Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Akaneiro: Demon Hunters

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am very pleased to be joined by the well-known video game creator American McGee.  Thank you for joining us today.
Very excited to be here talking about our game and our Kickstarter campaign!

Why don’t you tell us a bit about your first Kickstarter Akaneiro: Demon Hunters.  The tagline description is an Action RPG with a Japanese art style telling a twisted version of Little Red Riding Hood care to expand on that?

“Akaneiro” has been in production at our studio since early 2011. The original idea for Akaneiro came from my reading of a book called “The Lost Wolves of Japan,” which details the destruction of wolves in Northern Japan around 100 years ago. This extermination came at the hands of Western cattlemen who had introduced beef consumption and cattle farming to a people who were vegetarian – and who lived in relative balance with nature. This history seemed to invite further exploration and expansion – with my idea being to illuminate the man vs. nature aspects present in the reality and fairy tales we create.

My initial work on the concept was later expanded upon by the project’s Creative Director, Ben Kerslake and his design partner, Matt Razzano. They’ve also received writing support from my long-time creative partner R.J. Berg, who has been involved with both of the “Alice” projects (and is a co-founder of Spicy Horse). Our developments are always highly collaborative like this.

What's in a Name?

Ever set out on a project with a single goal in mind and end up doing more?  This article is one of those times for me, for I set out to tell one story and I ended up finding two.  This is part one, my original tale to discover “what’s in a name” for a Kickstarter project who found themselves in trouble because of their name.

Story Realms, I mean Storm Hollow...

In August 2012 a little Kickstarter was started for a board game called Story Realms.  It was published by Game Salute through their Springboard system.  The game did quite well earning over 4 times their original goal coming in with a final total of $87,757.  YAY Go team right?  Well, not quite.  

Production was going along as normal in a post Kickstarter campaign situation.  Art was generated, layouts were established, pieces finalized, orders readied, everything that a well run post Kickstarter project does until a little letter arrived.  

A cease and desist letter was sent both to the designer and to Game Salute from the owners of, a website dedicated to “Inspirational Stories for the Entire Family”.  They felt that the Story Realms board game was infringing on their trademark even though one was a website with nothing to do with games and the Kickstarter was for a board game.  Does this story sound familiar to anyone else?  

Trenched, I mean Iron Brigade...

Back in 2011 I was lucky enough to go to E3 and play a little game this small game company was putting out, you may have heard of them they’re called Double Fine Productions.  The game was a hybrid Tower-Defense / Third Person Shooter game for Xbox Live Arcade.  I had heard about the game for weeks before the conference and was looking forward to it with great anticipation.  Based on the buzz I saw while there I wasn’t the only one.  

It released June 22nd, 2011 and sold quite well to American audiences under the name Trenched.  The European release was originally planned shortly after but it was held up by a boardgame "Trench," owned by Rui Alípio Monteiro.  For months the gaming blogs and websites were abuzz with discussions about what would happen most boiled down to “how much will Rui take” before he just lets Microsoft have their way.  (Since they were publishing Trenched) Then at Gamescom that year they announced that the game would be renamed “Iron Brigade” in both the US and Europe and released it in November.  

So what happens now?  

That was my question as well, which is why I reached out to Dan Yarrington CEO of Game Salute to try and understand what was going on.  I had originally heard the story from the “Funding the Dream” podcast when Angie Hickman Newnham was relating the tale and how her team was dealing with the sudden shock and surprise.  


Luckily the team already had a lawyer involved so they were able to review their legal options.  In the end, it didn’t come down to whether either party would win in a legal battle. It all came down to cost.  

There were only two real options open to the Story Realms team, they could either negotiate a fair licensing of the trademark or they could rebrand the game.  The Game Salute team are all about Excel spreadsheets and figuring out real costs of things so they were able to give Angie & Julian the rebranding costs while the lawyers tried to negotiate a sensible licensing.  Though Dan wasn’t sure that was ever really an option.

