Kickstarter Film Fest LA!

Fun fact: there are more Kickstarter creators in Los Angeles than in any other city in the world. That's why it was a no-brainer to host the second stop of our 2014 Film Fest there. On September 12th in Griffith Park, about 3,000 people joined us for film selections, food, music, and fun. 

We've talked a lot about the programming already — you can see the lineup of the film selections we showed right here — but it's worth mentioning that both Night of the Living Deb and Little Feet were audience favorites (probably for all of their LA references). 

Carpool DeVille looking majestic
Carpool DeVille looking majestic

A not-so-surprising hit of the evening was the Carpool DeVille, aka the World's Fastest Hot Tub — because who wouldn't want to see a working jacuzzi that's built into a 1960 Caddy? All evening, the creators of this wondrous aquamobile had their lights on, and they were gracious about popping the hood to let kids get a look at how it worked. Some people even got to dip their feet in. 

Setting up Black Rock Observatory
Setting up Black Rock Observatory

Another highlight was the Black Rock Observatory, a working observatory containing a powerful telescope housed in a geometric dome. The Black Rock folks (dressed in orange NASA suits) arrived straight after Burning Man, where they'd been just days before. There was a long line to get in all night. They were also pointing lasers at stars. Something cool about the Observatory is that it has no nails or screws; the entire thing fits together without attachers.

As for food, the Reuben Truck and Max City BBQ were super popular. The Reuben Truck even featured their backers' names painted all over it. Lots of people tried out the Bureo skateboard and Acton RocketSkates, and kids were really into the 3D printers that LA Makerspace brought. 

We saw planters with feet. The wonderful John Vanderslice covered "Graceland" by Paul Simon. And (last but not least) there were tons of adorable dogs, proving that the coasts can agree on the importance of bringing man's best friend along. Thanks, LA, see you again soon! 

Kickstarter in Scandinavia and Ireland!

We’re so excited to announce that Kickstarter is now available to creators in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Ireland — four countries with amazing cultural histories and creative populations. From LEGO to Röyksopp to The Seventh Seal to James Joyce, these countries have contributed some amazing stuff to our world. We can’t wait to see what’s next!

Starting now, people in Scandinavia and Ireland can start building their projects here. On October 21, those projects can be launched to the public. We’ll send an email that day letting everyone know when exactly they can click the launch button.

Here’s how it will work:

So Scandinavian and Irish creators can start building their Kickstarter projects as early as today, and launch them beginning in October? 

Yes. We thought a few weeks would give everyone plenty of time to build and tweak their projects — film a great video, develop awesome rewards — before launching.

Will there be a Scandinavia-specific or Ireland-specific Kickstarter site? 

Nope — Scandinavian and Irish projects will join the worldwide community of Kickstarter projects. But if you only want to see projects from home, you can search Kickstarter by location!

Can people outside Scandinavia and Ireland pledge to Scandinavian and Irish projects? 

Yes! As with all other projects on Kickstarter, backers can pledge to projects no matter where they are.

What currency will Scandinavian and Irish projects be listed in? 

Local currency for everyone! Danish kroner, Swedish kronor, Norwegian kroner, and the euro in Ireland. You can use your local banking and business details, and if your project is successfully funded, pledges will be collected in your local currency and transferred to you.

What payment methods are accepted for pledges? 

Right now, pledges can be made with any Visa, MasterCard, or American Express card.

What language should my project be in? 

Use whatever language works best for your project. But we do recommend that all projects also include an English version of their description, rewards, and other important elements. Kickstarter is a global community, and including translations will definitely help your project have a wider appeal. It also makes it easier for us to help you and your backers if a problem comes up.

What are the fees? 

Kickstarter only collects a fee when a project is successfully funded. If that happens, we charge 5%. The partners that process payments for us also charge a fee, which varies depending on where you’re located. For more info, see here. If a project is not successfully funded, there are no fees.

Who can launch a project? 

Almost anyone! You need to be at least 18 years old, and you should be a permanent resident of a country where Kickstarter has launched. You have to start the project in your own name, or on behalf of a legal entity with a valid business number. And you’ll need things like a mailing address, bank account, identification, and a major credit or debit card.

What about taxes? 

In general, funds raised on Kickstarter are subject to taxes. That said, how much you owe can vary based on a number of factors. We highly recommend talking to an accountant or tax advisor. They can guide you through your particular tax scenario in the most advantageous way possible.

The Kickstarter Film Fest Arrives in Los Angeles

Tonight, September 12th, at The Autry in Griffith Park in Los Angeles the Kickstarter Film Fest is happening. You've probably heard a bit about this by now. We did it in New York and a whole lot of people came out and watched a bunch of clips from a diverse selection of Kickstarter-funded films. We also put the whole program online, in case you couldn't make it. Now we're coming to LA, also known as the primary home to basically the entire US film industry. In addition to the films (you can see the list of those right here), there's also plenty of food and cool stuff to look at, like a hot tub that is built into a car. Right below this sentence you can see a cool infographic about Kickstarter and Los Angeles and film (also some information about surfing, skateboarding and denim).

