Kickstarter has been an interesting crowd funding platform for creative projects for over three years now, but there's still a lot of confusion about how Kickstarter works and what types of projects are the most successful. It's also just fun to drop by the site and check out the latest gadgets entrepreneurs are coming up with (see videos below).
All sorts of independent films and media projects wouldn't exist today if it weren't for contributions from interested backers. While we can't say that we've actually knowingly seen any of the productions that have come out of Kickstarter funding we're confident there are surely some creative projects that otherwise would have never seen the light of day.
If you're not familiar with Kickstarter it basically works like this: you post a project, set a minimum fundraising goal to complete your project, and backers contribute money. There are a few other nuances like the facts that you're almost entirely responsible for all of your own promotion, Kickstarter takes a 5% cut of the proceeds, and if you don't meet or exceed your fundraising goal you get nothing.
Kickstarter projects range from unfinished documentaries that need money for post, to quirky inventions like a bicycle seat clamp with a built in bottle opener, to the infamous fund raising campaign to build a RoboCop statue in Detroit. The RoboCop statue smashed through its fundraising goal of $50,000 en route to collecting over $67,000.
What's particularly unique about Kickstarter funding is that all the projects have to be creative in nature and the financial supporters aren't investors and don't have any stake or equity in the projects and companies.
The incentive for backing a Kickstarter project (in addition to contributing to a creative endeavor being accomplished) is that backers receive rewards related to the projects. The individuals and groups running the campaigns set the rewards. An example of a common reward is if you're backing a band raising money to record an album your contribution will likely net you a copy of the album once it's complete. If you fund an independent film you'll likely receive a copy of the flick in return for your support.
Here are a couple of projects some of our DP friends might find useful:
These CineSkate Camera Sliders by an Austin, TX group called Cinetecs were such a great value that instead of just raising the $20,000 goal the group originally set, they pulled in over $485,000 on this project alone.