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Recounting the extraordinary life of author Kurt Vonnegut, and the 25-year friendship with the filmmaker who set out to document it.
3,755 backers pledged $300,319 to help bring this project to life.


Posted by Robert Weide & Don Argott (Creator)

Great Question!

Many, many successful Kickstarter campaigns wind up collecting considerably more than their stated goal. So why do people keep contributing?

• MINIMAL GOAL: If you establish a Kickstarter goal, but come up short, you keep none of the financing (and your backers don’t receive their rewards). So it’s best to use the minimal figure you need to accomplish your task, with hopes that you’ll exceed that amount. This certainly applies to our project.

As we’ve stated, $250,000 allows us to arrive at a final cut, but does not allow for subsequent costs -- licensing music and film clips, final audio mixing and visual effects, etc. After we complete our cut, we’ll secure an advance from investors and distributors to pay those remaining expenses, but the more we make on our own now, the less we’ll have to rely on outside sources, or be in debt to them later.

• EXPENSES: Kickstarter take a 5% commission on all pledges, plus there's another 3-5% charge for payment processing. So that’s 8-10% off the top. Add to that, the expense of manufacturing many of the rewards (posters, T-shirts, DVDs, mugs, etc.) and the wholesale costs we pay for many of the books and artwork we’ve offered. Also, the pledge total you see on our page includes our shipping fees. So subtract that as well. From our goal of $250,000 we’ll actually net about $210,000. Enough to do what we promised to do? Yes, but by the skin of our teeth.

Do documentaries really cost that much? In 1982, when Bob Weide was a mere boy of 22, without any previous credits under his belt, he made his first documentary (on the Marx Brothers) on a small PBS budget of $305,000. (And those were 1982 dollars!) His fee for four years work came to $15,000. Now, 33 years later, with all of the credits and awards under Weide’s belt (and $60,000 already invested from his own pocket), he and Don Argott are committed to producing this labor of love for approx. $210,000 (after deductions) in 2015 dollars. So rest assured, nobody will be lining their pockets or vacationing in Belize this year. But it would be nice to loosen the constraints of that budget a bit.

• SHORT CAMPAIGN: It was our intent to run a recommended 30-day campaign. But due to a technical SNAFU while launching, we accidentally got cut down to 28 days, and were unable to re-boot our launch. Traditionally there is a big upsurge in the final two days of a campaign, so that little error may have cost us untold thousands of dollars. It’s spilt milk now, but we’re hoping our upsurge will come a little early to make up for the loss.

• REMEMBER: When we close up shop on Tuesday, March 10, all of these great rewards will never be assembled again in one place (let alone with autographs). Even if you can find some of the merchandise elsewhere, your purchases won’t contribute to making a world-class documentary on your favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut. And if we’re talking “rewards,” that is surely the biggest one of all.

The Vonnegut train is about to leave the station. So please make sure you family, friends, and loved ones are all aboard.

With love and appreciation,

Bob & Don

Argott (L) and Weide flank The Man.
Argott (L) and Weide flank The Man.


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    1. Missing avatar

      Thomas E Allen on

      Glad to have played a small part in something monumental. "Ting-a-ling."

    2. Gabriella on

      Congratulations! I can't wait to see the finished documentary.

    3. Missing avatar

      Matt and Laurie Kania on

      Couldn't have said it any better. Hi Ho.