Interactive Documentaries and Storytelling: Creator Hangout with Elaine McMillion Sheldon

During our last Creator Hangout, our documentary film lead Liz Cook chatted with Elaine McMillion Sheldon. Elaine is a multi-award winning documentary filmmaker and visual artist. In 2012, she used Kickstarter to help fund her Peabody award-winning interactive documentary, Hollow.

Watch the video from our Hangout to learn more about how Elaine:

  • Brought the story of “Hollow” front and center in her campaign messaging.
  • Kept backers engaged throughout all of the phases of her campaign.
  • Budgeted her time, especially when it came to rewards.
  • Thinks about the many mediums of storytelling.


Head here to find out who we’ll be talking to during our next Creator Hangout.

Design & Tech Roundup: Digital Artisans

Pixel Vision
Pixel Vision


Now that so many of us carry computers in our pockets and store our photos, documents, and more in the cloud, it's easy to think of technology as relatively formless — a series of black boxes and touchscreens that invisibly exchange data. In response to this misconception, some designers have embraced the opportunity to craft distinctive physical objects for our digital experiences. In this line of thinking, the projects below combine electronics with traditional craftsmanship to create devices that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are technologically impressive.

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Shocking, Scientific, and Sutnar: November’s Creator Hangouts

During November’s Creator Hangouts, we got to chat with the Creative Director behind Nevermind, the Co-Founder of OpenROV, and the Editor-In-Chief of Designers & Books.

We talked about everything from our favorite horror flicks, to the promising movement of citizen science. And of course there were a few tips on running, managing, and fulfilling a successful campaign in the mix, too.

Erin Reynolds, the Creative Director of Nevermind 

Erin and Luke (Kickstarter’s Head of Games) had a frightening chat about biofeedback games and all things horror.

  • Some insight from Erin: 
    “It was this amazing validation that there might be something here with this project. People actually want to see it made.”
  • And a quote: 
    “The best kind of horror talks about the real world horrors of everyday life.”

David Lang, the Co-Founder of OpenROV

David and Aurora’s (Kickstarter's Science and Exploration Outreach Lead) chat about underwater exploration and citizen science was inspiring to say the least.

  • A tip from David:
    “Money is one thing, but it’s really about the people. Keep the focus on building the community and do it for the long term.”
  • And a quote:
    “This idea of citizen science, of engaging everyone with the process, holds a ton of potential for getting people involved.”

Steve Kroeter, Editor-in-Chief of Designers & Books 

Steve shared his facsimile reprint of “Ladislav Sutnar: Visual Design in Action” with us and talked about the difference between a crowd and a community.

  • Advice from Steve: 
    “Before something goes wrong, try to anticipate.”
  • And a quote:
    “Kickstarter is the salvation of niche publishing in the 21st century.”

Ready to join our next Hangout? Here’s everything you need to know:

Creator Hangouts are hosted every other Wednesday at 1pm EST (we’ll be trying out a later time soon, too) and you can check out who we’re talking to next right here. You can watch each conversation live through Google Hangouts or follow along as we live-tweet from @KickstarterTips, with the hashtag #CreatorHangouts. Everyone’s welcome to ask questions or add to the conversation! Missed a hangout? We post the recordings on YouTube so you can watch (and rewatch) whenever you’d like. In December, we’re planning to talk with Elaine McMillion Sheldon and more.

If you have questions or know someone you think would make a great guest on Creator Hangouts, talk to us over at @KickstarterTips. Hope to chat with you soon!

New from the Archives: November 2015

Another month, another set of amazing Archives projects...

The Lost Poems of Pablo Neruda

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A set of lost poems from "the people's poet" Pablo Neruda. In 2014, archivists in Chile discovered a cache of previously unseen and unpublished poems written by Neruda. The collection — written in notebooks and on scraps of paper in the poet’s own handwriting — includes a sampling of the ardent love poems for which he is famous. Copper Canyon Press, in conjunction with Neruda's estate, are bringing these lost poems to a North American audience for the first time. 

