Use this space to cheer the creator along, and talk to your fellow backers.
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A story due to the KODT: LAS Kickstarter.
After Pencil Dice rose from the ashes of this KickStarter ... so did Knights of the Dinner Table Chibi Miniatures
Because of my love for KODT, I was an eager backer of the KODT: LAS KickStarter. I have been a bit horrified to see Jolly Blackburn's wonderful IP left in the dust of this KickStarter gone off the tracks. This upset me for several reasons. 1) Jolly is a great individual and known benefactor of the gaming community. 2) KickStarter is a major investment tool of my company and when one goes badly in the fantasy/gaming realm it means my possible future backers might not want to back another KickStarter and 3) The Creator has been regularly abusing the backers.
As a result of all this ... I've done what I could to help. I've helped get data on the backers to assist verifying claims by the Creator. When it was revealed he had sold backer rewards to a retail outlet instead of sending them to the backers, I sent free product to the retail outlet that they could sell to cover the cost of shipping those items as rewards to the backers who should have received them.
During all of this, I mentioned to Jolly in July 2015 that I would love to run a KickStarter with the KODT IP so that I could give him what I believe would be a very positive experience with a KickStarter of his licensed IP. Jolly let me know he was not against trying another KODT KickStarter. This led to a year of conversations about what would the design of the miniatures would be, art proof of concepts for approval and even a Kenzer & Co employee sucking on a prototype model at Gen Con 2016 to try and figure out what chemicals were in the model when Jolly wondered. All events leading to a license contract signed on September 26, 2016 to bring you this project!
I don't think thats the case Phil. I think we could go the legal court route if we wanted, but we need someone on the ground to talk to a lawyer near him to get us some estimates.
Legally, Ken only has to fob us off once every two months
And once again: nothing but silence. During the last month we got a couple of bloopers that we have seen before alongside (of course) insults towards backers of the project and then... nothing.
Same here - plus I paid a pretty considerable amount & should be getting more than just the disks anyway (not that I think i'm getting anything.)
Chad, I didn't see the survey but I want discs, not downloads. I paid for a tangible product. It isn't our responsibility to make fulfilling his commitments easy for Ken.
One of those "Nos" did say it would be acceptable under certain conditions (No involvement from Ken and an apology).
I wont draw any conclusions from it, as numbers are low. But it does suggest that people would not accept anything less than what they've been promised.
However, I do suggest Ken, for his own sake, does his own survey, sent out as an update, asking the entire backer community if they'd take it. He's more likely to get a significant sample than me.
So, to the survey I linked to, I got 9 responses.
Bearing in mind that this is a low number of responses, and that the link would only have been seen by the most "noisy" of us. 7 people insisted on physical discs, 2 would be happy with downloads instead.
I think it's safe to say that they don't seem to care very much.
"Be respectful and considerate." I must confess, Kickstarter. I'm finding that extremely hard to do regarding this creator when he actively bullies and harasses his backers.
One has to wonder if the background was changed to that image with the copyright holders permission.... And if that Copyright owner might be inclined to submit a DMCA.
Never mind me, just wondering aloud.
Just a kick in the ribs. Blooper reels....really don't care about bloopers when the product is unfinished.
Just the kind of class act I've come to expect from mr Whitman.
I noticed that K. Carson - a bit of salt in the wound for some I would think.
Lovely, that new background picture's the "20 years of KODT Covers" book I paid Ken Whitman for and never received. He must be bored.
Every time I read the latest on this fiasco I get so annoyed that I go buy more Knights of the Dinner Table books because there isn't anything else I can do to support Kenzer and Jolly right now. It's a shame this project is still in limbo.
Oh, new background picture? Did Ken upload that?
yeah too bad there is nothing new here.
I'm not convinced that showing us bloopers that we've already seen cause they were at the end of episode 1, 2 and 3 is evidence he's 'working on a blooper reel'
My emphasis isn't on revenge but making these issues of breach of contract, fraud, libel, etc., a matter of public record to prevent other people from being hurt in future. If the information websites detailing these issues do that and potential victims search for them, that will suffice. However, there is still a lot of unanswered questions. I'm particularly curious about Ken's statement that he has now had to buy new equipment since that bought with this project's funds is now outdated so he's not using that same equipment? Is the project done or not?
