Potato Salad: By the Numbers

When you work at Kickstarter, you come across amazing projects all the time. But in the site’s five-year history we’ve never seen anything quite like Zack Brown’s potato salad project.

It wasn’t the project’s ambitions that blew us away, because... well, it wasn’t very ambitious, at least at first. It was the reaction Zack got from all corners of the Internet: head-scratching, laughter, loud harrumphing, pure delight. And it was Zack’s graceful handling of a project that quickly became far too big to fit in a bowl.

The potato salad project ended Saturday with $55,492 in pledges from 6,911 backers. Here’s a look at how it got there.

Zack’s project started popping up in the press almost immediately. On July 6th, three days after it went live, Zack was on local TV news in Columbus, Ohio, expressing amazement at how the thing had blown up. At the time he had fewer than 200 backers.

Traffic to the project page quickly took off and eventually reached 4.1 million visits.

That made it the fourth-most-viewed project page in Kickstarter’s history. The top ten:

  1. Ouya game console
  2. Pebble watch
  3. Veronica Mars movie
  4. Potato Salad
  5. Double Fine Adventure
  6. Project Eternity
  7. Penny Arcade
  8. Reading Rainbow
  9. Mighty No. 9
  10. Oculus Rift

It’s funny to think that more people have seen the potato salad project than Oculus Rift, but hey, the Internet is a crazy place.

Despite all the traffic, the project received fewer pledges than anything else on that list. Here's a breakdown of pledges by day, showing a big surge at the start and then a flurry of backers getting in just before the deadline:

Hunger for potato salad knows no borders: people in 74 countries supported the project. Here are the top ten:

Country Backers
United States 4,676
United Kingdom  419
Canada 363
Australia 220
Germany 179
France 107
Sweden 82
Denmark 54
Netherlands 53
Switzerland 46

Among countries with more than five backers, Norway had the highest average pledge at $12, followed by South Korea and Sweden.

About two-thirds of Zack’s backers were from the US, and they pledged a total of $41,166. Here is a breakdown showing what percentage of that total came from each state:

(We've omitted some states, including those contributing less than 0.5% of total money pledged to potato salad)
(We've omitted some states, including those contributing less than 0.5% of total money pledged to potato salad)

Ohio, California, and New York pledged the most to the project. Ohio was no surprise, as it’s Zack’s home state. In fact, if we zoom in on Ohio, there’s particular strength around Columbus, Zack’s hometown, where his friends and neighbors wanted to come along for the ride. More than 62% of the money in Ohio came from Franklin County, which includes Columbus. Columbus is now gearing up to host PotatoStock 2014 next month.

As you might expect, most pledges to this project were small. Backers averaged $8.03 per pledge, compared with a Kickstarter-wide average of $77.51.

Most of the project's backers were not new to Kickstarter: 72% were repeat backers. In fact, even when you include the newcomers, potato salad backers have backed an average of 15 projects on Kickstarter! So while this was a global joke on the Internet, backing the project became an inside joke among core Kickstarter fans.

Here are the projects that people backed the most before they backed the potato salad project:

  1. Reading Rainbow - 868 backers
  2. Double Fine Adventure - 437 backers
  3. Ouya - 343 backers
  4. Mighty No. 9 - 340 backers
  5. Torment: Tides of Numenera - 293 backers
  6. The Veronica Mars Movie Project - 276 backers
  7. Project Eternity - 262 backers
  8. Pebble - 245 backers
  9. Wasteland 2 - 239 backers
  10. Kung Fury - 230 backers

...and those they've backed since potato salad:

  1. Coolest Cooler - 101 backers
  2. Sense - 99 backers
  3. Bunch O Balloons - 95 backers
  4. Electric Objects - 39 backers
  5. Litographs Tattoos - 36 backers
  6. The Deer God - 36 backers
  7. Bibliotheca - 34 backers
  8. NudeAudio Super-M - 30 backers
  9. The Resistance - 29 backers
  10. Timespinner - 27 backers

The project also received an incredible amount of press. According to the media analytics service Meltwater, it got 2,068 media mentions in 54 countries.

Country Media Mentions
United States 1,319
Australia 272
Canada 95
United Kingdom  70
India 49
Singapore 29
Malaysia 24
Germany 20
New Zealand 20
China 18

Some of our favorite features were in The New Yorker, Good Morning America, Columbus Alive, and The Verge (and also The Verge).

