Attention all starving artists and ambitious inventors! We bring you Kickstarter—a P2P platform that helps match creative and inventive individuals with potential funders. Here is the quick rundown:
- What kinds of ideas are funded? Movies, books, photographs, recordings, crossword-puzzle contests, board games, plush toys, and eccentric pastimes, such as the daily sending of postcards.
- How it works: Project owners create a profile that details the idea or endeavor they are attempting to materialize. The idea owner states the total amount of money required, the minimum that can be donated and the funding deadline. Interested patrons browse through the projects and contribute in some cases as little as $1 to a project’s fund. No interest is earned because the funds are not investments.
- Why fund a project? Project funders, or “backers”, receive rewards that let them get a taste of what they are supporting. Free copies of the art, opening-night tickets, and lottery submissions for prizes are just some of the rewards offered. The best funded projects are those that not only have captivating ideas but also those that have the most creative rewards for backers.
- The good: Some projects have been so successful that they have received more than three times the initial amount of funding requested. And there is no limit to the amount of funding a project can receive.
- The bad: Currently, the ability to post an idea is by invitation only, and interested applicants are told to sign up.
- The potentially ugly: If a project isn’t fully funded by its funding deadline, it will receive no money at all. Kickstarter’s creators explain that this prevents artists who have received some funding from feeling pressured to complete a project that was originally envisioned to produce much grander results. It also allows artists to test ideas and see what kind of audience exists for their creation before they start putting money into it, which is a real benefit. It only gets ugly if you wanted $2,000 but got $1,999. There are no deadline extensions.
I like Kickstarter's founding principle of “art for art’s sake.” The general reality has always been that if you are going to be in the arts or any other creative field, you have to strike it big or let it go. Kickstarter allows small ideas to flourish because it helps connect small artists to the small audiences that will appreciate their work. These microartists—as I like to call them—have a realistic ability to create to their heart’s content. It will be interesting to see what kind of ideas emerge in this creative marketplace.
UPDATE: Our friend Cory is now on Kickstarter to fund his project to save sea turtles. It's a good project to check out and experience the site.