The Kickstarter Blog

Kickstarter Podcast #2: Ted Rall Goes Back to Afghanistan

  1. Progress Report: Johnny Recon

    Mitch and Scott, creators of contemporary sci-fi comic Johnny Recon, were so excited about reaching their funding goal that they danced. Literally. “Scott called me as soon as he noticed, and I’m pretty sure we each cupped the phone and did some sort of embarrassing gyrating dance,” Mitch confesses. We love it! Since then, the duo have been keeping us updated via a project blog loaded with cool sketches, pages-in-progress (that’s one, above), and funny asides. Our curiosity piqued, we dropped them a line to see how it’s been going, what goes into making a comic book, and what advice they have for the potential creator in us all.

    Check out our Q&A with the two below. Support their project here.

    How are you handling the demand generated by the number of your backers?

    Mitch: Well, one of the best parts is that our supply is directly plugged into the demand.  We’re currently still working on the book, so our final print run can be partially determined after our Kickstarter campaign ends.  Keeps some of that anxiety of meeting the demand at bay, I have enough of that just trying to finish the illustration! Ha.

    Scott: That’s the amazing thing about this site — that our print run for Johnny continues to increase with every pledge.  Where we’re at right now is beyond anything either of us could have imagined, and I have to admit that the unexpected demand does make me a bit nervous.  But it’s an excited kind of nervous.

    Any anxieties? Are you excited? Tell me about how ya feel!

    Mitch: Holy socks! I think very few people out there can actually gauge how excited we are.  Like we always say, we’ve been friends for 22+ years now and literally have talked about doing this that entire span.  What excites me the most is that we have the drive, but because of where our lives have taken us, we’re both immensely prepared for competing in this actual market.  Kickstarter has literally “kickstarted” everything for us.  We no longer have to worry about fronting the startup money and we can concentrate on bringing you the best quality book that we can do.  I promise you we’re doing just that with this issue.

    Scott: We’re at a loss for words.  When we filmed our video to thank our backers, the two of us could not stop smiling, and it felt like we were living in a dream.  Three years ago, when Mitch and I started the series, we were almost a bit embarrassed to tell anyone about what we were working on together (um, a science-fiction comic…), but we’ve been delighted to learn (and Kickstarter has only reinforced it) that everyone we’ve shared our passion with has been extremely excited for the two of us.  It’s served as an invaluable source of motivation.

    What was your approach to networking? Any tips that might be useful to other project creators out there?

    Mitch: Marketing is a skill.  It’s not always easy to promote oneself, and it’s very easy to be pushy about it.  I come from a branding and marketing background.  My biggest piece of advice is you have to know what is professional and be able to admit when something isn’t.  It’s a VERY hard skill to learn but it’s invaluable.  With everything we did to network and promote our Kickstarter campaign, we tried to make everything look as professional as possible.  That includes professionally printed ad materials, professionally formed press releases, everything you do to promote your idea has to appear to a consumer that it’s already a well established brand that they can trust.  As far as specific avenues, we set up promotional displays at local comic shops in the Twin Cities, sent press releases to every comic-related website we’ve ever heard of (and some we haven’t), and tapped into a huge online presence on Twitter, Facebook, etc.  If you can tell, it also helps that I love marketing and advertising.

    Scott: This is truly Mitch’s forte.  I’m content (as I’m sure most writers are) to stay locked in my house for days on end, interacting with no one, huddled close to my computer screen.  Something I would like to share with other creators, though, is to try and have enough trust in yourself and what you’re passionate about to put it out in the world, for better or for worse.  One of the biggest things that I had to learn was to push past my self-critical voice that kept telling me what we were doing wasn’t good enough.  Naysayers (including that pesky voice) will always exist, but fans always will, too, and inspiration can be gathered from both.

    How has your relationship to your backers been? Anybody unexpected pop up?

    Mitch: Our backers are the absolute best.  They’ve been insanely generous and hugely supportive.  Each and every one has been exceptionally involved in contacting us to say congrats, questions, etc.  I love it.  As far as unexpected backers go…YES.  We had three high ($250-500) pledge rewards that sold out very quickly.  It blew our minds!  It meant so much to us that these people were willing to commit that kind of money to supporting our dream.  And to ALL our backers, we reached our pledge goal with about 60 days left.  Scott called me as soon as he noticed, and I’m pretty sure we each cupped the phone and did some sort of embarrassing gyrating dance.  We were blown away by the speed of which we met our goal, and we have our amazing backers to thank for that!

    Scott: You had to share the dance, didn’t you?  The amount of support we’ve received is staggering, and I wish I could thank every backer in-person.  We’re both just so extremely grateful.  It’s a truly humbling experience to have so many people that you haven’t met believe in you to the extent that our backers have.  Saying thank you doesn’t feel like enough.  But to all of our backers, I must say again: truly, thank you.

    Closing thoughts?

    Mitch: Sorry, can’t talk. Drawing.

    Scott: With the amount of work Mitch has ahead of him in finishing up pencils, inks, lettering, and coloring on the second installment of Johnny, I’m not planning on seeing him until late-April.  Seriously, though, both of us learned so much from the first issue, most notably the extraordinary expense of self-publishing, and, although the two of us were motivated to continue the series, we were at a loss as to how we could move forward without finding ways to support our publishing costs.  Discovering Kickstarter quite literally saved our dreams, and the two of us can’t say enough about how appreciative we are that this site, and its welcoming and supportive community, exists.  To the site, our backers, fans, family, and friends, we will remain eternally grateful.

    Mitch:  Also, just wanted to chime in with some super exciting news!  Starting Feb 22nd, check out the new Comic Twart blog. Where, coinciding with the tail end of our Kickstarter campaign, the topic of the week will be Johnny Recon!  Throughout the week there will be brand new illustrations of our space adventurer by myself and a whole bunch of talented Marvel, DC, and other mainstream and indie creators!  It’s not to be missed!

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  2. Success Story: Beijing Taxi

    “In terms of pledge rewards, I feel like it’s important to create some value in the rewards. I always believe that if you put your heart into creating something, people will sense that, and more willing to stand behind that. You’ve put all your heart into this film you’ve worked on for so long, your rewards should in some ways reflect the same heart and attention you’ve put into the film and not just something you slapped together.”

    Miao Wang on The Secrets of Her Kickstarter Success

    Producer Ted Hope has a great essay up from Miao Wang on how she managed her recently successful Kickstarter campaign. She discusses rewards, email newsletters, and all kinds of useful nitty-grittys. Go read it!

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