BALL PIT will be our 5th and BESTEST music-comedy album, and we wanna roll it out with bonus content, videos, and more!
As of December 13, 2013 at 6 p.m. EST, THE CAMPAIGN WILL HAVE CLOSED! THANK YOU to everyone who backed us, and we look forward to bringing you all the awesome stuff your support will help us create.
If you’re late to the party, you’ll still be able to purchase the BALL PIT CD and many other of the campaign’s projects* when we release them to the public. We’ll let you know on www.paulandstorm.com (backers will get more frequent Updates here at Kickstarter).
* will not the PaulandStormonomicon story and art anthology
- Animated Holiday Special (co-created with HomestarRunner.com's Mike and Matt Chapman) FUNDED!
- Ice Cream Guacamole Truck Tour stretch goal revised to $265k!
- IMPORTANT: every additional pledge still helps! Even if we don't reach $265k, funding above $100k will go towards additional new projects (possible new music videos; possible shorter Ice Cream Guacamole Truck Tour; etc.) and/or enhancing existing goals (adding functionality to the RPG App; more musician/studio time for Extra Balls recordings; etc.) More details are in this Update.
- ALSO IMPORTANT: after the campaign closes, the star-studded PaulandStormonomicon anthology will only be available to this campaign's backers, forever and anon. So please jump in now if you haven't yet, because it would break our hearts to see you live with that kind of regret.
THUMBNAIL SUMMARY OF UNLOCKED GOALS
- BALL PIT album of original songs, plus album art
- EXTRA BALLS album of cover song collaborations
- 2 music videos for 2 of our brand-new songs
- RPG Soundboard App
- The KS-exclusive and star-studded PaulandStormonomicon story and art anthology
- Animated holiday special to be created in collaboration with Mike and Matt Chapman (The Brothers Chaps of homestarruner.com)
- (Holy crap!)
WHO THE HECK ARE WE?
We are Paul and Storm, a comedy-music duo who've been writing and performing music together (and prior to that, as half of a cappella group Da Vinci's Notebook) for nearly 20 years. We perform across the US and internationally, and at numerous cons (such as PAX, PAX East, DragonCon and Emerald City ComicCon). We're co-founders of w00tstock (along with Wil Wheaton and Adam Savage), and we co-produce the annual Jonathan Coulton fan cruise JoCo Cruise Crazy.
You also might have seen our George R.R. Martin-themed music video, "Write Like the Wind":
We've independently recorded and released four albums as Paul and Storm; and in early 2013, we co-created, starred in, and wrote the songs for the musical webseries LearningTown for the Geek & Sundry YouTube channel.
WHAT THE HECK ARE WE DOING?
We're nearly finished recording our fifth full-length album, Ball Pit; but rather than just finish it off and release it the way we usually do, we wanted to do...something more. With your help, we can make a spectacle of the release, and surround it with other, related cool projects to help make a real splash and hopefully garner some extra attention to the new release. Cool projects like professionally-produced music videos. Like a bonus EP with cover songs and collaborations. Like an RPG soundboard app. Maybe even an animated holiday special, a live concert video, or a video project of us going on tour in an ice-cream-and-guacamole truck. YES, AN ICE CREAM TRUCK. WITH GUACAMOLE.
We'd love to just go ahead and make all of these projects happen on our own; we've been thinking about several of them for quite some time. But the truth is that we're independent musicians with limited resources. With your support and funding, however, we can make every one of them a reality, which excites us beyond measure.
TL;DR The more we raise, the more shenanigans and monkeyshines we'll be able to bring you as part of the Ball Pit rollout. Thusly...
See? But we're not just here to show you sophisticated graphs. Here are the specifics:
Ball Pit is mostly recorded, but the big cash costs occur when it's time to assemble it into a CD. So there's that. But more importantly, we want to make a whole bunch of Ball Pit-related stuff. So at our main goal, here's where the money will be going:
1. Finishing Off Ball Pit
Final mixing, mastering, packaging, and physical production of Ball Pit. This includes funds paid to guest musicians, producers, and visual artists who help make the project sound and look great. Also, a modest amount for our own time and effort.
