The Kickstarter Blog

Case Study: Grassroots Mapping

  1. Kaufman and Fan Cred: Two Most Funded Films, Back-to-Back

    Last Sunday, Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa ended with $406,237, becoming the most funded film project on Kickstarter to date. His success followed closely on the heels of another: a fantasy comedy web series called The Gamers: Hands of Fate, which held the title of Most Funded film for a brief two days after ending with $405,917 on the Friday before. 

    The two projects broke the record back-to-back, one by building on an established history of industry acclaim, the other by tapping into a thriving, underground community of likeminded fans. Both deliberately chose to sidestep institutional methods — and the funding that comes with it — in order to go directly to their respective communities. And both succeeded wildly. Here's how: 

    Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa


    Backers: 5,770
    Pledged: $406,237
    Goal: $200,000

    A critically acclaimed filmmaker with an established reputation (not to mention massive fan following) for pushing the limits of narrative and form, Charlie Kaufman pitched Anomalisa as a true passion project, calling it "the film he had always wanted to make." He then approached Kickstarter as a deliberate alternative to an established Hollywood system that he felt would compromise his creative vision. Truly, both his subject matter and medium were somewhat unconventional — a middle-aged man crippled by the mundanity of his everyday life, rendered in stop-motion animation — but fans were thrilled to give the beloved auteur free artistic reign.

    The team also doubled down in the project's final days, posting updates and offering a slew of limited new rewards that helped pull in over $23,000 in the last twenty four hours of funding time. (The tweet from Stephen Colbert didn't hurt, either.) 

    The Gamers: Hands of Fate

    Backers: 4,331
    Pledged: $405,917
    Goal: $320,000

    The Gamers didn't have a Hollywood pedigree. In fact, they had been turned down again and again by a television industry disinterested in their commercially unviable subject matter. When they came to Kickstarter, it was to tap directly into a loyal and highly active fan base that they knew existed (after all, they were part of it). Hands of Fate was their third successul Kickstarter project, but its exceptionally strong showing of support was built on more than just fan fervor — it was also the reputation for follow through, community, and consistently satisfying content that the team had established with their first two projects.


  2. Amanda Palmer's "Theatre is Evil" Comes To Life

    It seems just yesterday that Amanda Palmer was busy funding her next record and tour, and accumulating tens of thousands of backers and over $1,000,000 in the process. But time flies and today finds her full-length album, Theatre is Evil, officially available worldwide. Reviews and reactions have flooded in from industry heavyweights, fellow musicians, and enthusiastic fans alike.

    Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne mused to Fast Co. that, "her Kickstarter success is phenomenal, and now legendary... one can be inspired to think of all the unexpected ways one can make a life in music." The Washington Post posited "in a just world, it would be a huge hit. In this one, it answers any lingering questions about what Jane’s Addiction might sound like if it were fronted by Katy Perry." In a four star reviewThe Guardian wrote that "her third album reveals a vibrant songwriter as keen on the rigours of classical piano, polka and waltz as she is on punk."

    Support from fans remains at an all time high, with backers having reviewed their pre-release copies with happy tears, appropriately vulgar language (Palmer loves an F-bomb), animated GIFs, and even declarations of revolutionary intent — "This is the future of media, man, and we're making it!"

    Ben Folds showed some love with a tweet

    So did hubby, Neil Gaiman

    Prompted by Palmer to share their reactions with the hashtag #TheatreisEvil, listeners posted photos and tweets: 

    With some getting pretty adorably inspired

    And others getting linguistically inspired

    Theatre is Evil can be streamed online. You can catch Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra live tonight at Webster Hall in New York City. You can also listen to her play WNYC's Soundcheck today at 2PM EST. Congrats to Amanda and her amazing fans!

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