Kickstarter Flimflam

Posted by servbot30 
Since the whole debackle over the OMFG Kickerstarter erupted, I've been wondering about the merit of the site. At its core, it's people asking for money. Sure it may be for a good cause or the KSer really doesn't have the capitol to make their project happen, but, they're still asking for a handout. Is this shameful? I've already read of a few artists seriously hating on the site because they feel people should invest their own cash, rather than taking from strangers. I've thought about using the site myself in the future but now I have second thoughts. How many people using the site really need the money they ask for? How much of it is just pure BS? Stepping away from the current drama, take a look at the site and throw your opinion out there. If there is a general consensus, the site is rockin' then I see no reason why people on the board couldn't make something happen like the OMFG or MoleZilla.
MattAlt (Admin)
Without Kickstarter there would be no Safecast, the citizen radiation monitoring network in Tokyo. For that alone I am eternally grateful. It's a tool, nothing more or less.

And regarding the question of how many people really need the money they ask for, what is "need?" Is someone who maxes out their credit cards somehow more "real" than someone who makes up a business proposal and solicits funds for it? If someone is able to convince others to give them money and then follow through on producing something, more power to them -- whether it's the cure for cancer or an action figure.
Sanjeev (Admin)
I've got no problem with Kickstarter. It sorta has become the defacto group/mass "preorder" for many independent toy makers. It's just a tool.

I'm not 100% sure what the basis of the anti-Kickstarter argument is...BUT I'll take a guess: it's too efficient at what it does. When it comes to designer toys, TEH MARKET is woefully over-saturated. And that pisses people off for a variety of reasons. It's become such that seemingly *any* casual fan who wants to be "down" can scare up some cash and make their own toy. I mean, "Japanese vinyl toy" versus "urban/Western vinyl" has absolutely NO meaning anymore because so many USers are just sending over their designs to be done in Japan...for better or for worse.

So...Kickstarter becomes the perfect enabler.
ed
Sanjeev and I were talking about this last night, and I am definitely split on it being used for "designer vinyl" projects for a few reasons.

One, most of the time I don't always see a business plan mentality in the approach of "selling" me on a project. If I read and in some cases watch a video about the project and have more questions than answers at the end, I know someone didn't do their homework. If you want people's money, at least my money, you should have some idea of what you're doing.

I don't like that it is used as a pre-order tool. When I first noticed Kickstarter a while ago, I thought it was ok because it was like a local PBS or NPR station. You gave money to the project, they thanked you with a DVD or a book or an autograph. I'm ok with that. The toy thing makes it a bit less genuine to me...it's almost like it's being used as your marketing tool to sell your item more than the actual intention of raising money. It's not your webstore, it's a fundraising website for arts projects.

I have watched other friends pour their hearts and souls into toy projects, have funded them 100% on their own, and have made it happen. That seems right to me.
To me kickstarter seems to be more in line with doing something good in a community or making a documentary rather than marketing and producing toys. It's not a rational separation, clearly, because ultimately you're trying to make money, but that's how I see it in my head.

And as an aside about the other project currently in "controversy" so to speak, you should make toys because you want to, not because other people told you to make one.
But Ed, haters gonna hate.

While I think the whole Kickstarter concept actually is pretty interesting, and I can even get beyond the whole preorder mentality, I think the trend we've seen of dudes having less and less of a plan before they get to the panhandling is a little worrisome. Combined with the fact that there is, as far as I can tell, zero accountability, especially in regards to how that money is used in the project, and I wonder if the whole thing's not heading towards a crash where some dubious user puts one over on the funders. The other thing it brings to light is that many of these guys asking for money have nooooo idea what they're doing. Problem is, since Kickstarter makes it so easy for seemingly shocking amounts of money to fall from the sky, they don't need to know what they're doing anymore.

Introducing Prometheus Rising Studio.
[prometheusrising.net]
I make 3D printed mecha action figures.
B00
My inde game group and I are putting together a gameplay demo that we are going to take to kickstarter.

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Sanjeev (Admin)
Well, yeah, for a LOT of applications like an indy video game or something like Safecast, I'm sure it's invaluable. I think the intent with this thread was specifically about independent toys, though.

