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The Kickstarter Project That Isn’t

March 3, 2012

Good Morning, Macketeers!

Today I’m going to talk about my project from last year, The Art of Words, which is meant to be a short interactive graphic novel. The problem with doing a graphic novel of any sort is that it takes time and money to sit and draw stuff without going outside to earn money and pay bills and such (which I will have to go do shortly). The problem with making it an interactive graphic novel is, it takes even more ‘pages’ to tell a fulfilling story, because, depending on what form of interactivity you incorporate, you may very well have an exponentially increasing page count to deal with. I actually spent a month working out how I could draw enough pages to tell my story without drawing until the end of my days, and what I figured out is that I would have to create a mini series of ‘chapters’ that would be a bit modular, in that you could go in whichever direction you liked, and would be able to jump around within the separate chapters you already have to answer certain questions, but otherwise, you would basically be searching around in one chapter after another to tell the story.

I decided I would tell my story using highly illustrated logos, which required that I devise a few typefaces to help guide me in my logo designing. I have most of the typefaces sorted out, but I need to sit down and go over my plan to see if it’s still workable in its current form. I also need to determine how much it will actually cost me to make and distribute, including whatever pledge gifts might be involved.

Yup, that’s right, I said pledges, as I was and still am seriously considering the crowdsourcing model of financing. The problem is, the most successful outlet for this form of financing is clearly Kickstarter, and I really want to use them, except for one slight little hiccup: they don’t deal with banks outside of the US.I’ve looked at other crowdsourcing sites, and they don’t seem all that bad, but the few that are up and running aren’t getting the kind of buzz that Kickstarter has. I mean, Kickstarter has people receiving tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars to launch their projects. If I could earn that sort of money, my life would be very, very different right now, and I mean that in a good way.

So what I want to know is, when is Kickstarter going to finally accept that some of us aspiring users are not US residents, and would really, really like to work with them, but can’t without great difficulty? As it is, I am now seriously considering going with the competition, such as it is, just so I can get my project off the ground and start paying off the mounting debts that have accrued while I’ve been merely in the prep stages alone.

I should spell out that, as of now, I have no credit card because I am currently fighting with Visa about my lack of payments. The credit card is locked but still accruing interest, which I can’t even afford to pay off at present. If I had the money to pay them off, I could start to rebuild my freaking life. If I had enough money to keep the bills paid while I work on the series, I’d be in pretty good shape. If I had enough money to move into a bigger place, I’d even have enough space to be able to set up my rickety, broken drawing table to get work done properly. If I had enough money, I could replace my drawing table with one that isn’t falling apart. I could save my current one, which is a clever two-in one A-frame drawing table/painting easel combo, strictly for painting, because the easel part still works properly. I could even paint some of the art for the graphic novel, for giveaways.

I figure, all told, I need to bring in about 12K for the card, around 3K t pay off my tax debt, about 5K to pay the bills for the rest of the year, about the same for food expenses (my wife and I are very diet-conscious, and can’t be eating Ramen noodles and Spaghetti-Oh’s while I do this), and maybe a few hundred for a new drawing table and any stationery I may need that I haven’t already bought. Plus, I’ll have to either invest in a special disc printer and supplies enough to run it and print off all of the DVDs for the story when it’s complete, or pay a printer to do it for me. Either way, another 3-6K, minimum, I should think. If I broke up the project into a few parts, I might be able to source each section for a smaller sum of money, but really, interest might wane before it ever gets finished. Better I go for a fairly hefty sum up front and get free and clear to work without constantly looking over my shoulder.

So I’m figuring about 30K for the project. Not bad when you consider how many drawings could be involved. I was looking at about 300 last time I checked, but with the size of the project and the needs of the story, that number might be off by about half. Try to imagine doing 600 separate illustrations in a year. Most comic artists take one day to render one page. I’ve done the 24 Hour Comic challenge, and know that you can crank out a goodly 24 pages if you push it, but I cheated somewhat to do it (I drew 24 6×6″ thumbnails on two large sketchbook pages and scanned them large to get a fairly effective but rough looking ash-can comic), and I’ve only managed it once. Also, I’d hate to make people pay 30K for a comic I rushed by making thumbnails. I’d feel like a fraud. So I have to do full illustrations, and that could take some time. I might even need to employ some help, which I certainly can’t afford, even with 30K. But any road…

Oh, the things I could do if I could make some money. But then, we all say that, don’t we? It’s the most natural thing in this world to wish for more money. I apologize if my ruminating about needing money has slightly turned you off. I understand. I certainly don’t care to read that sort of thing much myself. Consider it a momentary lapse of good taste and forgive me, I implore you.

This leaves me with the problem that I can’t afford to work on my project, though. I don’t have the time, money or space to do it right, which is why it’s approximately seven months behind schedule. I HAVE been working on it, but sporadically, and it shows no signs of getting done any time soon. I have other, bigger projects to do after The Art of Words is finished, but at this rate, it won’t be ready until 2015. This makes your Uncle Eddie a sad panda indeed.

So, the question is, do I seek an American ally to help me with my crowdfunding problem, or do I use one of the less popular sites and hope that folks will still want to take part, even though it doesn’t carry the Kickstarter seal of approval?

Meanwhile, I’m also considering crowdsourcing my album production. I might be able to defray some of my costs by sharing the debt-load between the two projects, or even crowdsourcing my novel printing costs and splitting the debt between the three. It would mean I would have to divide my already pretty divided time pretty evenly between the three projects, but it wouldn’t be a terrible thing to get my life back in order while I crank out all of this creative stuff for people to enjoy.

So there you have it. that’s what’s on my mind today. Now, My Agent wants to go pick up a swimming cap for the pool at the YWCA, and I have to pay the rent, so I’m gonna head out. Hopefully be back to work on other things shortly. See you tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Eddie.

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