Of course, it seems entirely plausible that the entire thing was just a money grab.  Looking back on the history of the Story Realm website, the focus was “interactive fiction” and there was very little to no focused gaming content.  Then a “game” section showed up on the site around the time the Kickstarter ended.  Coincidence perhaps?  Maybe, until you notice the art in this new game section is very similar in theme to the art on the Story Realms Kickstarter page.  

The negotiations pretty much settled it for Dan because the “prestige” of a very successful Kickstarter project affected the trademark holder’s negotiations.  It seemed like they thought, “we had a big pile of money just lying around we could throw at them” to make the situation go away.  Of course anyone who knows Kickstarter, especially in the board games segment, that most of the money is used in publishing and development so there isn’t extra money lying around.  Heck it sounds like many are lucky to break even and not be left holding a bill!

That left Angie & Julian with pretty much no choice at all, either they would rebrand or be stuck in court where, even if they won; but it’d be a Pyrrhic victory, as the game would have been delayed if not cancelled outright.   As it stands the whole hullabaloo cost the team at least a month and half delay to an already delayed schedule thanks to reaching all their stretch goals.  

The Silver Lining

In the end the game has been changed to Storm Hollow: A Storyboard Game which, for Richard Bliss from Funding the Dream and I, is a much more evocative name.   Storm Hollow is the name of the setting in the game which made it the obvious “main” name for the game, but it’s the subtitle that really draws my attention.  

To be honest I hadn’t looked too closely to Story Realms as the name didn’t “grab me” so I gave it a pass; but now I was genuinely interested in finding out what the heck a “Storyboard Game” was.  Not only is the storyboard a key named component of their game, it is a fair description of how the game plays out, you storyboard your tale!  I thought, “Brilliant where do I sign up?”  The plan was always to possibly do expansions in other genres, but now the subtitle set them up perfectly for all sorts of expansions and directions. With this new bit of interest due to the rebranding and the story around it the team now has a renewed interest in their product beyond the Kickstarters which will hopefully translate into better sales when it hit store shelves hopefully in August 2013.  


Virtual Choir

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  I am very pleased to introduce Eric Whitacre who is here to talk to us about the Virtual Choir Kickstarter Project.  Thank you for joining us today Eric.  

Thank you for having me, it’s an honor.

The Virtual Choir is definitely a product of the internet age, would you care to describe the whole concept and what this particular Kickstarter is all about?

For those of you who don’t know about the Virtual Choir, the concept is pretty simple. Singers from around the world upload their videos. They’re singing alone in their living rooms, their dorm rooms, their garages; we cut all the videos together and start them at the same time to create a Virtual Choir. Somehow it all comes together and we’re making music as one choir.
We have invested a huge amount of money so far in creating the Virtual Choirs and it has been a pleasure to do so.   We have also had help from some wonderful like minded parties to whom we shall for ever be grateful (DCINY, Decca and JW Pepper to name but three).   This time, we are looking to singers and supporters to, quite literally, Kickstart Virtual Choir 4 and help to make it possible.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  I am joined by the soon to be creator of the film Moses Mr. Uzoma Okoro, thank you for joining us today Uzoma!

Well thank you so much for having me! I really do appreciate the opportunity!

Would you tell us a bit about your prospective film?  

Moses is a much different perspective on Sex Trafficking. We follow moses who is a 15 year old soccer player from Nigeria. He is thrust into the brutal work of sex trafficking by the same individuals who promised him a better life as a professional soccer player; playing abroad.

What makes moses so unique are a few things. In what few movies there are on this subject we often see the victim as a young asian or russian female. Moses is based on a  true story, and I believe the world seeing that sexual slavery can happen to anyone, even young men will serve as a real eye opener for many.

Another unique perspective on moses is the fact that we show how it takes place in a suburban settings. Sex trafficking is often thought of as an urban or inner city issue. Thoughts come to mind of downtown massage parlors, and backroom warehouses. The truth is a great deal of this underground practice takes place in suburban homes and residential areas that most of us would consider upscale and safe.

