|Owner/Maintainer:||Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler, and Charles Adler|
|Dates:||April 28, 2009 - present|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Kickstarter is a website that is used to crowdsource fundraising for entrepreneurs and their projects, also called crowdfunding. It is particularly popular for creative projects, due to its ability to connect creators directly to their fandoms and help to monetise independent projects that might not otherwise find mainstream success.
For this reason, many fans also use it to fund fan projects.
Some Features Fans Find Attractive
Kickstarter, which went online in 2009, was originally used to fund industrial design campaigns, small indie projects and to a lesser extent, charity causes. As of April 2012, the average amount received by film/video projects was $8k, and $5k for music-related campaigns.
In 2012, Amanda Palmer broke site records by raising $1m for an album/book/tour project.. Her crowd-funding and use of the money was the subject of much discussion in fandom and on the wider internet.
This prompted many experts to wonder if it was the start of a new era in crowd-funding, in film production, and whether it would shift the relationship between fans and TPTB towards fan service at the detriment of 'quality'.
Some Fanworks and Fan Projects That Have Utilized Kickstarter
- Homestuck video game (Not a project by fans, but intended for fans of the game)
- Hatoful Boyfriend
- While not a video game per se, 'Pokemon Go Home' is a fan project based on the popular mobile game Pokémon Go, which was designed to promote community engagement in Birmingham, UK using the game.
Web Series, Films & Documentaries
- The web series A Finger Slip, an adaptation of the popular John/Sherlock fanfic A Finger Slip by Pawtal, was successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter in March 2014. It raised $17,386 of its $10,000 goal.
- Looking for Leia, a documentary about "the girls and women of Star Wars fandom", was successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter in August 2017. It raised $29,546 of its $25,000 goal and was featured as a "Project We Love" by the Kickstarter staff.
- Star Trek Continues, a fan-created web series continuation of Star Trek: The Original Series' third season, raised portions of its funding through successful Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns.
- Critical Role funded an animated version of their early adventures
Musicals & Theatre
- A fan-made Kingdom Hearts parody musical, Fandom Hearts 2, was successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter in June 2016. It raised CA$1,005 of its CA$1,000 goal to stage a production of the musical in Toronto's Buddies in Bad Times indie theatre.
Projects About Fandom
- Slash, an independent film about a teen boy who discovers slash fanfiction online, was successfully funded via Kickstarter in 2015, raising $45,232 of its $45,000 goal. The project, which was conceived by a straight, male director who is not in fandom, caused some controversy among fans who felt the film misrepresented slash and erased the female history of the genre. Aja Romano wrote about these issues for the Daily Dot in an article entitled, 'New Kickstarter for a slash fiction film unsettles the fandom community'.
In 2013, a number of meta pieces were written in response to criticism of the Veronica Mars movie campaign:
[Seanan McGuire]Life is not a zero-sum game: the VERONICA MARS movie and Kickstarter, Seanan McGuire
The Kickstarter raised its first million in four hours. Last night, I watched it click over the two million dollar mark. There was much rejoicing, because dude. Veronica Mars movie. I shrieked, I chair-danced, and all was right with the world...
...only not, because it turns out a lot of people are really perturbed by the fact that a movie which will have corporate backing (Rob Thomas is not the Veronica Mars intellectual property owner, which means Warner Brothers has to be involved) was asking for money on Kickstarter. Mind you, no one held a gun to my head and forced me to fund this project; no one forced me to sit here carefully considering the reward tiers and choosing the one which came with the most awesome swag. No one clicked the button for me. But somehow, my backing this movie has stolen projects from indie artists who really needed it.
And unto this do I say: bullshit.[branna]
Another point is that while Kickstarter is great at funding things that can't be funded any other way, and that alone justifies its existence, it also serves another really cool purpose: it gives me, the consumer, a clear voice in what gets made that in some cases becomes a direct line to the gatekeepers of conventionally-funded art. By funding a Kickstarter, I can clearly say "I actually want more of this and will pay money to get it" rather than relying on more complicated feedback mechanisms that may have a historical habit of erasing me or other minorities (e.g. female geek in my case, POC, LGBTQ folks, etc.).