Please remember that while I understand the balance of getting what we paid for from him and his possible intention to file bankruptcy to avoid fulfilling his contractual obligations, none of this is our fault and it's not up to us, already defrauded and disappointed, to make this process easy for him! He either mans up and gets it done, tries to salvage his reputation in doing so, or he sinks himself even further and this will haunt him for the rest of his life. It won't go away but he can make it right and regain some self-respect. If he takes the easy way out, bankruptcy, this will never go away and will follow him through any other venture he tries. It's in his own best interest to do the right thing, in my opinion.
I will abide by whatever the majority thinks we should do. I'm offering my financial support. Is it money wasted to force a legal battle or is it the only way we can get what's owed? How long is too long to wait for him to deliver? What is our ultimate goal; delivery on product paid for and then let it go? I've stayed out of this for the most part up until now but can't stand the thought of anyone else getting taken in future by this kind of thing. What do you all think?
If we're going to go that route, we're going to need an estimate from a lawyer so we can budget this thing properly.
Although the contract was agreed when he was in Kentucky, the Atlanta address for Whit Studios suggests that his domicile is now in Georgia, so we should be looking for a Georgian court action and Georgian lawyer.
I just want to reiterate if we're going to do that, it's going to be an act of "vengeance" rather than "refund". He's got no cash for us to be paid, so after we get a court order to terminate the contract, we're looking at paying for an attempt to enforce the verdict, then a further case to push him into bankruptcy.
For the above reason "no win no fee" isn't likely to be open to us - we're looking at being forced to pay no matter what.
We're also looking at a situation where defences from Ken could bring the costs higher than the original estimate, unless a fixed fee contract can be arranged with the lawyer.
Is anyone from the Atlanta/Georgia area who'd have the time and ability to call in to a few practices and getting us some estimates based on a no defence and robust defence secenario?
Why is he "working on a blooper reel" when he hasn't finished the original commitments? I'll contribute to a fund to pursue this legally! All of the lying, cons, libel, character assassination, excuses and simple dishonest business practices needs to be documented and made a matter of public record to keep other people from being misled in the future! As for allegations of damaging Mr Whitman's work prospects I consider it more protecting those who might be equally vulnerable to losing time and money by trusting someone who is unable to deliver! Mr. Whitman might try pursuing gainful employment in another field where he is qualified, whatever that would be. If something isn't working you go on to something that is, not dig yourself a deeper hole. So, what should we do? Individual small claims court filings per person? A blanket suit? Mr. Kenner is an attorney; has Kenner filed against Ken?
At least we got an update concerning the product instead of childish slander. Seems that discussions about legal proceedings is the way to go.
I long long ago gave up on getting any reward from the project. However I would donate to a GoFundMe that had a specific plan to serve Ken if the goal of the legal proceedings was to force him to surrender everything related to the KODT KS (financials, footage, etc.) to ZOE and Kenzer. At this point Ken can keep his ill-gained equipment ... I have no desire to not allow him to eat. But because I love KODT and massively respect Jolly Blackburn ... if a legal proceeding allowed this chapter to close ... I'd support it.
Now we apparently have a service address, do we want to look at some sort of crowdfunding campaign to force the issue in the courts?
Looks like Mr. Whitman finally has an address, at "Whit Studios", for anyone interested, for serving legal notices, attorney general letters, etc.
Address below. Nice place, and nice to see he describes funders as "sugar mommas & sugar daddies", and that the equipment he's still using from this project as "his own". Classy as always.
Chad I guarantee it's not finished. If it was he'd be crowing about it. Posting little clips, etc.
If that footage that is done is the same footage he uploaded a year ago, then no its not done. Its full of glaring problems that can be fixed. The final episode looked akin to being filmed by my old camcorder.
I have a fairly low standard at this point for the project, but I do want something that is watchable and not making me grimace. As for a digital only download of the product, I'm so disgusted by that idea that I'm going to leave this here and go for a walk.
