We need a lot more momentum on our Kickstarter

Well, I’m not sure what’s happening with our Kickstarter. We’re stuck at 3% with 22 backers.
I don’t know if that’s because I’ve overestimated how many people are supporting us or
if it’s because you’re disappointed with the results. Could even be I’m
just talking to myself and a bunch of web crawlers here, and only
imagine that anyone is following this. It could be that even our closer
followers aren’t seeing all of these posts, with all the changes that
have been happening in the social media sphere. There are so many things
acting to lock you into a digital bubble.


Kickstarter Link: http://kck.st/1bPRPwb

Would Like to Hear from You

Regrettably I never got adequate spam-filtering tech working on this
site, which is why I still don’t have any kind of comments feature or
forum here on our site. Of course, it is possible to offer feedback
through our pages on Facebook, Google+, or Diaspora. Or you can just
email me personally at “digitante at gmail dot com”.

I’d actually love to hear from some of you who are reading this —
just to know that you’re really out there. Also, serious suggestions are

I’ve been wanting to take the time to actually understand the
software here and make the necessary upgrades, but I’ve been
prioritizing the directing and producing tasks — I didn’t really want
to spend a whole lot of my time this year on IT tasks. Alternatively, it
would be great to hear from someone who knows Zope/Plone very well who
might be able to help me figure out exactly what packages I need to
install to get these features.

And unfortunately, this means I’m kind of shouting into the void
here, or that’s what it feels like. I’m not able to see what your
reactions are.

2013 Production Kickstarter

We had a decent first day on the 20th, with 16 people backing us
fairly quickly. However it’s starting to look like maybe that’s entirety
of our fan base at this point. I had been thinking it was closer to
100. I love you folks who are behind us on this, and I really feel great
about the enthusiastic things some of you have said to me, but it’s
looking like there’s just not enough of us.

I know that a lot of someones (or perhaps some-things) are
subscribed to this RSS feed. The RSS link is the highest traffic URL on
this site, averaging well over 1000 hits a day. But maybe those are just
bots of some kind, with no one actually reading them? I know that
Google Reader was shut down recently, so maybe those feeds aren’t really
going anywhere now?

There are also some other communication blocks building up. Facebook
made major changes to their “Page” policy. It’s no longer the case that
just “liking” a page means you get their updates — apparently this is
an anti-feature so they can now sell you advertising. I have NOT
been playing along with that. And they’ve always used some crazy
selection algorithm for deciding what are “top strories” and they always
reset your viewing preferences to “top stories” instead of “most
recent” (the latter should let you see everything, but the former only
shows you the posts of the most active posters in your friend circle —
this is actually exactly the opposite of the way I feel this thing
should work).

Google of course, has turned the corner somewhere along the power-mad
corporate crazy train, and is well on their way to becoming the new
Microsoft. So Google+ has much the same problems. However, it does have
the “Communities” feature, and I’ve made sure to post our trailer video
on what seem to be relevant community pages: “Sci-Fi”, “Science Ficton”,
“Short Animated Films”, “Open Content Works”, “Creative Commons”, “Free
Culture”, “Blender”, and so on.

Diaspora is better about those things, but it’s a much smaller
community and not necessarily the best place to find backers for a
Kickstarter. It’s also a little more hassle to post links there, but I
have been making sure all of our updates are mirrored there.

In fact, barring pauses for sleeping and eating, I’ve pretty much
been writing updates and posting non-stop since the beginning of the
Kickstarter. I’m going to have to lay off a bit or go insane at this

I also did some conventional advertising via Project Wonderful ads on
web comics. I don’t think that was too awfully productive (though I
think we did get one backer that way). I think it’s useful to have
gotten our name our there, even if it was brief (I spent just $20 on
this). I don’t really regret it though — putting money into the web
comic world seems like a fair social positive to me.