2. Music Video for "This Song"
We want to make a kick-buttocks music video for "This Song", our most viral-worthy tune since "Write Like the Wind (George R.R. Martin)". Here's a sneak audio-peek of a couple excerpts from the song demo:
(Bear in mind the final version will be EVEN MORE EPIC)
"This Song" needs a video, but it needs one done right. As in, not recorded and edited on our smartphones. Even on a "shoestring" budget, a GOOD music video with a professional crew can cost quite a lot. (As in, low five-figures) We want to bring in people to help make it Not Suck At All—specifically, director Sean Becker and producer Kim Evey (who both worked on LearningTown and The Guild)—to lead a crew to make a music video worthy of your efforts to fund it.
3. Extra Balls Cover Songs EP
Our main goal will fund a 5-song EP called Extra Balls, featuring cover songs recorded with a few of our musician friends (Jonathan Coulton, The Doubleclicks, Parry Gripp, Mike Phirman, and Sara Watkins), to be made available as a digital download.
4. Ten New RPG Songlets
A little while ago, we recorded a number of short songs ("songlets," if you will) designed to be used while playing RPGs. They were very well received, and a couple of them will be included on Ball Pit. We want to make more of them; so when we reach our main goal, we'll record and (separately) release 10 more. Additional funding will mean writing and releasing additional RPG songlets, and potentially an RPG soundboard app if things go really well. (More on that later...)
5. Kickstarter and Amazon Payments Fees
These account for 7-10% of every dollar we collect. Gotta pay The Man!
About the new Ball Pit album
In addition to popular songs that haven't appeared on any album (like "Write Like the Wind (George R. R. Martin)" and "Thanksgiving") and a couple of the original RPG songlets, we have a bunch of brand new original songs that aren't yet available anywhere. And as a backer, you'll get these new songs FIRST, before the rest of the world has access.
BONUS: The amazing and talented Randall Munroe (xkcd.com) has done the cover art. (!!!)
Depending on your preference and reward level, you can receive Ball Pit as a physical CD, a download with pdf files of the album art and credits, or on a limited-edition USB flash drive.
So that's pretty great right there. But we want to go BIGGER and DO MORE STUFF. So if we exceed our goal, here's a look at what we're gonna do:
Here comes the science...
UPDATE 12/10/13: $80k reached! The book is officially happening!
The PaulandStormonomicon will be an anthology of very short stories and illustrations based on and/or inspired by Paul and Storm and their songs.
The PaulandStormonomicon will include contributions from the following authors:
- James S. A. Corey (The Expanse series)
- Greg "Storm" DiCostanzo
- Lev Grossman (The Magicians; The Magician King)
- Mary Robinette Kowal (Shades of Milk and Honey; Without a Summer)
- Seanan McGuire (Blackout; Rosemary and Rue)
- Mikey Neumann (Vena Cava; The Ending: An Apocalypse Part 1)
- Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind; The Wise Man's Fear)
- John Scalzi (Old Man's War series; Redshirts)
- Scott Sigler (Infection Trilogy; Nocturnal)
...and will include illustrations by:
- Bill Amend (FoxTrot)
- Joel Hodgson (MST3k; Cinematic Titanic)
- Scott Johnson (My Extra Life)
- Mary Robinette Kowal (yup; an illustration too!)
- Len Peralta (Geek A Week)
- Katie Rice (Camp Weedonwatcha; Penny Arcade's Strip Search)
- Kris Straub (Chainsawsuit, Broodhollow)
- Zach Weiner (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal)
- Annie Wu (Venture Bros.; Batgirl)
- Wil Wheaton
- and Neil Gaiman
And the cover will be designed by Emily and Matt Fitzpatrick, the cross-stitching wizards behind Steotch.
