Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Kickstarter Superbacker's Thoughts on Late Projects

I've been backing Kickstarter projects, primarily Tabletop Gaming projects, for quite some time. I've been a fan of the platform from early on and really like the idea of supporting creators by providing them the fund to work on creative projects. Some friends of mine and I even put together a small project of our own a few years ago.
I believe that helping a creator navigate the balance between keeping the wolves away from the door and making something neat is a worthwhile endeavor. We're likely to get better freelance projects if freelance creators don't have to worry about whether they will be able to eat or not. This isn't to say that I think Kickstarter funds should be used to buy meals, unless that's what the Kickstarter is about, but rather to say that money being fungible Kickstarter allows creators to spend their own money on food because backers are willing to cover some of the R&D expenses that the creator might have needed to take out of the food budget in order to make a thing.
Just because I'm a believer in the platform and concept doesn't mean that everything I've backed has come to fruition. In fact, I'd like to share with you some of the projects I funded many moons ago that are still in process and to share my thoughts regarding why I'm not in a fervor and yelling at the creators who have yet to deliver projects...if they ever will. To that end, I'm sharing projects in three categorys: Late but Likely, Late and Uncertain, and Written Off. 

I want to make clear that I am not listing any of these projects to shame anyone, far too many backers make that their life's work. Instead, I wanted to show how creative many of the ideas presented on Kickstarter are and how there are projects offered that one might never see if Kickstarter didn't exist.
Kickstarter projects I've been waiting to be completed for years, but have confidence will be finished by professionals due to personal emergencies or need to have other priorities like having a roof overhead. Most of these projects are by people I know and who have a long history of creating excellent products in the industry:

Project I'm uncertain about, though it looks like it is going to make it even after horrible tragedy:

Project I'm certain I will write off as a sunk cost and never receive because law suits and D&D seem to go hand in hand:

I've had good success overall with the projects I've backed seeing daylight. I've also never viewed Kickstarter as "pre-ordering" products. It is a means to help creative people make interesting things that they couldn't afford to make otherwise. So long as the makers are making a good faith effort, I'm fine with the risk.

Of these projects, I dumped the most investment into the documentary. It funded in 2012 and has encountered many legal conflicts. I had high hopes for the documentary and got to meet some of the crew when they hand delivered my copy of Playing at the World that was part of my pledge.

As for the other projects?

Being creative is hard. I backed these knowing that I was funding the creation of a project. I was "Kickstarting" it. This isn't "KickCompletionBond" and it's not "KickPreorder." Things like BackerKit and PledgeManager are pre-order portals that allow people to take low risk on backing and go all in only if a project finishes. Those I hold to a stricter "purchase" standard and there is a difference between backing and purchasing.

I'm happy to have supported authors and creators who have created entertaining products in the past and who have supported me in some of my creative endeavors.

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