Kickstarter

 

The Kickstarter Blog

Product Upgrade: A Calculator for Funding Goals

Aug 20 2019

Setting a funding goal is a critical step in launching a project — but it can be a confusing one. We’ve released a new tool to help make at least part of this process easier and more transparent.

Our start-a-project area has a section where you enter your funding goal. Creators will now see a new calculator icon there. Clicking on it opens… a calculator! Creators can enter the amount they’ve determined they need to bring their project to life and fulfill their rewards (see some guidance on that here). From there, creators can select how much they want to set aside for taxes. Based on these amounts, we compute the fees creators should budget for (Kickstarter’s 5% fee, and our payment processor’s roughly 5% fee). The final output is a suggested funding goal that will allow creators to take home the amount they’ve determined they need for the project after taxes and fees.

Our mission is to help bring creative projects to life, and we want to ensure we’re doing this through the full cycle of a Kickstarter campaign. We’ve heard from creators that taxes and fees can sneak up on them, potentially eating into the amount they need to actually complete their projects. We built this new tool to add transparency around this and to help creators feel more prepared and confident before they launch their campaigns. Watch for more help with budgeting, coming soon.

Here are some more recent improvements to Kickstarter for backers and creators.

Discover more projects: Now when you see a collection of projects on our home page or category pages, like “Explore Photography” or “Fresh Finds,” you can use the little arrows on the right to scroll through similar projects. This is part of our effort to connect backers with more projects to get excited about.

Backer report upgrades: Until now, when creators downloaded their backer reports, they would get a separate spreadsheet for each reward tier. They can still choose this format, but now they have the option to download data for all reward tiers in one spreadsheet, potentially saving a lot of copying-and-pasting.

We’ve also added itemization columns to these spreadsheets, for projects that use itemization in their rewards. If, for example, you have one reward tier for a book, and another for a book plus a T-shirt, there will be a column that lets you add up all the books across tiers, making it easier to figure out how many you need. It’s also easier to see exactly which items each backer should receive.

Pinned updates: Creators can now “pin” an update to keep it at the top of their updates feed. This is a great way to draw attention to an especially important update and make it easier to find.

In the last Product Upgrades post, we told you about project quotes in comments, among other improvements. Watch for more soon.

Kickstarter and The Eyeslicer to Host New “Radical Film Fair” in Brooklyn

Aug 20 2019

This September, Kickstarter Film is partnering with The Eyeslicer, a secret TV show blending the boldest new American filmmaking into mind-expanding, mixtape-style episodes, to bring a new, free film fair to our Brooklyn headquarters.

Akin to the spirit of a comic or record fair, the Radical Film Fair will be a place for film lovers, independent filmmakers, distributors, publishers, zine-makers, and indie theaters to come together, meet fans, and sell their work.

Vendors including Oscilloscope Laboratories, Meow Wolf, Nitehawk Cinema, Kino Lorber and many others will be selling merch and communing with fellow film fans. Several more organizations will be participating in a pop-up Film Clinic, an on-site station where Creative Capital, POV, DCTV, and others will be offering free advice and mentorship.

Indie filmmakers will present short lightning-round talks throughout the day, including Penny Lane (Our Nixon, Nuts!, and Hail Satan) and Rashaad Ernesto Green (Premature and Gun Hill Road). The Eyeslicer’s Season Two will be playing in the theater, and there will be an immersive video installation of each episode in several different rooms.

We’re fortunate to have first-hand experience meeting hundreds of independent filmmakers and film lovers through our work at Kickstarter. It’s time to put that network to good use and connect them to each other! We hope that this experiment will serve as a repeatable proof of concept for a new way to sustain, celebrate, and support truly independent filmmaking as a community.

