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A Storyteller's adventure in Kickstarter land!

Hello Storytellers and fans,


A week ago I started a Kickstarter Campaign... And it is RAD!  Kickstarter is an online organization that helps connect artists/innovators with funders in a fun and somewhat risk-free way.  The idea is simple.  A person... say an artist... say even a performing storyteller gets an idea:


"I want to take a professional recording of a performance and turn it into a DVD"


Next, they may get discouraged:


"What am I thinking, I do not have the money for that."


Next, they remember that their acquaintance sent out an email and Facebook posting last about raising money for a CD album she is making.  It was through some website called Kickstarter.  This Storyteller goes through his/her email account and finds that message.  Following the link, s/he finds that this person raised more than enough to make her album.


"Hmmm... I just wonder if this can help me."


And the rest is so simple, though it does take work, dedication, belief in the project and lots of fun.  The basic way it works is this, an artist/innovation creates a webpage on the Kickstarter site, putting up photos, video and their story of what they want to create and why.  The also post rewards for Backers to choose from as a thank you for believing in them.  They choose an amount that they are trying to raise and a time-frame to do it in, and then the project is launched and they see if they can raise the amount in the stated amount of time (could be days, weeks or months).  The unique thing that makes it somewhat risk-free for potential Backers is that unless the person raises at least 100% of their goal by the end of their stated time, the credit cards do not get charged and the person does not get any of the money.  So Backers who only want to give money to a successful project can happily pledge money, as if it is not successful, they keep their money and no harm is done.


So, if we use a real life example of an artist with a dream, such as myself, it looks like this:


I did a performance at the Elastic Arts Foundation in Chicago called "Eating Baba Yaga" which was professionally recorded and edited.  This video was turned into an authored DVD.  My brother who is a wonderful graphic designer, created a cover for the case and the artwork for the disk.  



Everything looked great and was of high quality.  I just needed funding to finish the project and reproduce 1000 DVD.  It was then that I went to


Though please note, I could have easily chosen to do the fundraising before I even shot the video - one does not need to be far along in the project to do fundraising - in fact many use Kickstarter to help the seed of an idea get off the ground!


I went to the website and signed up for a free account.  I clicked a button marked "Start Your Project" and filled out some questions.  The form went to the committee who reviewed my proposal to make sure it met their guidelines and was compelling.  A couple of days later, it was approved and I created a website.  


They highly, highly recommend that a person makes a video explaining their project for potential backers to view.  This I did, which can be viewed here:



I figured on an amount which I felt comfortable with and a time frame.  For me, I chose half of what I fully needed as my goal - $1100 (my ideal goes was $2200).  I did this to make sure that I was able to get the funds since I needed to reach 100% of my goal.  I choose 14 days, though many choose one month or more.  (Kickstarter does note though that more time does not necessarily equal more money.)  And I was off.


You can view the site here:


At first it went slow, and then it began to snowball and in 6 days I reached my first goal and the money was released to me.  As of the date I write and post this, I am still in the last 4 days seeing if I can reach my ideal goal.  I do not know if putting half of what I needed was wise or not.  I was able to reach the goal, which was great, but once it was reached the momentum died down, which I am not sure would have happened if the goal was higher.  It is hard to know.  


So, my fellow storytellers, I share all of this with you, hopefully to inspire some of you.  In these days where there is not a lot of money, grants or funding for the arts going around and people are tightening up their belts - this is another, more DIY was of finding backers and money to help your dream and vision get off the ground. 


For me, this has been a great success.  I have already sent my DVDs to the company and 1100 DVDs (they gave me 100 extra for free) are in the process of being reproduced at this very moment.


I would love to hear your thoughts, know if anyone else has had success with Kickstarter or other ways of finding funding for your projects and learn what dreams you would do if you could find the money.



-Brian Rohr


Tags: Kickstarter, baba, fundraising, grants, money, storytelling, yaga

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Replies to This Discussion

Congratulations, Brian! 

I have not tried this myself, but I may do so in the future.  My son is in a band that recently raised enough money to go to L.A.

to produce the album of their dreams.  They are there right now and the costs are taken care of through Kickstarter.  They are

not staying in luxury, and they will be playing some free concerts when they return, but for them, it is the opportunity

of a lifetime!  Thanks for bringing this to the attention of others!


Thanks Tricia.

That is really exciting about your son.
I am just amazed by how this has already helped change
fundraising for people, if by nothing else than empowering
people to ask for support for their dreams!



congrats on meeting your fundraising goal!

Thanks Tim!
I'm glad to see a storyteller use this idea successfully.  I hope there will be many more storytelling projects funded in this inovative way.  Congratulations.

Thanks so much for the congratulations!  I too hope that Storytellers start to use some of these new innovative means to bring the magic and art of storytelling to the public!


BTW, just today I have formally put my DVD up for sale online.

Check out




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