Kickstarter Week 1: Thoughts

It’s actually not thoughts, but a feeling: it is hard.

But lets take things in order. On Tuesday, January 15th at 9:22 AM I hit the button “Launch” and “Rocks In My Pockets” Kickstarter campaign went live. A moment of exhilaration – the fruit of the fretful work of past 6 weeks getting the campaign ready is now in front of an audience. Even if they don’t like it is a relief to have that part done.

Then I sent an email out to my list of almost 3000 people. Most of those people are either my friends or have been in touch with me on professional basis. Some of those addresses I took from unsolicited newsletters sent to me over years (thinking: if you think your news are important to me, let me think my news will make you happy too). Some of those addresses I plain and simple stole from unsophisticated senders who’ve never heard of BCC feature (please, don’t try to put me in jail for stealing those emails before hearing my case!). Maybe 500 addresses from that list are not in use anymore (I have been collecting e-addresses since 2005, there are people who change their emails more often than their underwear).

Two minutes later, the first donation came in and “Rocks In My Pockets” got it’s first Associate Producer! A jolt of energy run through the studio, we danced the jig.

Wendy noticed that at that particular moment “Rocks” Facebook page got it’s 888 like!

– It is a lucky sign for our campaign! – she shouted. And we danced some more.

When the first rush of thrill subsided, I started replying to emails coming back with questions, suggestions, advise and good wishes. Some people were pissed and wanted to get off my list (I immediately fulfilled their wishes – they were right and I was wrong). Wendy started editing our campaign update videos. Rashidah and Mike went back to work on “Rocks” – the film still has to move forward even if we are in full campaign mode.

One of the reasons to run this campaign is to connect the film with it’s potential audience, to rally supporters around it and expand the audience from there. In the current state of distribution it looks that the only option for an independent filmmaker is DIY model. But one cannot just throw a film into the market and see what happens. It would be like throwing a newborn puppy into a river to see if it can swim. You have to build a momentum, create a buzz and send out the whistles to people who are happy to whistle with you.

In the spirit of this connectedness I sit down a write each backer a personal note. I love them for loving the project, how could I not write a note? They are part of “Rocks” family now! Then I discover that Kickstarter actually likes you for writing the notes and pushes the project a little bit up on their feed.

A filmmaker from Nigeria pledges $1 to “Rocks”. I write him a note, we become Facebook friends. He asks me to look at his film’s IndieGoGo campaign. I do. His campaign has 14 days left and $0 pledges so far. I press a button to pledge $1 but something seems odd and I abort the action. The filmmakers messages me again, asks for my bank account info so that he can set up a Kickstarter campaign because his is discouraged with IndieGoGo. I don’t know to laugh or to cry.

You get all kinds of people when you go public with your efforts.

So, what is so hard? The hardness is in the stress of having a never ending stream of things that have to be done. A Kickstarter campaign has high stakes and sense of urgency – you either reach your goal and get the money or you don’t reach the goal and get nothing. It is very easy to get stressed out seeing how after the initial boost the amount of pledges go down till finally the line flattens and there is nothing new coming in for a VERY LONG time. I feel like a frog that has fallen into a sour cream jar – I have to keep moving my legs to make butter to have a solid ground to get out of the jar. It is a true frog-style leg moving – I sometimes send out random messages to random organizations and their response is laughter. I do more research, find new organization, get more laughter. I make random tweets. I don’t know how Twitter works so I just hit any button I find there – ‘favorite’, ‘reply’, ‘report’. Then a Twitter expert tells me that there are handles and I find out about hashtags, but handles for me are ‘love handles’ and hashtags are made of hushpuppies. On Twitter I feel like a blind dog – licking randomly anything that is nearby in hopes to find food. Facebook is more familiar to me, but it is also a dangerous dance – I post and promote my posts, but I know people hate promoted posts on Facebook and they hate to see the same thing over and over again, which is what I am about to do – for next 30 days there will be no other posts just our Kickstarter campaign on my wall. I know am getting lots of ‘hides’ now, but I can’t stop – if I stop moving my legs, I’ll drown in the sour cream!

I got a lot of great advise on how to run a good campaign and how to promote it on social media, I just wish there were 3 more people helping me. It’s just me and Wendy kicking the campaign, although Wendy, just like Rashidah and Mike, has to continue working on “Rocks in my Pockets” so that the production doesn’t stop.

Now I do have to stop the rant, to get back to campaign.

I just wanted you to see the Kickstarter campaign update – specially made video we posted yesterday, with Ljova’s music. Wendy edited it.

An unfinished project is like a beached whale – if you don’t push it back into the water at the right moment, it may be no more. Lend a hand, become a “Rocks In My Pockets” backer!


