Viki Reed: Kick these Kickstarters, Please

aNewDomain.net — I’m not the kind of person you’d call a backer. I mean, kick the starter, please. Let me explain.

Kickstarter, just for starters, is a self-described “home for everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology … full of projects, big and small, that are brought to life through the direct support of people like you.”

What people? People like me? Nope. We only are able to assume that “people like you” means people throwing money into the pit as either Darwin Award candidates or members of the Bilderburg Society who must know something I don’t. And if they do, you wonder why they aren’t working on Wall Street or hiding Ed Snowden (of PRISM leaks fame). But I digress.

In trying to identify the next big thing to emerge from Kickstarter — regardless of how mind-numbing or spiritually expanding it is — you first have to eliminate all pitches related to show business.

Get off the casting couch, I say. The remains? Pitches from modern Ralph Kramdens (He’s Jackie Gleason in The Honeymooners) or possibly people who have access to the Presidents Book of Secrets. Here’s a snapshot:

According to  Kickstarter, upwards of 3.9 million people have pledged $579 million to fund 39,000 creative projects. These aren’t some of them.

1. Be Transformed Into The Star Of Your Own Movie Poster/ Jän Strauss.
Backers/ 26
Goal / $10,000.00
Funding / $2, 507

Pretty hard to imagine someone pledged an amount with seven bucks straggling unless you wanted a poster for $7 because Jän states that if you pledge any amount of money you will get a poster even if the funding goal isn’t met.

Looking at the sample image , you get what you pay for. Jän wants to make a “‘fake movie poster book.”

But you’ve got to do your part, like, as it says:

… send an evenly lit photo of yourself- not taken with a disposable camera or taken-off an old facebook album and is at least 200-300 dpi…he can probably make it work.”

You’ve got to hope this isn’t the new Kickstarter standard, but …

Presuming your target audience hasn’t already gone to Universal Studios Theme Park for a Green Screen shot with ET or the giant boulder from Indiana Jones — and here’s hoping these people do in fact know what dpi means and aren’t thrown by Jän’s not exactly “Mad Men” esque marketing skills — you’ve got to swallow decent high-school math-teacher Photoshop skills. And pay $7 dollars US a month.

The Viki Take:

I was just saying the other night how I’d love to stage my house in a disorienting way. Blammo. I mean, could I rent this on Netflix? Nope.  It’s just a magical fantasy created by Jän Strauss and me. So, unless you were the last person to pay for one or you get your personalized poster last because it’s first-pay-first-serve, I say, hang. I know this isn’t just a book project. I believe and Jän knows that he is able to sell packages of poster, too.

But based on the amount you pledge you can fill your living room with fake movie posters of yourself- which he guarantees will “…confuse everyone who comes to your house.” Here’s to confusion.

Next.

2. The Socks Of The Future! / By Daniel.Backers /250
Goal / $7500.00
Funding/ Goal reached December 2013

Just ‘Daniel’ raised $7500 US to produce the U.S. based manufacturing of BizCaz Socks. Breathe and consider that for a moment.

He describes them as: “These ain’t your daddy’s socks.”

Wince.

I do understand his pitch well enough to get that his socks are all about “…anti-stink’, trendy, reversible and ready for biz or casual wear …” (Thus, Biz CAZ).

The socks are all appear to be genetic descendants of Dr.Who’s scarf or Pippi’s longstockings and I’m not sure how reversing a primary colored striped sock makes it the business end of a mullet, either.

Apparently the secret behind his so-called anti-stinguarantee is that he “..infuses real silver threads into the socks …”

You know it’s true because he has a graphic of the sock, with an arrow pointing to the words, “Silver infused.”

According to VoiceOfTheEnvironment.org, the symptoms and effects of silver toxicity are listed as so …

Heavy metals can enter every cell in the body from skin, to blood and internal organs. They overload the immune system making you susceptible to viruses and parasites and common colds.- Heavy metals affect the voluntary and involuntary nervous systems and has been implicated in Parkinsons and Alzheimers.- Heavy metals are known to interfere with male and female infertility!

Rightdiagnosis.com spells out the warnings:

* Look for gray black staining of the skin.
*Fever
*Gastroenteritis
*Blue fingernails and toenails”

I wasn’t aware you could find a manufacturer who would agree to use a heavy metal on regular daywear clothing outside of China, but yet again, I digress …

Pledge the top amount of $1,000 US and you get 10 pairs of socks, a t-shirt this outfit calls ‘limited edition” and … a shout-out on the BizCaz website as a top-supporter.

I’m hoping these folks willl name a bench in the hospital courtyard for you, too. That’s before, not after, all your eyebrow hair falls out.