Not to get into the "project currently in 'controversy'", Ed, I think I see what you mean. Just speaking for myself, whenever I get together with a largish group of toy collectors, I pick their brains incessantly for feedback about the toys I'm developing. Heh...the fucking Unicron stand was basically engineered by committee on the TF board! It wouldn't even occur to me NOT to be *completely* transparent about the shit I do...so seeing people just vomit their half-baked ideas onto kickstarter with absolutely no other public discussion, announcement, or even context leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.

That IS tantamount to using kickstarter as the hub of your marketing...rather than cultivating more direct relationships yourself. Obviously, there's nothing preventing people from doing that, but yeah, it seems pretty shitty.

And Ben's point about there being no accountability is fucking terrifying.

I think I'ma go fire up a kickstarter right now for my autobiographical documentary entitled "Sanjeev: Retired in Maui". :P
More to the point on the accountability bit... while it's unlikely someone would make an entire fraudulent project to raise cash, there's still no requirement for a real breakdown or justification of your price (as discussed in the OMFG thread). There's no reason for you NOT to just tack an extra grand onto any project as a contribution to the 'get your dick wet fund'.

Introducing Prometheus Rising Studio.
[prometheusrising.net]
I make 3D printed mecha action figures.
I think you guys are hitting the nail on the head. The lack of accountability and just throwing shit up without thought bothers me the most. What will happen is the site will get over saturated with that stuff and people who really want to make good things happen will be overlooked.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Well, I don't see oversaturation on the site, itself, being a problem. I mean, what difference does it make if there are 10 or 10 million projects waiting for pledges on kickstarter?

I don't think people just go to the site to "browse" for pits to throw their money into. Fundees just set up their page, then go do the leg work themselves among their own fans (ostensibly).

Like I said originally, in my opinion, the "oversaturation" comes in when you have every fan suddenly thinking the world needs yet another permutation of such-and-such toy...and that they can offer it.
I may be alone here in that I don't see anything wrong with Kickstarter being used as a way to sell merchandise. The only real difference between it and other preorder systems is that you see how close the producer is to having enough preorders to actually make the item. If you don't think they're credible, you're free to not go in on it, just like you would be if they were running the preorders from their own site.

I'm also not sure about youse guys' concerns regarding the total amount that fundraisers are asking for. If you think the item you get is worth the amount you're pledging, isn't that enough? I mean, if they were selling the items at a fixed price, how would you know they weren't marking it up unreasonably in that case?

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
asterphage Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm also not sure about youse guys' concerns
> regarding the total amount that fundraisers are
> asking for. If you think the item you get is worth
> the amount you're pledging, isn't that enough? I
> mean, if they were selling the items at a fixed
> price, how would you know they weren't marking it
> up unreasonably in that case?

You've missed the point almost entirely, but I'm gonna nail you to the wall specifically over your second bit. If a store offers you an item, and you buy it, the total cost of all the items in the store is irrelevant. Even the cost to make the item is irrelevant, since all you did is buy the item once it was done. If I pledge money to a dude asking for help, there is an understanding that my money will go towards the thing they claim it is for. Problem is, there's no way on Kickstarter to prove that happened, or that the number they asked for was legitimate in the first place. Pledging on Kickstarter and receiving a thank you gift wasn't viewed as preorders for the item until recently. The gift was a bonus to you for offering monetary assistance for an honest need. Now, every Tom, Dick, and Harry with a barely fleshed out idea is running to get their half scribbled nothings on Kickstarter before the ink dries looking for a handout. They can pick any number they want, and us generous public have no way to back up the faith-based understanding that the money will all go towards what they claim it will. The 'indy' toy scene was all about being able to directly support individual dudes who you think make good stuff, and developing a loyalty around things you like. Random schmoes asking for handouts with no accountability hardly instills those same values.

Introducing Prometheus Rising Studio.
[prometheusrising.net]
I make 3D printed mecha action figures.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/04/2011 08:11PM by Prometheum5.
Prometheum5 Wrote:
>
> Pledging on Kickstarter and receiving a
> thank you gift wasn't viewed as preorders for the
> item until recently. The gift was a bonus to you
> for offering monetary assistance for an honest
> need.

But this is entirely a symbolic relationship, not a functional one. You're giving money in exchange for something - whether what you get is merely a physical item, or the belief that you're supporting something worthwhile, depends on your mental/emotional reaction to the Kickstarter-er's appeal.