No, it wont happen. Ken is too proud to allow anyone else to "take credit", hence why the opening gambit was a proposal that would ensure that he got it.
I think the footage is done, so there's no need to hand it over to ZoE. I'm confident the question is one of Furfilment now.
Ken needs to step up, be honest about where the project is and what he can reasonably do to bring it to a conclusion.
I agree 100%, Tash. Ken is not a child . Nor is he a green creator. As he boasts, he's been publishing and producing for over 25 years. He is the ONLY person he knows the status of this project and the ONLY person with any power whatsoever to finish it. And if he can't do that he's the only person who can communicate what is needed and where a helping hand can be lent.
Unfortunately all trust has been destroyed.
For this to move forward he has to step up and lead the way.
But that's not going to happen.
Oh I'm 100% certain he's broke.
for me, all I want is for him to admit he can't finish it on his own and give the footage to ZOE so they can get it out for everyone.
That would be the best outcome as far as I'm concerned.
Okay, lets presume that he was lying, and he's just trying to kick the can down the road, there is no car accident (which I'm inclined to believe - hence my post in the first place).
We're looking at a guy who doesn't have his (ex) wife's expensive hotel, doesn't have regular income from Rapid POD, Doesn't have a product to sell, and has had to in the course of 4 or 5 kickstarters had to go to some petty minor things to try to get the money coming in. There doesn't seem to be much in Ken's income column.
Ken obviously will need money for living expenses - Rent, Food, etc. Logic dictates that he must have some outgoings.
I honestly believe the guy is broke, even if he's lied about everything else, everything up to date I think leads to that conclusion. He has no money.
There's no point in hounding a broke man for money, even if he wants to give it to you (and I don't put Ken in that category).
The question is what do we do now. The way I see it the three routes are:
1. Force Ken into bankruptcy (which means finding him, getting a court to make an order for breach of contract damages, then going to court again when he doesn't pay up - all of this is going to cost us money).
2. Somehow Normalise the situation. Agree to change things so Ken can actually deliver. I've tried this, I think Jolly's tried this. Ken, If you are reading this, the only route I see is to see if backers will take the product in the state you can deliver it without further cost.
3. Cut our losses and forget the whole thing ever happened.
I don't know what that means for Jolly. If the KODT footage is in the state that Ken is supposed to deliver it, then there might be an argument that the footage is already your property Jolly (I'm desperately trying to remember my property law classes, but the textbook sadly, well, see the comments as to what happened to that, and in any case probably wouldn't be that useful as it would be Scottish law, which is based on Roman property law and not Common property law like I imagine the US is) and you might be able to force him to hand it over in court. Although delivery is not due to be done until the condition of delivering it to us is complete, maybe there is an arugment in there that as he has no apparent intention to deliver it to us, he's not dealing fairly with you and that condition should therefore be set aside.
Chad, you seem like a nice guy. And you're trying to help.
but I'm sorry, Ken's comments to you have a distinct smell of BS to me. I just can't trust anything he says, and I strongly believe his delay till next year has nothing to do with not being able to afford shipping and everything to do with holding it back on purpose out of spite.
I don't believe any of that stuff about his car either sorry. And I don't think he's using a cent of the cash he's earning from filming to finish our project off.
he has a LOOOOONG history of lying and he's trying to catch you in his web.
Sorry, Chad, you seem to have had a critical failure on your "resist persuasion" roll
No one has EVER asked for credit on this project other than what's already on the episodes just to be clear. Ken knows that. This hasn't just been about Ken not having the money or being able to work. It's been largely about his lying. Not turning over the footage to ZOE as he agreed over a year ago so they could prep it for DVD burning. The ball has been in Ken's court entirely for a year now. He has SIX projects to complete. SIX!! And we all know he has no money. We all know he's not actively working on these projects. We've begged, used mediators, bent over backwards to work with him. As well as good friends of his and impartial parties.
As I said in my email we are finished with Ken. His project as he has constantly maintained and his problem to sort out. Help has been offered MANY many times to no avail.
