visit Lori's project page here

  2. Projects in the News

    Every week, we round up some of the stories about projects that made it into the press. We're happy to see them out there in the real world, and excited to share their progress with you! Read on.

    Melena Ryzik of the New York Times featured the Mountain Dance Trail project to travel Route 33 through West Virginia from Virginia to the Ohio border documenting local community square dances: "With a nod to the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky and the Crooked Road music trail in Virginia, it is a homegrown effort to revive and brand a West Virginia legacy. There is no better way to get to know the locals in “a little out-of-the-way town” than to dance with them, said Gerald Milnes, the folk arts coordinator at Augusta who came up with the idea for the trail."

    Melissa F. Clarke and a piece from her Untitled Antarctica installation.
    Melissa F. Clarke and a piece from her Untitled Antarctica installation.

    Ray Cummings of the Village Voice interviewed Melissa Clarke about her "After the Ice" conceptual art project to create a new series of work that infuses photographs, video, and sound recordings she collects along the coast of Greenland with scientific data, such as bathymetry and ice core samples: "Beyond raising funds, Kickstarter is such an excellent platform for meeting people and sharing ideas. You know that most of the people messaging you and pledging support to your work are already intrigued by what you're doing and your project, so after that, it becomes a community of people really around an idea and a project. To me, you then have to release the authorship a little to the backers to be successful and let them in as part of the campaign process. I received quite a few messages from other artists working with similar media and also people in the education field, professors and elementary school teachers who really liked the integration of science, technology, and art in my work. These were the best messages, really."

    Sarah Lacy at PandoDaily wrote about Stompy: The Giant, Rideable Walking Robot open hardware project to create an open-source, 18ft wide, 4,000 pound, 6-legged hydraulic robot that you can ride: "Stompy is a six-legged robot seeking to raise funding on Kickstarter so he can exist. (Or more appropriately, his creators are.) They want to raise a whopping $65,000 to build something utterly impractical. A huge six legged robot that is so huge a car could drive underneath it. Stompy fulfills little purpose other than being awesome. Backers don’t get their own Stompys — they get a range of clever thank-you gifts like their name shouted from a mountain top, a T-shirt, a bumper sticker or if they’re really generous a ride on Stompy."

    Tara Kolton of looked at local playwright Louisa Luisi's "Your Best Coaches" project to create a children's picture book about a young boy on a baseball team who realizes his best coaches are his mother and father: "The full-color, hardcover book features illustrations by Kika Esteves and shares the message that 'through high and low points in life, your parents will always be there to root for you. 'Kids need a strong support system. It doesn't matter how and why a support system is formed, but they need a strong one. It's 2012 and expectations are high and the pressure is on,' said Luisi."

    The ToyQuarium Project's video poster

    Sara Morrison of the Columbia Journalism Review spotlighted a few promising journalism projects, including the ToyQuarium photography project to make the world's first miniature tilt-shift time-lapse of an aquarium: "Alex Kaufman became interested in photography and aquariums in college. He did some photography as part of an internship last summer at the Florida Aquarium (also after hours - “I took tons of pictures and was there until security kicked me out every day,” Kaufman wrote CJR in an email), but felt like his still shots didn’t quite capture the “spirit” of the aquarium. So he made a time-lapse video. Now that he’s graduated, he’s looking to take it to the next level, using a tilt-shift lens to make a new aquarium time-lapse. Tilt-shift lenses make photo subjects look like toys through a bunch of complicated tricks that I still don’t exactly understand no matter how many times my photographer friends try to explain them to me. All you need to know is that it looks really cool, so time-lapse footage of an aquarium taken with a tilt-shift lens would, in turn, be doubly cool. Kaufman is calling his project “The ToyQuarium.”

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