About rocksinmypocketsthemovie

I was born in Latvia, educated in Moscow, live in New York. I have made about 14 animated shorts so far.
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14 Responses to Kickstarter Week 1: Thoughts

  1. I had to read this twice, we are in the exact same position. I had no idea how hard it would be, and if I would have known, I don’t know if I could have found the courage to press LAUNCH. Good luck with your project, I am going to check it out and follow your progress. I am Christina and my husband is Corey, it’s a pleasure to meet you.

    • Christina, but what else would have you done if you haven’t pressed the LAUNCH button? I was arguing with myself for 3 months before I finally took it public. I cannot stop work on the film to get a commercial work to get money. It would be like going from A to B through D and F and G.
      Also, I feel connecting with people who are interested in your work is AMAZING. I feel energized and of course, overwhelmed.
      Good luck with your campaign! I see that video games are doing great on Kickstarter!

  2. And btw – if you ever figure Twitter out, let me know. I am not there yet!

  3. Twitter is a strange but wondrous beast; a few simple rules and functions lead to a whole mess of complex behaviour. I’ve been using it for a few years now and this is what i’ve figured out.

    You have your Twitter account. Every account name starts with a @ symbol, e.g. @SigneAnimated. Each post you make from that account is a tweet. Your tweets form your account’s stream. Your account’s stream as well as who you are can be seen from your profile page. To get to another account’s profile page from the website, you can just click their Twitter username and it should take you straight there.

    People can follow your account if they’re interested in what you’re tweeting and want to keep track of what you’re up to. Your Twitter homepage.combines the streams of all the accounts you follow in one big super-stream or timeline. Recent tweets appear at the top and as you scroll down, you’re going back in time.

    It’s also possible to put people in your own specific lists to create mini-timelines, e.g. a list for animators, a list for people in your area, etc. Lists are generally public and people can see what lists people have put them in, and nobody wants to be in a list labelled “people who smell like blue cheese”.

    Tweets can be replied to, and a series of replies can form a conversation. Because Twitter is almost completely open, it’s possible for anyone with their own Twitter account to jump in with their own reply. You don’t have to reply if you don’t feel like it but it’s a good way to engage people. If you want to address a tweet to someone in particular, just put their Twitter username right at the beginning of your tweet (including the @) – Twitter will tell them one way or another that you’re tweeting at them.

    Generally speaking if someone tweets something you like, you can “favourite” it. Only the person whose tweet you favourited is actually told about it. You can go back and see all your favourites from the Favourites link on your profile page (“Me” on the Twitter website.) Favourites are nice to have, but there’s something better.

    If someone says something that makes you think “i wish i’d said that”, you can retweet (RT) it. This makes their tweet appear in your account’s stream, and this means your followers can see it too even though it’s attributed to the original author. Getting retweeted is probably the best way of picking up new followers from within Twitter, and getting people to retweet you without asking just comes down to tweeting interesting/awesome/funny/profound stuff.

    Some accounts are private – private accounts can control who’s allowed to see their tweets. The vast majority of Twitter accounts are public; anyone on the web can see what a public account has tweeted. Tweets from private accounts can’t be retweeted.

    The short message lengths on Twitter keep everything bite-sized and easily digestible, but it’s also possible to include images and links to websites within tweets. If you’re making your own content, it’s safer just to stick with website links at this point – that way you can control what people see and give it proper context.

    Twitter has trends. Trends can be just words that a lot of accounts are using the heck out of in their tweets at that moment (e.g. right now “Sri Lanka” is trending in Australia because we’re playing against them in the cricket and people are tweeting about it).

    And then there’s hashtags. Hashtags are unspaced strings of words which start with #, e.g. #signerules, #SigneRules, etc. If someone wants to make a comment on something, especially if it’s trending, they’ll include the hashtag somewhere in their tweet. It’s possible to click on a hashtag to see all the recent tweets that have used it.

    On Twitter, hashtags can be used to share opinions, join in with jokes (#firstworldproblems), mark tweets which concern particular subjects (e.g. #auspol for Australian politics), identify that you’re tweeting from a particular event, and so on. For instance, there’s a TV panel show down here called Q&A which has its own #QandA hashtag to allow viewers to make comments on the show – they even choose certain tweets to be shown on the TV screen as the show goes to air.

    Sometimes people misuse Twitter. If someone’s personally being a jerk to you, you can block them to remove all trace of them from your timeline. If they’re trying to trick you into clicking stuff, you can report them for spamming. Blocking and reporting for spamming are done from the user’s profile page.

    Some people only use Twitter to tell the world what they’re doing, which is OK as long as what they’re doing is actually of genuine interest to someone other than themselves. It’s more engaging when people use it to actually communicate back and forth. Just remember it’s all public.

    Though if you tweet something you shouldn’t have, you can delete it easily enough. 🙂

    Hope that helps. 🙂

  4. marilyn says:

    courage in the home stretch! almost there! thanks for your work,


  5. Hilary Moses says:

    Best of Luck to you Signe – an unbelievable feat! Hi Marilyn!

  6. Matthew Koh says:

    Off Topic Question: Have you seen some films by Michaela Pavlátová?

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