Viewing your Kickstarter contribution as an offer of assistance doesn't actually have any relation to whether you believe their claimed costs are credible. Whether you're buying a toy or supporting a charitable activity, your evaluation of their financial plan should be independent of your motivations in contributing money.

> They can pick
> any number they want, and us generous public have
> no way to back up the faith-based understanding
> that the money will all go towards what they claim
> it will.

This problem endures, whether you're contributing out of generosity or out of desire for the item they're offering. If you trust the person from past experience, or find their plan credible, your faith in their financial honesty shouldn't be affected by whether you see it as a pre-order for a product or a donation to a worthy effort.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
I suffered through the new ep of toy break and the girl said straight up that it was a "pre-ordering system". So that part of the discussion is settled.

About the accountability issue. What if someone raises the money and then bails on the project? Is there a contract the KSer must agree to in order to make it all happen? Or what if the funders don't get the stuff they were promised for donating?
"Who is responsible for making sure project creators deliver what they promise?

Every creator is responsible for fulfilling the promises of their project. Because projects are primarily funded by the friends, fans, and communities around its creator, there are powerful social forces that keep creators accountable. Creators are also encouraged to post regular updates about the progress of their project post-funding — communication goes a long way."

So you're fucked.
The more I look at this, it seems the best way to do a successful KS is to have the project pretty much complete. Like every ounce of leg-work that you could do on your own or had the money to make happen, has to be done. (This is why I'm self teaching myself how to sculpt. DIY bitches. Learn it.) I can't imagine just throwing up an idea at the very first stage of development. It'd be a nightmare to get backers and a nightmare to manage where all the money is going if you get funded.
I think that's the key....I've seen a few circumstances where someone puts an "idea" up there...simply a sketch, and it gets very few backers. Aside from a friend or a relative, people just won't be willing to gamble on an idea. On a creation that's almost complete...much more likely. I think the system works out those without a real product to back.

---------------------------------
[pgaijin.blogspot.com]
ed
You're right about that hillsy. I think Rich was successful with his (even though I don't agree with this method) because he was mostly done, had a sculpt to show for it, and had a sense of a coherent vision that the project was going to take.

This is why I'm not a fan of the half-hearted attempts I see these days. The drawing was done by someone else? The sculpt is being done by someone else? The toy is being produced by someone else? I'm confused...you said it was your toy.

The other thing that really bugs me, and this will probably drag this thread WAY off topic, is the people who can't take criticism without flying off the handle and getting huffy when people who are potential investors have questions and concerns.
When you post a project like this, it stops being about you "the artist" and morphs into you being "the artist/businessman". You're taking people's money to make your (perceived) dream happen, get a thick skin and deal.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Ed, I agree completely (and I don't think it's off-topic). The fucking second you start accepting money for services or products provided, you're putting yourself out there, submitted for the approval of the public. Deal. It's either that, or sell your shit 100% privately.

Anyway, I'll try to speak to Paul's point regarding the whole "preorder" mentality. Like, if you--as the consumer--don't give a shit whether the fundee is a greedy corporation or a struggling artist--a pillar of the toy community or an serial killer--AND if the incentive program *truly* equates to retail pricing, then the preordering thing works. In other words, if you don't know or care a white about the maker and if you feel the contribution level is good enough price for the product, then go for it.

But the problem is that that's generally not how things work in the designer toy world. There is always SOME relationship between the fundee and the fandom. Like, you mentioned trusting the fundee and "supporting something worthwhile"...well, with all the crap out there, how does one generate trust? How is something deemed worthwhile? Sure, the consumer can evaluate a toy based purely on the merit of its raw physicality, but again, that's generally not how things work. As we've seen, there have been plenty of examples where someone well-liked posts a totally ambiguous kickstarter plan, and get funded double what he asked for. And at the same time, we've seen "artists" who come off publicly like complete nitwits get nary a dime. It is what it is...nothing occurs in a vacuum.