Project B.I.T.O

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am joined by Mia Guild who has started “Project B.I.T.O. (Bun in the Oven),”  thank you for joining us today Mia.  

Thanks for giving me the opportunity!

Your title does a pretty good job of describing the general topic of your project, but could you give us the full details?  

Well, Project B.I.T.O. is going to be a documentary on infertility. Infertility is something nobody really likes to talk about, though it affects 1 in 8 people. Those 1 in 8 people have this terrible feeling of being alone, helpless, and ashamed, and I want to help change that. I want to share their stories. I will be going across the country and Canada interviewing couples, individuals, and doctors, and hopefully, health insurance companies.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ultimate Gamer's Storage Bag

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am pleased to be joined by a creator of gaming goodies, Mr Dave Howell!  Dave has brought along his Ultimate Gamer’s Storage Bag project, how are you today Dave?  

I’m very well, thank you. Although to be fair, it’s hard to be in a bad mood when one’s Kickstarter campaign gets off to a great start. I’m only 1.5 days in, and I’ve already raised over 30% of my
target. That’s pretty fun!

What have you brought to talk about today?  It looks very much like a simple dice bag that I’ve seen all the time.  

It might look that way, but it doesn’t feel that way, believe me. Most of the dice bags I’ve seen (and most of the ones I find for sale online today) are made from suede, that “fuzzy” leather, partially because suede is cheaper than finished leather, and partly because most standard cow-hide leather would be awfully stiff for a dice bag or other small bag. Think of the kind of leather used to make purses or leather jackets. These bags are made from Pakistani goatskin leather, and it’s wonderfully soft and supple. Not unlike deerskin leather, but I believe it’s more durable.

Then there’s the closure. Most dice bags I’ve seen have a single loop drawstring. The idea is that you pick it up by the loop, and the weight of the bag closes up the opening. That works only as long as you’re carrying it by the loop. If you put it in a backpack, it tends to work its way open, and since PennyGems are both heavier and smaller than dice, it seemed pretty clear they’d tend to fall out. Of the first four samples the manufacturer sent me, three of them just had a leather strip as the drawstring. Presumably one would tie a knot in the string to keep it closed. What a pain! But one of them had the capped nylon drawstring with the spring-lock clamp on it, and as soon as I saw that I knew that it was exactly what a gamer bag needed.

Fre-Be fruit Wine

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I’m joined by Brian Haghighi the creative mind behind the “Revolutionary Wine for the Foodie in Us All” Fre-Be fruit wine.  Thank you for joining us today Brian!

No Prob, James.  Glad to be here.

Your project is interesting in many ways for me, could you give us a brief description of your product and the Kickstarter?  

Sure.  Most wine today is red wine or white wine.  Red wines are typically dry, bitter, and bold.  White wines are more fruit forward, acidic, and lighter.  While there’s variation between white wines and between red wines, that variation is pretty limiting, in fact, most people I think would be hard pressed to distinguish one white wine from another.  Fruit wine, on the other hand adds color to what otherwise would be a black and white world.  Since the wine is made from all those other fruits, instead of grapes, the character of those fruits get transferred into the wine.  So we have a wine world with much more variety, and dare I say, a product that is even better for you since many of the fruits used are super fruits.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Dust Donut

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am joined by Tyler Sterbentz creator of the Dust Donut!  He’s here to talk about his project and his wonderful product, thank you for joining us today Tyler!

Thank you for having me!

Can you explain your product to those who aren’t the greatest camera enthusiasts?  Mainly because I think most who see your product and are camera enthusiasts immediately grasp how head slappingly awesome this product is.

