July 8, 2012 — Kickstarter Plans Get Under Way

Well to off­set my ter­ri­ble expe­ri­ence of hav­ing my cam­eras and jew­el­ry ripped off, let’s talk about one of the lucky things that have hap­pened late­ly.  The new FINDING KUKAN teas­er has inspired sev­er­al amaz­ing women to vol­un­teer their tal­ents to help devel­op the film!  All amaz­ing cre­ative pro­fes­sion­als in their own right, Pamela Tong, Mag­no­lia Bar­rett, and Debra Zeleznik recent­ly gath­ered at my house to talk about how to get the film to the next step.  We were guid­ed by the great research vol­un­teer Notre Dame stu­dent Camille Muth did for us.

Robin Lung, Pamela Tong, Magnolia Barrett and Debra Zeleznik hold brainstorming session for FINDING KUKAN.

Robin Lung, Pamela Tong, Mag­no­lia Bar­rett and Debra Zeleznik hold brain­storm­ing ses­sion for FINDING KUKAN.

 

Right now our most imme­di­ate need is to raise fund­ing to com­plete the film.  So we are plan­ning a KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN to begin in OCTOBER.  Why Kick­starter you might ask?

#1.  IT WORKS.  Crowd­fund­ing– it’s what PBS and NPR have been doing for years — the phone in fund dri­ve for­mat where you get a nice lit­tle gift and men­tion on the show for mak­ing your dona­tion at a par­tic­u­lar time.  Kick­starter (admin­is­tered by Ama­zon) is just an online way of doing it and is struc­tured so that inde­pen­dent cre­ative types can have a ready made plat­form to launch their own crowd­fund­ing cam­paigns.  Check out a cou­ple of amaz­ing doc­u­men­tary cam­paigns here and here.

#2. GRANTS ARE GONE.  Well not total­ly.  I’ve been lucky enough to get a cou­ple of small grants in the past and will con­tin­ue to write oner­ous grant appli­ca­tions to try to cap­ture what lit­tle fund­ing is still avail­able to doc­u­men­taries — my Exec­u­tive Pro­duc­er Kim­ber­lee Bass­ford point­ed out that it’s eas­i­er to get into Yale Uni­ver­si­ty than it is to get most major film grants.  Even direc­tors with sev­er­al major PBS doc­u­men­tary series under their belts are find­ing it hard to make films with the tra­di­tion­al fund­ing avail­able in this tight econ­o­my.

#3.  IT’S FUN.  To learn more about Kick­starter I’ve donat­ed to a cou­ple of projects myself.  Donat­ing makes you part of a team and gets you emo­tion­al­ly invest­ed in some­one else’s cre­ative project.  It’s ener­giz­ing and inspir­ing to be part of a group effort to cre­ate some­thing of last­ing val­ue.  Plus there are some fun pre­mi­ums you can get for donat­ing.

Robin Lung and Debra Zeleznik discuss Kickstarter premiums

Debra sug­gests a cus­tom-made bracelet made of mah jong tiles as a pos­si­ble pre­mi­um — I LOVE IT!

 

Do you have any expe­ri­ence with Kick­starter or oth­er fundrais­ing efforts?  Can you give us some point­ers on how to run a suc­cess­ful fundrais­ing cam­paign?  Do you have an idea for a great pre­mi­um to give to future donors?  Don’t be shy!  We need all the help we can get.  Please let us hear from you!

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