Throwback Thursday

Penny Black

March 9

“Life is like a zebra van with a supermodel, a superhero and a well-meaning arsonist… it’s going to get weird.”

That’s the short synopsis for producer Fiona Jackson’s first feature film, Penny Black. And back in June 2012, Fiona has the idea, the cast and the crew, but she was looking for a way to finance a few extras for the film – namely, the rental of a steadicam and a whole lot of hard drive space. So, she and her team turned to their crowd to help them get there.

They quickly learnt the value of sending out personal messages to potential pledgers, and while Fiona admits the team felt “a bit uncomfortable asking for money”, it was definitely effective – they raised 130% of their original goal within the timeframe. Fiona says the most rewarding part was the support they felt each time someone pledged on the campaign, because those people believed in them and wanted them to succeed. As she puts it, “this alone made crowdfunding feel worthwhile.”

But then it was onto the real work – making the film. And that was certainly no picnic! With over 1300 kilometres of driving, three police warnings and approximately six near-death experiences, the cast and crew had their work cut out for them. But they survived and succeeded, and created something that looks pretty incredible – check out the trailer below to see for yourself:

And as for future PledgeMe projects? Fiona’s not sure. She thinks it’s a lot of work to get kiwis to back projects, but she’s helped other people run their own campaigns since, and reckons if she had an idea that would speak to a specific audience, she might consider the crowdfunding craze again.

For now though, she’s focused on getting her awesome film out for the world to see – screenings began last week, and are still happening all over NZ. The best part is that all earnings from the box office go straight to Food Rescue charities, including Kaibosh Food Rescue, KiwiHarvest, FoodShare, and Kaivolution.

So don’t miss out on seeing this cool kiwi film with a conscience. Take a look at their original campaign here for a blast from the past, and then check out the screenings coming up in the next few weeks so you can find a cinema near you.


Throwback Thursday

The Rodger Fox Big Band

Feb 4

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we travelled back to June 2012, where Rodger Fox and his Big Band were planning their USA tour and dreaming of recording in the hallowed halls of Capitol Studios, LA. To make this dream a reality, they turned to their jazz-loving, finger-clicking crowd – and their crowd delivered! They raised $12,220 and were able to take their music international.

And luckily, their recording in Capitol Studios was a resounding success. The CD they created whilst there was awarded the New Zealand Jazz Recording of the Year. Since then, the band has appeared in concert with classical pianist Michael Houstoun and released another CD, this one entitled “Concerti”. They’ve performed all around the country and rocked the Napier Jazz Festival three times – and if that wasn’t enough, they ran another successful PledgeMe campaign in 2014!

The CD funded by that campaign was released in August last year, and the Big Band are still jamming together – they’re releasing a CD of NZ compositions at the end of this month and are making plans for the next trip abroad.

We’re so stoked to have been a part of this band’s awesome journey, and we can’t wait to collaborate with them more in future! To step back in time and find out a bit more, check out their original campaign here, and see what PledgeMe can do for music.

Throwback Thursday

The Road that Wasn’t There

Jan 21

This week’s Throwback Thursday hails from July 2012, when the Trick of the Light Theatre Company crowdfunded a play about a girl who follows a map off the edge of the world…

Their PledgeMe crowd helped them take the show, named The Road That Wasn’t There, to the Edinburgh Fringe and then home for a nationwide tour of New Zealand. It was a huge success, winning Outstanding New NZ Play, Most Promising New Director and Production of the Year at that year’s Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards, and was remounted last year for a two week season at Circa Theatre.

download (1)But The Road That Wasn’t There hasn’t been Trick of the Light’s only success. The company has performed a series of successful shows all around New Zealand, including The Bookbinder which took them back to the Edinburgh Festival last year.

At the moment, the company is working on a show for the New Zealand Festival of the Arts in Wellington. It’s called The Devil’s Half-Acre and is pitched at an adult audience, but director Hannah Smith tells us “it is a work that definitely shares DNA with The Road That Wasn’t There”. To find out more and stay up to date on their shows, check out their website here.

Speaking of which? The Road That Wasn’t There is back on the road! They headed off yesterday to tour the show around Australia. So if you or your mates will be hanging in Perth or Adelaide any time soon, check out the season dates below and be sure not to miss it!