For the exhibitor list and updates, and to register for a free ticket, click here

Radical Film Fair

Sunday, September 15, 2019

1-5 PM

Kickstarter HQ

58 Kent Street

Brooklyn NY 11222

Kickstarter-Funded Games Sweep Gen Con Awards

Aug 15 2019

The Games team brings glad tidings from Indianapolis! We’ve just recovered from Gen Con, the largest gathering of the tabletop games community in North America. This year’s event was extra special for us because two Kickstarted games took home top honors at two different award shows at the conference. We’d like to give a quick shout out to these games and every Kickstarter-funded game that was nominated and honored at Gen Con. If you were looking for an excuse to feel good for a little while, we give you permission to celebrate with us.

Mothership is a vast RPG with several components. The Pound of Flesh zine, which is a part of the Mothership RPG, was on Kickstarter as a part of ZineQuest. Sean McCoy is the co-founder of Tuesday Knight Games, co-designer of the Kickstarted classic Two Rooms and a Boom, and designer of Mothership. We strongly suggest checking out Sean’s recent blog post about Mothership and their wins to hear more about how community rallied around this small project that almost never was. The Mothership team Kickstarted A Pound of Flesh while they prepared for the arrival of Sean’s new baby!

Since 2001, Gen Con has hosted an award show known as the ENnies, where winners are chosen by online fan voting. Mothership: Dead Planet won the Silver ENnie for Best Adventure, while Mothership: Player’s Survival Guide won the Gold ENnie for Best Game, and was also nominated for Best Rules and Best Product.

In another equally exciting award, Starcossed by Alex Roberts won the Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming. The Diana Jones Award is a merit-based award whose winner is chosen by what can only be described as a secret, elite tabletop gaming cabal. The history of the award is interesting, and you should definitely read about it on the Diana Jones Award official page.

In Starcrossed, two players act out a scenario in which they’re super attracted to and/or in love with one another, with their romantic and/or sexual tension represented by a tower of blocks. Each time the characters flirt, wink, or take some kind of action toward each other, the tower loses blocks and slowly becomes more unsteady. If the tower falls before the end of the last scene of the game, your characters act on their feelings. This is exactly the kind of unique, genre-bending stuff we love over here at Kickstarter.

You know that feeling when someone from your hometown wins a sport, becomes a famous singer, grows the biggest pumpkin at the state fair, or just does something that makes you feel like incredible things are possible anywhere, and that maybe even you could do incredible things, even here? This is exactly that. We’re so proud to have been involved in the creation of these games in our own small way. There is definitely some very closely-neighboring alternate universe where these games wouldn’t have existed at all. So let’s take a moment to appreciate some more of the Kickstarter-funded games that were honored at Gen Con 2019.

More Kickstarter-Funded Award Winners 

Kids on Bikes by Infectious Play (Jon Gilmour): Gold ENnie for Best Family Game/Product

Cthulhu Mythos by Sandy Petersen: Golden ENnie for Best Monster/Adversary

Symbaroum by Fria Ligan: Gold ENnie for Best Layout and Design; Silver ENie for Best Art, Interior

Dialect by Thorny Games: Silver ENnie for Best Game & Best Game at the IGN Awards

KULT by Helmgast AB: Silver ENie for Best Art, Cover; Silver ENie for Best Art, Interior; Silver ENnie for Best Writing 

DungeonFog by DungeonFog: Silver Ennie for Best Aid/Accessory, Digital 

Invisible Sun Black Box by Monte Cook Games: Silver ENnie for Best Production Values 

Forbidden Lands by Fria Ligan: Gold ENnie for Best Cartography 

Fear's Sharp Little Needles by Stygian Fox Publishing: Silver ENnie for Best Electronic Book 

Dinosaur Princesses by Hamish Cameron: Silver ENnie for Best Family Game/Product

The Ultraviolet Grasslands by Exalted Funeral: Silver ENnie for Best Monster/Adversary 

Creature Codex: 5th Edition Monsters by Kobold Press: Silver ENnie for Best Free Game/Product 

The Black Hack by Peter Regan: Silver ENnie for Best Layout and Design 

Kickstarter Teams up with shesaid.so to Support Women and Nonbinary Folks in the Music Industry

Aug 12 2019
The shesaid.so team
The shesaid.so team

This October, Kickstarter is teaming up with shesaid.so, a global community of women in the music industry, to offer funding to five Europe-based women, trans, and nonbinary folks interested in attending MEETSSS, their inaugural conference. Taking place October 3–6, 2019, in Portimão, Portugal, MEETSSS will feature workshops, discussions, panels, and more for music executives, artists, and others working in entertainment. The conference is open to people of all genders.

