Kick Start Your Creativity

June 22, 2011

Ever heard of Kickstarter? The website is essentially a platform for crowdsourced fundraising used by creative types looking for money to bring a project to life. I recently came across two references to Kickstarter in the same day and decided to check it out. I found the concept and the content compelling, so I thought I’d share.

The site is focused on creative people – describing itself as a great way for artists, filmmakers, musicians, designers, writers, illustrators, explorers, curators, performers and others to secure funding for their projects, events and inventions. They believe a good idea, communicated well, can spread quickly – and both the project creator and his/her supporters can benefit.

How it works: Once a dollar figure is set for the project, the creator has up to 60 days to raise the money. And it’s an all-or-nothing funding model – meaning projects must reach or exceed the established limit or no money changes hands. In return for pledging money, supporters receive tangible rewards offered by the creator in the form of tickets, products, exclusive experiences and more. The project creators also bring their stories to life and keep supporters engaged throughout the process with blog posts, pictures and videos.

Kickstarter takes a cut, 5 percent of all funded projects, as does Amazon, which handles the secure credit card processing. But, creators don’t pay a dime if their project doesn’t reach its limit, so I’m certain it’s well worth it to those looking for backing.

Example #1: Minnesota-based musician Keri Noble needed money to record her next album independently. She turned to Kickstarter and raised more than $15,000 from 84 backers, more than enough to send her into the studio. Depending on how much people pledged, rewards included a free digital download of the album before its release ($25), tickets to an upcoming show with a meet-and-greet and a thank you in the album’s liner notes ($75), a private solo concert ($250) and more. The private concerts must have been priced a little too low because they sold out quickly.

Example #2: To celebrate her 28th birthday, artist Molly Crabapple proposed a project she called “Molly Crabapple’s Week In Hell.” She promised to lock herself in a room completely covered with paper on all four walls, emerging only after every inch was covered with art. Her funding goal was set at $4,500, with rewards ranging from access to a live video stream of the week-long event ($1) to a 4-by-6-inch cut from the final artwork ($20) or even an absinthe lunch with Crabapple. She ended up with more than $25,000 from nearly 750 backers, so she’s using the extra money hire and producer and videographer to make a short film about the project.

Example #3: A project called “+ Pool” has been getting a bunch of attention recently by proposing to build a swimming pool that floats in Manhattan’s East River or Hudson River. Filthy river water would be filtered through layers in the walls of the pool to create a clean, safe place for New Yorkers to swim. Initial testing and feasibility reports are already in place and If they raise $500,000 through Kickstarter, the group plans to build a full-scale mock up of a piece of the pool, complete with water filtration and all, to present to the city and public.

A mock up of the proposed pool

I encourage you to check out Kickstarter if you haven’t already. Scroll around for a just few minutes and I’m certain many of the projects and stories will interest and inspire you. You might find something to support or maybe even launch a project of your own.