The Dust Donut is simply a rubber seal that fits onto the connecting end of a camera’s lens and its purpose is to keep unwanted and harmful dust and moisture from making its way into the camera’s sensitive internals. When dust makes its way into a cameras internals it can collect on the camera’s sensor or film which can reduce the sensor/ films ability to absorb or “see” the light it needs to make a photo which can negatively affect your photos and cause dark spots. Moisture is even worse when it makes its way into a camera’s internals as it can cause corrosion on the camera and lenses electrical contact points and can even become trapped inside of the lens, allowing fungus to grow in between the glass of the lens which leads to “hazy” photos and reduces the re sale value of the lens. The Dust Donut allows photographers to give their camera and lenses a fighting chance against keeping these unwanted elements out of their photography equipment.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Right Bank Babies

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am happy to be bringing you Ellen Uzarowicz who is the of the wonderful clothing line of the Right Bank Babies.  Thank you for joining us today Ellen!

Hello, James, I’m very glad to be here!

Would you be so kind as to describe your products for everyone?  What makes your clothes so special?

Our goal is to create clothes that are “timeless”, wearable, beautiful and fun. I want to look back at photos and not be able to tell what year it was. I want little ones and moms to fall in love with the styles and patterns - to be able to wash them and keep them for years not just months. We don’t make disposable fashion.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Namesake: Volume 2

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am joined by the wonderfully whimsical women behind the wonderful webcomic world of Namesake!  Isabelle, Megan, thank you for joining us today to talk about your latest Kickstarter to have volume 2 of Namesake produced.  

(Isa = Green) Hi, thanks for having us!

(Meg = Purple) Yes, thank you so much!

Would you be so kind as to give a brief overview of Namesake for my readers who have yet to discover the wonderfully wicked and wild world you’ve created?  

Namesake is kind of the fairy tale equivalent of quantum leap. It’s about people who have the power to cross over to magical worlds, and this power is transmitted thru the name. All Alices go to Wonderland, all Dorothies go to Oz, etc, etc. The hero of the story, Emma, is tossed in Oz after a dramatic library fire. Even though it’s not her place, she’s stuck doing the Dorothy’s job, and eventually discovers that her own personal story seems to be more complex then she would like it to be.

Kingdom: The Space Exploration RPG

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am proud to bring you Kingdom: The Space Exploration RPG by Richard James Errington.  Thank you for joining us today Richard.

It’s great talking to you. Thanks for showing interest in my project.

You’re quite welcome! I will admit your title immediately caught my eye as I am not only a long time space exploration sci-fi fan, as well as a NASA employee, but I also like giving my players in my RPG’s the ability to “Change the world.”  Does your game fit my desire to let players change the galaxy?

It certainly does! One of the main focuses of the game are the players’ actions and their repercussions on humanity and the milky way galaxy as they explore. The game has two main scenarios: the Year One scenario and the Aftermath scenario. The Year One scenario takes place in the year 2045 when a scientist named Ben Smythe creates an IFTL drive (Instantaneous Faster-than-light) and chooses to prove it by hiring a crew to survey distant Earth-like planets. In this scenario humans have a great deal of control over how humanity is eventually viewed by other civilizations in the milky way galaxy. The Aftermath scenario takes place two years after the initial player group left the galaxy. Now Ben Smythe is in charge of a large established corporation and humanity has secured themselves a position in the galaxy. This scenario was designed to reflect the changes that occurred throughout the playthrough of the original core testers after a year and a half of playing.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Rivet Wars

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am pleased to be joined by Kevin from Cool Mini or Not to talk about their latest Kickstarter project Rivet Wars!  Thank you for joining us today Kevin.

Thank you for having me. I am glad to be here talking about what has quickly become one of my favorite projects.

This is your fifth Kickstarter with all four of your previous ones being successful I think you’ve got this whole “Kickstarter thing” figured out.  What brings you back for a fifth time?  

We really like the opportunity that we have with Kickstarter. It gives us a chance to get a game almost finished, toss it out into the world and see if people agree with us that its amazing. On top of that it give us immediate feedback, at a point where we can still do something about it. All good things.

The other thing it does is allow us to take risks with designers with original ideas. We can know before we commit if something is going to work and take on a project that would otherwise never have seen the light of day due to the start up costs and risks involved.