I’ve heard it’s a mistake to advertise to a broader audience too
early, and I’ve held off a bit on sending out press releases to more
major blogging channels. I had hoped we’d get to 5% – 10% before doing
that, because you need a little more show of confidence to attract those
backers. With just 3% and that little tiny green bar, it’s not a strong
encouragement for new people to support us.

We Need This

As I posted before, I really don’t know how we could possibly
continue this project if we don’t get some support on this. I’m not
saying that to scold anybody, I’m just thinking about some hard
financial facts that I’m going to have to face if this falls through. I
don’t really think I can afford to keep working these kind of hours on
this. I’ll have to prioritize work that makes some money, and then I’ll
have to choose between dragging “Lunatics!” production out into the
indefinite horizon where open projects go to die, or just cutting it off
quickly and mercifully.

And I don’t think I’m the only one in that situation. Last year we
could do some work without any pay — the actors, after all, were only
volunteering for a Saturday meeting and some home-recording time.
Modeling and animating, though, are pretty intensive and time-consuming
jobs, even if the requirements are fairly mild. I don’t really feel
right about asking people to put in crazy hours like that with no pay.

If we had a credible alternative fund-raising plan, we could try that, but so far, I have not thought of one.

Not Sure What’s Wrong

Last year, when our Kickstarter went so poorly, I wasn’t shocked. I
could point to a dozen serious things wrong with that Kickstarter,
starting with the absence of the teaser trailer and the rather shoddy
editing and sound quality on the pitch video. It was pretty easy to
rationalize that as the result of just not being ready yet. This year,
however, everything is pretty much as I planned — if people are turning
away, I think they must have much more substantive problems with our
project. Maybe it turns out that “Lunatics!” is not what they expected,
and they just don’t really like it after all? Or maybe it’s because the
trailer is a little unconventional?

The hyperreal directing style of the trailer is of course not the
style the pilot will be in, but it seems liked a cool effect to try out,
and it went with the PoV shot, which kept the modeling requirements
minimal. It is of course a challenge to produce a trailer of any kind
you’ve made the film it’s a trailer for. But maybe it’s sending a
wrong message about the tone of “Lunatics!” as a result?

Or it might be that the number of people watching it — just a couple hundred — is simply too small.

Or maybe people are waiting for payday, not realizing that it really
doesn’t matter, because nothing will post to your bank account until
August 20th (end of the campaign) — and then only if we make it, of

I cannot of course contribute to the campaign myself — even if I had
the desire to and the bank balance to back it up, the credit card
processors have rules against that. I’m not sure what kind of fraud that
would be, but they don’t like it, so they don’t allow it. The closest I
could probably get is to promise kickbacks to my Mom — but sshh, don’t
tell anyone I said that! In any case, that would just waste money.

Not Over Yet!

We’re not beat yet, though. Regardless of our status, I’m going to
start sending out press releases tomorrow. We’re also going to go ahead
and start mixing the “audiodrama” version of “Earth”. There has been
some comment that “Earth” is really a stronger script, and I certainly
think it is funnier. Maybe having that out there will be a big pull. I
think I’m going to try to find out.

Unlike last year, I will NOT be canceling this Kickstarter.
I’m going to ride it right to the end, even if we just sit at 3% until
then. However, I would greatly appreciate anything you can do to spread
the word about the project among your own friends and colleagues. Maybe
we can get that 10% and start turning things around? There’s always the
possibility that something will hit just the right button, or that some
hugely-popular site will pick us up — and then “a miracle happens” and
we get our funding.

Or, if you folks think there’s something missing or wrong with our
presentation, maybe you could send me an email at “digitante at gmail
dot com” and let me know what you think. I don’t think I’m going to get
swamped with email for asking for that, so go ahead and hit me up with
your ideas. Or scorn. Whatever!

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Terry Hancock is the director and producer of "Lunatics!" and the founder for "Lunatics Project" and the associated "Film Freedom" Project. Misskey (Professional/Director Account) Mastodon (Personal Account)