One could argue that artistic integrity no longer exists once you sell out. Those who agree could say mainstream is the antithesis to true art and creative expression. However, the opposition could argue that the creative process has a financial component that cannot be resolved through talent and ideas alone. Fortunately, social media has enabled creative individuals to connect and be funded by people interested in the final product. Kickstarter is the most successful program that funds creative projects.
In 2002, Kickstarter Founder Perry Chen wanted to hold a jazz concert. He thought people were interested, but he did not have the $15,000 to take the risk. While the concert failed, the idea for Kickstarter was born as a place for friends to help fund small projects.
“[Kickstarter] brings ideas to life for creative projects,” Kickstarter Director of Communication Justin Kazmark said. “Creativity is diverse and needs its own space.”
Projects fall into 13 different categories such as music, art, fashion and technology. Kickstarter staff individually review every project to ensure they meet their guidelines. Only creative projects qualify, so you won’t find projects to save the whales or feed starving kids.
A unique component is that projects only get money if they meet their funding goals. This reduces risk, as project sponsors can gauge interest in their project. If there is a lack of interest, then the sponsor does not have to complete a project with insufficient funding and the people who pledge are not charged.
Kickstarter takes 5 percent of the total for successful projects and Amazon Payments, which handles the money, takes between 3 to 5 percent. The sponsor retains 100 percent ownership and creative control of the project.
Kazmark said this project cultivates creative independence, an incentive for using Kickstarter rather than funding projects in more traditional ways.
In addition, Kickstarter is convenient for students, giving them more time to work on art instead of hosting fundraisers. The UCSB Film Co-op successfully used Kickstarter for their upcoming film festival scheduled for April.
“Kickstarter is a solid method to fund a film,” Samuel Jae, a fourth-year film & media studies major, said. “It is better than holding a bake sale.”
Aside from providing money, Kickstarter also draws attention to projects. By browsing through the website, a donor can identify other projects they might be interested in.
“Kickstarter is the most well-known platform” Brent Pella, a fourth-year film & media studies major, said. “It gets the most views, so people can throw money my way.”
People who donate can receive rewards — ranging from DVDs, stickers and T-shirts — for funding creative projects. The reward system is meant to help artists “connect with their audience” Kazmark said.
With the development of Kickstarter and other funding platforms, the old adage of the starving artist no longer exists. Good ideas will be able to connect with supporters who share the artist’s interests.
Thanks to Kickstarter, you can keep your artist integrity and be able to accomplish you creative goals without selling out.