The Lost Work Of Will Eisner

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Recently acquired by a New Jersey-based antique collector, a set of 1930s-era cartoon printing plates were found to hold the earliest known work of one of the forefathers of modern cartooning: the iconic Will Eisner. These extremely rare strips from his teenage years show the artist's work in its formative stages and hint at what it would become. Locust Moon Press has set out to produce the definitive edition of this work.

The Atomic Brain

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Ben Solovey returns to Kickstarter with his second film restoration project, The Atomic Brain. (The first was the recently released Manos: The Hands Of Fate.) This 1963 B-horroris the only feature directed by legendary cinematographer Joseph V. Mascelli. Long available in a muddy public domain format, Solovey has plans for a 4K restoration and Blu-Ray and DVD release of the film, along with the creation of a documentary on the filmmaker himself. 

Why We Film

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A series of short documentaries created by the Association of Moving Image Archivists' Film Advocacy Task Force that explores why and how we engage with film as a physical object and experience: why we watch it, why we create with it, why we teach with it, why we preserve it.

The Embassy: Audio History & Multi-Media Archive

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An online audio history and multi-media resource dedicated to preserving the history of the 1972 Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, Australia, one of the most important and crucial episodes of Aboriginal struggle in the twentieth century.

Reissuing Num Dia Azul by Minas

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A limited-edition vinyl reissue of Num Dia Azul, the long-out-of-print debut album by Philadelphia-based bossa nova jazz band Minas. 

And the Independent Spirit Award nominees are...

Film Independent recently announced the nominees for the 2016 Indie Spirit Awards and we’re excited to share that 12 Kickstarter-funded films received 20 total nominations! They're up for everything from Best First Feature to Best Editing. Kickstarter alumni also account for four out of five of the nominees for the prized John Cassavetes Award (granted to narrative features made for under $500,000) and three out five of the nominees for Best First Feature.

We wanted to take a moment to say congratulations to all of the filmmakers that are up for these awards. Here they are:

* A Woman Like Me (Truer Than Fiction Award)

* Advantageous (John Cassavetes Award)

* Anomalisa (Best Feature, Best Director, Best Supporting Female, Best Screenplay)

Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa
Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa

* Christmas, Again (John Cassavetes Award)

* God Bless the Child (Someone to Watch Award)

* I'll See You In My Dreams (Piaget Producers Award)

* James White (Best First Feature, Best Actor, Best Supporting Female)

Borderline Films presents James White
Borderline Films presents James White

* Krisha (John Cassavetes Award)

* Manos Sucias (Best First Feature, Best Editing)

* Out of My Hand (John Cassavetes Award)

* Songs My Brothers Taught Me (Best First Feature, Best Cinematography, Someone to Watch Award)

* (T)error (Best Documentary)

In addition to being nominated for more than a few Spirit Awards, Anomalisa is also getting a considerable amount of Oscar buzz. Needless to say, we’ll be cheering for these films all through award season.

The Independent Spirit Awards will air on IFC on Saturday, February 27 at 5pm EST. If you’re attending the awards, hosting a watching party, or want to put your film on our radar, send us a note at stories@kickstarter.com.

See you on the big screen!

Design & Tech Roundup: Rolling Deep

Blaze Burner
Blaze Burner


Now that Back to the Future Day has come and gone, rolling on the ground should be obsolete as a mode of transportation. While flying cars are still in the works, we did see Hendo introduce the first real hoverboard last year. Still, wheels remain an extremely popular way to get around, as this collection of projects focused on bikes and their like demonstrates.

The Blaze Burner

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There’s something wonderful about hearing a designer talk about the little details they're most proud of in a product — and Emily Brooke’s enthusiasm is contagious when she discusses the magnetic bracket design and ip7-certified waterproofing on her new Blaze Burner bike light. The Burner is a rear-facing complement to Blaze’s first bike light (which came to life through Kickstarter in 2012) and features a green laser to alert drivers to a cyclist’s presence. Since then, it’s not only making backers’ two-wheeled adventures safer but it's also been incorporated into London’s Santander shared bikes.