Perth @Fringe World Festival
27 Jan – 6 Feb  6pm (no show Sunday/Monday)
The Blue Room Theatre, Perth Cultural Centre, Northbridge
$25 Full | $20 Kids (12 + under)  |  $75 Family | $23 Group 6+
Book at or

Adelaide @Adelaide Fringe
12 Feb – 20 Feb 6pm
The Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas Street, Adelaide, SA 5000
$25 Full | $18 Kids  |  $20 Companion Card/Honey Pot/Trev
Book at or

Throwback Thursday

The PledgeMe Playlist

Jan 14

PledgeMe and musicians have always worked well together. The awesome all-girl band St Rupertsberg was one of our first ever successfully funded campaigns, and since then our music scene has only continued to grow – with everyone from Sheep, Dog and Wolf to Anika Moa turning to their crowds for the costs of their crooning. All these successes are a testament to how crowdfunding is changing the world of music.

So, for this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re sharing our PledgeMe Playlist with you – a collection of amazing albums and artists funded through our platform. We’ll continue adding to it as the musical successes roll in, so whether you’re a routine rhythm-and-blues lover or you’re after something rockier, this is the playlist for you. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the sweet sounds of crowd-created music.

Throwback Thursday

The Free Store

Dec 17


The Free Store is a vibrant volunteer organisation which redistributes surplus food items that would otherwise have been thrown out, and gives them to those in need. Their customers come from all backgrounds – from those rendered homeless to refugee families – but they all benefit from the store and its wonderful volunteers.

Back in July 2012, the Free Store found itself without a base to operate from, so it turned to PledgeMe and its awesome crowd. They easily surpassed their $5.5K goal – and then, something pretty extraordinary happened. After the initial success with PledgeMe, the whole community turned out to make the Free Store happen. SpaceWise donated a shipping container for the store, and Designgroup Stapleton Elliot and Practical Building Solutions provided their services for free. The cost of a resource consent was refunded by the Wellington City Council, and everything from flooring to welding was donated during the building process. Thus, with just the money from their small PledgeMe raise, the Free Store were able to convert the shipping container into a beautiful purpose-built store, a project that would normally have exceeded $65K.

And the success story doesn’t end there. In their first year, the Free Store redistributed around 63,000 items of food from surrounding cafes, feeding an average of 60 people a night. With over 550 vivacious volunteers and connections forming with other non-profits, the organisation continues to grow to this day. And as founder Benjamin put it, “all of this has been made possible by a spark of financial support made possible by PledgeMe!”

We’re so stoked we could be a part of the Free Store’s amazing story, and help in the awesome work they continue to do for the Wellington community. To find out more about the organisation, visit their facebook page or take a look at their website.


Throwback Thursday

The Big Sing

Dec 11

This week’s Throwback Thursday hails from the golden age of June, 2012. Crooner Liz Kirkman wanted to travel to the UK and Italy to broaden her musical horizons, and she offered her pledgers everything from singing via Skype to a Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy session (blimey!) to get there. She even posted costume ideas to her crowd on Facebook and they got to vote on what she should wear to perform. Our CBB Anna mentions this last tactic in almost every crowdfunding talk she gives, as an example of how you can involve your crowd in your journey.


Anna’s slide on Liz and the importance of making your campaign a journey



Liz with her fellow Avidiva divas!

And she was successful! After performing in the UK along with well-known singer Matthew Ford, she travelled to Perugia, Italy for the 20th reunion of the Tuscany Voice Project. There she was able to harness her sound and make connections with other talented performers from around the globe – she made close friends with singers from as far away as Norway.

And judging by her success since then, the trip was definitely worth it. Shortly after returning, she rejoined singing trio Avidiva, and has spent the last three years performing with them all over NZ, and even a bit in Rarotonga! 2014 saw her join Kelli Greene Caldwell and Jacqui Coates for their Fringe Festival show, “Jezebel of Jazz”, where she sang as Anita O’Day. They later took the show to the National Jazz Festival and the Nelson Winter Festival.

These days however, Liz is enjoying success of a more personal kind, with the recent birth of her son Soren a few months ago. We’re sure he’s got a decent set of pipes too!

Liz is such a cool example of how PledgeMe can be used to make awesomeness happen, and we’re so stoked to see how well she’s doing. If you want to take a look back at her campaign, check it out here.