We're hoping to add a few more names to the above lists before we're through. Watch this space...
The PaulandStormonomicon will become available in both paperback and ebook form (specific formats TBD; but we promise to try to make it available for all major ebook readers); it'll be available as an add-on ($10 digital version; $15 US /$18 INTL paperback; $20 US / $23 INTL P&S-signed paperback), and/or included in some higher Reward levels.
This collection of brand new works from all these great creators will ONLY be available to our Kickstarter backers—once the campaign’s done, this book will disappear back into the Æther. So act now!
UPDATED 12/13/13: The Animated Holiday Special, co-created by, co-starring and animated by Homestarrunner.com's Mike and Matt Chapman, and co-written by us, the Brothers Chaps, and LearningTown head writer Josh Cagan, has been FUNDED!
Our Kickstarter backers will be able to see and hear it before anyone else.
Yes! For years fans have asked us "When are you going to do a song with [Person X]", or suggested that "You should totally do a cover of [Song Y]". And you know what? We love Person X and Song Y, but it's never seemed quite right to do those things on our "normal" comedy albums. And even if we did, the logistics of coordinating such collaborations can be intimidating.
Well, darnit, the time has come to stop dawdling and start making it happen. And so, with crowdfunding's help, Extra Balls will be born.
UPDATE 12/02/13: New collaborators announced: MC Frontalot, Hank Green and John Scalzi! Current full list of Extra Balls collaborators:
- Jim Boggia
- Marian Call
- Chris Collingwood
- Jonathan Coulton
- The Doubleclicks
- MC Frontalot
- Hank Green
- Parry Gripp
- Molly Lewis
- Mike Phirman
- John Roderick
- John Scalzi
- Sara Watkins
- additional collaborators TBA
The Extra Balls CD is now also available as an Add-On item to existing pledges, and comes free with the ALL-IN BUNDLE (and all higher rewards which receive the ALL-IN BUNDLE items).
As described above, we've previously recorded a few short "songlets" designed to be used while playing RPGs. Songs such as "Critical Hit" (Warning: NSFW!):
...and "Don't Blow the Daily" (NSFW)...
These have been very well-received, so we want to make more of them. We'll make 10 more upon reaching our main goal, and then more at the $30,000, $35,000, $40,000, $45,000 and $55,000 levels.
And if we reach $65,000, we'll compile all these songlets into a smartphone app you can use in your own gaming sessions, or to just play on a whim wherever you go. (Like the library. Or jury duty. Or a funeral.)
It's something we've wanted to make for years, but we got sticker shock when we first saw what quality app development costs. But your funding will enable us to bring in professional developers and artists (who we already have lined up) to make this app as cool, efficient, beautiful and awesome as possible. If funded, the RPG app will be made available as an add-on reward to our Kickstarter campaign.
Beyond the $65,000 threshold, the more funding we receive, the more songlets, taunts, sound effects, and features we'll add to the app.
UPDATE: UNLOCKED! App will have at least 75 sounds, and will be available for iOS and Android.
The reality these days is that if your song doesn't have a great video, it's just not gonna go very far. And we know lots of experienced, talented people who do exactly that sort of thing—and with your help we'll be able to pay them to help us put together some more high-quality righteous videos. If funding is crazy-go-nuts, we might even produce videos for some of our pre-Ball Pit fan favorites.
UPDATE 11/19/13: Thanks to your generosity, we have secured funding for a second music video. Watch the Updates for forthcoming information about that second song and video.
As noted above, our cover art for Ball Pit will be done by xkcd's Randall Munroe. But we know quite a few great artists; so we thought, why limit ourselves to just one cover?