Veronica Mars and Kickstarter and our brave new world by mistresscurvy
The only reason that the Veronica Mars Kickstarter was successful is because people already care about it, and they care specifically about this creator and this cast being able to continue telling this story. If a movie studio put a kickstarter for some movie that didn't already have a fanbase, no one would donate SHIT to them. People want to back creative works and artists that they already love. Kickstarter isn't a website that prints money for artists or potential artists; it's a website that allows people who want to support their favorite artists to do so directly, or for them to support an indie idea that speaks to them, and for them to get something they want. I didn't donate to the VMars movie out of some altruistic desire to make the world a better place; I donated because I want the chance to see (among other things) Logan smolder at Veronica on a big screen. This is not actually some ingenuous new way for Hollywood to take advantage of its audience, and if Hollywood is dumb enough to try it, I invite them to do so.
I think that Kickstarter can be an incredible tool for artists to raise the money they need to create their works, AND for artists to engage with their audience in a really wonderful way. It's not foolproof; I know that there are projects that have never delivered. People have asked "well what will happen if the Veronica Mars movie SUCKS?", and the answer to that is the same as what happens every time I'm disappointed by a movie or an album I've purchased and don't enjoy: I'll be sad, but that doesn't mean I regret taking that risk, and paying that money, for the possibility that it would be AMAZING. I am always going to take that chance, and pay those artists my money, because the possibility of excellence matters to me. You can't squee and cry over a movie that doesn't exist.
- Three Years of Kickstarter Projects at NYTimes.com, April 30, 2012; accessed Sept 19, 2021
- Amanda Palmer Kickstarter finishes with record-breaking $1 million at TheVerge.com, June 2, 2012; accessed Sept 19, 2021
- Amanda Palmer’s Accidental Experiment with Real Communism on The New Yorker, October 2, 2012; accessed Sept 19, 2021: Amanda Palmer, the singer who raised a spectacular sum on Kickstarter to fund her new solo album and then asked for volunteers to play with her for no pay when she went on tour with her band, Grand Theft Orchestra, a few months later, is the Internet’s villain of the month.
- Kickstarter funding brings ‘Veronica Mars’ movie to life on CNBC.com, March 12, 2013; accessed Sept 19, 2021
- Veronica Mars Kickstarter Breaks Records, Raises Over $2M in 12 Hours on Wired.com, March 14, 2013; accessed Sept 19, 2021
- Will The "Veronica Mars" Kickstarter Revolutionize Indie Film? on BuzzFeed.com, March 20, 2013; accessed Sept 19, 2021
- Did Veronica Mars Ruin Kickstarter? on Slate.com, March 15, 2013; accessed Sept 19, 2021
- 'Veronica Mars' & Kickstarter: Is this the future of movie financing? in EW.com, March 16, 2014; accessed Sept 19, 2021
- ‘Veronica Mars’ a fine bit of fan service, but not much else on PopOptiq.com, 2014; accessed Sept 19, 2021
- Joss Whedon: What the 'Veronica Mars' Kickstarter Means for 'Firefly' on ScreenRant.com, March 15, 2013; accessed Sept 19, 2021
- ‘Veronica Mars’ Already Did Fan Service. Now It Can Just Be Itself. on TheRinger.com, July 19, 2019; accessed Sept 19, 2021
- A Finger Slip: Web Series on Kickstarter. Accessed September 5, 2017.
- Looking for Leia on Kickstarter. Accessed September 5, 2017.
- Star Trek Continues: Kickstarter Campaigns, Wikipedia. Accessed December 18, 2017.
- Fandom Hearts 2 - A Fanmade Kingdom Hearts Parody Musical on Kickstarter. Accessed September 5, 2017.
- Slash – a teen comedy about erotic fan fiction on Kickstarter. Accessed September 5, 2017.
- Life is not a zero-sum game: the VERONICA MARS movie and Kickstarter, posted to LJ 2013-03-14; accessed Sept 19, 2021
- Veronica Mars and Kickstarter and our brave new world by mistresscurvy, posted to LJ on 2013-03-14; accessed Sept 19, 2021