So kinda bringing together lil b's latest post and what Ed said originally, in order to be successful, you HAVE to do as much legwork as possible ahead of time. But this also includes marketing. You have to connect with your potential fandom. Hell, my Gin Gin figure isn't even ready, but I've already sold a bunch of what are essentially spruced-up prototypes *just* because people know me. If some dude no one knew popped up from outta nowhere and posted the exact same toys for sale somewhere, I doubt as many folks here would have thrown down for it. Anyway, being noisy on the internet is just one method, of course. You have folks that hustle constantly behind the scenes like Matt Doughty, whose toys got popular because of word-of-mouth. The point is, how ever you get it done, get it done.
ed
You're right Sanjeev, you have to put yourself out there and hustle. These things don't sell themselves, and to an extent you have to "hype" (for lack of a better word) yourself. Posting a sad quiet video of yourself rambling about your accomplishments isn't going to sell me on your project, nor is a constant whining about how misunderstood you are when people complain about your customs and artwork.

OK I'm off topic now, back to the topic at hand.

The project as a whole needs to be conceptualized, thought out, costs determined, marketing figured out (although this can technically be free in some sense in this day and age), and THEN posted. Personally, if I don't see figures (in the monetary sense), I wouldn't give anyone any money.

It's like lending money to friends, you can do it but just don't expect to ever get paid back.

And the kickstarter/pre-order thing bugs the hell out of me because kickstarter isn't a store. It's a way to get your project completed, not a way to sell your products that haven't even been made into a sculpt.
<<So kinda bringing together lil b's latest post>>

Eat that wonton soup?

---------------------------------
[pgaijin.blogspot.com]
Bringing back this thread for a second. I *really* think TBDX could make a vinyl figure(s) using kickstarter. I think we're all talented enough and intelligent enough to really work something like this. Thoughts?
Sanjeev (Admin)
servbot30 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thoughts?

I like pie.




Oh wait--you meant...nevermind. Well, there ARE some of us who are making toys already. Those who aren't probably aren't interested in doing so. I guess I'm not sure what is gained by making it "by" all of us for us, rather than by one or two of us for us, y'knowmsayin? Does everyone vote on which ears look the best...which horns...which wings?

See, I read The Prince and took it literally...so all this communal crunchy shit confuses me. :P

But whatever--fuck what I think: PROPOSE SOMETHING. We're listening.
I thought TBDX did.....the Nekosaur.

---------------------------------
[pgaijin.blogspot.com]
hillsy Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I thought TBDX did.....the Nekosaur.


I DO love the Nekosaur... shame he's been conspicuously absent for a while now. Dude came out strong, and then... I dunno what.

Introducing Prometheus Rising Studio.
[prometheusrising.net]
I make 3D printed mecha action figures.
Sanjeev Wrote:

>
> But whatever--fuck what I think: PROPOSE
> SOMETHING. We're listening.

I think Nekosaur needs something to fight. That's what I'm thinking. Alen isn't completely made of money.
josh fraser (Moderator)
I will pm you in the near future Josh. I have something you might want to see.
Hah.....I remember when you tried that with me. NOBODY wants to see that.

---------------------------------
[pgaijin.blogspot.com]
josh fraser (Moderator)
hillsy Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hah.....I remember when you tried that with me.
> NOBODY wants to see that.



He is still young, he will learn to like it.
I came across some facts that are pertinent to this discussion, but first I think a bit of an introduction is required to the context in which they came up:

I've been reading up this week on the recent controversy over a comic anthology called Womanthology. In short:
-The book is being published by IDW (a fairly major publisher for both licensed and creator-owned books), but funded through Kickstarter, because IDW is not actually paying for the book to be printed.
-The artists and writers are working for free; some are major creators "donating" their effort, others are relatively unknown and doing it for exposure.
-All proceeds from the sales of the book go to charity (though Kickstarter rules forbid donating Kickstarter money to charity).
-Finally, and most importantly, the project raised more than four times their initial goal, and are now sitting on $100k for a $25,000 project.

If you want to read some criticism of the project, there's this article about Kickstarter's flaws in general, and how they apply to Womanthology; and this article about the flaws of a publication that intends to speak for a larger group of people, comparing it to last year's anthology "Black Comix", and about the necessity of public dissent.

But what I think you guys will be interested in comes up in another article, which gives an overview of the project and controversy, and, most importantly, the project founder's expected breakdown of costs:
[www.comicsalliance.com]
Another viewpoint can be found in this post showing the cost breakdown from a smaller project, the first printed volume of the webcomic "TJ & Amal":
[www.kickstarter.com]

Here's what I was previously unaware of:
-Kickstarter's commission is 5%.
-Amazon takes between 3% and 5%.
-Fees for errors (declined credit cards, etc) can run as much as another 5%.