3.Fashionable Pressure Relieving Figure Enhancement Bra/ Joseph Antolino Salomon
Backers/3
Goal/£60,000.00
Funding/ £1,160.00

Mr.Creepy McOilyskin … apologies, I mean the maker of this thing, has a dream. Here it is. He wants to:

Create a bra prototype cup 34 B that will relieve pressure on women’s breasts and tissues , so not to cause damage to said breasts and breast tissue or underlying structure , while still enhancing a woman’s natural figure …”

This, um, eclectic thinker has a journey to tell you about. It involves, in a roundabout way, his many years as a nurse for the National Health Service and as a draughtsman.

The entrepreneuer says, in his career diagnosing breast cancer survivors, he really noticed how their breasts were unsupported and tissues were damaged.

He was possibly designing council housing sidewalks, too. But then, you never really know this stuff.

Why are the words breast cancer in his vocabulary? The terms breast/breasts  appear 43 times in his pitch alone. And I’m not even counting the sidebars about special deals for high rollers and all the ancillary text on his Kickstarter listing. There, you’ll find the terms tissue/tissues appear 20 times in the body of the pitch.

And here’s the Kickstarter kicker:

Despite saying that the bra has a special design and unique selling point there is not one graphic, photo or sample mock-up of his new and improved brassiere.

Only one very grainy camera phone shot of the inventor’s sewing a tiny normal bra cup in low light… I must note that someone cropped these magnified them three times … you’ll also find a stock image of three (count them) Asian men in casual clothing looking into white, new machines with the caption: “Electronic moulding of the specialist foam and the wiring structure.”

If you pledge £5,000 you get:

… (Four) designer bras and 2 standard bras, free of charge for 2 years”

Whatever that means. It should be noteworthy that there are only two backers that comprise of his £1,160.00 bonanza: one under the £1,000 or more category and one under the £25 or more category. That means Mrs. Sleazywhoareyoukiddingfinklestein had to cough up the remaining £165. Most likely. OMGmoC.

4. Photo Fetish: A Photo Book Of Beautiful Toes /by Shoot To Kill
Backers/2
Goal/$300.00
Funding/ $60.00

“Shoot To Kill really shot her load with this pitch. Who needs a book full of foot pictures when you post an image in largesse on your Pitch- Page of yourself, in your bath, taking a photo of your own foot … and nude manicured crotch and legs reflected in the chrome drain stopper?

I guess she shot herself in the foot. Feet.  Whatever. Moving on …

5. The Invisible Barn /Kate Less Madsen
Backers/3
Goal/$3000.00
Funding /$60.00

Let me just say that apparently the entrepreneur Madsen has read Stone Soup and confused it with Tom Sawyer.

To quote her simple pitch: (sic):

“ … I have this barn. It sort of blocks the view, and the sunrise in the east. It is an old barn, with a bit of myth behind it. The wall I want to paint is 20 feet high and 50 feet long. And blank. I want to do a tromp l’oiel painting to blend the large blank wall into the surrounding scenery. What I include in the painting will be up to the backers. A brochure about the painting will include the names of all backers and information about the barn …“

Drunk on wine; Ms. Madsen apparently forgot she stated that she’ll allow backers to decide what goes on the barn. Because she also says she wants the native skyline (which her barn will continue to block) replicated on this massive old brick wall.

She also fails to note what time of day skyline she wants tromp l’oiel’d on the barn wall.

Not sure who will be asking for a brochure or if she plans on charging for people to come look at it or if the $3K she wants will cover printing costs of said brochure.

I think she’d be better- off planting a corn maze in the shape of an arrow, standing nude at the end of the for one harvest season and using the proceeds to pay for a professional housepainter because if she had the skills to do a 20’X50’ tromp l’oiel work of art she probably would know that $3K wouldn’t cover the paint costs let alone, renting scaffolding, sandblasters, primer, sealant, safety gear rated for 20 foot grappling with brushes and rollers….

This project should be called: “Because everyone loves to painting huge structures for free!”

6. Just A Plant-A Childrens Story Of Marijuana / Ricardo Cortés
Backers/67
Goal/$9,000.00
Funding/$3,718.00

Ricardo’s project failed to fund but how great would it be if you and all your friends and their kids could’ve become part of the top pledge tier of $2,500.00 each! Had you jumped on that opportunity Mr. Cortés states that he will “…personally illustrate a photo of you or a loved one, and and place the image into the 3rd Edition of “It’s Just a Plant.”

And, yes, you do get to keep the original illustration he makes of you…which he’ll put in the 3rd edition of this fun, thoughtful and fact-oriented explanation of the complexities of marijuana…for kids.