I think it also helps with getting a new property established. In the tabletop industry, if you are not known it can be hard to get into stores or distribution. With kickstarter, we can show that a game has an established base that really want it and that the game has legs. It basically rushes the first 6 months of scary time hoping your game will pick up and run into a short campaign. 

Axis Game Factory

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am joined by Tammy McDonald from Heavy Water who is here to talk to us about their first Kickstarter, “Axis Game Factory.”  Thank you for joining us today Ms. McDonald.  

Thank you for having me.

The Axis Game Factory is one of those products that defies simple definition isn’t it?  What’s the best description you’ve come up for explaining your product?

Yes. Axis Game Factory isn’t a new concept, but it does take the “Game Design Tool” picture that everyone has in their mind and turn it on its head! Axis Game Factory is an easily accessible creative tool aimed at promoting community, creative exploration, and education. Axis Game Factory could become a powerhouse toolset for game developers but first we want it to be a way for everyone interested in gaming, casual or hardcore, the ability to show what *their* dream games would be like if they were the game designer. Allowing anyone to become a game designer is what the Axis Game Factory is all about because, for us, that is the most creative thing you could possibly do: create an entire new world!

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Beltonian's Grand Vision

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I’m bringing you a bit of local flavor by talking to Roy from Belton, TX who brings us The Beltonian’s Grand Vision: A Cinema/Comedy Club Hybrid.  Thank you for joining us today Roy!

Hello and thank you for having me.  It is great to be here.

Your title is quite a mouthful, would you care to expound on it and give us all the details?  

When I first bought The Beltonian, I had a Grand Vision in mind for it.  We would be a second run value cinema during the week and on weekend matinees and a professional comedy club on weekend evenings.  This vision was based on the fact that the vast majority of discount cinema patrons are made up of families who would be more drawn towards the matinee shows, leaving the evenings available for more mature comedic entertainment.  Unfortunately, as soon as I purchased the building, the funds that I had ready to acquire the digital projector got pulled out from under me, so we currently only run The Beltonian as the comedy club.  With my history in movie theaters and the community’s wish for The Beltonian to be a cinema again, I felt it necessary to make that initial Grand Vision a reality by any means available to me.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Six Gun Mage

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  I am very pleased to be introducing to you another old friend of mine, Chris Hazelton creator of the long-running Webcomic Misfile!  He’s here to talk to us about his newest project Six Gun Mage now on Kickstarter, thank you for joining us today Chris.  

Thanks.  Glad to have the opportunity

Now for those who don’t know you, I think a bit of background is in order.  You’ve been doing Misfile since February of 2004 which is quite the feat in the webcomic world.  Misfile has also been put in print several times which proves you have a history of bringing comics to market.  Would you care to tell us about your latest project?  

Sure.  I love doing Misfile, but in the back of my mind all these years I’ve always wanted to do sort of a more “epic adventure” sort of story.  I came up with a few that were sort of high fantasy, but none of them ever really clicked.  Then, back in 2009, I picked up an old hobby from my childhood I’d been out of for a long time; shooting sports.  Suddenly everything just sort of clicked.  Magic, adventure, guns. Why not do sort of a fantasy/old west sort of mixture.  It’s a lot less trodden than typical fantasy stuff and I figured it would leave me more wiggle room to really have fun with the story.  That kernel of an idea eventually grew into the 6 Gun Mage comic project.  It’s the story of Kylie, who in this world would be referred to as a “gun mage”, a sort of wizard that uses their gun as a focus for their spells.  The world she inhabits is very old west meets steampunk and is recovering from a series of wars.  The story starts with Kylie being a bit of an enigma.  Her backstory is revealed through her friends and backflashes which also bring out the ultimate direction of the story.  That’s sort of book one in a nutshell.

Jellybeans Morning, Noon, & Night

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today it’s my pleasure to be speaking with Maggie Pajak the writer and mother behind the latest Kickstarter book project, “Jellybeans Morning, Noon, and Night.”  Thank you for joining us today Maggie.

Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to get the chance to talk to you about my book. As a mom of boys, I’m usually talking about Nerf guns, Spongebob or Minecraft.

[Laughs] Well I’m normally talking about “My Little Pony” with my daughter so I know what you mean. With a name “Jellybeans” it’s pretty obvious you’re either a candy campaign or a children’s book, would you care to describe your project?  

Although the name, “Jellybeans Morning, Noon & Night” is a sweet title, the book is more than about candy.

I wrote this book several years ago when my husband was deployed in Iraq. This story was the bribe that got my son to sleep in his own bed at night. Sleep was hard to come by as it was. Having a two year old rolling around all night in your bed didn’t exactly bring a restful night either.

So, to me this book is more than a story about two brother’s love for jellybeans and their plan to get Mom to let them eat them morning noon and night. It is more than a lesson of moderation and letting your kids learn a lesson on their own. To me it brought a few giggle filled moments with my son at the end of some very long and trying days.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dawn: Rise of the Occulites

Update: Kickstarter NOW LIVE! 

Greetings!  Today I am joined from down under by Darwin Games owner and creator Ben Boersma.  He’s here to talk to us about his soon to be Kickstarted in America game “Dawn: Rise of the Occulites.”  Thank you for joining us today Ben!  

G’day James! No problems mate, thanks for the opportunity to do the interview. Much appreciated.

Prototype sample, NOT final production

The game you plan to bring to Kickstarter is called Dawn: Rise of the Occulites.  Can you tell us a bit about it?  

Well, Dawn: Rise of the Occulites is the first game in the Rise of the Occulites Saga which follows the evolution of creatures called Occulites (funnily enough). Being the first game in the Saga, it starts very early in their development. So Dawn is a small skirmish miniature boardgame. There is a pretty detailed backstory to the game on my blog which tells of a boy named Darwin who goes to live with his Pa on his property in the Australian Bush. Darwin finds a ‘window’ in a fallen branch that has blown down in a storm that he sees a strange creature through. Over time he begins to observe and study the creatures in secret.

In the actual game you control a Tribe of five Occulites throughout a variety of different scenarios. In the base game there are 10 different scenarios (with many more being available for download and in expansions later on) that have different objectives and goals. Most involve combat, but it is not the defining factor of many of the scenarios. Some involve collecting Sungems (gems that trap Sunlight and warmth for the Long Dark), others are Home Cave raids, in some you must catch Nymphlets for food and another you may temporarily ally yourself with your opponent to fend off an attack from predators. The scenarios are vastly different and can be played individually or as a full blown campaign where your Tribe evolves depending on the actions you take during games.

The game is designed in layers, so there are a basic set of rules that provides an excellent launching point for most players. You don’t ever have to advance from these Core rules if you don’t want to, however for those that wish to explore further, there are Advanced rules which introduce special terrains, more in depth decision making and actions to take during matches.

Cities in the Sky: Science-Fiction's Forgotten Visionaries

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  I am pleased to be joined by the creator of the documentary  Cities in the Sky: Science Fictions Forgotten Visionaries creator Marisa.  Thank you for joining us!

Thank you for having me James!  I’ve really been finding all of your interviews quite informative, and it’s an honor to join you.

Flattery will get you everywhere, so would you care to give us a brief rundown of your project?  Are there really that many forgotten science fiction writers out there for you to do a documentary on them?

Cities in the Sky covers science fiction writers from 100 and even 1000 years ago who wrote about things people will find absolutely astounding.  The envisioned many technological advancements as well as themes we see in today’s sci-fi!  My partner Issac has been researching this topic for years and he has found a ton of fascinating information.  There really are a lot of interesting writers that have been forgotten over time.  We want to bring their work to light so that viewers can appreciate it!

So why Kickstarter?  You seem like you already have a well established community through HDFEST® couldn’t you have produced this film through your own site?