Tons of people would have watched Zack’s project video — except that he didn’t make one. Here’s our favorite of his video updates:

Zack’s project inspired some handwringing about What It All Means. Here’s one take: Kickstarter is a good place to aim high and go big, but small projects are great too. If you want to make something to share with others, maybe you just need ten or 20 or 50 people to get your idea off the ground. And if it turns out that 6,911 people share your vision for potato salad… then you’re going to need some more potatoes.

We look forward to seeing your project! And maybe we’ll see you at PotatoStock 2014.

Got ideas for other fun things we could do with all the great data we have at Kickstarter? Write to us: stories@kickstarter.com.

Meet the Team: Margot and Nitsuh

We thought it would be nice to introduce ourselves. So every week, a couple members of the Kickstarter team will be saying hello, and picking out a few projects — past or present, successful or not — that they're especially fond of. (They will also be posing for GIFs. The GIFs are mandatory.)

This week, meet Margot and Nitsuh:

Margot Atwell (@MargotAtwell)

Job: "I'm the Publishing and Dance Community Manager, which means that I help writers, publishers, dancers, and other creative types use Kickstarter to raise money and build community around their creative projects." (Note that Margot also has what might be my favorite of all the names in the Gotham Girls Roller Derby: Em Dash.)

  • Anchored in Deep Water: The Fisherpoets Anthology — "I love this unusual project to create books of poetry by fisherpoets. The art is really stunning. Plus, Astoria, Oregon, is one of the most intriguing, haunted places I've ever been."
  • Children's Performance of Tibetan Snow Lion Dance — "The Jhamtse Ghatsal Children's Community used Kickstarter to raise money to create costumes for a traditional dance. You should watch the video — it's so joyful! It made me feel welcomed into a community I knew nothing about. I would love to see one of these dances in person one day."
  • Bluecrowne (Arcana Project #2) — "I love the way cross-over author Kate Milford reached out directly to her fans and supporters to make two novels exactly the way she wants to make them, with high production values and gorgeous covers, using McNally Jackson's Espresso Book Machine."
  • Amazing Capes — "Every kid understands the transformative power of the right piece of clothing. Just put on a cape and suddenly you're a superhero or a villain--whatever you want to be. Grownups sometimes forget about how powerful imagination can be. I think everyone's life would be better if they had an Amazing Cape."

Nitsuh Abebe (@ntabebe)

Job: "I'm a writer, so ... I generally just write assorted stuff. I also make my colleagues pose for these GIFs."

  • Need a Huge Painted Mural in My Smog Check Station — "Nick Andrew Kosta runs a smog-check station in California. I guess at some point it occurred to him that there's no good reason a smog-check station has to be some gray despairing spot where you trudge grimly through the process of getting your car inspected, so he's hoping to add a nice mural, and send you a postcard of it. This project taught me that apparently the smog-check game is really, really competitive?"
  • Croissant Man: A Web Series about Depressed Pastries — "The project video has director Tulica Singh arguing with a grumpy croissant, which is really something. But mostly I'd like to direct your attention to the series preview video a little down the page, in which two human fingers do some genuinely fantastic acting. (I'm not trying to be funny — I really feel like these are straight up the Meryl Streeps of fingers.) This project taught me that finger body language is a very real thing."
  • Black Rabbit Dice: Brain Training Games for Kids and Adults — "McKay Anderson (who seems super-nice) is making something simple and cool — sets of wooden dice with little pictograms on each face. You roll them, then use the results to tell stories, play word games, and do other fun human-brain things that don't involve electricity. This project reminded me that I always get too excited about dice that have anything besides numbers on them, which I blame on reading this fantasy book as a kid."
  • punkrockpaperscissors relaunch — "Lee Loughridge spent the 80s going to a lot of east-coast punk and hardcore shows, and collecting the show flyers. The goal of this project was to collect them all in a nice big hardcover book. It turned out great. Look, it's on my desk right now!"

Three Creators on Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Edinburgh Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival. Taking place over the month of August, it’s a showcase for performing arts as well as a place to discover new, innovative work. It's also a totally un-juried festival with no selection committee, so any type of performance can participate. Since 2009, we at Kickstarter have seen hundreds of Fringe projects come through our virtual doors. It’s been an awe-inspiring array: ensemble pieces, one-man shows, musicals, gritty drama, comedy, surrealism, and many, many works that don't fall comfortably into any category. We collected them here — take a look. 