A shared mission of empowering creators and supporting creative work

Launched in 2014, shesaid.so is an international community of women working in all areas of the music industry, from record labels to artist management to tech. Through events, panels, showcases, mentorship programs, and more, they aim to connect and empower underrepresented communities and increase the presence and visibility of women in the music industry. Headquartered in London and Los Angeles, the shesaid.so community comprises some 13,000 members in New York City, Paris, Berlin, Mumbai, and many other cities.

“When we sat down with shesaid.so founder Andreea Magdalina and heard her story, there was such a clear, natural fit between our two communities,” says Christoph Nagel, Kickstarter’s International Manager Europe. “Their vision is to connect and empower underrepresented communities in the music industry, with a focus on women and nonbinary folks. As a Public Benefit Corporation with the mission of helping to bring creative projects to life, Kickstarter is likewise committed to the arts and advocating for a more creative and equitable world.”

Applications are open for the MEETSSS funding program

As the first step in a broader partnership between Kickstarter and shesaid.so, we’re offering funding to five women, trans, and nonbinary folks based in Europe who are interested in attending the conference but wouldn’t otherwise have the means to attend. Each grant will include travel fare, a delegate pass, and accommodation for the three nights of the conference.

If you’re interested in attending MEETSSS, you can learn more and apply here; applications are open until August 28, 2019.

There’s more to come from our partnership with shesaid.so, so stay tuned for more news and events in the next few months!

Product Upgrades: Project Quotes in Comments, and More

Aug 5 2019

Here’s a quick overview of some recent improvements to Kickstarter that we’re excited to tell you about.

First up is a feature we’re calling quoted comments. It’s designed to make it easier for backers to start a public conversation with creators.

Backers often want to ask questions about a specific element of a project. They may be seeking clarification about something, or they may want the creator to substantiate a claim. These interactions are a core part of supporting projects on Kickstarter, and quoted comments are a great way to kick them off.

To use this feature, you simply highlight a line of text in the project’s description, up to 300 characters. A box then pops up giving you the option to quote this text. Clicking “Start a comment” will take you to the project’s comments section, where the selected text will appear as a quote. You can write your comment or question beneath the quote.

For now, the quoted comments feature is available only on the desktop web, and only to Superbackers. What are Superbackers? They’re backers who have supported more than 25 Kickstarter projects with pledges of at least $10 in the past year. In other words, they’re core members of our backer community, and they often have helpful feedback for creators.

Here are a few other upgrades to Kickstarter that we’ve rolled out recently:

• Some creators find it hard to figure out what to say in a project update. We know that an empty text box can be intimidating. So we created a new update format called Q&A. It’s essentially a template that lets creators answer questions about the emotional and practical steps in their project’s journey, using text and multimedia. We’ll be adding new questions over time to keep things fresh. Creators can find this under the Q&A tab on the post-an-update page.

Collette June Ellis, a Publishing creator, posted a nice example of a Q&A update.
Collette June Ellis, a Publishing creator, posted a nice example of a Q&A update.

• You may have noticed that we just overhauled the Updates tab on project pages. Among other changes, it now shows a meaty preview of each update, and when you click or tap on one, the full update shows up in a flash.

• Creators can now easily embed content from sources like Twitch, Instagram, and Facebook Live into project pages and updates, helping them bring their full online presence into their Kickstarter projects.

• On desktop and mobile web, comments on project updates can now be threaded, just as they are on a project’s main comments tab.

• Here’s a feature that creators have been requesting for some time: They can now generate the final web address of their project before they launch. That URL is a useful thing to have as creators put together their promotional and press plans. Creators can find this in the “Promotion” section of the build-a-project area once they’ve submitted their project for approval.