Well, yes, we’ve been running the HDFEST film festival for 12 years now, so we do have a good community built up.  We selected Kickstarter because we wanted to get the word about this project out to people beyond just the filmmakers and artists we already know.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Invention of Cloudsurfing

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am joined by Andrew Mitchell the creative force behind the film “The Invention of Cloudsurfing.”  Thank you for joining us today Andrew.

Thanks for the invite James! I’m a director currently finishing my masters of fine arts in visual effects on a scholarship at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

You have quite the evocative title there, can you give us a description of your project?

The Invention of Cloudsurfing is a short introduction to character Walter Wells as he struggles to turn his grandfather's failed inventions into the stunning new sport of cloudsurfing. It’s an introduction to this character because I’m currently writing a feature film based on this character of inventor Walter Wells.

Walt lives on an old airstrip farm with his grandfather, J. P. Wells.  J.P. also known as Gramps, is an airplane mechanic who has spent his life creating inventions that just don’t work.  Walt’s spark for progress leads them both head first into this new adventure. It’s a story about staring adversity in the face and leaping over it, through it, and around it. . . at all costs. What do you do when the people you believe in most give up on the dreams you shared and the road ahead seems impossible? That’s where we are with Walt in this film. The time is short, the stakes are high.

I’ve spent several years writing about the character of Walt. This short story about his time spent creating cloudsurfing is what I’ve managed to boil down to a short sweet introduction to this world, Gramps and this gyro-stabilization engine that is the basis of many of Walt’s future inventions.

Although my world and characters are based in reality, the sport of cloudsurfing is based visually on Disney’s TaleSpin. It was a cartoon I watched addictively as a child, and we pay visual homage to the cartoon in a few ways throughout the movie.


Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am joined by the talented Kristina Harris the woman behind the MATH WARRIORS Season 3 Kickstarter.  Thank you for joining us today Kristina!

Thank you so much for chatting with me about Math Warriors. I’m excited to be here.

MATH WARRIORS is a pretty bold title (in all caps yet!) can you give us a bit of a description?  Your tagline “The Big Bang Theory” meets “The Office” is very evocative.  

MATH WARRIORS is a webseries about a team of math nerds who take their math very seriously....Like warriors going into battle.  In Season 3, the “Funky Functions” math team is striving to win an International Math Olympiad gold medal; they encounter obstacles in the process - and have to deal with the many dramatic situations that arise. Love, betrayal.... and calculus. Could you ask for more?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Wargame Tables, Table-tops, and Dice Trays

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am happy to introduce to our readers the hard working, tool wielding creator behind the Wargame Tables, Table-tops, and Dice Trays kickstarter, Callen Johnson.  Thank you for joining us today Callen!

Thank you, James.  I am pleased to be here.

I’d like to start off by congratulating you by hitting your goal exactly of $2000 as I write this.  Well done!  Do you have any special plans now that your project is going above and beyond your initial goal?

Thanks.  I am a little surprised at how fast the goal was met, to be honest.  Nothing too special in the works for the extra funds.  I may pick up an extra tool for the shop to help turn out a higher quality product, depending on the funding amount at the end date.  The main priority will be to get the rewards to our awesome backers.

Unique Puzzles for a Yankee Echo Alfa Romeo

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am pleased to be joined by Roy Leban and Parker Lewis from the small startup company Puzzazz.  If the name didn’t seal the idea, wait until you check out the name of their Kickstarter project!  “Unique Puzzles for a Yankee Echo Alfa Romeo” is not only a Kickstarter about puzzles but its title is a puzzle! Thank you both for joining us today.

Roy: Well thank you for having us! We’re glad to be featured on your blog.

Parker: We’re really excited about what we’re doing and are happy to chat about it.

I think we can all understand you guys like puzzles and have started a company about puzzles, but can you be a bit more specific about what your puzzling Kickstarter is all about?