Throwback Thursday

Astro Empire

Dec 2

This week’s Throwback Thursday is the Neo Soul band “Astro Empire”. Back in 2012, this group who met at the New Zealand School of Music raised over $2,500 to record their debut EP. The EP was a huge success, selling all its pressings shortly after its release. And it seems the members of the band have enjoyed success too!

The band broke up shortly after their successful EP (which vocalist Louis was quick to stress was “not for any dramatic reasons at all”) and went off to pursue individual careers: drummer Shaun toured with metal bands Saving Grace and Depths, bass player Leon moved to London to play with UK artist Sam Callahan, and guitarist Dave now performs with the NSW police band in Sydney. The horn players Jake and Ben are back in Wellington, after having travelled Europe performing on cruise ships, and now play alongside Shaun in the Richter City Rebels, a New Orleans style brass band.

Louis, meanwhile, hasn’t slowed down either – he performs in Jazz trio Ol’ King Cole, Motown group The Fades, and Trip-Hop act The 16th. He’s also part of Wellington’s premier covers band Superbad Soul Section, alongside Jake, Ben, and Shaun. He recently performed with his own band, LTM Soultronic Ensemble, at the Rogue and Vagabond in Wellington. Take a look at his website to find out more.

We’re so stoked to see these guys are still making amazing music, and we’re really happy to have been a part of their journey. Take a cheeky look at their original campaign here, and keep your eyes peeled for who we’ll be throwing back to next week!


Throwback Thursday

Bountiful Burlesque

Nov 26

Fifi Colston’s drawings should never be hidden away. This wonderful writer, artist, and creator of Wearable Art ran her first PledgeMe campaign back in 2012 so that she could mount a series of sketches for an exhibition. The subject of these sketches? None other than the daring dancers of the Wellington burlesque scene. Fifi describes it as a “great exhibition” with fascinating frills abounding.


One of Fifi’s books, which won the LIANZA prize.

Since then, Fifi hasn’t stopped making wonderful art. She’s had two beautiful books on costuming for children published, including “Wearable Wonders” which won the LIANZA non-fiction prize.


She’s also made puppets, costumes for businesses, and a whole historic replica flag for Waitangi. But her real tour de force is in WOW season – this was her 20th year in show. In 2012 her piece “Lady Curiosity”, also inspired by burlesque dancers, placed third, and went on to be exhibited around NZ only to end up much further afield in Honolulu!

Lady Curiosity, photo courtesy of World of WearableArt.

Lady Curiosity, photo courtesy of World of WearableArt.


We are so proud of Fifi’s amazing work, and can’t wait to see what marvels she will keep on creating. If you want to check out Fifi’s original project, take a look at it right here.


Throwback Thursday

A New Take on the Undead

Nov 12This week’s Throwback Thursday hails from April 2012! Amy and Patricia were working on a film called “A Party for Me” – a zombie-genre film with a twist. Despite the film’s ambitious shooting plans – involving a cat, a night shoot, period costumes and child actors – they aimed for the modest goal of $270, and blasted right through it. Due to a long post-production period, the film was only completed last year, and was received hugely well at both its Wellington screening and at the October Fright Night Film Festival all the way over in Kentucky USA! To find out more about this fab and freaky film, check out the info here.

As for Patricia and Amy, they’re still filling the world with fantastic films! Amy is a director based in Wellington, while Patricia is based in London running Action on the Side, a filmmaking group which makes whole movies in a month.

We’re so stoked to see how well the film worked out, and all the cool stuff its creators are up to now. Check out their original project here to see where PledgeMe can take you!

Throwback Thursday

From Kim Potter to DJ Vinyl Burns!

This week for our Throwback Thursday, we shot back to April 2012, when Kim Potter successfully raised over $4000 for his music video, “Just the Way You Shine”. The video featured the Boy with Tape on his Face and Leda Petit, and was hugely well-received. You can check it out below!

These days, Kim’s still making music – but these days he goes by the name of DJ Vinyl Burns. Vinyl Burns is a Wellington-based showman DJ, who likes to bring a little comedy to the tunes he spins. He’s also currently running a PledgeMe campaign! With the help of his friend Adam Simpson (who also came up with the idea for Love the Way You Shine), Kim’s trying to take Vinyl Burns on the road with his very own trailer-mounted Vegas Wedding Chapel.

Vegas-Chapel-BlueprintSo if you love this gloriously mad idea as much as we do, head on over to Kim’s latest project and support someone who can truly boast of being PledgeMe alumni.