Today I want to take a look at exactly how Kickstarter works. Many people aren’t familiar with Kickstarter or exactly how it works. First of all, let me say that Kickstarter doesn’t let just anyone post a project. If you have a project idea, you have to submit it to the staff at Kickstarter for approval before you can share it with the general public. The project has to meet several guidelines, and it is required that all projects offer rewards to people who choose to back a project. Rewards vary project to project, but often include some sort of tangible item like a tee shirt or poster or product which backers get if a project is funded.
Now, if you find something you like on Kickstater and want to fund (like my documentary!) then you select a level to “back” the project at and you become an official backer of the project. To back a project, you have to have a credit card and an Amazon account. Amazon helps you through the “checkout” process and then your pledge is stored until the day that the project funding period expires (this varies from project to project and is normally anywhere from 30-90 days). When the project funding period expires, if the project is 100% funded or more, your credit card will be charged at that time. So, if a project is not funded 100%, you never get charged.
People fund projects on Kickstarter because of several reasons, but mainly because they like the project idea, like supporting entrepreneurs, and they would enjoy receiving the reward if the project is funded.
Now, when a person sets up a project on Kickstarter, there are several things they have to take into consideration when setting up a funding goal. First the person needs to know how much he or she needs to raise to complete the project. Also to take into consideration is the cost of rewards. For example, if someone is trying to make a film (like me!) and they want to offer a tee shirt as a reward, the cost of the reward and its shipping needs to be accounted for in the funding otherwise there is no way to pay for it. Another thing the project creator has to consider are the fees associated with Kickstarter. Kickstarter takes 5% off the top of every project. In addition to that 5%, Amazon also charges a credit card processing fee (up to 5%) on each transaction. So, if a project manager needed $10,000 to fund their project, approximately $1,000 may go straight to fees. They may set a goal for $11,000 simply to cover the fees and leave them with the money they actually need to fund their project.
So, now that you have a good idea on how Kickstarter works, and what it means to make a pledge, let’s talk about how the money you pledge to The Culture of Craft will be spent if the funding goal of $12,000 is reached.
When I first wrote about my documentary project on my blog, I was super enthusiastic (I still I am!) but I was unsure what the cost to complete the project would be. My best guess ended up being a very low-ball guess. The costs to make a documentary are much less of course than the cost of making a feature film, but there are still lots of costs associated. The budget for my film, I feel, is actually pretty modest. I am taking into account the fact that I have a knack for finding good deals and I know lots of cool people who are hopefully going to let me crash on their couches. Still, there will be travel costs associated with this project. I can’t afford to cover them all on my own, so that is why I am asking for help with this.
When it comes to video equipment costs, I’m not looking to go out and purchase the most cutting edge new thing in video recording, but I still need a decent digital video recording camera with a nice audio in and a field recorder. I want a camera that will make a quality film for display on the big screen (I can dream of film festivals, right?)
Another cost of creating the film is for an editing assistant. I can’t do everything myself simply because there are things I admittedly do not know about editing a film. I will need help and I will need reliable help, so I expect to have to pay for that assistance.
I also need to pay for things like graphic design work and website hosting. I need to pay the artists who help with the creation of the rewards, buy postcards, print tee shirts, posters, magnets and more.
I know when I set out to begin my project there wasn’t a lot I knew about Kickstarter except for making pledges to friend’s projects. Now I understand more about the process and the fees and more, so I wanted to share that information in case you have a project which you want to launch on Kickstarter.
I also hope you will help tell the story of the craft community by making a pledge to The Culture of Craft. Any amount you give, from $1 up will get you rewards, and many rewards are handmade and drawn by artists from across the country.