We’re working to make Kickstarter better every day. Watch this space for more upgrades soon.

Kickstarter-Funded Performances to Watch at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Aug 1 2019

Way back in 2009 when Kickstarter was first launched, one of our first projects was a piece from Cynthia Hopkins trying to get to the Edinburgh Fringe. A decade later, hundreds of artists have raised more than $1.5 million from over 20,000 backers as part of their journey to this legendary performance festival. 

This year over 50 Kickstarted productions will be headed to the Fringe, demonstrating the vital role that Kickstarter continues to play as a means of alternative funding for artists hoping to bring their shows to the festival.

Are you an artist in the festival? Be on the lookout for a program of events focused on health and wellbeing at Fringe Central as part of our partnership. I, along with our Comedy Outreach Lead, Taylor Moore, will also host office hours on August 6, 2019 from 11am to 3pm for any creators considering crowdfunding.

As we get ready to dive into the festival, here are a few of the Kickstarted pieces we’re looking forward to:

SWIM: a show about wild swimming
SWIM: a show about wild swimming
 

SWIM, a solo production by first-time Fringe performer Liz Richardson that explores her journey coping with grief, illness and isolation through wild swimming. Kickstarter helped SWIM premiere at HOME in Manchester earlier this year. 88 backers pledged £3,253 to help bring this project to life.

STYX by Second Body
STYX by Second Body

New theatre company Second Body will present STYX, a theatre- concert about myth, music and the neuroscience of memory loss, which aims to broaden the public conversation about Alzheimer’s Disease. STYX premiered at the Perth Fringe World Festival earlier this year, and is using Kickstarter to help bring the vital conversation about Alzheimer’s and dementia to a wider audience in Edinburgh. 95 backers pledged £8,219 to help bring this project to life

Algorithms: A New Play
Algorithms: A New Play

Algorithms by actor and comedian Sadie Clark is a tragicomic one- woman play that follows Brooke, an algorithm writer for an online dating site, as she searches for love, happiness and connection in a world defined more and more by online interactions. As Sadie puts it, Brooke is a bisexual Bridget Jones for the online generation. 174 backers pledged £3,964 to help bring this project to life

Down it Fresher! at Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Down it Fresher! at Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Down it Fresher! is an original comedy about student life by writer/director duo Lisa Emily Petersen and Mari Clementine Gruer. After getting dragged by new friends to a night club in Edinburgh, Frida the Fresher meets posh Matt. Social media interactions are displayed on a giant iPhone as cast members dance on the bar in this hilariously honest play about being a student and falling in love. 10 backers pledged £344 to help bring this project to life

Bring Voice of Authority to Edinburgh Fringe
Bring Voice of Authority to Edinburgh Fringe

Dean Temple based his play Voice of Authority upon the remarkably true ordeal that Dean went through when he decided to ‘give up’ his dream of performing to work for his Uncle’s law firm – only to be sued by the US government claiming that he owed $19 million. 49 backers pledged $6,004 to help bring this project to life.

Kirsten Vangsness: Fempire
Kirsten Vangsness: Fempire

Theatre of NOTE, a non profit theatre company based in Hollywood, is presenting two plays at the Fringe this year as part of Kristen Vangsness: Fempire of productions. Cleo, Theo & Wu will be performed alongside Vangsness’ solo show, Mess. Both plays explore storytelling through the female gaze. 394 backers pledged $45,126 to help bring this project to life

Want more? Check out all the past Edinburgh Fringe projects on Kickstarter.

Open Call: Apply to Become a Kickstarter Creator-in-Residence this Fall

Jul 11 2019
The Spring 2019 Creators-in-Residence
The Spring 2019 Creators-in-Residence

We’re excited to announce the open call for Kickstarter’s Fall 2019 Creators-in-Residence program.

Whether you’re a first-time creator seeking one-on-one mentorship or a repeat creator looking to fulfill your rewards, our Creators-in-Residence program can give you the time and space to move your project forward.