I think those backers who want to see legal solutions should do so if they see fit to go that route. And I think they have a right to "bitch" honestly. Ken squandered the opportunity he had here. And he squandered a lot of GOOD WILL. I think backers would have gladly pulled together to help him had he not treated everyone across the board so poorly. Now that he's feeling the heat? It's a lot of excuses and the victim card being played. He's always willing to listen to a sympathetic ear, trust me. But he never follows through on anything. Just look over the past year. Not ONE productive step forward. Not one. No blooper footage. No digital uploads (which would have cost zero) for those backers who only bought the digital downloads. ZIP.
So again, I'm done with Ken as far as jumping through his hoops. Should he ever, just ONCE demonstrate a willingness to move forward that doesn't involved excuses and asserting blame toward others it might be different. But I can tell you, two and half years dealing with this guy, talk in pointless when it comes to Ken.
But good luck with your efforts.
Getting out of the hole.
As they say on the Simpsons "Dig Up".
I think, we as backers, can start to do a few things to resolve the situation
1. Stop bothering ken about filming stuff, even if he is using equipment that is allegedly ours or bought with kickstarter funds. We can worry about that some other time. If Ken is using that equipment to get funds to pay to ship this stuff, then he's effectively using the equipment to make this projet happen.
If you want Ken to release anything then he's going to need money, that means he needs work. Bitching to the Atlanta Actors guild or putting pressure on his clients is counter-productive. Let him get on with it so he can eat and do our stuff after hours.
2. I think we backers now need to look at how we can ease Ken's load so he can earn money and work on this project
So I'm taking the initiative and asking you if you'd accept ditching the disc and taking a download instead, I've got a survey here to work out if this is a viable option: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/7GCRHR9
Unless Ken is willing to be frank with us about the current state of the project, I'm not sure what else we can do at this point. He has somewhere that will produce the product, and we can't come in with a financial rescue unless we know what is needed to rescue him.
I hope this spurs Ken into action.
This did result in a reply. I will not give the full details of the reply, as I think it has more detail than I need to put the public record right, but the summary is this:
In May, Ken had an alternative means of self-employed income that was reliant on a car being available. This vehicle was involved in an accident, Ken has not recieved compensation for this accident, but has lost access to the car.
This has left his finances more pressured than previously as he has lost that income and needs to replace the vehicle, as well as spending money to seek compensation for the accident. Kickstarter backers do not appear to be his only credators, he appears to have more mundane ones as well.
Ken was unable to give me the detail I sought as he was too busy dealing with all of that.
Following that last communication, I haven't recieved any emails from Ken, but the whole Louis situation happened.
I am therefore lead to the following conclusions:
1. It is likely, but no means assured, that the KODT: LAS product exists in some form that could be distributed to backers more or less immediately, at the very least digitally if not on Disc.
2. Ken appears to be attempting to put things right, but I fear from what I'm seeing the water is well far over his head. I think he needs a hand up/out, but being a proud man I'm not sure he knows how to ask.
3. This is also probably related to his pride, but I don't think Ken knows what to do to try and resolve the situation. He doesn't want to lose face, but he doesn't want to disapoint us either.
4. I don't think there is any point in backers trying to sue him. Is Ken in breach of contract? Probably. However, you can't squeeze blood out of a stone.
Okay, looks like the deadline has passed.
I don't take breaking a confidence lightly. However, I think given that Ken has given statements that are in my view, aparently misleading about the status of the project I think the public interest, the interest of my fellow backers, and the interest of other rights holders compel me to as Ken either will not, or due to his personal circumstances cannot put the record straight.
This is a whistleblowing action that has only occured after multiple private and public statements to Ken encouraging him to do set the record clean. As such, I think its clear there is no other alternative for me to act, except for let the public record stand with incorrect information.
I will limit my comments to what I think is the minimum required to correct the record, and inform my fellow backers as to what is going on. There is other information that I am aware of that I frankly think is either none of my fellow backers business and/or the disclosure of which is too invasive to Ken's personal situation.
On July 17, Ken issued his updates to this, and other kickstarters, with statements including:
"Sorry it has taken so long, there have been many sit backs in my life, and there are a few backers that actually follow and harass me online, effecting my ability to make a living and produce this product."