A large number of artists, collectives, and groups travel from far away to Edinburgh to attend Festival Fringe. We talked to three creators about their performances, what it was like to put them together, and how they took them to Scotland.

Lucy Brown, Cutting Off Kate Bush
Lucy Brown, Cutting Off Kate Bush

Would you briefly describe your piece?

Lucy Benson-Brown, Cutting Off Kate Bush: My piece is a one-woman show about a young girl called Cathy who finds a box of her Mum's Kate Bush records and starts listening to them. As she does so, she starts to remember these stories... about her childhood, about her mum. Amazed, she starts to blog her findings on YouTube by making videos. She talks to the camera, she dances to Kate Bush’s music, all in the aim to try and remember as much possible. With that, of course, comes a certain amount of consequences. Kate Bush’s music has been so central to my adolescence, I really connect with her storytelling and her musicality. In my opinion she has some of the best lyrics out there and her music lends itself so well to the theatre.

Kate Jones, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind: It’s an ongoing, ever-changing and always original attempt to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes. Created by Greg Allen, written and performed by award-winning Neo-Futurists from San Francisco, Chicago, and New York, the show is never the same twice.

Ben McFarland, The Thinking Drinkers' Guide to the Legends of Liquor: With the catchphrase "Drink Less, Drink Better," we celebrate the men and women who have used alcohol to light a fire under the rocking chair of moribund ideas rather than those irresponsible imbibers who have given drink its devilish reputation.

Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham, The Thinking Drinkers' Guide
Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham, The Thinking Drinkers' Guide

What did you do to prepare for Fringe?

Kate Jones: We've been preparing for quite some time. After we settled the venue, we needed to cast the show, and we wanted the three companies represented. We started to curate the menu of our show, which is comprised of 30 original plays in 60 minutes, all of which are authored by a member of the Neo-Futurists, and on some level, the plays are autobiographical. We asked the three companies to put forward work that was representative of their unique ensemble. We started with almost 400 on offer, and got down to 80. Plus, we've left room for new work to be written about the experiences, giving us a different show every night. (Somewhere between one and six plays will be cut from the menu and replaced with another play every single day.) Putting the show together over the last few days has been a non-stop adrenaline rush — building props, memorizing lines, learning dances, learning blocking and cues... But it's also been really fun! We've got three new plays we're world-premiering tomorrow, all written in the last two days (including references to our apartment fire!), so we're quite excited.

Lucy Benson-Brown: I've performed at the Fringe twice before but I actually haven't been back for about nine years. I always wanted to take a solo show and at the beginning of the year I had this idea and before I knew it, I had applied and here we are. At the moment, it's just working the story and trying to tell the best version of it that I can.

Ben McFarland: We wanted to do a show as we wanted to take the "tutored tasting concept to another level – beyond just talking through how something tastes and how it’s made – and putting it into a historical and cultural context. Our whole approach is designed to urge people to “drink less but drink better.” 

This is the fourth year we’ve done the Fringe, but the first year of a new show, so we’ve been preparing for it by feverishly learning lines, lyrics, dance moves, getting costumes and set together etc. It’s a fairly intense time but really good fun.

Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind
Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind

What was it like traveling with your show, and have you traveled before?

Kate Jones: Traveling was a bit difficult. The ensemble was converging on Edinburgh from all over: San Francisco, Chicago, New York, London and one performer had to fly in directly from a performance at San Diego Comic-Con, after being on tour for a month prior. While the majority of performers were in the air, our accommodation caught fire when the landlord tried to use a bug bomb to fumigate the flat. It was uninhabitable and made you feel like you were giving yourself black lung while you were standing in it. Our managing director had to phone up friends to get extra beds until we could find a suitable replacement, though some stayed in other rooms in that flat that were in better condition. The air quality was terrible. It was really stressful — we had nowhere to rehearse and tried meeting outside, but the weather is unpredictable and we need a lot of electronics to run the show. We were quite unfocused until we got into our flat.

Lucy Benson-Brown: This piece is brand new; it will be premiering at Edinburgh so I haven't travelled with it before. I have, however, experienced some strange coincidences that I think perhaps only come with working with Kate’s music; I'm convinced it's magical or something. First of all, I already wrote the piece and had my offer and had pretty much signed the contract and then ten days later, Kate Bush announced that she would be performing again after 35 years. We finish on the 25th of August, and Kate’s first Hammersmith date is the 26th. Our opening show in Edinburgh is the 30th of July, which just so happens to be Kate’s birthday. It's all very strange and I'm sure we're to find out what it all means as we embark on our run at the Fringe.