Kickstarter + Art Basel

Art has always been a hugely important aspect of Kickstarter. We’ve seen everything from art on a traveling truck to a musical house to the painting of an entire neighborhood. People from all over the world have pledged more than $40 million to art projects. There are hundreds of great art projects live now — in diverse subcategories like ceramics, public art, mixed media and illustration.

Our enthusiasm for art of all kinds is part of why we’re so excited that Art Basel, which stages the world’s premier international art fairs on three continents, has chosen to launch a partnership with us. Their new curated page will feature projects by non-profit visual arts organizations organizations, and they’re starting with four great ones:

  • 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art wants to stage a multi-disciplinary exhibition with the Chinese artist collective Yangjiang Group in Sydney’s Chinatown neighborhood. 
  • Gasworks, a London-based organization that promotes international artist exchanges, seeks support to build additional artist studios. 
  • The Society for the Activation of Social Space through Art and Sound is looking for support to produce a concert of new contemporary sound works in the scenic hills of Greater Los Angeles. 
  • SculptureCenter, New York City’s only contemporary art institution dedicated to sculpture, seeks funding for the first solo museum survey in the United States of Thai artist Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook.

Art Basel’s powerful imprimatur will help the organizations behind these projects and the artists involved to get the attention they deserve. You can read a bit more about this initiative in the New York Times or on Art Basel’s website. We can’t wait to see more beautiful, innovative and thought-provoking art come to life.

Kickstarter in Canada: the Yearbook

It's been a whole year since Kickstarter went live in Canada! In that time, over $24 million CAD was pledged to more than 3,700 projects. We wanted to round up a few (okay, twelve — one for each month) of our favourites from the north. Read below for a list of projects that are sometimes wonderful, sometimes weird, and well-built all around. 

Most Socially Conscious: The Tar Sands Reporting Project

An award-winning team of journalists from the Vancouver Observer set out to tell the story of the men and women working in the dangerous Canadian tar sands. The project is much more than news: it’s a story about people, their daily lives, and the often difficult relationship they have with the oil industry. The project found success with 741 backers, and now encompasses a digital platform as well as a film.

Most Likely to Spit Rhymes at the Canadian Prime Minister: Shane Koyczan

Shane Koyczan is a poetry superstar. He’s given a moving TED talk on bullying that inspired thousands of people, and some of his fans have even tattooed his words onto their bodies. In February, Koyczan brought his new book A Bruise On Light to Kickstarter, and now he holds the record for highest-funded poetry project ever on the site.

Most Likely to Replace “Late Night Poutine”: Kanga

Three words: Aussie Meat Pies. In Toronto. Ok, that was five, but you get the gist! Thanks to their 289 backers, the ladies from Kanga have set up shop in the heart of Downtown Toronto, and as of May 23rd, they’re serving classic Aussie fare to the masses. Watch your back, poutine.

Most Likely to Perpetrate an Internet Hoax: Half-Cat

In Half-Cat, famed (and possibly nonexistent) scientist Erwin Hobbes takes on the phenomenon of rare bipedal cats. The book’s a collection of apocrypha on the subject: anecdotes, rare photos, and scientific diagrams of two-legged felines, all bound together into a slim fabric-covered volume. We’re not quite sure what’s true and what isn’t here, but we love it.

Most Likely to Be a Heritage Moment: Rhythm of the Hayes

Jennifer Ford is following in her father’s footsteps north up the Hayes River in Manitoba. She’s paddling 380 miles over 25 days, retracing the route he took four decades ago from Lake Winnipeg to Hudson’s Bay, and filming the whole experience. Straight up Canadian Wilderness.

Most Impressive Canadian Comeback: Spaceteam Admiral's Club

His first time on Kickstarter, developer Henry Smith of Spaceteam Admiral’s Club raised 81% of his goal with the help of 1403 backers. It was impressive, but not quite enough to send him over the edge. His second time, however, 613 new backers joined the Spaceteam team to help Smith continue making his games free and available to everyone.

Most Anticipated Film Adaptation: Corner Gas: the Movie

During its run from 2004-2009, Corner Gas was one of the most successful Canadian TV shows ever. Following in the footsteps of Veronica Mars, the Canuck fan favourite ran a very successful campaign to bring Dog River’s quirkiest characters back, and to the big screen, with the help of 2,526 fans. All right!

Tastiest Thing You Didn’t Know You Needed: Castor Toothpicks 

As a tool, the toothpick predates modern humanity; despite its long stay as a personal necessity, it’s never really been revamped. Enter the Castor, a toothpick covered with flavour powder, to be used for presenting hors d’oeuvres and imparting them with flavour combinations such as Wasabi & Raspberry, Marshmallow & Smoke, and Maple & Bacon (classic!). We didn’t even know we were missing this, but we totally were.

Biggest Fashion Revolution: Mia Melon

Who says raincoats have to be dumpy? Mia Melon debuted their fashion-forward weatherproof coat line in 2011, and since then, they've been in high demand. They ran this project to do a full production run and focus on what they do best.