"I tried to produce the product without the knowledge of the true cost of production. Many companies producing 60 mins, of content kickstarter for $300k+. I have been spending my own time and money making-up for the under capitalization. "
These statements together imply that the current status of the KODT project is that it is not yet complete, that Ken needs more time to work on the product. It is these statements I believe to be misleading.
In the comments of the "The Harrasment continues" post, Ken posted this on July 25.
Ben - project is done. Waiting on Traveller to be finished up, so I can ship at the same time and save money thats I don't currently have.
This comment suggested a very different situation - that the project is indeed complete, but Ken is holding it back for other purposes.
Seeing this as a potential opportunity, I emailed both Jolly and Ken with a proposed solution. Since the problem apparently was Logistics, specifically looking at the cost of Shipping, I suggested that if Ken needed a better bulk discount to ship (as the leaked messages between him and Luke indicated that Ken was expecting from being able to ship along with Traveller) then would it be possible to have Kenzer do this at Ken's cost (with Dave Kenzer proposed by me as middleman rather than Jolly), and thus allow Ken to tap into their discount. In return for getting the KODT product out of the door, the same solution would also be used for Traveller. Additionally, Jolly would not seek, nor recieve any "credit" for this solution (as getting the credit for the project seems to be a big deal to Ken).
I won't reveal Jolly's answer, but his some of his reservations about the solution I think are in the comments already. If Jolly would like to say more thats up to him. What I will say is that I think his reservations (both public and private) are fair and well warranted, and I couldn't find any fault with them, and are based in business sense rather than simply animosity towards ken.
Ken however was very enthusiastic - he replied very quickly (5 minutes!) after I suggested it (and before Jolly did). He said he'd be happy with the outcome if that could be done.
As Ken did not express any reservations about having a product this lead me to believe that the completed KODT product exists in some form. I do not know whether it is burned to disc, or requires burning.
I also proposed three other solutions, which I present to the community now:
1. Ken's apparent plan A - Hold the KODT product until the Traveller product is ready, so it can all be shipped together. I made it very clear to ken if he was going to follow this route then he really needed to correct the public record and make it clear this is what he was doing and why.
I told him that many backers would probably be upset by this, but if he's clear, open and honest then we'll probably be more understanding than with the current way he is dealing with the situation.
2. The solution I dubbed the "Shadowrun Online" solution. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Shadowrun Online is another kickstarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1964352341/shadowrun-online) for an online version of the popular Pen and Pencil RPG.
After the initial launch the developer hit a snag, and some business units had to declare bankruptcy, meaning that some post-launch products could not be supplied, and others would be delayed.
Rather than be ambigious, the Shadowrun Online team were open and honest about the situation, and negociated with the Shadowrun IP holders to offer backers a solution for backer rewards that could no longer be furfilled, swapping physical rewards like minitures for eBooks. Not only did the developer recieve a good response for these swaps, many backers offered to forgive the requirement completely.
How would that apply here? I'd suggest that Ken open up a survey asking us backers if those of us who are currently slated to recieve DVDs, Blu Rays and other physical rewards would accept digital versions instead.
This then reduces how much Ken needs to pay to get those products out the door, and helps this all draw to a close quicker.
3. "Round Two" or the "Hero-U" option. Hero-U is again another kickstarter project, this one a spirtual successor to Sierra's Quest for Glory series. It did run out of money, so they did come up with a second Kickstarter to allow the project to continue.
How would that apply here? Well, lets be frank, I don't think any of us are going to trust Ken with money directly.
The way it would work instead is that Ken would come up with a full and frank accounting of what it would take to get the product from its current state.
A second round of crowdsourcing would happen. However, not one penny of this would go to Ken directly. Instead, a mutually acceptable trustee would instead hold the funds, and release the funds directly when an invoice is recieved to whomever is actually doing the work.
Ken did suggest a third party that people can trust. I'll not name names, but I will say its a prominent name most backers would probably recognise.
That name offered to take over furfilment of the product, subject to costs etc, being acceptable and fundable by Ken. This name does already have businesses who do this sort of thing, and has links to others if it was out of their current ability to do.