AirDonkey 

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Speaking of bike shares, the wonderfully named Air Donkey offers a digitally connected lock kit to turn your spare bike into a rentable ride. It’s unsurprising that this vision for a community run network of shared cycles springs from the velotopia that is Copenhagen — hopefully it can help make riding more accessible in less bike-friendly locales, too!

Me-Mover Fit

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The Me-Mover Fit, from another Danish team, looks beyond pedals for forward momentum, turning a stepper machine into a sleek, wheeled vehicle. They launched the first version through Kickstarter last year and have updated this second generation machine using feedback and hacks from backers. Always exciting to see collaboration between designers and users in action.

FlyKly Smart Ped

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The folks at Flykly have also returned to Kickstarter to build on their past success. The Smart Ped shrinks down the powered bike wheel they introduced in their 2013 campaign to create a ridiculously fun-looking kick scooter. The responsive electric hub gives you more power out of each push while preserving the playful simplicity of cruising on a scooter.

Beeline...

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...and Haize

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Smartphones can make navigating city streets a breeze, but staring at your phone while riding a bike is a dangerous drag. BeeLine and Haize take different aesthetic paths to solving this problem, presenting simple turn-by-turn instructions on elegant, handlebar-mounted displays that minimize distractions and keep you focused on where you're going. Clearly an idea whose time has come.

Grasp

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Once you’ve found your perfect ride and tricked it out to your liking, make sure it stays yours with this innovative lock that uses a fingerprint as a key. The Grasp smart lock is part of the latest batch of projects from leading hardware accelerator Hax, which has provided mentorship to dozens of great Kickstarter projects.

Always looking for better ways to get from point A to point B? Check out our "Ride With It" tag to keep up with projects offering a fresh take on bikes and beyond!

Design & Tech Roundup: Inventive New Tools for Making Music

It's been a big year for music on Kickstarter. We've seen projects from trailblazing artists like De La Soul and TLC, an album of music just for cats, and the introduction of Artiphon's versatile Instrument 1 which was named one of TIME Magazine's Best Inventions of 2015. Here's the latest batch of inventive music-making tools that expand creative possibilities for adventurous musicians because, as Brian Eno said, "you can't really imagine music without technology."

ACPAD

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    • Français
    • 日本語

An acoustic guitar may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about digital music, but ACPAD seamlessly adds a range of controls for guitarists looking to enhance their picking and strumming with electronic sounds. After years of performing with custom-modified instruments, Berlin-based musician Robin Sukroso invented this streamlined device to make his hybrid playing style accessible to more musicians. From programming drum beats to triggering digital effects and recording software, ACPAD adds the flexibility of MIDI control to a traditional instrument. Folktronica fans take note!

Guitar Triller

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Guitarists looking to coax new sounds out of their instruments have a decidedly lower-tech option in the Guitar Triller. This handheld accessory designed for striking strings offers options beyond picks or fingers for playing stringed instruments. The resulting sounds range from delicate hammered dulcimer-like tones to rapid-fire heavy metal shredding. Sometimes simple tools can do surprising things.

PULSE*

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Best known as the Beatles' sonic laboratory, Abbey Road Studios has been a hub of musical innovation for more than eighty years — so it's fitting that they're now supporting the development of new music technology through their RED incubator program. Their first project is Titan Reality's PULSE* controller, a sophisticated 3D sensing platform that uses gesture and object recognition to create a wide range of virtual playing techniques and sounds. You can hit it like a drum, scratch it like a turntable, or sweep your hand over it like a harp. Any requests for "While My Spatial Sensor Gently Weeps"?

Obscura 

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Embracing technology in music isn't always about being ahead of one's time. The Obscura Chiptune Synthesizer from repeat creators Arcano Systems looks backwards to the 8-bit sounds of vintage video game systems like the Nintendo, C64, and Amiga. Its MIDI jack makes it easy to control, and its Arduino-based circuit design makes it customizable for those inclined towards hardware hacking. Perfect for that opera you're writing about Donkey Kong.

We're looking forward to hearing music made with these new instruments. To check out more projects that offer sonic adventures, head over to the Sound section of our Technology category.