If I had a nickel for every time I thought about my own financial plight, then I'd have enough nickels to not be in a financial plight. But enough about me. What about you and your comedy dreams? How can you make them come true in this digital age without begging, whether it be on a subway platform, a public radio/TV pledge drive or a blog? A new site called Kickstarter aims to help all sorts of artists -- comedians, among them -- get their projects off the ground, and also puts the pressure on them with a deadline to make it happen, or not.
It's new, so not everyone can sign up just yet with their own ideas. Take a look at Kickstarter's comedy projects, which show that folks such as Jesse Thorn and Steve Cooper already have met their financial benchmarks successfully. Now it's Mindy Raf's turn. She has less than a week left in her campaign to make and press her own vinyl comedy record for her feminist chick-rocker alter-ego, Leibya Rogers. On her Kickstarter page, you donate money, and if you donate certain amounts, you get a prize of your own. Watch her video pitch here:
I sat down and she sat down at our respective computers to chat a little more about how Kickstarter may be able to help a comedian out.
So, tell me about how you got involved with Kickstarter? Yes, Kickstarter is currently by invite only. I lucky enough to receive an invite from my boyfriend who was invited early on.
How is the pledge drive going so far? You have one week left, right? Yes, I have just under a week left. I put the project up end of October so gave myself about three months. I think it’s going well. As of today I’m close to 90% funded! It hasn't been all up, up, up though. There have been lulls as to be expected, but overall I'm really thrilled with how it's moved along. Not just with the amount I'm at, but with the number of backers I have, and how enthusiastic they are about the project. That's been so encouraging and has made it really fun.
How does this compare to other ways you've tried getting financial support for your comedy and music? I've sold homemade EPs at shows before, but getting some paid work from performing or landing writing jobs is mostly how I’ve gotten financial support for doing comedy thus far. So this is the first time I’m directly asking my audience to fund the creative process.
The thing I love about Kickstarter is that you not only have to reach out to your potential patrons, but have to get them involved in the project as well. It was a little scary at the start for me, because I’m basically asking people to pre-order a product I have yet to fully create. But I think that’s part of the point, so that you can test out concepts/conditionally sell stuff. Involve people in the creative process right from the start.