I used to do a monthly round-up on local Kickstarter campaigns because I’m kind of a naïve optimist who is always hoping that plucky young entrepreneurs will succeed and bring wonder and whimsy into the world. I did see some of that, but I also saw enough dunces, psychos and hipster douchebags to finally make me swear off the column forever. I have barely glimpsed at Kickstarter since.
Until today that is when I discovered Kickended, or as I am calling it, the Graveyard of Silly Dreams. Basically Kickended collects failed Kickstarters, but not just any failed Kickstarters. They only take campaigns where zero donations came in. Not one. Not even the person’s mom chipping in $5. It’s gloriously sad and more addictive than the random page button on RationalWiki.
And of course, some of them were from right here in Houston.
100 Portraits 100 Days
Photographer Leslie Robinson tried and failed to raise $1,000 so she could take 100 photos portraits, some of them not even of herself. Honestly I’m not all that certain why this one went so unappreciated. Robinson has worked as a still photographer for Paul Wall videos and if $1,000 seems a little high I’ve seen people chip in for more ridiculous sums.
Side note: When you're trying to raise money for an art project maybe don't use a picture that implies you're yanking our chain.
Paintball Wars – Zombies
That this one failed so hard is even weirder. SocialPaintball.com had already made a pretty professional short film that turned a paintball session into an actual war, and this was supposed to be a semi-sequel where the rotting zombies at the end of the war continued mindlessly fighting each other in pretend battles. That’s actually quite brilliant, and they only asked $700 to give it a go. No one bit, though. 0 percent funded.
Awesome Kazakhstan Chocolate Party
Ah, that’s more like. Cleyton Rebiero apparently once received a chocolate bar from Kazakhstan (yes, it’s a real country) and this was enough of a life-changing event for him that he decided he needed $39,999 in order to throw a party celebrating Houston’s diversity. “The suggested amount seems a bit high but it will be a very cool party !!” assured Rebiero. Alas, we will never know.
Caught Between the Two
Supposedly Caught Between the Two was going to be a film about a woman who is torn between a new love and an old flame that broke her heart by leaving for the NFL. On the other hand the description of this film uses the word “love” four times in six sentences, including the sentence “Do she ever want to love again?” It’s not hard to see why investors might have been a little leery.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; authors have virtually no place on Kickstarter. It doesn’t cost money to write a book and it costs about as much as a family dinner at Red Lobster to self-publish one. Do not do it. Mark Broderick went asking for $500 anyway for a new fiction trilogy, mostly trying to sell the idea on how big people’s eyes get when he tells people about his idea but without ever really telling the rest of us what that idea is. Broderick published another book back in 2001, and it has three glowing reviews on Amazon… two of them are by guys named Mark Broderick. Weirdly for a guy who does that he didn’t contribute to his own Kickstarter, nor did anyone else. Oh, and if you contributed $20 you got a PDF of a sample chapter, not even the whole book.
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This fashion line campaign wasn’t any more or less ridiculous than your average fashion Kickstarter fashion campaign, but it did illustrate exactly how important a making a good video is. For instance, if your product has to do with cats, using funny cat videos is fine, but if you’re selling clothes don’t just make funny voices over your cat and try to guilt trip investors just because being a self-employed designer is hard. Velmon Weaver and Scott Simpson give a breakdown on how well their designs have been received by students at the University of Houston but forget to, you know, show them to us.
Lies, Truth and Rumors of War
Last on the list was this Urban Christian Music album project by Zamick T. Milhouse that he promised would also include bits of R&B (that’s Rhythm & Bible, y’all). Lots of musicians try to raise funds for records on Kickstarter, but Milhouse’s was just bizarre. He said that he’d signed a contract with TMG to make three albums, but that he had to come up with $2,000 of his own money to began [sic] recording. I’ve covered musical acts for six years, and was one myself for four years before that, and I’ve never heard of an artist legitimately having to pay a record company to start recording. Use your advance from them to pay a studio and producer? Yes, but not your own cash just to get started. Whatever the story is, Lies, Truth and Rumors of War didn’t get funded a single cent through Kickstarter. Who knows why, but here’s one of the songs and I can hazard a guess.