Womanthology's Renae De Liz expects to pay almost 13% of the project's funding in fees; TJ & Amal's E.K. Weaver is paying more than 10%. These are major concerns for a small project like Weaver's, whose costs for printing and shipping alone would've exceeded her initial pledge goal (though in the end, she raised three times her goal). In the case of Womanthology, it sounds like money could be tight if they hadn't made so much more than their goal. But given the level of funding, it seems like the biggest problem is now that, if there's money left over, a huge amount of it will go to the IRS, because it will be accounted for as self-employment income earned by the project's founder. One would think that money could simply be used to increase the print run further, but De Liz has her own reasons for that (which may or may not be reasonable, as a larger print run might lead to discounting by retailers and the impression that the project failed commercially). That's not even getting into the concerns people outside the project have about how realistic these cost estimates are, or about whether the project has looked around enough for the best price quotes on printing.

So this stuff gets complicated really quick. The costs of doing business via Kickstarter can wipe out 15% of your pledge money. The adjustments to one's project caused by an overwhelming response can massively change people's expectations - even with a moderate level of transparency (and the assumption of honesty on the person running the project), it can reverse the contributors' goodwill based on their belief that the project badly needs their help. Even the amount of money can be a challenge, forcing a choice between expanding the scale of the project, or being left with a pile of money that will be wasted on taxes if one can't find an aspect of the project to spend it on.

This is not too relevant to projects like OMFG, though (assuming we trust the project founders not to line their pockets), since they've got a built-in safety valve - even if they end up spending less than they expected on production, the savings plus the overage should all go to production of series 2, which they're already designing.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
[www.kickstarter.com]

from the perry bible fellowship guy
"NOTE: KICKSTARTER HAS A MAXIMUM GOAL OF $21,474,836.47."

Huh, I guess their funding goal is stored as a signed 32-bit int.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
cae
I have a number of original kaiju designs and a brother who is a sculptor ...

---------------------------------
hassenpfeffer
Sanjeev (Admin)
Am I crazy to suggest that having a fucking limit on one's Kickstarter (like, say, 200% of stated goal) would solve a lot of these issues?

I guess having an overage plan with respect to multiple contributors would also help...

Anyway, I think the criticisms about Kickstarter essentially being "too easy" (i.e., not *truly* nurturing) in the first article was great.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Okay. I just finished reading the Comics Alliance piece about Womanthology (damn it was long...but it's a slow day at work). Wow. So fuck what I said above. There IS NO WAY TO CUT OFF FUNDING ONCE IT HAS BEGUN. Way to go, Kickstarter. That's mad sheisty: these cock-suckers pocket 5% off the top...so it's in their best interests to prevent fundees from calling it quits once they reach their goal. Damn.

And can someone (Paul) explain to me how the motherFUCK Amazon is involved!? What the shit do those grimy bastards have to do with *any* of this???

Anyway, more specifically about Womanthology...I'm starting to feel a bit more annoyed about how the finances work with this endeavor. Aiight, so check it: the "point" of Womanthology is to support women comic creators, right? Buuuuut...the proceeds of the book go to charity [and not a particularly good one: Global Giving decides, themselves, how YOUR money is used--so it's not even necessarily a charity that focuses on women's issues--all the while pocketing 15% off the top...you've got to be fucking kidding me]. In other words, the proceeds DO NOT actually...y'know...go to any women comic creators...

So if I want to buy this, how exactly am I supporting them?? And this question doesn't even touch upon the MASSIVE overage in the Kickstart. The woman in charge of organizing the whole project, Renae De Liz, set the original goal at $25k, but now, her "revised" numbers ask for $100k just because the print run was raised to 5500 (what was it originally?) and a few incentives were added. That seems...not right. How was this shit supposed to happen with one quarter of her current numbers breakdown? And look at it: $20k just for *shipping* the fucking books to funders? Last time I checked, most people who buy shit PAY for shipping themselves. This sounds pretty fucking fucked...

