Who is Crowdfund-A-Dream?
In 2005 I invited some friends over to my loft at the Brewery Arts Complex in Los Angeles for a night of chatting and inspiration. I did it again a month later. And a month after that. The Collaboration Project (later Collab Project or Collab) was born. But what started small, soon grew big. Every second Tuesday of the month 100+ people would descend on my loft for networking, idea swapping, project help, or just getting a creative recharge.
Great. Except 100 people is a lot different than 10 people. More toilet paper, bigger projector, more chairs, more cups, more napkins, new tables, more facilities…it was starting to eat a hole in my poorly funded artist’s wallet.
That is where Kickstarter came in. A brand new service, we had been introduced to Kickstarter at Collab by one of our frequent guests, Paynie. He was one of the earliest users of the service. So I decided to give Kickstarter a try in an effort to fund Collab and some badly needed equipment upgrades.
This was the early days of Kickstarter, and looking back, the campaign was not well run. There were no how-to crowdfunding blogs, seminars, or consultants back then. I just trusted my instincts. And the large Collab community I had built. And it paid off. We made our goal in a 35 day campaign, and Collab was fully funded.
Then the flood gates opened. After our success, we would have people stopping by Collab every month to talk about their own crowdfunding plans. Soon we had IndieGoGo, CrowdRise, Seed&Spark and other platforms being used alongside Kickstarter. We saw projects succeed spectacularly, and fail badly. And something curious happened in all this.
I became a crowdfunding expert.
Sure, it is a bit bold to declare oneself an expert. But each month I found myself answering crowdfunding questions. I would counter bad advice, corroborate good advice. I was offering strategies and new ideas. First I would study the Kickstarter site before each Collab. And soon I found myself studying it a lot more than once per month. I listened to crowdfunding stories on the news (some by really confused journalists.) I was reading articles and blogs. Looking at a lot of advice. Some good, some very bad.
So yes, like I said, I became an expert. An accidental expert, but expert none the less.
We programmed our first “Crowdfunding” Collab in early 2012. No other topics on tap that night. Popular demand required another a few months later. And another. I began to fear a Kickstarter takeover of Collab. I attended an early crowdfunding seminar, just to see what they had to say. Then more. Some were good, most mediocre, and a few appallingly bad or ethically dishonest. One charged $50 for what turned out to be a 6 hour sales pitch for one of the crowdfunding portals (and one I always recommend against using for many, many reasons.) They forgot to mention that in the brochure. And the catered lunch was lousy.
Finally, during a Q&A at one of the seminars, I stood up and took the speaker to task for his ridiculous claims. Needless to say, he wasn’t happy. He tried to ignore me. He tried to use the mic to out talk me (not easy, even without a mic I can get really loud.) And finally he just ended his portion of the presentation. And then at lunch, they came. No, not the seminar goon squad. People from the audience. Many of them came to me and started asking me advice. Asking if what I had accused the speaker’s company of was true. Basically…asking me to help them with their projects. I had been used to helping Collab people. But these were not Collabers, just people looking to get started funding their dreams.
So there you have it.
On Friday, July 19 I launched my second Kickstarter. Whereas most campaigns go for 30 or more days, I decided to test my concepts and strategies with a 10 day campaign. Unnecessary as it turned out. The campaign fully funded around 24 hours (and would have done so quicker, but one of the larger backers I’d lined up in advance was out of cell service for the day.) I coasted through an easy 9 days after that, and ended up 171% funded.
As people who know me from Collab can attest, I like to give back. Art is my passion, money just a means to get art done. I love to inspire and help other artists. So 24 hours after my Kickstarter campaign finished, I hit “launch” on the Crowdfund-A-Dream website.
Now…let’s get that project of yours funded!
A sample of some of my favorite Kickstarters that have crossed Collab’s path as presenters, panelists, and just people looking for help…(note, not all funded, but all of them I believed in as projects, even if the campaigns needed work.)