Ben McFarland: We’ve performed the show at The Soho Theatre in London and The Cheltenham Festival and we’re going on a tour around the south east in the Autumn.

To catch Cutting Off Kate Bush, The Thinking Drinkers' Guide, or Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, see the schedule of performances here

Kickstarter at Comic-Con: Bill Plympton in a Nutshell

This week we're at San Diego Comic-Con alongside tons of Kickstarter creators. Heading to the convention? Here's the low-down on the events, panels, and projects in attendance. In the meantime, we thought we'd profile some of the creators who are at Comic-Con, starting with legendary animator Bill Plympton, whose efforts to restore Windsor McCay's classic Flying House and his latest feature-length film Cheatin' were both Kickstarter projects.

In Bill Plympton’s now-iconic 1988 short “One of Those Days,” the main character has a terrible day. Told entirely through scratchy, frenetic colored pencils and drawn in first person POV, Plympton’s character accidentally shaves his nose off his face, drops his toast, gets beat up and, after a battery of rough moments, accidentally blows his own house up. It’s not dated, but it does feel out of time: it’s a far cry from Disney gloss, and even further from the Pixar-sheen that modern day animation has appropriated.

Plympton always existed just outside the mainstream animation world anyway. His work was often darker, weirder, and more adult than what else was out there. Watching a Plympton animation feels like you’re watching the whole process, like he’s sketching the entire thing live, right in front of your eyes.

Just the other day, we posted a guide to Kickstarter at San Diego Comic-Con. Bill Plympton will be attending and speaking at a panel. Last year, he funded his seventh feature-length animated project, Cheatin', through Kickstarter. It was, by all accounts, daunting to make. Plympton diverged from his rougher signature style, in favor of lush, hand-painted animation. It feels a lot calmer, but is still very recognizably his work. It's not without precedent, either. Though animated films are still released at a steady clip, they're often the work of large studios, which have a much wider reach than an independent production. 

Last year, to get an idea of where Plympton was coming from, we asked him about some of his favorite animated films. You can see that list here. Tellingly, it features a couple early Disney productions and will probably make you want to re-watch Dumbo.

Plympton’s back catalog is deep, and there’s a lot to explore. All of it—right down to the commercial work—is idiosyncratic, but even during the most surreal moments, it still feels so relatable, so undeniably human.

 Cheatin' Trailer (2013)

 Excerpt from feature-length The Tune (1992)

"Summer Bummer" (2012)

Series of Geico commercials  (1999)

Kanye West animated video "Heard Em Say" (2005)

"Bird is the Word" (2005)

Excerpt from Guard Dog (2004)

Kickstarter at San Diego Comic-Con International 2014

San Diego’s Comic-Con International is one of the largest conventions of its kind. Large enough, in fact, that our diligent comics team here at the office was able to pull an entire roster of projects and creators that have come through Kickstarter and will be at SDCC this week. There are panels, projects, artists, writers and even a few(!) Eisner nominees. We’ll be there, presenting a number of events with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

Look below for some highlights of Kickstarter at Comic-Con International.


How to Kickstart Your Dream Like a Pro

Want to know how to run a successful Kickstarter campaign? Join our very own Craig Engler as he moderates a panel featuring writer/producers Jane Espenson and Brad Bell (Husbands), writer/artist/inker Jimmy Palmiotti (Denver, Forager, like a million other things) and artist John Picacio. Pick up some tips!

Spotlight on Bill Finger, the Co-Creator of Batman 

Bill Finger, an artist responsible for the uncredited co-creation of Batman, as well as a host of his supporting characters would have been 100 this year. His granddaughter Athena Finger used Kickstarter to fund the documentary The Cape Creator: A Tribute to Bill Finger. Now join her, along with a host of other comics luminaries as they spotlight Finger’s important, legendary career.

Meet Bill Plympton 

Bill Plympton’s now classic hand drawn animation has been a cultural staple since the ’70s, so we were beyond excited when he used Kickstarter to fund Cheatin, his newest animated feature. Plympton will be on hand to talk about his work, show some clips and talk about how he put together his most recent works.


Spotlight on Sara Mayhew 

Kickstarter-funded Legend of the Ztarr creator Sara Mayhew will speak on promotion humanism and critical thinking through pop culture.

