Do Not Misunderstand Kickstarter
Repeat after me:
Kickstarter is not a charity.
Kickstarter is not ruined now that Veronica Mars came along.
Kickstarter does not force anyone to contribute.
Kickstarter projects are not sharks — the big projects don’t eat the little projects.
Kickstarter is not your platform with your rules.
Kickstarter is our platform with its own rules.
Kickstarter is a level playing field.
Kickstarter did not eat your baby.
Veronica Mars came along and did big bank out of nowhere and there was of course the initial surge of fan-born squee-citement which was then in turn met with the inevitable tsunami-level countersurge of poo-poo-pissy-moany-boo-hoo sounds. HOLY CRAP BIG HOLLYWOOD IS HERE, people cried, their hair on fire, their underpants in a twist, certain that smaller projects would be crushed beneath Kristen Bell’s giant money-stuffed bootheels. (As if Veronica Mars were some kind of huge Hollywood bunker-buster bomb instead of a tiny niche WB/UPN/CW television show that got canceled after three seasons and has been been existing in a nether-realm of “want a film but can’t get a film made” for eight years.)
It came. It happened. It was a success.
It’s still going. On its way to four million.
Now some folks are fretting.
It’ll kill smaller projects!
Indie everything is dead!
Soon Kickstarter will have a baseball stadium and open a bank and have an army of drones that will be legally allowed to kill us in our beds if we don’t back the next Tom Cruise project!
Hell, I’ve seen posts zeroing a laser-like focus on OMG THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE TO FULFILL T-SHIRTS. T-SHIRTS! WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS? CAN THEY HANDLE IT? EEEEEE.
Have a Twizzler.
I have good news and bad news for you.
The good news is: smaller projects are going to be just fine. This is the Internet. This isn’t a movie theater with 12 theater bays or a bookstore with only 1000 square feet to fill with shelves and books. It’s all horizon, baby. Big blogs don’t eat little blogs. Big Twitter accounts don’t eat little Twitter accounts. Midlist authors are not stabbed in their beds by bestselling authors (though there was that one time — shame on you, Christopher Moore). A smaller Kickstarter project has as much reach as its project creator and its allies can give it. That’s how it was a year ago. That’s how it is now. Veronica Mars did not come and flip it all on its ear.
The bad news is: you don’t get to say what Kickstarter is. You don’t get to say how big or how small a creator has to be to use it. I know that you want to. I understand your inclination is not to let the popular kids come and swim in your pool. But see, the nature of the crowdfunding thing is that it’s funded by… the crowd. The crowd is big. Huge. Practically infinite and undefinable. If Kickstarter is going to work like it needs to, it cannot be limited by size or scope of creator influence (which is already a thing with wibbly-wibbly parameters). I’m sorry. I know you want Kickstarter to be yours. But it’s not. It’s not mine, either. But it is ours.
One final note before I propose a little something:
To those of you who said with faux-sincerity: “Well, it would’ve been nice if people donated that money to charity instead of giving it to the Veronica Mars project,” I might suggest that you look up the notion of a “false dichotomy.” In other words, those two ideas — giving to charity, giving to Kickstarter campaigns — are not mutually exclusive. It’s not like we’re all given a limited pool of ten bucks and we can either use it to feed starving orphans or we can use it to fund art. And, by the way, making that assertion — “Bleah, that could’ve gone to charity” — is a really poisonous idea. Are you suggesting that it’s a bad idea for artists to be paid for their efforts? Further, are you suggesting that all disposable income should go toward charity? If you made the assertion, please let me know. I’d like to follow you shopping some day. “Oh. Buying the good bread, I see. I bet that bread could go toward hungry ducks at the park. Are those new shoes? Don’t you… have shoes? You could’ve spent that money rescuing puppies from the clutches of Sarah McLachlan. GUESS SOMEBODY HATES PUPPIES AND DUCKS AND ORPHANS.”
We can still support smaller Kickstarters even as bigger Kickstarters enter the arena and help draw people toward the idea of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing.
One of the ways we can do that is by looking for them and talking about them.
And I’ll attempt to do that here at terribleminds.
Today, if you have a Kickstarter out there you think looks cool or that you are running, drop a note in the comments. (By the way, “Kickstarter” is kind of a Band-Aid / Q-Tip term — any crowdfunding effort counts, whether it’s via IndieGogo or some other means.)
Further, after today, if you see a cool Kickstarter or are running one, send me an email at:
terribleminds [at] gmail [dot] com.
I will, when I have time and see something that catches my eye, post something on the blog shouting out to the Kickstarter project.
Contact me only about projects that are story-based in some way. I don’t give a shit about a wrist-watch that is also a Wi-Fi hotspot that is also a hologram that is also a Karaoke machine. I want narrative based projects. Books. Comics. Films. Shows. Games. Transmedia. Etc.
Also, don’t hit me up over Twitter or Facebook. I mean, you can, but social media is inconsistent and moves pretty quickly, so I might miss it.
This does not mean that every project you send will get time and space on the blog. I may not see it. I may quietly just not care that much. I may not like your project. I may take a nap and forget.
Further, I won’t post more than one of these a week. Probably not even that often.
But, they will come.
Because Kickstarter is cool.
To sum up, if you’re still worked up over Kickstarter and want to talk the details of the Veronica Mars deal, I’d suggest peeking over at John Rogers’ post on the subject, where he says lots of smart things, including but not limited to: “The internet is big, mean and smart. Sack up.”