The Dregs of My Kickstarter Campaign
Late in the summer of my thirty-first year, in the waning hours of my Kickstarter, I said something very foolish.
“If we reach $7,600,” I said aloud, “I will record a Firefly EP.”
That was only $600 over my last stretch goal, which was “to make a music video,” which was only $1,000 over my actual Kickstarted project, to record Giant Robot Album in a real Los Angeles recording studio with the band The Long Holidays.
It is now the summer of my thirty-third year. The Kickstarter rewards were sent out almost immediately after the Kickstarter got funded. Giant Robot Album was officially released on June 25, 2013. The Giant Robot Album music video, which I ended up making myself in iMovie because I had long spent all the Kickstarter money, went live on March 23, 2014.
Now, I’m spending my evenings sitting on the scrubbed-clean floor of my apartment bathroom, putting together a Firefly EP.
(Just so we’re all clear: by “Firefly EP” I mean “an EP containing original songs about characters from the popular-but-canceled television series Firefly.” Also, musicians record in bathrooms because the acoustics are good.)
Doing a Kickstarter was kind of a “creative person rite of passage,” especially in 2012. (Now, I think, the rite of passage has switched to “doing a Patreon.”) It’s a part of leveling up, and my Kickstarter allowed me to test my mettle in a real recording studio with a real band.
On the last day of the album mixing process, my recording engineer, who had been with the album since the beginning, said “You know, you have a good singing voice — but I think your real strength lies in your writing.”
And that was all very well and good, and was something I was already coming to terms with myself (really, there’s nothing like recording an album in a real Los Angeles studio to make you realize the limitations of your talent), but that didn’t change the fact that the actual cost of completing my Kickstarter added $3,000 to my debt burden, helped me realize I was on the wrong path, AND I still had these two stretch goals to complete.
It’s pretty easy to understand why I put off making that Firefly EP for a year.
There is plenty of discussion of Kickstarters that don’t deliver, but much less discussion of “Kickstarters that the creators outgrow.” I suspect I am not the only person who changed so much in the two years since her Kickstarter as to make the project irrelevant. I’d like to hear more of those stories.
What finally pushed me to sit down next to my toilet and open up GarageBand? People are asking me when I’m going to do my Patreon. And I’m all “I cannot do a Patreon until I finish my outstanding Kickstarter obligations, even though I suspect both my backers and I have long moved on.”
I’m still not sure I’ll do a Patreon. I’m really hesitant to jump back on that train.
But I do know that I’ll have a Firefly EP live on Bandcamp next week. And then, at last, my Kickstarter will be complete.