Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 30, 2011.

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How do we fix our National Budget Deficit and Debt? Help us build a website that helps America explore the answers to build our future.

The federal budget is a hot topic these days. Our national debt is being called a "ticking time bomb," a "national disaster," and "a cancer that will destroy our country from within." But despite all of the media coverage, how much do you really know about it? Most studies show that the general public has a poor understanding of where all the money goes and comes from.

Visual Budget is a cutting-edge data-visualization web site. It explains all the complicated ins and outs of the US Federal Budget using interactive charts and motion graphics. It is a tool that lets citizens like you and me understand this important issue, armed with the latest most comprehensive facts and figures. It brings a new breadth of knowledge to our political discourse and helps us share our opinions with artistic power. And most importantly, with Visual Budget, we can push our politicians to act and make a real difference.

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A Prototype for a Bigger Website Project

We are raising funds on Kickstarter so that we can build an interactive prototype of the Visual Budget software. The prototype will be essential for us to raise additional money from philanthropies and foundations to fund the complete website. Why a prototype first? Visual Budget’s method of presenting data requires motion and animation to have its full effect, and this is difficult to convey in still-frame mock-ups and storyboards. We want to inspire potential donors by setting things in motion complete with voiceover and interactivity. And we can’t afford to do this without your help.

We will be using these Kickstarter funds to produce and demonstrate:

  • Polished Designs/ of charts and pages
  • Visual Effects/ that make charts come to life on screen
  • Animated Transitions/ between charts with related information
  • Interactivity/ demonstrating how users will interact with the site
  • Presentations & Voice-over/ unveiling complex charts in digestible pieces

Enlightening charts that move people

Visual Budget tells important stories about the Federal Budget’s data — stories that actually matter to our lives but are often glossed over by popular news media for fear that viewers will change the channel. From a basic breakdown of taxing and spending to a detailed look at the future costs of Social Security and Medicare, Visual Budget digs deep into the data that should guide our country’s policy and helps everyone to understand these issues in plain terms. And we don’t leave you alone in a sea of data; Visual Budget is guided by a voice-over host who helps make sense of it all, even when the issues get complex.

Our prototype will answer three important questions:

  • Where does my tax money go?
  • Who pays what in income tax?
  • How is the budget deficit paid for?
  • And the final website will answer these and many more.

Inspired by Motion Graphics, Powered by Open Data

A lot of the budgetary information that will drive Visual Budget is already “out there” in public databases, but it isn’t enough to have raw information merely accessible by the public. We need tools to gather the data and give it meaning and context. Doing so requires a unique combination of skills and talent - artistic and technical.

We are inspired by great communications arts. Motion Graphics and Infographics get us excited about sharing information in a highly artistic way. Here are some examples of our inspirations, which will motivate the way we design and animate:

The Gettysburg Address by Adam Gault and Stephanie Augustine

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Against Dumb by Gareth O’Brien and Yker Moreno 

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Trusted Computing by Benjamin Stephan and Lutz Vogel

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Our Bombs - Motion Graphics by Neil Halloran and Eric Hochhalter

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The Faces Behind Visual Budget

FAQ

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  • Pledge $25 or more
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    59 backers

    SUPPORTER - Receive your name listed within the prototype and on visualbudget.org at launch as well as a hand-written thank-you card for your contribution. To keep you involved, we will also send you our Production Email Newsletter featuring weekly updates and in-progress images and videos not found in our Kickstarter updates. Most importantly, we will invite you to access the completed Visual Budget prototype online and to Beta-test VisualBudget.org later on.

  • Pledge $50 or more
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    26 backers

    PREMIUM SUPPORTER - Receive a signed Visual Budget Infographic Poster that explains the entire Federal Budget in a single wall chart! Also, you are invited to a live Visual Budget Production Webinar to be held at our half-way milestones including an in-production demonstration and a Q&A session (We will hold one Webinar for each the Visual Budget prototype phase and visualbudget.org development phase). You will also receive all the rewards listed above.

  • Pledge $100 or more
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    11 backers Limited (39 left of 50)

    BRONZE COLLABORATOR - At the "Collaborator" level we start bringing you into our creative process. At this level, we invite you to a 10 minute individual phone call at our one-quarter production milestone to show our prototype progress and to obtain your feedback on how to make Visual Budget great. (We will hold one call for each the Visual Budget prototype phase and visualbudget.org development phase). You will also receive all the rewards listed above.

  • Pledge $250 or more
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    9 backers Limited (11 left of 20)

    SILVER COLLABORATOR - Contribute to the project in a series of Conference Calls at our quarter- production milestones where we will demonstrate our progress and obtain your feedback on how to make Visual Budget even better. (We will hold one Webinar for each the Visual Budget prototype phase and visualbudget.org development phase). And to literally sweeten the deal, we'll send you a bar of gold from Goldkenn Switzerland Chocolatier with the Visual Budget logo and a special statement about our Federal Budget. As always, you will also receive all the rewards listed above.

  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    5 backers All gone!

    GOLD COLLABORATOR - In addition to all the access and goodies listed above, we will collaborate with you to develop your presentation idea into one of the guided presentations on visualbudget.org at launch. We also offer you an optional biographical entry in the Visual Budget prototype and on visualbudget.org at launch.

  • Pledge $5,000 or more
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    1 backer All gone!

    PLATINUM COLLABORATOR - One very generous soul will have the privelege of literally voicing his or her opinion on visualbudget.org at launch. We will collaborate with you to record your voice for the voiceover of your guided presentation on visualbudget.org. And on top of that you will get everything else listed above and bragging rights as Visual Budget's very best friend.

Funding period

- (45 days)