Update: We've exceeded our funding goal! Thanks to all of our amazing backers and supporters. If you haven't done so yet, feel free to celebrate. The story isn't over yet though - every dollar raised in our last few days still makes a huge difference and will result in a better Paperweight. Every inch beyond our goal allows us to do more for both our contributors and our readers. Thanks!
Paperweight Magazine has been a long time coming.
Chris was seven years old when he got his first humor book, 101 Shaggy Dog Jokes. The jokes were terrible (Question: How do you make a shaggy dog float? Answer: Two scoops of ice cream, some root beer, and one very small shaggy dog), but he carried that book around with him 24/7. Brian never had that stupid book. But from messing around with his first Atari 2600 to creating an electronic orchestra in his one man show, Briami Sound Machine, Brian’s life has been focused on finding ways to make technology and comedy collide. Both of us are hooked on the power of comedy, the ability to connect with people and bring a little bit of surprise and joy into their lives.
Paperweight is inspired by that excitement and our experiences working in comedy. We’ve seen a lot of amazing original material put on tiny Internet sites or blogs and never distributed to a broad audience. We almost never see funny interactive content. We’re asking you to help us change that. This is the perfect time for Paperweight, an independent tablet humor magazine.
What is Paperweight?
A paperweight is a device used to stop papers from blowing away. Its most common form is “a rock.” But, here’s a fun fact, your iPad can also function as an incredibly expensive Paperweight.
If you’re asking about Paperweight Magazine though, well, another great question!
Paperweight is a hilarious, beautifully designed tablet magazine. Our vision is for a magazine that features work that couldn't exist anywhere else. We’re targeted at an audience that’s familiar with comedy and is looking for writing that’s clever yet accessible. Our readers shouldn’t need a graduate degree to appreciate our pieces, but they also shouldn’t need to chug a six-pack. In general, we aim for the middle ground between highbrow and lowbrow. In fact, we even thought about naming the magazine Middlebrow. But we didn’t. We’re Paperweight, a moderately cultured humor magazine.
BREAKING NEWS: We're excited about the announcement of the iPad Mini. Paperweight will support the iPad Mini from day one, issue one.
Why a tablet magazine?
Actually, we love both print magazines and good websites. But we think there’s something special and unexplored about the possibilities for comedy on a tablet. We’re particularly interested in multimedia or interactive work. For example, a written monologue becomes a phone message and the text scrolls while the audio of the phone message plays. Or a flowchart becomes an interactive board game. Or something else entirely. We’re ready to be surprised.
This is the magazine that we want to read, and this how we want to read it. We’re hoping you feel the same way.
Who are you exactly?
Great question! We’re Brian Perry and Chris Duffy.
Brian is a web developer. Chris is a writer and editor.
We’re both comedians, performers, and humans. Between the two of us, we have more than twenty years of experience in comedy. That’s almost as many years experience as Chris has at being alive! We met while performing together at ImprovBoston in Cambridge, MA. Once we started talking about our dream projects, we found out we’d both been working on plans for a humor magazine. When we discovered how perfectly our skills matched up, we decided to go for it.
What will you do with the $15,000?
The biggest chunk of the money we raise will go to building the magazine itself. This includes the nerdy stuff you’d imagine, like refining the design of the magazine, implementing it on iOS, and getting set up to handle distribution and subscriptions. It also includes building the foundation we’ll need to keep the virtual lights on: hardware to test on, software, infrastructure to make and accept payments, a website, and probably some form of party hats.
We’re also fundamentally committed to paying contributors. We both love comedy and think it’s only fair to value the work of the amazingly talented people who help us with this project. Too often creative contributors are asked to work for free or for peanuts (and while peanuts can be crushed into a delicious and healthful butter, we think we can do better). We hope you agree with us. And we also hope you understand that this costs actual American dollars that we don’t yet have.
Why should I fund you?
First of all, you should fund us because you want to read Paperweight. We’re both big fans of Kickstarter and when we’ve backed projects (Brian / Chris), it’s because we really want to benefit from the result. So check out our rewards and see what you’ll get. Back us so we can make something awesome together.
Bigger picture: Back us because you like to laugh. Back us because you want to explore the possibilities of comedy on a tablet. Back us because you believe in paying funny people to be funny.
When are you launching?
We plan on having our first issue out in January.
Risks and challenges
Even once we're funded, one significant challenge in creating this magazine will be continuing to find enough high-quality content and contributors. We know a lot of funny people and we've already gotten a lot of interest in being involved. We're confident that our commitment to actually paying people for their work will further attract the talent we need. We believe that once people see a full issue of Paperweight and understand its potential, we'll hear from a whole new set of excited contributors.
Another challenge for Paperweight is born out of the fact that we're aiming to explore the possibilities of comedy on a tablet. If we're doing our job correctly we'll be building some things that have never been built before. The prospect of solving new problems is tremendously exciting, but it also puts some additional pressure on us to choose the appropriate platform or framework to help us bring this project to life. We need to be able to create content quickly with a reasonable amount of effort, but not at the expense of interactivity and flexibility. We've put a lot of thought into this already, but still expect to lose some additional sleep over it before all is said and done.
Maybe our biggest ongoing risk is that people won't actually be willing to pay for content and Paperweight won't be sustainable for the long-haul. We're hoping you'll help us prove that's not true. We believe that comedy, joy, and an innovative interactive experience are worth paying for. We hope you value people who make you laugh. In the words of Marco Arment, a developer, writer and thinker we both admire, we "support writers in the most basic, conventional way that, in the modern web context, actually seems least conventional and riskiest: by paying them to write."
One final risk is that the upcoming new season of Arrested Development is really good. If that is the case, we'll be MIA for a good chunk of time when the season hits Netflix.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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