Funding My Special Friend

Teresa Murphy wrote her debut children’s book My Special Friend while undergoing treatment for cancer 3 years ago. The result is My Special Friend: a 28 page rhyming picture book, suitable for children aged <5-9+yrs; it has themes of unconditional love, tolerance & friendship during good times & bad.

Teresa turned to crowdfunding to raise $5,000 to publish her book, and we interviewed her after she met her goal:

What did you like about pledgeme? It was exciting to find an ‘unconventional’ and independent pathway to fund my goals. It motivated me hugely.

How did you find the experience? I really enjoyed creating my video and project. Once I started telling people about it, it was a thrill to go in and discover people were pledging. I felt very humbled by the support I received, and so grateful. The Pledgeme team was also super supportive and responsive, not to mention helpful and positive.

Any tips for newbies? Draw up a plan of attack before you hit go. Decide what media outlets would suit best and how you will approach them/what angle or hook you can use to attract more attention to your project. Don’t leave it all till the last minute. Plan to have one media event/update per week to share with your potential pledgers. Your friends and family will be your greatest asset, they will be your word of mouth and personal cheer squad out there, so involve them as much as possible!

I say crowdfunding, you say: Massive opportunity, brilliant invention, long live pledge me!!

Auckland Launch Party – come along!

Crowd-funding website is experiencing unprecedented success, giving New Zealand’s creative community reason to celebrate.

Through PledgeMe more than $275,000 has been pledged to the arts so far this year.

This is a huge coup for the site’s co-founder 26-year-old Anna Guenther who recently completed her Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship.

PledgeMe works by providing a collaborative way to help fund projects through supporters pledging to donate a set amount in return for a creative reward.

It is a home-grown version of the American crowd-funding giant Kickstarter which once raised more than $1 million in a week.
Guenther explains crowd-funding is for all artists, not just those who are well known.

“We have helped everyone from a dance troupe wanting to raise money for a trip to Hungary to a young artist wanting to attend an illustration course.”

However, big names such as Lawrence Arabia, Rhys Darby, and Don McGlashan have also been part of PledgeMe campaigns.

The other man behind the PledgeMe magic is Brazilian Camilo Borges. Borges is a technical guru, who decribes himself as “crazy, passionate and not a typical I.T guy.”

On the back of the site’s 50th project success, Guenther and Borges will host a launch party in Auckland next Friday, 29 June.

“We’re going to have a blast celebrating with project creators, fans, and musos, and members of the media,” she says.

Want to join? RSVP here.

Video of the making of our launch party poster below:

The FEUC – showing at a theatre near you!

The F.E.U.C. (Four Eyes United Club) is a short film that funded through PledgeMe and is screening as a part of FleetSt’s The Short List on the 28, 29 and 30 June at the Academy Cinemas on Lorne St in the City. And, they’ve told us “we couldn’t have done it without the support of the Pledgers!”. We asked Morgan a few questions about her PledgeMe experience, and this is what she told us:

What did you like about pledgeme?
It looks good, was easy to get started and is NZ run.

How did you find the experience?
Crowd funding is not easy money – you have to put in a lot of effort to reach your goals but I felt that our project was supported by the PledgeMe team.

Any tips for newbies?
Choose rewards that are fun and different but won’t take all your time and money! And as above – it does take work to hit your goal.

Anything you’d change about PledgeMe?
Nothing that I can think of… It worked well for us!

I say crowdfunding, you say:
Awesome people helping great projects.

Some info on “The F.E.U.C” – (Four Eyes United Club):
Seymour became a member of The F.E.U.C at aged four. Even with his lenses – that got thicker and thicker with each passing year – he was unable to see the admiring eyes of Nicolette. But she could see beyond the frame, and would do anything for him to notice her…

Writer/Director: Aidee Walker, Director of Photography: Roko Babich, Music by Andrew Keoghan, Produced by Morgan Leigh Stewart, Roko Babich & Aidee Walker in association with Fleet St Productions and The Filth Collective

The Facebook Event:!/events/481164398567306/

The Link for Tickets:


Get Munted to Christchurch

I saw Munted at Bats earlier in the year, and it really struck me as a powerful piece of theatre. The actresses spent the full 60min reenacting interviews that they had done with people affected by the Christchurch earthquakes. Not only was the content of their piece moving, the acting was persuasively real. And, now they are crowdfunding the costs to take Munted back to where it all started.

With less than a week to meet their goal, I asked Jackie and Victoria a bit more about their project.

1) How long have Bare Hunt Collective been together? How did you meet?
We (Victoria and Jackie) met in 2008 while completeing a year long investigation into Documentary Theatre at Otago University Theatre Department. In 2010, while living together in a Newtown flat in Wellington, the idea of Bare Hunt Collective was formed… over a good bottle of wine!

2) How did you find all of the people to interview?

Victoria, our Christchurch native, flew down to Christchurch and interviewed a variety of Christchurch residents. Jackie interviewed several reporters who worked during the earthquake. Jackie was concerned that members of the media wouldn’t want to discuss how they personally felt while having to report on what happened, but it was the opposite. They were so incredibly open. From the interviews we narrowed it down to the stories of 15 people.