Free Enterprise: 15th Anniversary Reunion 

Fifteen years ago, the romantic comedy Free Enterprise was released. Now, the cast and crew reunites to discuss the cult classic and their efforts to produce a Free Enterprise TV pilot through Kickstarter.

The Thrilling Adventure Hour 

Ben Acker and Ben Blacker are the creators of the comedy variety show The Thrilling Adventure Hour, which they turned into an Eisner-nominated anthology comic. The pair will be on hand, along with a roster of contributors, to discuss what they’ve been doing, and what they plan on doing next.


Francois Schuiten: Architects of Obscure Cities

Last year, Stephen Smith ran a Kickstarter campaign to fund his translation of Francois Schuiten and Benoit Peeters’ French graphic novel The Leaning Girl, the first in a series of proposed translations of the entire important Obscure Cities collection. Smith, along with Peeters and Schuiten, will be on-hand to discuss the series and subsequent translation.

Fantagraphics Forward 

Fantagraphics, one of the most important independent comics publishers in the world turned to Kickstarter last year to fund a year’s worth of their books. On their panel they’ll be previewing future projects and talking to notable creators like Don Rosa (Uncle Scrooge, Donald Duck), Drew Friedman (Heroes of the Comics), and more.

Ways to Increase Success on your Self-Published Kickstarter Project 

Paul Roman Martinez, Travis Hanson and Daniel Davis are three creators that have run ten successful crowd-funded projects between them. They’re going to offer some tips on how they did it.


Fund My Comic 

Thanks to the internet, self-publishing your own comic isn’t as difficult as it used to be. ComiXology co-founder John D. Roberts, Jimmy Palmiotti (who has done a few Kickstarter projects himself), Jamal Igle and Kel McDonald, will walk you through the whole process, from creation through funding, and finally, to publication.

 Want to find us? Just send an email to Comics@Kickstarter.com, and we can set up a time to meet.

What's Up Pittsburgh!

One of the giants of the Rust Belt, Pittsburgh is the second-largest metropolitan area in Pennsylvania. It's got an industrial history and reputation, but it's also a creative haven — we've seen tons of cool projects from Steel City, and it felt like time to highlight a few of them. 

Below, you'll find a roundup of great Pittsburgh projects, from food to poetry to an opera made out of air. (See more great projects here.) 

Six poets (and former Carnegie Mellon students) decided to do a poetry tour, workshop series, and documentary. The Line Assembly Poetry Tour was the result. We caught up with Line Assembly (Adam Atkinson, Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Zach Harris, Ben Pelhan, Anne Marie Rooney, and S.E. Smith) last summer at the New York City Poetry Festival and heard them read. After traveling together for weeks, their performances meshed together seamlessly and they could practically complete each other's lines. 

Don Moyer's Calamityware is the best series of disaster-based plates we've ever seen. The plates he makes feature a classic blue-and-white color scheme, but depict horrible things such as menacing hordes of flying monkeys, robots bent on metropolitan destruction, and — his most recent — a voracious sea creature.  

For Mysterious Letters, creators Lenka and Michael sent hundreds of letters from Poplar, UK to Pittsburgh. Residents received the letters, which appeared to be of unknown origin. The missives caused confusion and delight (and even ended up on the news). Long live the epistolary tradition.

Superior Motors may be in nearby Braddock, but chef Kevin Sousa deserves a mention on this list for his long-standing involvement with the Pittsburgh food scene. It's also a notable project because Braddock was a community with no functioning restaurant or existing food infrastructure. Superior Motors proved that fresh food does not have to be exclusionary. 

Pneumatica is Squonk Opera's show about air. Air-powered instruments like bagpipes make the sounds, and a giant sculpture named Lady Pneumatica, with accordion lungs, will play while inflatables permeate the audience. If you're in the Pittsburgh area, find out the details here

Railroads is a game about the railroad tracks of the northeast. It takes place on a map, and you build railroads to connect the cities. It's industrial down to the details: the board and pieces are made out of wood using Pittsburgh small-scale manufacturing equipment.  

Immaculate Reception is a short narrative film that takes place during the 1972 playoff game between the Steelers and the Raiders. In the midst of all this commotion, the protagonist, a shy 16-year-old named Joey, tries to win over the girl of his dreams. Production for the film included an audio recreation of the broadcast of the game. Immaculate Reception headed to Sundance earlier this year.

A recap of the Kickstarter Film Fest 2014 in Brooklyn!