Launched in 2017, our Creators-in-Residence program invites NYC-based creators in the process of planning, launching, or about to fulfill a Kickstarter campaign to join us at our Brooklyn HQ for a three-month residency. Past residents have included product designer Krystal Persaud, games designer Jordan Draper, artist Nicholas O’Brien, author Ytasha L. Womack, and choreographer Raja Feather Kelly.

The Fall 2019 session will run from Tuesday, September 10, through Friday, December 13.

During the residency, each creator will pair with a staff mentor who specializes in their area of interest and will offer guidance on how to manage a Kickstarter campaign. Residents receive access to a dedicated workspace, as well as our theater, recording studio, library, meeting rooms, and kitchen. They also have opportunities to be featured in Kickstarter-produced editorial content, and are invited to attend regular workshops, talks, and performances that put them in conversation with other creators and Kickstarter staff.

Apply here for the upcoming season by Wednesday July 31, 2019. Creators will be notified on Thursday August 15 if they’ve been selected for the program.

The Creators-in-Residence program supports Kickstarter’s mission IRL

As part of our mission to help bring creative projects to life, we're always looking for ways to help artists and creators find the support and resources they need to make their ideas a reality.

Since launching the Creators-in-Residence program, we’ve welcomed more than 40 Kickstarter creators into the building for three-month residencies. They’ve accomplished a lot: they’ve launched and fulfilled campaigns, used the Kickstarter office in creative ways, and hosted performances, workshops, and events.

This spring, we welcomed 11 first-time creators to Kickstarter to work on Design & Technology, Journalism, Art, Comedy, Publishing and Games

Here are some highlights from the class of Spring 2019:

  • Ytasha Womack used the residency to complete the third book in her afro-futurism series and launch a successfully funded campaign. 
  • Nicholas O’Brien turned his narrative video game into a live, interactive event with real-time choices and musical accompaniment that make the game come to life. 
  • Myriah Towner completed the process of filing her project as a registered nonprofit, and met with mentors who helped her map out a sustainable business plan for the project she hopes to launch in the future. 
  • Sarah Rowan turned a paper prototype into a fully-designed game for a campaign she's aiming to launch later this year.

“Through the residency, I learned how I was going to make this kind of creative life happen,” food creator and Summer 2018 Creator-in-Resident Jenn de la Vega told us. “I went in not knowing what my day to day would be like after leaving a cushy tech job. Now I'm excited to have ongoing projects that will propel me forward.”

Submit your application for the Fall 2019 Creators-in-Residence program. All applications are due by July 31, 2019. Email us at creators@kickstarter.com with any questions.

Kickstarter and Social Art Network Team Up to Support UK Artists

Jun 19 2019

The program will mentor 10 social practice artists in the UK as they prepare to launch projects this fall.

Filmmaker Ian Nesbitt's 'Taking The Michael'
Filmmaker Ian Nesbitt's 'Taking The Michael'

Kickstarter has always been a place where artists can share projects that engage with politics and society—projects that affect communities and environments, create dialogue around key societal issues, and enable social and political change. These ideas resonate with Kickstarter backers who value the platform as a place to support projects that break down political barriers and invite others to move towards change.

On Kickstarter in the UK, we’ve noticed a rise in social practice projects addressing urgent concerns about how we live now: the climate emergency, Brexit and our relationship with continental Europe, the refugee crisis, our ageing population, and the effect of government austerity policies on marginalised communities.

To continue to support this work, Kickstarter has partnered with the collective Social Art Network (SAN) to mentor 10 artists as they prepare to launch social practice projects this fall. “What better way to help our sector grow and be resilient than to use Kickstarter’s expertise to help drive community-driven projects towards collective and collaborative financial success,” says artist and SAN’s co-founder R.M. Sánchez-Camus. “This program only begins with these 10 artists as a pilot. We are aiming for long-term strategies that can help artists working in this field be resilient and self-sufficient. To have their efforts supported and to shine.”

For social practice artists in the wider Kickstarter community, we’ll also run a public webinar and share additional resources for creators.