Roy: Puzzazz is a puzzle technology company, which means that we’re all about building great technology to let people enjoy and solve puzzles on their digital devices, whenever and wherever they want to.

This Kickstarter campaign is for something that has never been done before on the scale that we’re aiming for. We want to produce a puzzlehunt -- a set of interconnected puzzles that combine to form a larger puzzle -- for everybody who likes puzzles. Not only does it show the world how much fun they can have with new types of puzzles, it highlights something that’s important to the company -- helping people have fun solving all types of puzzles.

Parker: Usually puzzlehunts are created for small communities and are not very accessible to larger audiences. We are trying to change that by creating a yearlong puzzlehunt for puzzlers across the country, and beyond!

Roy: In addition, we made our Kickstarter campaign a mini-puzzlehunt in and of itself. For example, there’s a picture of a pizza on our main page, which is one of the puzzles in the campaign.

Parker: Notice how it doesn’t look like your standard pizza? That’s because there is a secret answer word somehow encoded into the pizza. Try visiting our How to Solve Codes page if you get stuck.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Kilobyte Delay Pedal

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am joined by Philippe Herndon from Caroline Guitar Company.  He’s joining us today to bring us his company’s second Kickstarter, the Kilobyte Delay Pedal, thank you for joining us today Philippe!

Thanks, and thanks for reaching out to me.

This is your second Kickstarter with the Olympia Fuzz pedal being successfully Kickstarted last year.  Why return to Kickstarter?  How well has the Olympia done since last year?  

Olympia has done well. I think there were a myriad of reasons why we came back to do this with Kickstarter. Many of them have to do with my skepticism regarding a lot of the pre-sale/advance sale mechanisms used in my industry. Kickstarter allows me to easily show my hand - you can see just how many people backed the project at what levels. The second benefit is that Kickstarter, more so than just a pre-order page, seems well designed for people to share and promote projects that they would like through social media networks. I was pretty blown away to see how many people have shared our project.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Anime Sushi

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am joined by Tip McPartland, one of the producers of the Anime Sushi  TV show and Kickstarter.  Thank you for joining us today Tip!
Thank you for having me!  It’s a pleasure to be here, and thanks to you for recognizing that we’re doing something very special by promoting anime culture and working to bring the world of anime into millions of living rooms nationwide.  
You flatter me Tip! As someone who was big into the anime scene from 1998 onward I have to say I jumped at trying to get an interview with your group. Can you give us a brief overview for those who aren’t crazy otaku like I was?
Anime is Japanese animation, which has a very different visual and emotional appeal from American and European animation.  Most Americans who are unfamiliar with the format would immediately recognize it as the style of animation featuring characters with “big” eyes.  There are many different sub-genres of anime with different story themes, and each has passionately involved fans.  Our TV series Anime Sushi focuses on anime, obviously, but also on manga, which is the print form of anime and cosplay, in which fans dress in elaborate costumes and role play their favorite characters.  Otaku culture is fascinating, with contagious energy.
Our group has been drawn to anime first through influence, and then through appreciation.  His two teenage daughters, both serious fans and cosplayers, exposed Karl Laundy to anime.  Karl worked as an editor on several shows, and came to realize that anime has some of the best characters, artwork and storytelling on TV.
My kids also drew me into anime. They took me to some cons and shared some great series with me.  As a writer/producer, I loved the high quality of the storytelling and the warmth of the characters.  When I watched Tadao Tomomatsu holding forth as Toastmaster at ALA, I realized that here was a person who could embody the spirit of the anime culture and bring it to TV.
Tadao and I spent two full days shooting HD video at Anime Expo and when Duncan Burns and Kelvin Porter saw this fantastic footage, as seasoned TV pros they both immediately realized that something special was going on and jumped in with both feet.  Duncan in turn brought our lead publicist Tracy Blackburn in, since her background included helping launch the Neon Alley streaming anime network.  Duncan also brought social media specialist Erik Vanlier onto the project, and Erik is an otaku himself. The synergies were just too great to ignore.  So here we are!