Sunday, June 17, 2012

Kickstarter: Be A Patron of the Arts on a Student Budget

Even though I'm sure a lot of you are very much aware of the wonders of Kickstarter, I have really only just discovered them!

For those of you who don't, Kickstarter is a fabulous funding platform for all types of creative projects, from music to design to literary and research! You can trawl through hundreds of thousands of projects, and if you find one you like, you can pledge an amount of money of your choice towards it's funding. It can be as little as $1, but the more you pledge, the better rewards you recieve as a thankyou (and some of them are truely incredible!). It's an all or nothing system; if the project does not reach it's funding goal in the prescribed amount of time, no money is taken from you; your credit card will only be charged if the funding goal is reached at the end of the month.

What I love about Kickstarter, even more than the super cool one of a kind rewards, is the sense of community you get from becoming a backer. In times gone by, a patron of the arts was usually an extremely rich phlinathropists with a desire to nuture struggling creatives (often because they were lacking in the creative talent they so admired). However, thanks to Kickstarter, even those with the tightests of budgets can show their support for projects they want to see come to fruition. And the playing field has certainly been levelled; muscians such as Amanda Palmer and Ben Fold Five has shown that funding the production of an album without a record label is completely feasable, due to their enourmous fan bases and community support, leaving record company execs shaking in their hand tailored leather boots. 

Here are a couple of projects I've backed already

Amanda Palmer's New Album: Theater is Evil
You all know I am a huge fan of Amanda Palmer, her music, and now the way she goes about making it. I'll say it again, she is the nicest lady in the music industry in terms of how she treats her fans; it felt so good to be apart of making her new record! I pledged $50, and will be recieving a special backer edition of the album on vinyl, as well as a digital download so I can put it on my iPod, and a thankyou card! You wouldn't get that from any record label (not even the cool independant ones). I've been anticipating this album more than any other this year, and I think it has something to do with the fact that little old me helped it into the world.

This project has been completely funded, but you can still check out her video, because it's adorable.

Tropes Vs Women in Video Games
I stumbled across this project just before it was fully funded, by someone posting about it on twitter. Anita Sarkeesian is a fantasitc femenist blogger who runs the website Femenist Frequency, which comments on how woman are portrayed in pop culture. Through Kickstarter, she is aiming to fund a video project that looks at the way women are portrayed in video games. I love video games, but it's very hard to ignore the fact that many of them are extremely sexist towards women. I was so interested in what she had to say about this, I instantly pledged $25, and by doing so I will recieve a high res video download of the the series, my name in the credits (cool!) and access to research materials! Despite recieving some extremely harsh backlash from certain, shall we say, misogynist type groups who turned out to be scarily more organised than regular trolls, she blew her pledge goal out of the water, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with!

This project has also been funded, but you should check out her website, the videos will be available for everyone to see when they are ready!

For thousands of projects that have yet to be funded, go to, create and account and start searching! You're bound to find something worthy of your spare change, or perhaps even your alcohol budget!

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