The Kickstarter Blog

Creator Q&A: Transylvania Television

  1. Getting Funded and Discovered

    In our most recent podcast I spoke with Famulus, a hacker and developer who is building an open source fusion reactor (his project ended just yesterday). Early in the life of his Kickstarter project, Famulus was contacted by a Dutch energy investor, and the two discussed potential investment that stretched well into the millions. As Famulus explained, the investor came upon his project while browsing Kickstarter looking exactly for something exactly like what he was doing.

    As fantastic as the fusion story is, it’s not uncommon. Just yesterday the journalist and cartoonist Ted Rall shared some big news in a project update: if his project to send him to Afghanistan is successfully funded, Farrar, Strauss & Giroux (a major publisher) will publish a book collecting his reporting from the trip.

    In Rall’s case there’s more to his story than the Kickstarter project (he is an accomplished journalist with several published books under his belt), but the project was the impetus for submitting his goal into the world. As his potential publishers correctly surmised, $20,000 worth of support from people like you and me signals clear interest in Rall, the subject matter, and even funding journalism in this format.

    Several film projects have had similar experiences, and we had another great example just two days ago. Mattson Tomlin is the 19-year-old filmmaker behind Solomon Grundy, a film project that has done well on the site. In a project update over the weekend, Tomlin revealed that one of the people behind the Oscar-nominated Revolutionary Road, Henry Fernaine, had come on board as producer.

    To have a seasoned veteran helping to steer the work of a first-time filmmaker will be a tremendous asset for Tomlin. And while we aren’t privy to all the details, certainly seeing Tomlin’s ambition and vision be publicly validated by his audience impacted the decision (Tomlin also once interned at Fernaine’s production studio). It illustrates how easily Kickstarter can help bridge new modes of funding and traditional channels — they are far from incompatible.

    Getting discovered isn’t just for successfully funded projects, either. Back in December a project named Betacup -– whose aim was to crowdsource a new, sustainable coffee cup –- ended short of its goal. As the project was ending, creator Toby Daniels received an inquiry from an unexpected source: Starbucks, who wanted to fund the project themselves (to the tune of $20,000), with the goal of using only reusable/recyclable cups by 2015. Not only did Daniels get the money that he hoped for, but he also got Starbucks to sign-on to a more sustainable future.

    There have been dozens more examples like these. Projects that attract ambient support simply by existing, by putting their ideas out into the world. It’s amazing stuff. If your project has had experiences like this, get in touch! We’d love to share your story.

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  2. Creator Q&A: The Apology Line

    The Apology Line is a collaborative, interactive art project by Will Bridges and James Lee, who set up a free, UK-based phoneline where people could call in and leave anonymous apologies. Although initially afraid that nobody would call, Will and James found themselves with a problem quite the opposite. The phone rang non-stop. As it turns out, people were using the line to apologize for EVERYTHING — from the silly (stealing chocolates as a young boy) to the quite serious (having an affair with a married man) to the truly outrageous (you’ll have to listen to find out).

    Will and James have shared a special video compilation of their favorite apologies with us (see above). Listen, then check out our awesome Q&A with Will below. Support the project here.

    How did you come upon the idea? What inspired you?

    The idea actually came from an American artist called Allan Bridge. In 1980 he set up the Apology Project — a telephone line in New York offering people to ring and leave their apologies and listen to others. Unfortunately the project ended when Allan tragically passed away in an accident in 1995. We thought the idea behind the project was just too fascinating to not continue so decided to create and launch our own version. We did this across the UK and now we want to “bring it home” and launch it across the US. Hopefully this will be a fitting tribute to Allan, we know he was keen for people to continue the project.

    Were you expecting the response you got? Any all-time notable calls
    that really surprised you?

    To be honest we were terrified no one would call at all! We waited with baited breath for the phone to start ringing. Luckily, and surprisingly, it did ring and on some days didn’t stop! It seemed people really appreciated an opportunity to get something off their chest, apologise and share their guilt without someone answering back or immediately judging them.

    There were a few calls that did and still have a very strong resonance with us. The lady apologising to Reverend Peel (as can be heard in the film) still to this day leaves us speechless and stunned.

    Where would you like this to go from here?

    We have always wanted to create and tour an Apology Line installation and exhibition. To provide an opportunity for people to come and hear, read, interact and share in all of our guilt and then leave their own apologies before they leave. It would be a beautiful thing. Maybe at a later stage we would like to create an Apology Line book and possibly another follow up film. First we really need to expand the project and get people calling the line so we need to set up an actual U.S. phone line and get the number out there.

    What do you hope people will take from the project?

    We all feel regret, guilt and have the desire to apologise to certain people in our life but often circumstance, events or emotions have prevented us from doing so. The Apology Line offers an opportunity to anonymously get something off your chest and maybe find a cathartic release in doing so. Maybe you want to apologise to someone but can not bring yourself to do it in person or maybe they have passed on. Maybe you just need to share your burden of guilt — “a burden shared is a burden halved.”

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