I find myself starting to agree with the critics who say she should just divvy the gimungous pile of extra dough among the creators. These numbers are kinda ludicrous. See, I'd actually like to support female comic creators. Buying this book really does nothing towards that end. I don't want my money going to a charity someone *else* randomly selects at some future time (after skimming a sizable cut for themselves). By putting this damn money into *actual* women's hands, it says a lot. Even if it's not a lot per creator, it still makes the statement that their work has value and that people want to support it with their own hard-earned cash.
Sanjeev Wrote:
> Wow. So fuck what I said above. There IS NO
> WAY TO CUT OFF FUNDING ONCE IT HAS BEGUN.
> Way to go, Kickstarter. That's mad
> sheisty:

I think it's spelled shystie... which, of course, makes it anti-Semitic :3

> these cock-suckers pocket 5% off the
> top...so it's in their best interests to prevent
> fundees from calling it quits once they reach
> their goal. Damn.
>
> And can someone (Paul) explain to me how the
> motherFUCK Amazon is involved!? What the shit do
> those grimy bastards have to do with *any* of
> this???

Kickstarter exclusively uses Amazon Payments for collecting contributions. The reason given is this:
"Kickstarter uses Amazon's Flexible Payments Service, which enables our all-or-nothing funding method. No other credit card processor currently supports our requirements. We're always talking with other companies and exploring other services, so expect more options in the future."

So basically what they're using Amazon for is the ability to "hold" payments until the funding period is completed.

As I recall, most credit card processors have some kind of limits on advance payments - like they won't allow you to authorize a payment that won't be actually charged until much later, or they won't accept payment for services to be rendered/products to be released at an undefined future date, or something like that. I wish I could remember where I saw this discussed recently - can't even remember if it was about a garage toy or indie comic preorder, where the producer had difficulty using credit card payments for preorders.


> In other words, the proceeds
> DO NOT actually...y'know...go to any women comic
> creators...
>
> So if I want to buy this, how exactly am I
> supporting them??

I think the point is that they're "published". Which is then supposed to be a magic key unlocking opportunities to get published again.
That's certainly the goal of her next project proposal, a "Chance" imprint by a major publisher, which would print single issues of new, original properties and then pick the series up if they sell well. At least that one sounds like it would pay the creators for that one issue's script and art - but the emphasis is heavily on the idea that once they get a story published, they get a foot in the door. On the other hand, such a program could be a series of nails in the coffin for any creators whose first issue sells poorly...


> How was this shit supposed to happen with one
> quarter of her current numbers breakdown?

It's an intriguing question. Maybe they planned to only produce enough copies for the funders, and none for retail? Or maybe they just didn't get a printing quote, or not a realistic one, before launching the project.

> And look at it: $20k
> just for *shipping* the fucking books to funders?
> Last time I checked, most people who buy shit PAY
> for shipping themselves.

Well, I guess the idea was that the shipping costs were worked into the pledge amounts - but 2000 funders, most of whom are only getting one or two books - that works out to ten dollars shipping per. Seems pretty high for shipping in volume - that's barely cheaper than USPS flat rate boxes, and the USPS bulk rates start at 300 pieces for media mail and 500 pieces for first-class. Even with high weight estimates, I'm sure they could pay less than half that to ship it by USPS.


> By putting this damn money into *actual* women's
> hands, it says a lot.

Comics artist Meredith Gran wrote an essay about this recently as well:
[plus.google.com]
It's specifically about women in comics, but the ideas really apply to any under-served group of creators, whether women, a racial, ethnic or cultural group, GLBT, or just people producing work that's stylistically or thematically unpopular (because it's a non-mainstream art style, or "too smart for the room", or deals with difficult issues, or whatever you think is being marginalized in American publications).

BTW, Sanjeev, if you didn't look at Darryl Ayo's post about Womanthology and Black Comix, you should give it a read. A lot of food for thought in there. It makes me start to think that it's a mistake for any publication to blatantly state that it represents "women in comics" or "(insert race here) in comics" or "gay comics artists" or anything like that. It'll always read like a contentious statement with socio-political overtones, instead of a gathering of good work by artists who happen to be united by this trait. And the organizers of a project that claims to speak for everyone like them will always seem to be placing themselves as authority figures for that community, whether or not they're qualified.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
I feel like you don't need any more thought-invoking food.

Introducing Prometheus Rising Studio.
[prometheusrising.net]
I make 3D printed mecha action figures.
Sanjeev (Admin)
asterphage Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I think it's spelled shystie... which, of course,
> makes it anti-Semitic :3

Doh!

> Kickstarter exclusively uses Amazon Payments for
> collecting contributions. The reason given is
> this...

