Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kickstarter — The de Medici Family of the 2000s

Any musician, writer, artist or filmmaker knows that it's harder than ever to get funding for a project these days. Between the bad economy, the demise of many arts organizations and the shear quantity of great work out there, paying for a labor of love sometimes feels impossible.

But have no fear, Kickstarter is here. The website claims to be the largest funding platform for creative projects worldwide. The idea is a simple one. If you have a project, post it on Kickstarter. In exchange for donations, you give people a reward or experience related to your art. For example a musician can give away CDs or a chance to attend a concert. Or a filmmaker can give premiere tickets or an onscreen credit.

And if you're a modern day Lorenzo de Medici and fancy yourself a patron of the arts (or maybe you're just in need of a tax deduction before the end of the year), pick a project you love and make a pledge.

Perhaps the most interesting part of Kickstarter is the all or nothing approach. The creator needs to set a goal to reach in a certain period of time. Patrons can give any amount of money toward that target (for varying degrees of rewards). But if the mark is not met by the deadline, no money changes hands.

Here are a few of the projects we think are worthwhile, unique or just plain made us chuckle. Some of them have met (or surpassed) their goals but still need other cash for the rest of the project and some are struggling to get to full funding.

1000 Haiku, 1000 Strangers
Christine Forster is looking to create 1000 haiku for 1000 strangers in 1000 various mediums – from photography to needlework to stenciling. Small donors can get access to the website documenting the creation of the projects and for the big donors, they get to choose a haiku that Christine will tattoo on her body.

The Winding Stream — The Carter and Cash Music Documentary
This doc by filmmaker Beth Harrington (ok, full disclosure, this is our extremely talented and lovely big sister!) is about the Original Carter family and the legacy of the Carter and Cash musical clan. If you're in the Portland, Oregon, area there's a Kickstarter party at the Art Department this weekend where all attendees can log on and make their donation to the film on site. Her pledge rewards range from Winding Stream guitar picks to tickets to the premiere and after party.

Richard Cheese Let It Brie Album
Totally cheesy Vegas lounge act extraordinaire (we love him for his "Three's Company" cover version) is raising funds to record his 11th album Let It Brie with his swing band Lounge Against the Machine. Songs will include swanky covers of "Stairway To Heaven," "Careless Whisper," "Rock You Like A Hurricane" and "Rehab." Patrons will receive copies of his past CDs which include Tuxicity, Aperitif For Destruction, Silent Nightclub and OK Bartender.

Minutes — A Short Film About AIDS
Filmmaker Jim Rothman is making a new movie that explores the excruciating time spent waiting for the results of an AIDS test. No donation is too small. In fact he's campaigning for $1 pledges, hoping more small gifts will lead to a bigger total. Larger rewards include DVDs and posters from Jim's previous short I'm Not Matt Damon.

BBD Jewelry — Expanding from the Basement
Deseret Baker makes really interesting and unusual jewelry and she has more orders than she can afford to fill. In January she will have her work in 20 stores, but she needs $1,000 to buy the supplies. For a $50 pledge you can get a one-of-a-kind set including a necklace, earrings and bracelet. Sounds like a bargain.

For related stories check out:
Want to Hire Matt Damon, But Can't Afford Him? Here's Your Guy
A “Lost in Space” Reunion for "The Bolt Who Screwed Christmas"

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