The Kickstarter Blog

Final Countdown: How Three Projects Made it Just In Time

  1. Meet the Team: Julie and Jake

    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 Julie and Jake:

    Julie Wood (@juliewood)

    Job: "I talk to reporters and producers and bloggers about Kickstarter and awesome projects."

    • Happy Trash Day — "Sanitation workers have the hardest job! This little art project throws surprise parties for them when they come around to pick up the trash."
    • Grow Urban Farms in Brooklyn's Empty Lots — "Pretty simple: productive green space > vacant lots."
    • Korengal — "This film depicts the daily-life experiences of American soldiers in war. I backed it for a ticket to the premiere, where brilliant filmmaker Sebastian Junger shared some important wisdom about promoting a culture that supports veterans, and how we can just all be better to each other."
    • Bring Sunny's Back Home! — "This was the first Kickstarter project I backed. Sunny's is the best. Red Hook! Cheap beers! Tunes!"

    Jake Loeterman (@jakeloet)

    Job: "I investigate risky behavior and figure out how to keep our system healthy."

    • Introducing Art History to Inmates — "Learning about art can often be a transformative experience. It would be amazing if this became a trend."
    • High Voltage Image Making — "These are prints of film exposed to a blast of electrical charge, the effect of which is something like scientific tie-dye: the fractal-like networks, set against blurred abstraction, create a cosmos. They're totally mystical."
    • Dorrance's "It's All About Mimi" — "My mom and I loved this book. A minimalist chic mom understands her newfound motherhood through an aesthetic. It's hysterical."
    • NeoLucida - A Portable Camera Lucida for the 21st Century — "I wrote my senior thesis on Vermeer, so when I saw this affordable remake of the camera lucida designed by two art professors, I was stoked."
    3 comments
  2. The Dunk Contest of the Century of the World Actually Happened

    The hoop before the contest by Mark Campbell
    The hoop before the contest by Mark Campbell

    Comedian Ben Larrison wanted to organized an elaborate dunk contest that involved competing against WNBA legend Sheryl Swoopes, dunking over a baby doll, dunking while taking a selfie, dunking with scissors and generally just slam dunking in as many inventive ways as he could think of. Larrison turned to Kickstarter, got Swoopes involved and put on the event. We liked the sound of it, so we asked him to send us a brief rundown of how it went. Spoiler alert: he lost.

    For far too long, dunking has been the domain of the tall, the skilled, and the athletically gifted. Shorter-but-willing dunkers like myself were excluded from the joy that comes with soaring through the air and thrown down a sick jam, just because the majority of basketball hoops are an arbitrarily-cruel 10-feel tall. It was, simply put, unfair.

    No longer.

    On Wednesday, June 11, I competed against basketball legend Sheryl Swoopes in a slam dunk contest on a Fisher-Price children’s basketball hoop.

    Seriously.

    Sheryl Swoopes wooing the  judges/sitting on one of their laps by Mark Campbell
    Sheryl Swoopes wooing the judges/sitting on one of their laps by Mark Campbell

    The event will forever be known as The Dunk Contest of the Century of the World, and its impact will hopefully resonate throughout the dunking world for weeks—or even months—to come.

    Sheryl Swoopes doing her best  Michael Jordan impression by Jesse Gomez
    Sheryl Swoopes doing her best Michael Jordan impression by Jesse Gomez

    The dunking was fierce and inventive, ranging from the innovative (Swoopes taking a mid-dunk selfie, to the absolute delight of the crowd) to the adventurous (me dunking while running with scissors and simultaneously being shot at with Nerf guns by a former U.S. Marine.) In the end, Swoopes—a three-time Olympic gold medalist, three-time WNBA MVP and four-time WNBA champion—was ultimately crowned The Dunk Contest of the Century of the World champion, because obviously. But together, we proved that, just as Kevin Garnett predicted, anything is possible.

    Sheryl Swoopes dunking over two  members of her staff by Nicole Vespa
    Sheryl Swoopes dunking over two members of her staff by Nicole Vespa

    Now sure, this epic, five-round, winner-takes-all slam dunk extravaganza between a celebrated, world-renowned athlete and a 5’5” comedian/ridiculous person most likely had no real excuse happening. But somehow, thanks to Kickstarter and some amazingly awesome and generous people, it did, and the result was one of the coolest, craziest, most fun things I have ever experienced. The fact that there is a platform like Kickstarter that allows crazy people like me to pursue ridiculous ideas like this—all for the sake of making the world a little more weird and a little more fun—just makes me unbelievably happy and hopeful and thrilled. So thank you, Kickstarter, and thank you my Kickstarter friends, for being a part of this ridiculous thing.

    Ben Larrison dunking over a baby  (doll) by Paul Lorsbach
    Ben Larrison dunking over a baby (doll) by Paul Lorsbach

     

    SLAM DUNK!

    Ben Larrison decked out in some swag he’d just be given by Sheryl Swoopes, celebrating after the judges award him some points by Mark Campbell
    Ben Larrison decked out in some swag he’d just be given by Sheryl Swoopes, celebrating after the judges award him some points by Mark Campbell


    Ben Larrison is a writer and comedy person living in Chicago.

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