So if you have not been paying attention to any geeky blogs you might have missed that Rob Thomas and Kirsten Bell have started a Kickstarter to fund a Veronica Mars movie. Or the fact that they met their $2 million goal in the first day, so now everything is just bonus. Part of me is excited about the idea of a Veronica Mars movie because I watched the show when it was on originally, but I have never given to a Kickstarter before.
The fact that they met their funding in one day just made me think about how people spend there money in general and what makes people support any Kickstarter. I have seen other Kickstarters, but nothing that has driven me to give money. Even with the Veronica Mars movie, I question whether I really want to give money. Some of the problem when I think about giving money to a Kickstarter is thinking about whether there would be a better use for the money, such as a charity. At the same time it is also important to have independent funding for artists and designers because a lot of larger corporations make it really hard to create something new.
Funding Charities versus Kickstarters
So I probably should not think of it this way, but it is hard for me not to. We talk about how our society is built on consumerism and Kickstarter projects seem to feed into that consumerism by making us spend money to create things so other people can spend money. There is also a thought that if you are spending money on a Kickstarter are you not spending money somewhere else that would fund something that would be more meaningful to the world at large.
David made a good point that a way to look at this might be to look at how much money was given after Hurricane Sandy. The Red Cross reported $202 million dollars given as of December 17th to support the clean up after the hurricane. So people are obviously still giving to charities when they hear about tragedies happening. The question I still have is that there are a lot of people who still need help even when there is not a specific tragedy. This is not to say that spending money on entertainment is a bad thing; books, movie, video games are some my favorite things to do, but this has gotten me thinking about everywhere I spend my money, something I need to think of more often.
I think it is just important when thinking about these Kickstarters of where we spend our money. Lately I have been trying to think about what I really need to buy, or trying to wait until I finish books or games that I haven’t finished yet. We have this desire to be involved with the latest and greatest, but do we really have the time to commit to play, read, watch all the new things there are out there? On the other hand how much good could we do with spending a little bit of that entertainment money on a charity or cause that we believe in?
Independent Funding for Projects
Now a cause that I could see people getting behind is independent funding. There is often a worry with funding from large corporations that they will censor or control the vision to a point where either the artist’s voice becomes obfuscated or the vision gets lost. Independent funding helps more people to create, which helps for more voices to enter the cultural landscape – allowing for a diversity of view points to get heard. It also allows smaller companies to be able to offer items that normally might cost too much money, but if they get the fans to help fund these innovations then the company can keep creating.
For example, another Kickstarter I found was from Days of Wonder, wanting to update their iPad app for Small World. It is not cheap to make an application and they are making it for multiple devices which requires multiple builds in the specific app language of the various devices. They are expanding the game to be online play, pass and play up to 5 players, with different boards depending on how many players you have as well as more expansions for races. This is a great project that I am excited about happening. If I chose I could help this happen by investing money in the project and by investing the money I would get a copy of the app with the expanded races.
It is a difficult question because I would pay for the app if it came out so I could spend that same money to help fund the app and get it anyway. This is an example of something concrete that you are getting out of the Kickstarter similar to Miskatonic School for Girls – a game that was funded by a Kickstarter, but which we bought after the game was out. Yet, what about something like Feminist Frequency doing the Tropes vs Women in Video Games Kickstarter? I am not saying the project is not a worthy one, but it is one that is being put out into the universe for free for everyone to see. It paid for research and low end donors end up with a note of thanks and credit for help, but when you give the money it is not like there was a product you would have paid for anyway. This is really supporting an idea more than a specific product.
This really gets to the idea of what independent funding can allow. Unless you are a researcher, getting grants can be difficult to get money for research projects to examine various ideas. Using a Kickstarter is a way to get funding without having to be a part of a university or other organization. Also, by it being part of a Kickstarter people have to want to find out about your research and see your results. In some ways by it being funded by the general public it could seem a more legitimized project because you do not have someone telling you what results they want, just that they support your endeavors.
So, I am not quite sure where to go from there. I still don’t know if I will give to a Kickstarter or not, but I do know it has made me think about where I am putting my money and I hope that I keep thinking about it. So have you ever funded a Kickstarter? If you have, what was it? If you haven’t, what type of project do you think you would fund?