Most Likely To Pop a Really Fancy Wheelie: Vanhawks Valour Bikes

The people behind Vanhawks Valour made a connected bike. What does that mean? Well, it tracks your fitness stats and keeps you safe by alerting you of things in your blind spot with haptic feedback. It also syncs with your phone, all while looking pretty darn cool. (Bonus: it’s well worth it to read their blog, where they’ve been detailing everything from the making of the handlebars to the UI/UX design of the app).

Speediest: Eta, the World's Fastest Bike

Last year, these two-time creators built a human-powered helicopter and conquered the air. Now, they've got another impressive goal: to build the world’s fastest human-powered land vehicle to surpass the current speed record of 83.1 MPH. The fastest bike in the world will be built by a team of student designers to reach highway speeds, and it’s sure to be a feat of efficient engineering. Like us, the 221 backers are excited about watching it come together.

Most Caffeinated: Kaffeeklatsch 

Calgary’s Kaffeeklatsch is more than a place to get a coffee fix: it’s a popup mobile coffee station in a 25-square-foot pantry in CommunityWise Resource Centre, a building with a solid history of social justice work.

Stop Internet Slow Lanes

When you click around the Internet today, you might see a well-known and much-loathed symbol: the spinning wheel that means loading, waiting, pausing, buffering, and waiting some more.

No one wants to see this! It’s the worst! But today we, and some of our favorite sites, are choosing to display it as a form of protest. We’re speaking out against the FCC’s draft Internet regulations that would allow cable companies to create a two-tiered Internet, divided into fast and slow lanes. These proposed rules would stifle innovation, discourage creativity, and destroy the Internet that we know and love.

We’ve been speaking out about Net Neutrality for a while, in the Washington Post and on this blog. But now it’s really down to the wire, with final comments due to the FCC on September 15. Today is the day to tell our elected officials: this isn't right, and we won't stand for it. Please call your Senator and add your name to this letter of support. Otherwise we’ll all be seeing a lot more of that spinning wheel.

Thank you.

Introducing the #LOL Tag

What is comedy? Webster's Dictionary defines it as ... haha, just kidding. We wouldn't do that to you. 

Comedy is definable in the broadest sense, but also so personal. Because of its specific nature, actually defining Kickstarter projects as comedy is tricky. It makes sense to put, say, The Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival in the comedy tag (comedy is in the name), but what about more conceptual projects like the Nicolas Cage Tea-Towels or the Sleepy Hoosband Calendar? What if you don't think those are funny? Turns out that's okay, because our new (and growing) #LOL tag encompasses all kinds of comedy projects, from Obvious Child to The UK's First Major Bubble Football Tournament, to the project where Kurt Braunohler hired a skywriter to write stuff like "how do I land?" in the sky. 

The tag is still growing, and will probably continue to grow as long as people have weird, idiosyncratic ideas they'd like to bring into the real world. Check it out right here.

Meet the Team: Maris and Alex C.

We thought it would be nice to introduce ourselves. So every so often, 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 Maris and Alex C.:

Maris Kreizman (@mariskreizman)

Job: "I help publishing and theater people make great Kickstarter projects." (Note: Maris is also the creator of the immensely lovable and popular Slaughterhouse90210, and also apparently too modest to slip that in here.)

  • Moby Dick Marathon Reading — "I love reminding bookish types that they can use Kickstarter for many different kinds of literary endeavors. My friend Amanda raised funds to set up a weekend-long, marathon reading of Moby Dick, which will feature tons of great writers, some interesting pronunciations of 'Queequeg' and plenty of clam chowder."
  • Reductress — "Reductress is to women’s magazines as The Onion is to journalism and Clickhole is to web content. The satirical website, with features such as 'Serial Optimist Exhausts Entire Group of Friends' and 'Twenty Quotes to Cheer Up Your Smaller Boob,' cuts through the bullshit and is sure to inspire giggles."
  • Cutting Off Kate Bush — "'Cathy is having a crisis. And she's venting on YouTube. Through the medium of Kate Bush. Yep.' This description for a wonderfully emo one-woman show made me feel like maybe actress/playwright Lucy Benson-Brown might be my spiritual soulmate. I only wish I could’ve traveled to the Edinburgh Fringe Fest to see it live."

Alex Cox (@alexncox)

Job: "I write code in Ruby and Javascript. And I paint."

  • Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle: Book One Special Edition — "I backed this project because my coworkers Shayne and Callan said the book was interesting, and because it was run by a publisher whose office was across the hall from my painting studio. It turned out to be one of those defining moments in my life as a reader. A surprising book, a book that changed the way things were for me. I love the edition they printed through the Kickstarter, and I'm learning more about the great publisher now: Archipelago Books."
  • Disko: Photographs of Lithuanian village discos — "I think this is real art. Some of these photos have a crazy power to me, but what got me to really look was the author referring to the forest rites scene in the film Andrei Rublev, which I generally worship with something like a religious fervor. A pagan religious fervor, of course."
  • + POOL, Tile by Tile — "I think I tweeted about this once, that the concept of the pool was inspiring and depressing at the same time, depending on how you looked at it. It seems, incredibly to me, like it actually has a chance of happening now. The idea that we played a role in that is wonderful."