On Friday we invited everyone to Fort Greene Park to watch a selection of Kickstarter-funded films that came to life over the past year. The weather was glorious as thousands of people spread blankets on the grass and waited for the sun to set. Asphalt Orchestra marched through the crowd with trombones and a tuba to kick things off, and when the trailers began, fireflies floated around the edges of the lawn.

We loved hearing everyone react to the films we selected — there were oohs and ahhs at the amazing moments, and laughs at all the good jokes. It was a great mix of neighborhood folks who happened to find us, and film aficionados who had marked their calendars long ago — plus, a lot of really cute dogs. Many of the featured filmmakers came to town just for the event, and they got to meet their supporters as well as new fans. And afterwards, we got to read mini reviews of the films on Twitter and see all the beautiful photos everyone posted.

Thanks to everyone who came to the Film Fest, and everyone who creates or supports film on Kickstarter. You're all amazing.

P.S. In case you missed it, you can watch the whole program right now!

What Are We Watching?

The fourth annual Kickstarter Film Fest begins tonight, with a screening in Brooklyn! (If you can't make it, don't worry — we've got screenings to come in London, Los Angeles, and at your house.) Yesterday, we asked some of the creators who've participated in our film fests about the movies they've been enjoying lately. Today, we asked around the Kickstarter office to get recommendations for things you can check out on our Watch page — a selection of hundreds of Kickstarter-funded films you can watch online, right now.

Here's what we heard:

Jamie (our comics specialist) recommends Room 237, “a fascinating and fun look into theories around Kubrick’s The Shining, and at obsession in general.” (Jamie is possibly understating just how wonderfully obsessive some of these people’s theories about The Shining really are — one guy builds a meticulous case that the film is Kubrick’s way of confessing that he helped fake the moon landing.) Jamie would also recommend Meanwhile, “a terrific recent movie from independent film icon Hal Hartley,” and Urbanized, “Gary Hustwit’s outstanding documentary on urban design.”

Katherine (from our support team) recommends Indie Game: The Movie — an “inside look into the brains of game developers, the effort it takes to make your dream come alive, and how emotionally devastating it can be when things go wrong. Everyone should be more sympathetic to creators!”

Nitsuh (a writer) recommends a goofy lowbrow buddy comedy called Ass Backwards: “As a person who will basically always laugh at June Diane Raphael’s ‘fancy’ schtick, I’m pretty glad to live in a world where she and Casey Wilson got to make this. Also if you’re one of those people who’s constantly referencing Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, this might make a nice temporary substitute.”

Justin J. (an engineer) recommends The Punk Singer — “a very personal jaunt through the Riot Grrl years and beyond, following the genre-defying work of Kathleen Hanna” — and Inequality for All: “More than just the An Inconvenient Truth of income inequality. Robert Reich’s unassailable dedication to his cause is inspiring and ultimately hopeful.”

Margaret (who puts together Kickstarter events)  recommends The Internet’s Own Boy, the much-praised documentary about programmer and activist Aaron Swartz — “a touching and fascinating history of the internet, told through the story of one of the pioneers.” (She’d also recommend Finding Vivian Maier, “a narrative mystery of one woman’s life, and the discovery of a trove of some of the 20th century’s finest photographs.” Chicagoans especially might love that one.)

Michael (who does a lot of things) recommends last year’s Tiny, about people who downsize their homes and live as minimally as possible — a “really charming film that explores the ideas of home, growth, and what’s gained by living life more simply.”

Liz C. (who works with film projects) recommends Trash Dance — “a beautiful portrait of the lives of Austin’s sanitation workers, and how they come around to the idea of working with an enthusiastic dance choreographer to put on a show for thousands.”

Brandon (an iOS developer) recommends Beauty Is Embarrassing, a documentary about visual artist Wayne White, whose work you might know from the set of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse or the cover of Lambchop’s Nixon: “White is an interesting guy, and this doc covers his work in NY, LA, and TN.”

Victoria (who works with creators) recommends Bridegroom, “a personal testament to the importance of marriage equality.”

Stephanie (who works with creators) recommends Boy, “one of my favorite films of 2013. It weaves art, pop culture, and life stories straight from New Zealand.” (She figures she can’t really top this description from its iTunes page: “Boy is a hilarious and heartfelt coming-of-age tale about heroes, magic, and Michael Jackson.”)

And Yancey (our CEO) recommends Brooklyn Castle, a documentary about how a budget-starved Brooklyn public school built the most winning junior-high chess team in the country: “So inspiring, great story, and great kids. Pobama!”