Yancey Strickler is the cofounder of Kickstarter, the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world. His writing has appeared in New York Magazine, Pitchfork, Spin, and the Village Voice, among other publications. He lives in New York City and has personally backed more than 400 Kickstarter projects.
Make no mistake: running a successful Kickstarter project takes a lot of work and a deep commitment. But the rewards can be immense: an audience that’s engaged from the beginning; a transparent funding process; and a whole new medium to tell your story.
Kickstarter launched just over two years ago, and during that time film has been the dominant category on the site, accounting for more than $25 million of the $75 million that has moved through our system to date. Film projects have been supported by more than 250,000 people, and there have been more than 3,000 successfully funded film projects so far.
At heart, each Kickstarter project is a story. It's a real person trying to achieve something important or meaningful, and opening up that process for audiences to follow along and become a part of it in a real way. It’s an exchange, and both the creator and the audience benefit as a result.
In early 2011, Kickstarter began working with the Sundance Institute to bring some of the many extraordinary films and stories that Sundance is renowned for to Kickstarter. As of July 2011, dozens of projects from Sundance filmmakers have raised more than $650,000 to fund in whole or in part everything from development to production to post-production to P&A – literally every step of the filmmaking process.
These projects have included films from both Duplass brothers, Mark (Black Rock) and Jay (Kevin), a hand-drawn animated feature from novelist Dash Shaw and producer John Cameron Mitchell (The Ruined Cast), and a project to make the documentary Granito Oscar-eligible, among others. One feature, Mosquita y Mari, made Kickstarter history by raising more than $40,000 in its final 72 hours to make its $80,000 goal.
Make no mistake: running a successful Kickstarter project takes a lot of work and a deep commitment. But the rewards can be immense: an audience that’s engaged from the beginning; a transparent funding process; and a whole new medium to tell your story. Even campaigns that don’t meet their goal are rich with lessons, and they can always come back wiser and try again.
To help along the way we have a number of resources available to Sundance filmmakers, including our community team, which is dedicated to helping artists conceptualize their projects; the periodic events that Sundance and Kickstarter will continue to collaborate on; and on-site features like Kickstarter School, a simple tutorial filled with tips and best practices.
We’re grateful to Sundance for their opportunity, and we’re excited to work with you in the future. Through the labs, the festival, and its programming, Sundance demonstrates a real understanding of the creative process, and how best to assist it. We’re honored to be a part of that process.