So a number of stretch goals will unlock alternate Ball Pit cover art created by some of our talented friends:
- $35,000 - Adam Koford (HOBOTOPIA)
- $40,000 - John Kovalic (Dork Tower)
- $55,000 - Ethan Nicolle (AXE COP)
UPDATE 11/19/13: All three Alternate Cover Art stretch goals have been unlocked! Poster versions of all cover art options are now available as Add-Ons (see chart below for full pricing information). All Ball Pit posters are now included for free in the ALL-IN BUNDLE reward and above (all rewards of $130 and up).
YES! P&S go on tour in an ice cream truck, document it on video, and make something awesome with it!
UPDATED 12/09/13: Stretch goal revised to $265,000! Also, Mediocrefilms' Greg Benson will be along both on-camera and behind the scenes to help document the trip and edit it into episodes.
When it comes right down to it, we're not really in the music business. Our true value to society is in doing idiotic things that make other people laugh, smile, or generally feel good, and it just happens that music is our primary means of accomplishing that end.
So we have a dream for a Ball Pit tour that combines three of our loves: music, live performance, and FOOD. And if we reach the ludicrous stretch goal of $265,000, we will procure an ice cream truck, take it out on tour, give away ice cream and guacamole, do various good and/or ridiculous deeds (tbd), and document the whole adventure with a professional film crew.
Do we expect to reach this goal? No. But if you don't dream big, chances are you won't go on tour in an ice cream (and guacamole) truck.
Full reward details are of course in the right-hand sidebar; but below is a basic summary chart of the items contained in the different rewards, so you know exactly what stuff is included in each package (not counting the reward-specific "special" stuff, like the doodles, song review and such):
*For the CRAPPY ANIMATION and BAND FOR HIRE rewards, subject matter must be non-commercial, and may not contain pornography, excessive profanity, hate speech, illegal or creepy stuff. P&S retain final subject matter approval, but will work with you to make sure we're all happy with the final product. P&S will retain all publishing rights, but you'll be free to use it in any non-commercial setting that you like.
Below is the list of currently-available add-ons for all reward levels (excluding HEARTY THANKS and HEARTIER THANKS). Please note that some rewards may already include one or more of these items:
More add-ons may be opened up at additional funding levels, so watch this space as the campaign progresses!
To add any of these items to your existing pledge, click on the "Manage Your Pledge" button, increase your pledge by the amount(s) listed above (for example, to add both the T-shirt and USB Drive, add $110 for US orders, $123 for international orders), select "Continue to Next Step" and confirm your new pledge. Once the campaign is over, we'll contact you to find out which item(s) your additional pledge was for.
WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
The question often gets asked of Kickstarters (especially successful ones): "Where exactly does the money all go?" When this is over, will we be diving into piles of cash, all Scrooge McDuck-like?
And so we present the chart below, which is a breakdown of where the funds we've collected up to the $65k stretch goal level will go, based on our current best possible budget estimates. (The amount actually going directly to us is the highlighted, sexy gray section.)
While the percentages will vary somewhat if/when we collect more funds, we expect them to stay reasonably close to what's in this graph.
WE LOVE TALKING ABOUT OUR KICKSTARTER
Below is a list of podcasts and interviews with us discussing Ball Pit and the Kickstarter campaign. You should listen to/read ALL OF THEM:
- All Things Girl
- Bourbon Lounge
- The Daily Dot
- G2V Podcast
- The Gamers Dome
- The Nerd Nighters
- Nerd Reactor
- Nerdy But Flirty
- Nutty Bites
- Red Dwarf Introcast
- The Quadruple Z
VERY SPECIAL PITCH VIDEO SPECIAL THANKS GO TO...
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We've been successfully delivering music (digitally and physically), merchandise, videos, and so forth for almost two decades; and we organize complex events like w00tstock and JoCo Cruise Crazy. So we feel pretty confident that we'll deliver on everything in our Kickstarter, including (especially?) the crazier elements. In the unlikely event that we actually raise $350,000, do we know exactly where we'd get an ice cream truck? No. But we have a good track record for figuring out those sorts of things.