That's horse shit. If they're skimming 3-5% off the top...AFTER Kickstarter skims their 5%??? Come on...

Why can't they just use some sort of escrow service that takes the money immediately and holds it until the project is greenlit?

> I think the point is that they're "published".

Yeah, I didn't mean to gloss over De Liz's assertion that "exposure" is the creators' payment. For the record, I'm not trying to disrespect her...I just think she should have gone about this whole money thing differently. But more importantly, I think this is good thing that she's doing and I believe she's sincere about her goals.

That said, I'm still a little put off by exposure=payment. I mean, look at professional sports. One could argue that pro athletes get paid too much...but the industry simply *makes* that much money (for better or for worse), right? If that's an analog to a Kickstarter program getting four times its goal, then where does the money go? Are players going to play for $60k per year...and just do it for the glory? Does the league then pocket the money? Or make each stadium seat leather with built-in massage units?

I realize none of the contributors to Womanthology are complaining (anymore), but just going forward with programs like this...it's seems odd not to compensate hard-working unknowns with real money...


> BTW, Sanjeev, if you didn't look at Darryl Ayo's
> post about Womanthology and Black Comix, you
> should give it a read.

I did (and I'll check out Meredith Gran's article later). It's definitely interesting and he makes some good points--mainly that it's one thing to have an all-black or all-woman anthology...but another thing to broadcast it as though that's the ONLY redeeming value of the thing. Like, you want the damn anthology to stand critically on its own, and not sell solely on the merit that it's made by black people or women only.

And I also get the frustration about Turtel Onli taking some sort of "ownership" of black struggles in comics (and the related assumption that all black folks in your field are automatically your friend/ally). Thing is, it's all just a clusterfuck of racism...or more specifically, the culminated effects of how racism has historically affected this particular industry. I mean, is it any surprise that someone has tried to step up and be the "father figure" many folks are looking for? Is it any surprise that so many black comic creators are looking for SOME contradiction to their isolation...even if it's not based in rationality? Ayo's frustration is clear, and I would never fault him for it...but I just think it ought to be directed more positively (like, proactively contact Onli and discuss this very topic with him...and figure out ways to move forward, while offering up-and-coming black comic creators tangible resources and opportunities). That would be preferable to stewing in one's own bitterness about it...
Wow a lot of discussion on Kickstarter. I will say that I contributed to Womanthology- because I liked the sales pitch and the overall goal of the project. My thought on the Kickstarter process is that it is no different than standing in a room and presenting your concept to various investors.
They will either like it and invest or not like it and you walk out with you came in with. I think that Renae's concept was an ambitious undertaking and she's going to learn a lot from this experience. I'm curious to see how many grey hairs she'll grow from now to when the actual books drop.
The key thing to remember is that go nowhere if one foot is on the gas and the other is on the brake.
She attempted something that has turned into a huge beast and now all we can all do is watch how it pans out.

If anything, it's clearly inspired others to try and strike lightning twice.
Remember to do your homework, Have a product that people "might" want and make sure your pitch is solid...
And you never know :)
Sanjeev (Admin)
Frankie, do you think that Kickstarter makes things "too easy" (the criticism from Comics Beat, Paul's first link above)?

Like, it seems pretty straightforward for folks that already know what time it is when it comes to producing shit. But how does crowd-funding affect future generations? Here's an excerpt from the end of that article:

"Part of building a career as an artist is figuring out how to sustain yourself on the money you make from your book and/or merchandise sales. Part of that meant storing up your nuts for winter, or dollars for your next printing. Learning good business practices is part of that, and how to build a back catalogue of work, and how to make money off of it. Sometimes working for the Big Two will be a part of that, and you can do what you love and earn a paycheck, and if you negotiate with them well you’ll even get to do something of your own you love.

But Kickstarter lets you to skip some crucial steps on that path, and there’s no training ground for artists under their system. Digital comics have made it easier and harder to make a living at the same time- it’s difficult to charge for content, regardless of whether you’re as talented as Jordan Crane and your gorgeous work of sequential art is debased by being referred to as “content.” The medium has more depth and breadth than it ever has, but we’ve been dealt a blow to our nurturing system, with fewer outlets for creators to work with a mentor who understands how to help them craft a good story. We don’t need Kickstarters, we need ten more Anne Koyamas."
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