That name reached out to other names at Kenzer, and all started to look good. So good I apologised for some of my behaviour here thinking we had a solution at hand. I offered to vouch for Ken that something was happening, and encouraged him to set the record straight.
I now believe I was counting eggs instead of hatched chickens.
Ken on the 26th of July promised a response the following day. Promise not met.
I chased him on the 1st of August asked:
Have you been able to sort a solution with (prominent name) and (person at Kenzer)?
Are the discs burned and ready for shipping/packing or do they need that too? Have you given any thought to a community manager to help take that off your plate?
Have you considered asking backers to accept digital rather than physical delivery?
Seeing no reply by the 5th of August, I emailed this:
Still haven’t heard anything Ken…
I think you at the very least need to correct the public record as to the status of the project.
This did get a response from Ken, but just to kick the can down the road. I was told he was dealing with a "serious problem" and he'd be in touch the following monday. He wasn't.
On the 12th, I emailed:
Still waiting to hear from you Ken,
Are you going to update the public record? I will have to consider whether or not I should if you can’t.
No reply. But in response to a kickstarter comment, I emailed this on the 14th
>>>Phil Marshall 2 days ago
>>>Six new demo reels from Ken's actor's co-op posted in the last week, shot on our equipment. Imagine if Ken put that effort into producing our DVDs.
Are you telling me the truth Ken, or have you been trying to kick the can down the road.
If I don’t have a response very soon, I will have to consider whether or not I have a duty to clear the public record for you.
Part 2 to come
More radio silence it seems.
If Ken hasn't put the public record right by Friday, I will let everyone know what I've been able to divine about the status of the project.
Another shameful display by mr. Whitman.
I have a feeling that this project has been reported so many times that pressing that button just gets ignored. So posting a very specific report on the issue took care of it. My guess is that if someone else used the same method I did to report the last update ... the whole update might be deleted.
Hmmmm ... Jolly, I did a generic report about Ken's late update to KS as it was outside their code of conduct and saw they didn't respond. So when Ken posted personal information about Louis I tried a different route. I went in and tried this route:
Support / My Pledge / Picked KODT / Pledging / Trouble with My Pledge /
and then typed
"Sorry ... could not find any way to report this. The Creator of the project is posting personal information and non code of conduct comments to the Comments section against one of the backers. Could not find any way to report it ... but the information should not be allowed to be listed. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/d20e/kodt-live-action-series/comments… and https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/d20e/kodt-live-action-series/comments…"
To my surprise I got an email back from KS that said:
"Kickstarter Support (Kickstarter)
Aug 17, 6:39 PM EDT
Thanks for getting in touch about this. If you spot something you’d like to bring to our attention, the easiest thing to do is use the “Report this project” button at the bottom of each project page. We have a dedicated Integrity team that reviews concerns about projects on the site, so they’ll look into this.
It’s a huge help to get reports from the community and we really appreciate you taking the time to let us know.
Then today this:
"Kickstarter Integrity (Kickstarter)
Aug 18, 11:06 AM EDT
HI Impact! Miniatures,
Thank you for writing in and notifying us of this activity. We will be taking the appropriate action with the creator and this backer.
Surprised they deleted Louis's comments as well and definitely didn't even include Louis in the initial report.
Which is curious - all the person attacks against me on the last update have been left untouched despite the reports.
Looks like they were deleted Chad. As well as Ken's replies to him. I guess KS did a scrub.
Louis, can you email that email chain to email@example.com ; it will help me decide whether or not I need to break a confidence in the public interest.
Ken, I think you have an obligation - now - today - to put the public record right about the current status of this project.
The response that notanotherdime has recorded you giving louis suggests you have no intention to do so.
If you have no intention to do so, and the recent emails I've had from you are dicking me around, then I will do it for you.
What did louis post, I don't see anything
Still waiting for you to reply to me Ken, I am beginning to wonder if the replies so far were a stalling tactic.
Cyberstalking a backer Ken? Really? When I thought you could not sink any lower.
Ken your comments only reinforce your actions (or lack thereof as regards to fulfilling any of your promises) and prove that you are indeed one of the most disgraceful people that I have ever had the displease to have to deal with in any form.