Meet the artists

Get to know the 10 artists participating in the program, representing a wide range of practices and geographic locations around the UK. Over the next few months, they’ll work closely with SAN and Kickstarter UK to develop their ideas. In October, we'll share their live projects and celebrate with a final showcasing event in London.

Sharon Bennett and Sarah Dixon
Sharon Bennett and Sarah Dixon

Sharon Bennett and Sarah Dixon from Gloucestershire run The Women’s Art Activation System (WAAS), an artist collective aiming to support, explore, and promote women’s art by playfully appropriating models from corporate business, government, and healthcare.

Artist and writer Cath Carver explores the power of color to transform urban space and improve wellbeing. ART WORXX, her multidisciplinary art program will involve civic engagement, placemaking, photography, film, music production, DJing, and dance.

“We have never needed art more,” says John Davis. He created Wildfire Gallery, a traveling affordable art platform that engages communities through art and aims to change how the traditional art gallery is viewed and operates. Already touring the country, John will bring the idea to UK high streets, animating empty shops with these pop-up galleries.

Yara El-Sherbini and Davina Drummond
Yara El-Sherbini and Davina Drummond

Yara El-Sherbini and Davina Drummond and create playful, poetic and political artworks for world leading art venues and public organizations such as the Hayward Gallery, Great Ormond Street Hospital and the ICA. Kick Off is their social practice public art work, working with National Trust sites to establish two long term regional amateur adult female football teams.

Sally Laburn is a visual artist working with sculpture and drawing, film, print, and live performance. She co-leads The Drawing Shed, a DIY cultural space on two housing estates in London. Sally is creating Split|Forest, planting small forests across the country each with a “dividing split” to provoke action on climate crisis and pollution impact.

Lady Kitt is a maker, activist, and drag king, who uses paper cutting, performance and research to create objects, events, interactions. They are part of a collective of artists and activists based in North East England creating an international project disrupting, questioning and having fun with what a children's magazine can and should be. Disabled writer and activist Lissette Auton, graphic designer and queer artist Danni Gilbert, feminist curator, and Nasty Women activist Michaela Wetherell comprise the group.

Artist and filmmaker Ian Nesbitt is based in Sheffield and interested in landscape politics, walking as artform and community self-organizing. In Future Pilgrim, he will travel the Old Way on foot, taking a pilgrimage along the 250 miles of the south coast of England - a medieval route for European pilgrims - collecting the hopes and dreams of those he meets along the way for a better future society, and examining the UK's relationship with Europe. He’ll ask people to contribute to the quest with voices, feet and local knowledge by walking alongside him.


"I believe that there is a dire urgency for re-imagining our society in the UK and I believe that socially-engaged artists are in a unique place to take such work forward in our particular current social and political climate. We operate in the margins, in uncertain places and, at its best, socially engaged art has the capacity to coax new shared understandings out of the current darkness that shadows this country and its citizens." —Artist and Filmmaker Ian Nesbitt


Kay Adekunle Rufai
Kay Adekunle Rufai

Kay Adekunle Rufai explores the intersection between culture, identity, racial emancipation, and community cohesion through art, photography, educational workshops and public events. His current include S.M.I.L.E-ING BOYS PROJECT: portraits charting the impact of smiling on the wellbeing of young boys of color aged 13 to 18.

Shonagh Short makes work with and about working class women and communities. Her ongoing project Care Instructions explores the language of dirt as used to “other” people and place, the politics of cleaning, and the idea of socially engaged art as an act of care. She lives and works in North West England.

Edi Whitehead is an East London-based photographer, storyteller, and campaigner raised in Brentwood, Essex. She uses participatory storytelling to document lived experiences and support communities to challenge the stereotypes surrounding them, previously working with with female and non-binary footballers, UCL staff and students, residents of Peckham, and Hong Kong tower blocks’ elderly residents. Her photography and project Portraits of an Essex Girl, she’ll examine Essex and its culture through the lens of gender.

Stay tuned for their projects, which will launch on Kickstarter in October 2019.