Ska legends, crowdfunding targets and Japanese nuclear crises: there is a connection

July 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Back in March a promising and ambitious project appeared on Kickstarter. A DJ, radio host, producer and now film maker, Brad Klein, was looking for money to fund his lifetime dream – a great Ska documentary. It was going to be the first film ever to feature most of the still living fathers of JamaicanSka music, their performances, interviews, history and much more. Brad was attempting to make this film since early 2002 right after he organized Legends of Ska concert in Toronto, a venue acknowledged by media as the best concert of the year!

The documentary was indeed promising but the project failed to reach the $50,000 mark on Kickstarter and funds were returned to the backers. Pity! I had a chance to speak to Brad shortly after his Kickstarter project went sideways. We figured there were two main factors playing their role in project’s failure: overly ambitious target and the Japanese nuclear tragedy. Let’s start with the latter. The original campaign launched on Kickstarter on March 10, 2011. By next day, entire world was glued to TVs anxiously watching Japanese nuclear crises unfold. Foreign aid from countries and individuals poured into Japan while reducing money available for other things. Brad believes that had profound influence on his Kickstarter campaign. Being involved with Ska and the idea of making the film for almost 10 years now, Brad knows there are plenty of Ska fans in Japan and Europe. Due to the crises however those fans paid little interest to the documentary. Although it might sound a little farfetched at first it is actually quite reasonable. During major crises a lot of attention that would otherwise be dispersed over many things, is now focused on a particular event. While there is little we can do in avoiding major disasters, we can still accomplish much towards realizing our goals. In terms of crowdfunding that also means setting a target that is realistic, yet that will help you get where you want. More money is always good, and probably more money will help you make a better movie, record a grander album, better build a brand etc. But with each crowdfunding project there is a limit to how much you can get. Back on Sellaband I saw Public Enemy (among others) struggling to reach their goal. Since then I know that it is better to have less money than nothing at all. If you view crowdfunding not only as means to finance your project, but also as an effective way to market it, you will see that you need less crowd money than you think. The extra may come from angel investors, government institutions etc. Ultimately your crowdfunding campaign is great to attract money not only from the crowd. If you show markets’ trust (measured by your CF success), they will be more inclined to fund the rest of your project. Meanwhile Brad launched his second campaign on Kickstarter. He lowered the target, improved incentives and is well on the way to succeed this time. If you like Ska music, or know anyone that does, go ahead and support Brad –it might just be the best Ska documentary ever!


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