While everyone was enthusiastic about the interviews being used as the basis for the play, they didn’t answer all the questions put to them. Some of the those interviewed had friends, colleagues and family members who were injured or killed in the quake. That refusal to answer is indicated in the play, and the interviewees were told at the beginning that they did not have to answer any questions put to them. It was all part of the collective being upfront and encouraging those interviewed to be onvolved in the whole process. They even got to approve the stories that were used in the play!

3) How have the Cantabrians that have seen your performance so far reacted?
The amount of Christchurch audience members who travelled to see the show in Wellington was humbling.

Bare Hunt Collective’s aim is not to sensationalise or milk the emotion, because it’s not about us, the actors or makers. It’s about the audience and their response. It’s personal stories we are sharing and it’s our job to honour these. During the interviews the focus of the interviewees wasn’t on the grief and devastation of the earthquake. Instead people focussed on adapting, the spirit of the people around them, rebuilding their houses and communities and really loving each other – feeling all those emotions you feel when you survive something.

4) What made you turn to crowdfunding?
There’s not a lot of funding available for christchurch in terms of the independant arts, because money is going to rebuilding (as it should!) There are some great people down there – Free Theatre, Hagley Theatre Company, Canterbury Uni students and Gapfiller to name a few – who are pumping up the heart of the city too, but we digress! This is a theatre show from the people for the people, so we are also asking communities to support us sharing their stories.

5) Any final comments/thoughts?
Our main goal for the Christchurch leg of the tour is just to bring the stories to Christchurch. We’re going for a goal of breaking even financially and paying our director/actors a koha for their time but mostly we just want to meet you! Come along, bring your family and some friends, we’ll have the cups of tea and a good yarn (or fifteen) at the ready!

Check out their PledgeMe project here:

How to PledgeMe.

Crowdfunding: a new approach to the music business

When Amanda Palmer launched her music project via funding plaform Kickstarter in May of this year, her accompanying video declared “This is the future of music”.  Palmer’s initial goal was to raise $100,000 towards her new record, art book and tour; she ended up raising over $1m.  Palmer believes crowdfunding is where the recording industry is heading, she says “The music industry has long needed a new system and crowd-funding is it. The game is reversing – the media and the machine are following, rather than creating, the content.”

Crowdfunding is changing the rules for the music industry with fans now having the opportunity to become both consumers and investors; the latter traditionally carried out by record labels.  In an industry affected by severe financial losses due to illegal downloads, the prospect of people actually paying for music is appealing.  And in the case of established acts like Dresdon Doll-Palmer, the potential to generate revenue from your existing audience is huge.

So, what are the benefits for musicians?  Primarily revenue and creative control. 

Record labels typically take a slice of everything generated by an artist, including album sales, live shows and merchandise.  Record distribution and promotion are additional costs that, once factored in, leave many musicians with a < 20% profit.  Using a crowdfunding model, artists retain the rights to, and control of, their work, as well as a higher percentage of the profits.

OK, that all sounds good, but I wanna see stats!  What are the success rates for fan-funded music projects?

Since April 2009, $38m has been pledged for music-related projects on Kickstarter.  This makes music the second most successful category in terms of dollars pledged, after the film / video category.  Last year, $19m was pledged in the music category, resulting in 3,653 successfully funded music projects, making music the most successful category on Kickstarter.

In the New Zealand neck of the woods, the music category has achieved the most success on PledgeMe, representing 25% of all dollars pledged.  It is also the most successfully-funded category at 30% of all categories:

Wellington band St. Rupertsberg were the first successfully-funded music project – their goal was to raise $1,800 for their next EP, and set their campaign to run for 30 days.  They met their goal in seven days and ended up raising $2,117.  Read our interview with Kate Whelan, their singer and trumpeter, about her positive PledgeMe experience.

I’ve got a beard, a guitar, and a flannel shirt.  I’m ready to launch.  Let’s do this.

Settle down!  There are a few things you need to do to increase your chances of funding that tour with the Fleet Foxes.

1. Identify and mobilise your existing fanbase.  You will need a supportive audience to help spread the word and start pledging.  If you don’t have an established group of followers, approach your family and friends for funding and word-of-mouth promotion.

2. Offer a range of rewards.  You’re a music fan – what would you want in return from an artist?  Be creative – offer both physical keepsakes (exclusive downloads; posters) and experiences (dinner with the band; an opportunity to “handclap” on the album).  Ensure rewards are available for different budgets – i.e. anything from $1 to $500 (or more, if you’re feeling lucky).

3. Generate interest via social media.  Use a variety of social media tools to establish and build a relationship with fans and potential pledgers.  Services like Facebook and Twitter will allow you to build a relationship with your audience and post regular progress updates.  Information can quickly and easily be spread far and wide, promoting your project and ensuring you remain top-of-mind amongst the crowd.

Crowdfunding for music projects requires work, but it can work.  Whilst its greatest potential is with established artists that have a ready-built fanbase, as in Amanda Palmer’s case, it is also a business model with potential benefits for new and up-coming musicians.