Film and TV

4 Houston Kickstarters That Made Me Quit Writing About Crowdsourcing

For two years, I've done a monthly column on local Kickstarters. From the first moment I heard about the crowdsourcing site, I fell in love with the idea. It's birthed great web series like Video Game High School and the remake of Shadowgate I'd been asking for year after year. Locally, we've produced great tabletop games, virtual reality, incredible art and stage performances, and all kind of magic.

I enjoyed being a part of that, helping to spread around noteworthy endeavors. Unfortunately, I just don't have the heart for it anymore. Kickstarter didn't just go mainstream, it turned into an endless, pointless joke.

I am making a Paper Airplane

Mostly it's because of hipster bullshit like this. It all started with that guy who raised $55,000 to make a potato salad. Granted, he spent the extra money to throw a huge party and donated a big chunk to charity, but it sparked a whole movement of "ironic" Kickstarters full of people hoping to hit the right wacky note in order go viral for something stupid.

In this case, Sugar Land resident Albert Hsu, who raised $12 to make a single paper airplane. His stretch goal was $70 to make one out of poster board, but he totally admits he hasn't made one since middle school. Big deal, right? It's just a joke, but it's infected the whole of the site. Here's someone who wanted us to buy a pumpkin for a jack o' lantern, and another for a new pair of socks. All funded, by the way, and all just complete wastes of time and space.

Ebay, Amazon and Elance combined website startup

On top of the silly and pointless, Houston was so good at representing people with no damned idea what they were doing I made mocking one a regular feature of the column. People who had never made a film before asking for a million dollars to do so, or the woman who needed nearly half a million to complete her graphic novel.

Those are artists, though. Lots of brilliant people are nuts, but you expect better out of tech guys. Suleman Khoja, for instance, thinks he's going to take on Amazon, eBay and eLance all at once with a $20,000 start-up. $20,000 isn't even enough money to buy enough drugs to hallucinate you could be successful in this project, and it makes the whole damned city look like it's full of idiots.

This story continues on the next page.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner