Monday, July 29, 2013

Underachievers for 7-29-2013

The Underachievers


In an effort to help more Kickstarter projects I've decided to start trying two weekly columns, one with just various projects that caught my eye for good reasons, and ones that caught my eye for their mistakes or missed potential.  There can be overlap between these lists for a project can be one I like but at the same time have some problems.

These lists will be in "closing date" order, which means the ones at the top aren't the worst or the best, they're just coming up on their closing dates first.  

Did you SEE that video? Now I know, I'm a sucker for the original War of the Worlds radio drama (I had it on Vinyl more maximum authenticity!) and how the phenomenon was such a product of the times. This project however has only gained 28 backers and is only 1/3 of the way to it's $6,000 goal.

Things that might explain the lack of backers:
  • Lack of eyes. If no one sees your project no one can back it. I have no clue what the social media presence of this project is.
  • Lack of direction. 22 pages for $6,000 black and white? Seems expensive so maybe you need to spell out the costs better.
  • Lack of experience. Maybe the team doesn't seem to have a credible background?
  • Bad product. Honestly I'd be more interested in a video than a comic as they didn't sell me a comic they sold me on the video.


This is another one of those small projects that speaks to me. My mother grew up a farmer and Needles is a very small town (still is). So yeah, I have an attachment to rural America so a photo/story/novel about it is a great idea.

That said the project is doing PATHETICALLY! Why? What are they doing wrong that only 15 have backed them and they're woefully far from their $8500 goal?

  • High cost. $75 for a softcover copy of the book? $110 for the hardcover? I may like the project but damn!
  • NO VIDEO!!! I cannot believe a project about a photo book, that supposedly involves a very nice camera THAT CAN SHOOT VIDEO doesn't have a video?
  • Who's doing this? There's absolutely no connection to the creator so why should I care?
  • No cost breakdown. For that price you'd best explain the costs!
  • Nothing already started. It seems like there's no money already spent by the creator, that without a video we're buying all the equipment and paying for the trip? Poorly planned out.

Stories about the foreclosure issues in America are a very good topical question. Yet this project has only garnered $20 why is that?

  • Video of nothing. Yes, you have a video, but essentially a slideshow with a few words that aren't even a call to action or discussion of the actual project? Nope.
  • No direction. There isn't a very well laid out plan for the film. Just a series of things they'd "like to do." Not what they're "going to do."
  • No work done. It helps to have work done BEFORE you start. A script, contacts, lay out what you have even if you can't afford to do what you want. Those do better than those that seem to go, "Give me money so I can start something." No START, then ask for help.
  • WHO WHO WHO!?? Again, Kickstarter is about people helping people so where are the people? I don't have a clue who's doing it, why I should believe they could do it, NOTHING!
  • Cost breakdowns. Seriously, what do you need the money for! You have to at least TRY and sound like you have a plan for the funds. You came up with the goal somehow didn't you?

This is another interesting project because I do enjoy architecture and I do think he's got an interesting concept of taking pictures of the buildings reflected in buildings.  So why does he have only 18 backers?  What's going on? 

  • COST! $50 for a PDF copy?  I understand there are a lot of pictures here put PDF's are free especially if you're doing a print version so you can price them low to bring in those who want to support and see the project without buying a physical version.  This also helps for overseas purchasers.  
  • Gimmick.  Honestly I'm surprised this one was allowed as you can't use Kickstarter for lotteries/raffles. Yet every level seems to offer a "chance" to get a copy of the book?  
  • What work is done?  He claims to have over 6000 photos already, why not make a book with that?  Why book this tour to take more pictures?  Not properly explained. 
  • Cost breakdown!  Seeing a pattern here?  We have no clue why he needs the money, where it's going, and why we should trust him.  
  • No commitments.  He plans to "Try" and get an art gallery to exhibit his work?  Again doesn't he already have thousands of photos he can show off to get a booking?  
  • Personality.  Honestly I know you've written a script, maybe you don't do well on camera, but damn try and look like you're passionate about your work!  Stone face readings of a script aren't helping you any. 

You know filming a pilot is a cool idea, editing a script is a cool idea, "Launch a New TV Series" is a vague dream and not a project. There are SO many things wrong with this project where to begin?