That said, we're just two people made of flesh and blood, and are subject to the same cataclysms as other carbon-based lifeforms, as are our collaborators. It's also possible that unforeseen obstacles may hinder delivery of some of the project elements. We can't imagine what, but such is the nature of the unforeseen.
But at the heart of it all, we hope that this entire process will bring you great joy, and that the resultant output of content will bring us wider renown, thereby increasing your satisfaction in supporting us before Everybody Else got in on the act. And you deserve that satisfaction and its attendant rewards, because Everybody Else can be really fickle.
- Identify the price of the item or items you wish to add
- Click on the "Manage Your Pledge" button
- Increase your pledge by the total amount of the item(s) you want to add
- Select "Continue to Next Step" and confirm your new pledge
- Once the campaign closes, we'll send you a survey to fill out for you to indicate which specific add-on(s) your additional funds are for.
And that's it! It's sort of like you're creating a "bank account" with us, whose funds you'll use later to purchase your base reward and add-ons.
- If you selected the ALL-IN BUNDLE or higher (the $130 reward level and above), the EXTRA BALLS physical CD will be automatically included in your reward.
- You may also add-on the EXTRA BALLS physical CD to your existing pledge for $15 US / $18 INTL. (See above FAQ for specific instructions for adding add-ons.)
The RPG app, as well as all the songlets written for the app, will be included in all reward levels of $28 and up. (That is, the ALL THE DIGITAL THINGS Reward and all more expensive rewards) Once the Kickstarter is over and the songs are completed, you will receive a link to download the songlets.
Do the EARLY BIRD SPECIAL and/or SLIGHTLY LATER-BIRD SPECIAL reward levels include the RPG app and songs?
We didn't intend for the app to be included at those levels (which are still far and away the best values we have or will offer, even after adding another $5 for the app). This is based on our revised internal numbers/estimates here at the halfway point of the campaign, to try to keep the finances at "reasonable levels." As in, "to guard against ending up with just a ham sandwich and a handshake when this is all over."
That said, the wording of the specials can indeed be interpreted that anything added to the SIGNED BALL PIT CD bundle should be included in the Early/Slightly-Later specials. This was our bad, and the onus is on us. Therefore, while we hope that the folks in those categories will honor the "spirit of the law" (i.e., increase their pledges by $5 if they want the app), we will not hold it against anyone who chooses to go by the "letter of the law." When the campaign is over, the Early/Slightly-Later Bird Reward levels will include the app, whether you've increased your pledge for it or not.
Because, gosh darn it, we're acutely aware that all of you who rushed to our campaign right when we launched it are among our biggest, most enthusiastic supporters; and it's worth losing a little bit of potential funding in order to keep your respect and trust.
tl;dr This Kickstarter stuff is complicated.
Yes; all orders that include the paperback or P&S-signed paperback version of the book will receive the eBook version as well, at no extra cost to you.
What will you do with the "extra" money if you only get partway to one of the remaining stretch goals?
Once the campaign is over, we'll take a good, long, detailed look at stretch goals and our total funding. Obviously, it'll depend on how much we've raised; but we will devote any "extra" funds we raise towards enhancing the various projects we've already unlocked. Possibilities include: making more music videos and/or increasing the budgets of existing music videos; adding functionality to/improving the RPG app; and (if we go over $100k but don't get all the way to $265k) planning a reduced-scale version of the ICG Tour.
- Click on the "Manage Your Pledge" button.
- From the list provided, select the new reward level you want and adjust your total pledge accordingly. NOTE: adjusting your pledge amount DOES NOT automatically bump you to the reward level with the corresponding dollar amount; and ALSO NOTE that changing your reward level DOES NOT automatically adjust your pledge amount. SO make sure you do both.
- Select "Continue to Next Step" and confirm your new pledge amount and reward level.
- IMPORTANT: once the campaign closes at 6 p.m. EST on Friday, December 13, 2013, you will not be able to change your Reward Level. You *will*, however, be able to add additional add-ons.