The Kickstarter Blog

And the Independent Spirit Award nominees are...

Film Independent recently announced the nominees for the 2016 Indie Spirit Awards and we’re excited to share that 12 Kickstarter-funded films received 20 total nominations! They're up for everything from Best First Feature to Best Editing. Kickstarter alumni also account for four out of five of the nominees for the prized John Cassavetes Award (granted to narrative features made for under $500,000) and three out five of the nominees for Best First Feature.

We wanted to take a moment to say congratulations to all of the filmmakers that are up for these awards. Here they are:

* A Woman Like Me (Truer Than Fiction Award)

* Advantageous (John Cassavetes Award)

* Anomalisa (Best Feature, Best Director, Best Supporting Female, Best Screenplay)

Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa
Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa

* Christmas, Again (John Cassavetes Award)

* God Bless the Child (Someone to Watch Award)

* I'll See You In My Dreams (Piaget Producers Award)

* James White (Best First Feature, Best Actor, Best Supporting Female)

Borderline Films presents James White
Borderline Films presents James White

* Krisha (John Cassavetes Award)

* Manos Sucias (Best First Feature, Best Editing)

* Out of My Hand (John Cassavetes Award)

* Songs My Brothers Taught Me (Best First Feature, Best Cinematography, Someone to Watch Award)

* (T)error (Best Documentary)

In addition to being nominated for more than a few Spirit Awards, Anomalisa is also getting a considerable amount of Oscar buzz. Needless to say, we’ll be cheering for these films all through award season.

The Independent Spirit Awards will air on IFC on Saturday, February 27 at 5pm EST. If you’re attending the awards, hosting a watching party, or want to put your film on our radar, send us a note at stories@kickstarter.com.

See you on the big screen!

Design & Tech Roundup: Rolling Deep

Blaze Burner
Blaze Burner


Now that Back to the Future Day has come and gone, rolling on the ground should be obsolete as a mode of transportation. While flying cars are still in the works, we did see Hendo introduce the first real hoverboard last year. Still, wheels remain an extremely popular way to get around, as this collection of projects focused on bikes and their like demonstrates.

The Blaze Burner

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There’s something wonderful about hearing a designer talk about the little details they're most proud of in a product — and Emily Brooke’s enthusiasm is contagious when she discusses the magnetic bracket design and ip7-certified waterproofing on her new Blaze Burner bike light. The Burner is a rear-facing complement to Blaze’s first bike light (which came to life through Kickstarter in 2012) and features a green laser to alert drivers to a cyclist’s presence. Since then, it’s not only making backers’ two-wheeled adventures safer but it's also been incorporated into London’s Santander shared bikes.

AirDonkey 

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Speaking of bike shares, the wonderfully named Air Donkey offers a digitally connected lock kit to turn your spare bike into a rentable ride. It’s unsurprising that this vision for a community run network of shared cycles springs from the velotopia that is Copenhagen — hopefully it can help make riding more accessible in less bike-friendly locales, too!

Me-Mover Fit

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The Me-Mover Fit, from another Danish team, looks beyond pedals for forward momentum, turning a stepper machine into a sleek, wheeled vehicle. They launched the first version through Kickstarter last year and have updated this second generation machine using feedback and hacks from backers. Always exciting to see collaboration between designers and users in action.

FlyKly Smart Ped

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The folks at Flykly have also returned to Kickstarter to build on their past success. The Smart Ped shrinks down the powered bike wheel they introduced in their 2013 campaign to create a ridiculously fun-looking kick scooter. The responsive electric hub gives you more power out of each push while preserving the playful simplicity of cruising on a scooter.

Beeline...

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...and Haize

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Smartphones can make navigating city streets a breeze, but staring at your phone while riding a bike is a dangerous drag. BeeLine and Haize take different aesthetic paths to solving this problem, presenting simple turn-by-turn instructions on elegant, handlebar-mounted displays that minimize distractions and keep you focused on where you're going. Clearly an idea whose time has come.

Grasp

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Once you’ve found your perfect ride and tricked it out to your liking, make sure it stays yours with this innovative lock that uses a fingerprint as a key. The Grasp smart lock is part of the latest batch of projects from leading hardware accelerator Hax, which has provided mentorship to dozens of great Kickstarter projects.

Always looking for better ways to get from point A to point B? Check out our "Ride With It" tag to keep up with projects offering a fresh take on bikes and beyond!

Design & Tech Roundup: Inventive New Tools for Making Music

It's been a big year for music on Kickstarter. We've seen projects from trailblazing artists like De La Soul and TLC, an album of music just for cats, and the introduction of Artiphon's versatile Instrument 1 which was named one of TIME Magazine's Best Inventions of 2015. Here's the latest batch of inventive music-making tools that expand creative possibilities for adventurous musicians because, as Brian Eno said, "you can't really imagine music without technology."