  • 24 seconds of camera phone video of cover pages that you can't read? Really? Did you even LOOK at your video before you posted it? Listen to it? Show it to ANYONE else before going live?
  • A writer who can't write about himself, his project, or his budget sends up major red flags for anyone who happened to checked this project out.
  • What are you funding?! Seriously $2,500 to "enable me to help launch the series." That doesn't tell us what the money is for, what the project is, what? Is it a trailer? A pilot? Just the script?
  • No proof of past accomplishments. "In 2010, a feature-length script won one of the best shorts in the Calif. Film Awards, followed the next year by Festival winner in the Love Unlimited Film Festival, devoted exclusively to promoting love." Besides how it's written, links?  Photos? Names?  Anything? 

A No Class, No Level RPG System? I love that concept! The video is a heartfelt discussion from a creator who obviously likes the project and doesn't let his accent stop him thanks to subtitles! So why hasn't this game taken off like other role playing games?

  • Cost breakdown? I mean do I really need to keep bringing this one up? Obviously I do...
  • A gameplay video and example? Demos and other such things help with RPGs.
  • Did you do "pre-launch" promotions? Show it off at conventions? Share with internet personalities? Getting the buzz going BEFORE you launch is a big deal.
  • Cultural barriers? Not only is the cost in pounds which some baulk at, but the Serbian creators could be a bit off putting and worrying for foreign backers.
  • So past success? I'm glad the creator put himself out there but what background does the team have at actually releasing a product. Why isn't this on Drive Thru RPG or some other digital format if it's already so far along?

World's Largest MUSEUM OF PINBALL - Help Us Launch!

I LOVE PINBALL! Seriously it's the first thing I check out in any arcade. That said they're big, disappearing it seems, and not as fun anymore. (I don't like newer tables) So what's wrong with a Museum of Pinball? So why isn't this a success?

  • $150,000? It sounds like their entire funding campaign is only on Kickstarter have they raised any funds locally?
  • Location Location Location. Coming from Southern California I have an idea where that is and yeah, that's away from quite a few potential backers. Pinball machines and museums are very physical and local things so not being "local" to people that can support it is kind of difficult proposition.
  • Is this the right kind of project for Kickstarter? I'm not sure. I mean I know there are lots of gamers but when you can't really enjoy what you backed...

Long time readers know how fascinated I am with growing things, especially with Hydroponics and Aeroponics.  One of my big complaints has always been that every system is something you have to dedicate your space to, and as I'm not a big plant grower (I have one nice big one now yay!) the idea of combining growing things with a fish tank provides an added level of usefulness to me.  That said why is this project floundering?

  • Cost Breakdown?  I mean is $5,000 just to make what is ordered in the Kickstarter or to try and set up a whole production line?   It's good to know he's made several prototypes and worked out the assembly, but he doesn't got that one last step to explain the costs of assembly. 
  • Niche market.  Niches work well at Kickstarter, but have you connected with your niche BEFORE launching?  Let them know about it and build the buzz so the community comes out to support you? 
  • Which market?  Is this for aquarium owners or plant growers?  I'm not sure if the market was properly identified and marketed to.  
  • Honestly I just think the word was put out to the right people to get this project going.  

An old school story based RPG? That sounds like what Kickstarter was made for. Why hasn't this game gained more traction?

  • Is the video dubbed? It just caught me as a bit odd. Is that a bad thing? No but it was a bit distracting.
  • RPG Maker? It doesn't look like it's being made with RPG Maker but it at the same time it does seem like it could easily be an RPG Maker game.
  • What are your previous accomplishments? Saying you're a "Team of Professional" doesn't make it so. People like proof of past work.
  • A little more solid cost breakdown. Honestly it was good to see there was at least SOME kind of cost breakdown, but there's no money values there so a bit questionable.
  • DEMO BUILDS ROCK! Though I always recommend creating as good a demo as possible to draw attention and build buzz.

I talked about this project on my Google+ Stream before I watched the video. After watching the video all I can do is facepalm and say "What's NOT wrong with this project?"

  • There's absolutely nothing to this campaign page but "go here and read the 1st 1/4 of the book and donate!
  • The goal is $1400 with absolutely no reasons given! Where's the money going? What's the money for?
  • He doesn't even tell us who he is! He says his name and that's it. No connection, no background, and no proof that he can actually "get his book published."
  • People self-publish all the time and build up their readership, what has this guy done? Has he started the process at all?
  • VAGUE! Seriously what does "get my book published" mean? If he has the book 100% written is he using the money to edit it? Buy a cover? Send it to a printer? Go to Kinkos and print off manuscripts and send it to random publishers? There's no gameplan or even a bloody goal here.
  • Plot? Story synopsis? An elevator pitch even? There's nothing to this project at all and it's projects like this that got me into writing about Kickstarter in the first place. You would think folks would learn...

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