Creative spaces and independent businesses: Use Kickstarter to keep the lights on.
Creative spaces and independent businesses: Use Kickstarter to keep the lights on.
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Catch These 5 Kickstarter-Funded Performances this Fall

When the temperatures cool and the sky turns a bit grayer, it generally signals the beginning of my favorite time of year: the fall performance season. Each year Kickstarter plays host to dance, theater, and performance projects that comes in all forms—and this year is no different. From a techy sendup to a performance inspired entirely from one playwright’s dreams, here are some of our favorite things to catch this fall in NYC, London, and Seattle, many of which found funding through our Performance: In Progress initiative this spring.

Looking at You by Handel, Marting, & Sankaram
Looking at You by Handel, Marting, & Sankaram
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Meet the Fall 2019 Kickstarter Creators-in-Residence

The Future is Bright by Katya Grokhovsky, 2019, sofa, toys, fabrics, found objects, acrylic, wall paint, video, BRIC House, NYC, photo: Walter Wlodarczyk
The Future is Bright by Katya Grokhovsky, 2019, sofa, toys, fabrics, found objects, acrylic, wall paint, video, BRIC House, NYC, photo: Walter Wlodarczyk

For three years running, we’ve invited creators to join us at Kickstarter HQ to start something new. Earlier this year, we announced an open call for the fifth edition of our Creators-in-Residence program. We received hundreds of applications from amazing, independent creative people, and today we’re thrilled to announce five incoming Creators-in-Residence at our HQ and four creators who will be participating in our first-ever digital residency program for the fall 2019 season.

Previous Creators-in-Residence have used our in-house theater for screenings, recorded new episodes in our podcast studio, and hosted events and gatherings in our library. Many have gone on to accomplish exciting things in their fields:

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Kickstarter Launches New Digital Resource for Emerging and Student Artists

Visual and performing artists are the cultural backbone of the United States, helping us rethink our past and imagine a better future. With the addition of self-taught and outsider artists, college-educated artists who hold a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree are launching projects (on or off Kickstarter) every day.

Kickstarter has worked to elevate student work and partnered with programs like RISD and MICA, helping artists tackle all sorts of projects from their thesis exhibition to executing their first print run or product. Even seven artists featured in the 2019 Whitney Biennial launched Kickstarter campaigns to fund their work, many of which ran during or immediately following their Master in Fine Arts programs.

Naima Green, Zoe Black, and Tt the Artist (former students of art & Kickstarter alums)
Naima Green, Zoe Black, and Tt the Artist (former students of art & Kickstarter alums)

But here on Kickstarter’s Arts team, we’re all too familiar with the challenges that come along with pursuing an art degree. The top 10 MFA programs in the U.S. on average cost $71,133 in total, and since 2010, nearly 17,500 students complete their Master’s degree in fine arts annually, adding to 2019’s $1.5 billion dollar student debt crisis. Exacerbating this financial burden is the reality that programs simply do not set students up for financial stability or give them the professional tools to help them navigate their career as an artist after graduation. The Creative Independent’s recent survey found that a majority of artists believe their MFA or other art-related programs did not help them become financially stable.

From workshopping grant applications to calculating artist stipends to crafting public art proposals, there is so much territory to cover. This is why we want to take Kickstarter’s 10 years of experience helping artists fund and realize projects and create a resource center for new and emerging artists and better guide them toward financial stability.

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Product Upgrade: A Calculator for Funding Goals

Setting a funding goal is a critical step in launching a project — but it can be a confusing one. We’ve released a new tool to help make at least part of this process easier and more transparent.

Our start-a-project area has a section where you enter your funding goal. Creators will now see a new calculator icon there. Clicking on it opens… a calculator! Creators can enter the amount they’ve determined they need to bring their project to life and fulfill their rewards (see some guidance on that here). From there, creators can select how much they want to set aside for taxes. Based on these amounts, we compute the fees creators should budget for (Kickstarter’s 5% fee, and our payment processor’s roughly 5% fee). The final output is a suggested funding goal that will allow creators to take home the amount they’ve determined they need for the project after taxes and fees.

Our mission is to help bring creative projects to life, and we want to ensure we’re doing this through the full cycle of a Kickstarter campaign. We’ve heard from creators that taxes and fees can sneak up on them, potentially eating into the amount they need to actually complete their projects. We built this new tool to add transparency around this and to help creators feel more prepared and confident before they launch their campaigns. Watch for more help with budgeting, coming soon.

Here are some more recent improvements to Kickstarter for backers and creators.

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Kickstarter and The Eyeslicer to Host New “Radical Film Fair” in Brooklyn

This September, Kickstarter Film is partnering with The Eyeslicer, a secret TV show blending the boldest new American filmmaking into mind-expanding, mixtape-style episodes, to bring a new, free film fair to our Brooklyn headquarters.

Akin to the spirit of a comic or record fair, the Radical Film Fair will be a place for film lovers, independent filmmakers, distributors, publishers, zine-makers, and indie theaters to come together, meet fans, and sell their work.

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Kickstarter-Funded Games Sweep Gen Con Awards

The Games team brings glad tidings from Indianapolis! We’ve just recovered from Gen Con, the largest gathering of the tabletop games community in North America. This year’s event was extra special for us because two Kickstarted games took home top honors at two different award shows at the conference. We’d like to give a quick shout out to these games and every Kickstarter-funded game that was nominated and honored at Gen Con. If you were looking for an excuse to feel good for a little while, we give you permission to celebrate with us.

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Kickstarter Teams up with shesaid.so to Support Women and Nonbinary Folks in the Music Industry

The shesaid.so team
The shesaid.so team

This October, Kickstarter is teaming up with shesaid.so, a global community of women in the music industry, to offer funding to five Europe-based women, trans, and nonbinary folks interested in attending MEETSSS, their inaugural conference. Taking place October 3–6, 2019, in Portimão, Portugal, MEETSSS will feature workshops, discussions, panels, and more for music executives, artists, and others working in entertainment. The conference is open to people of all genders.

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Product Upgrades: Project Quotes in Comments, and More

Here’s a quick overview of some recent improvements to Kickstarter that we’re excited to tell you about.

First up is a feature we’re calling quoted comments. It’s designed to make it easier for backers to start a public conversation with creators.

Backers often want to ask questions about a specific element of a project. They may be seeking clarification about something, or they may want the creator to substantiate a claim. These interactions are a core part of supporting projects on Kickstarter, and quoted comments are a great way to kick them off.

To use this feature, you simply highlight a line of text in the project’s description, up to 300 characters. A box then pops up giving you the option to quote this text. Clicking “Start a comment” will take you to the project’s comments section, where the selected text will appear as a quote. You can write your comment or question beneath the quote.

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