ACPAD

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An acoustic guitar may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about digital music, but ACPAD seamlessly adds a range of controls for guitarists looking to enhance their picking and strumming with electronic sounds. After years of performing with custom-modified instruments, Berlin-based musician Robin Sukroso invented this streamlined device to make his hybrid playing style accessible to more musicians. From programming drum beats to triggering digital effects and recording software, ACPAD adds the flexibility of MIDI control to a traditional instrument. Folktronica fans take note!

Guitar Triller

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Guitarists looking to coax new sounds out of their instruments have a decidedly lower-tech option in the Guitar Triller. This handheld accessory designed for striking strings offers options beyond picks or fingers for playing stringed instruments. The resulting sounds range from delicate hammered dulcimer-like tones to rapid-fire heavy metal shredding. Sometimes simple tools can do surprising things.

PULSE*

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Best known as the Beatles' sonic laboratory, Abbey Road Studios has been a hub of musical innovation for more than eighty years — so it's fitting that they're now supporting the development of new music technology through their RED incubator program. Their first project is Titan Reality's PULSE* controller, a sophisticated 3D sensing platform that uses gesture and object recognition to create a wide range of virtual playing techniques and sounds. You can hit it like a drum, scratch it like a turntable, or sweep your hand over it like a harp. Any requests for "While My Spatial Sensor Gently Weeps"?

Obscura 

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Embracing technology in music isn't always about being ahead of one's time. The Obscura Chiptune Synthesizer from repeat creators Arcano Systems looks backwards to the 8-bit sounds of vintage video game systems like the Nintendo, C64, and Amiga. Its MIDI jack makes it easy to control, and its Arduino-based circuit design makes it customizable for those inclined towards hardware hacking. Perfect for that opera you're writing about Donkey Kong.

We're looking forward to hearing music made with these new instruments. To check out more projects that offer sonic adventures, head over to the Sound section of our Technology category.

Meet the new Creator Resources page — with help from A to Z

Running a project can come with a lot of pleasant surprises and sometimes a few unexpected curveballs. It’s a fantastic chance to become better at your craft, create the things you’ve dreamed of, and connect with the community that loves your work. Then comes the part where you might find yourself becoming an expert in international shipping, custom packaging, or the fine points of vendor relations.

But if your goal is to create something amazing — a film, an album, a poster, a gadget — you probably want to put your time and energy into creating, not wondering how best to track package deliveries. And here’s the good news: there’s a whole community behind you, full of creators who’ve already tackled these challenges and can tell you exactly what works, what doesn’t, and who can help.

Over the past few years, we’ve spoken with countless creators about how they made sure their rewards all arrived in one piece. They’ve shared stories from factories and mailrooms, and pictures from packing parties in their living rooms. Drawing from these conversations — every lesson learned and insight gleaned — we’ve put together a list of services that can help with all things fulfillment related.

Introducing the Creator Resources page

 

The companies on the Creator Resources page offer services that range from printing stamps and shipping labels to manufacturing parts to help you make almost anything. And even better, they all have experience working with Kickstarter creators on projects across all of our categories. With solutions for projects both large and small, there’s something on this list that can help just about any creator out.

Not sure where to start? There’s a wealth of knowledge and experience in the conversations happening on Campus. Drop in and ask fellow creators for advice on how and why they choose to work with specific fulfillment services.

For even more, check out our Creator Handbook, which outlines the tools available to all creators on Kickstarter. There are plenty, from a dashboard that tracks your funding progress to a Backer Report that catalogues information on your backers and lets you export it all into sortable CSVs. The Creator Resources page even contains a few services that can help with navigating questions around taxes and the legal issues.

Join the conversation

If you’ve already stared down all these tough questions, we’d love to hear which fulfillment services worked for you and left your backers wowed over great packaging and speedy delivery. You can join this Campus conversation to share your experience and trade insights about how other creators approached fulfillment.

And if you’re involved with a service that helps creators complete their projects, we’d be happy to learn more about what you’re doing. There are a few brief questions at the bottom of the Creator Resources page that you can answer to share more information about your company. We don’t charge to be listed on this page, nor do we collect a referral fee when creators use these services. We’re just trying to make it a little bit easier for creators to create — to put their time and energy into making great things the whole Kickstarter community can be proud of, and stress over packaging and tracking numbers only as much they want to. Happy fulfilling!

New from the Archives: October 2015

This fall we've had a handful more Kickstarter Archives projects launch. Read on for details!

Lost Train Blues

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A collection of field recordings conducted by John and Alan Lomax between 1933 and 1950, pulled from the vast holdings of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Curated by the Brooklyn Folk Festival's Eli Smith and set to be released on vinyl as a partnership between Jalopy and Mississippi Records.

American Genre Film Archive & Something Weird 

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AGFA is set to purchase a 4K film scanner to preserve 35mm film prints from the Something Weird collection — and make the best possible versions of these films available to the world. The first title set for restoration is Tom Hanson’s 1971 tabloid horror film “The Zodiac Killer.”

Jonas Mekas "Scrapbook of the Sixties" 

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A collection of 37 published and unpublished texts written between 1954 and 2010 by filmmaker and writer Jonas Mekas. Set to be released by Spector Books.

The Buster Keaton Project

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France's Lobster Films is looking to restore the entirety of Buster Keaton's short film output — 32 films in all. Additionally, 21 new scores will be created to accompany the films.

Roy Hart Theatre Photographic Archives

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Thousands of photographs and other documents tell the remarkable story of the Roy Hart Theatre in Thoiras, France — nearly fifty years of history to collect, digitize, and archive.

Remastering The 77s First 3 Albums

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Remastering, re-pressing, and reissuing the first three albums from underappreciated new-wavey rockers the 77s — Ping Pong Over The Abyss (1982), All Fall Down (1984), and The 77s (1987). Set to be released by Lo-Fidelity Records.

We can all help the UN Refugee Agency relieve a global crisis.

Two weeks ago, the White House reached out to us with an idea: what if you could use Kickstarter to help the millions of refugees seeking safety in the Middle East and Europe?

We immediately told them yes — and at the White House’s invitation, Kickstarter is working with the UN Refugee Agency to raise money and deliver aid to those in need of it. We’ve all seen the images of people fleeing for safety, on foot and in boats, with nowhere to go and precious few resources. It’s not a crisis that can be solved overnight, but the White House, the United Nations, and Kickstarter all believe that a strong outpouring of support can provide crucial assistance for people fleeing their homes and risking their lives to find a safer future.

To learn more about how we can provide that support, just visit this campaign. It’s not a typical Kickstarter project. There’s no all-or-nothing funding goal. The rewards are all about giving, not getting. And we’ll be donating 100% of our usual fee to support these aid efforts. Most days, this site is a home for people working together to create new things, but this campaign is about something else: working together to bring the most basic of necessities to people who need them dearly. Even a little support can give a family dry clothes, fresh water, or a place to sleep — those “small” things that become everything as soon as you’ve lost them.

We’d love your help.

Turning Students Into Makers

Children's Museum of Pittsburgh
Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

People are getting more and more into making things. From the White House to the coast of Australia, there’s excitement about opening up access to high-tech tools that can give physical shape to new ideas. And the maker movement is changing education as well, because making is a terrific way to learn.

This is why we’re so excited about our new partnership with Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, which is helping Pittsburgh-area schools run Kickstarter projects to fund their own makerspaces — a program that the museum wants to turn into a national model. It’s the first time we’ve supported a program like this.

With input from our team, ten schools and districts launched projects this week, looking to raise about $100,000 in total. The Burgettstown Area School District, for instance, wants to bring cutting-edge tools to a rural area where they’ve never been available, and the Pittsburgh Lincoln PreK-5 public school wants to transform an outdoor space into a maker-centered learning zone. You can see the full list of projects here. Pittsburgh has a long history of making and innovation, so it makes perfect sense as a testbed for a new approach to funding these kinds of educational resources.

Since we added a subcategory for makerspaces last summer, we’ve seen it fill up with great projects from Massachusetts, Virginia, Georgia, and far beyond. But we’re especially excited by the idea of students having access to makerspaces right inside their own schools. When we became a Benefit Corporation this month, we put the advancement of social good at the core of our company goals. And these projects from Pittsburgh are our kind of social good. They’re all about giving students the tools they need to start tinkering, hacking, and creating.

Join the movement by supporting these projects! Better still, take a look at your own local schools, and the future makers somewhere inside them — do they have the resources they need?

Hang out with us!

For the past few months, we’ve been hosting weekly Q&A sessions with creators representing projects from across the worlds of design, film, music, and more. Some highlights? Chef Carla Hall dished tips on baking biscuits and running a stellar campaign, and Pavan Bapu, the co-founder of Gramovox, explained how creators can craft a compelling story around what they’re creating.

Creator Hangouts are hosted every Wednesday at 1PM EST via Google Hangouts. Anyone can join in, ask questions, or sit back and learn from people who are just plain great at making stuff.

Below you’ll find some advice that creators shared during these chats, along with the schedule for upcoming hangouts. If you miss a Creator Hangout, we post the recordings here so you can watch and learn at your leisure.

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