7. Monthly Whites / Chad Lutz
Backers / 4
Goal / $10,000.00
Funding / $110.00

Stop the clock, before you walk away from the table just hear what Chad has to say about his moment of clarity (“stained undies=lightbulb”). Oh wait, don’t bother. Chad is a Zack Galifinikis lookalike who used Kickstarter to post his mockumentary Kickstarter posting. Can anyone say “FIRST!!!!”

Lots of video of him in tightie -whities thrusting his pelvis and looking anguished backed by 1970’s lead guitar solos.

Slow-zoom close-ups of him appearing to consider a subject more serious, like Lupus or chronic back pain. The fact that Chad wants to offer designer undies at ‘designer prices’-but people can’t afford that every month- so he’s looking to fund manufacturing in the US of A

… Followed by a jump to the ‘Risks and Challenges’ section of his pitch where he details how he’s “… tested lots of underwear in China, Bangladesh, and India.”

I get the joke and a bit of the humor fades as it takes a long time to read all of his ‘funny stuff and funny video’ (air quotes).

A top tier pledge of $3,600.00 gets you: “… LIFETIME monthly delivery of premium Made in USA Monthly Whites men’s BRIEFS, BOXER-BRIEFS, V NECK, CREW NECK or VERY COLORFUL SOCKS shipped direct to your door. Underwear is the first decision you make, now it’s an easy one.”

8. Boy P’n In Toilet Fountain / Allen Tebeau
Backers /2 (Okay, check that-makes sense.)
Goal/ $16,500.00 (Sixteen- thousand?)
Funding / $176.00 (A hundred and seventy-six bucks for a table top fountain of a shirtless boy peeing in a toilet?)

Allen is apparently on disability because he has a LOT of time on his hands and no money; he seems really frustrated because it takes 10 molds and a day (not including painting the geechy thing) to hand-craft each fountain-which he charges between $145.00-300.00 per each.

He doesn’t describe the price gap but does repeat that ‘…most want this fountain…’ and he has lots of friends who want one but they can’t afford them.

His hope was that Kickstarter would allow him to create the Boy P’n Toilet Fountain a la assembly-line production. Probably didn’t think about any other aspect of creating a manufacturing company in his garage but he really wants to crank these things- out.

Tebeau testifies: “… I didn’t get this far by giving up. I’ve had set- backs in the designing. I worked out the bugs and now have a nice finished product! It looks almost store bought …”

Almost something that wouldn’t be desired by people who probably have to register with the county they live in and notify new counties they move to … I would’ve tried to bring-back boobie ice cube trays if I were him.

9. Skycube: The First Satellite Launched By You! / Tim DeBenedictis
Backers / 2,711
Goal / $116,890.00
Funding / $82,500.00

This pitch disturbed me more than any other.

This was the lengthiest and most empty that I read, despite an assault of information and FAQ’s and press- release links.

A gentleman from the most socially-liberal, planet conscious city in the nation (San Francisco) wants to spew resources, toxic-fuel, energy, and serious money to hurl trash into space … so people can take super low res photos of earth with a wide angle lens that gleans little detail and is always aimed at earth’s magnetic field with magnetic dampers … then tweet that image and a message from space at a slow speed on a publicly used unlicensed bandwidth channel, which you’ll need to buy an antenna and other extra gear to do in addition to funding SkyCube, ignoring NASA’s guidelines for payload materials used because it’s not mandated if it’s not NASA made and owned … and tell me why again?

And it got funded+PLUS … propped-up by celebs like George Takei who tweeted and Facebooked his positive curiosity about this ‘venture’. That might be the right word…venture meaning commerce is involved much more than some noble mission to prove Neil Armstrong right by continuing to not, “… predict too much for the next year and yet far too little for the next 10.”

DeBenedictis (the creator of the SkySafari app) says he wants to open access to space because ‘only a few Universities have that kind of access…” Last time I checked the web was clogged with gorgeous high resolution data about every avenue in the universe,solar system and more. Amateur astrologists are always finding things that dedicated telescopes and specialized space nuts miss and other countries have joined in the race to get tech into space and contribute to the discussion.

What does your pledge get you? The various tiers range from buying ‘seconds’ and ‘minutes’ on the mission to request images and tweet all the way up to the $10K club.

Those already lucky people are promised: “…one full day of the mission – and we’ll let you operate SkyCube for that whole day! We’ll provide launch viewing tickets and round trip airfare for two (2) people to Cape Canaveral from anywhere in the continental US to watch the satellite lift off. Once it’s in orbit, you’ll have exclusive use of SkyCube for one full day! Send up to ten thousand (10,000) messages from space, request up to two thousand (2000) images – even make a movie of the Earth from orbit! Includes all rewards for our $1000 sponsors as well.”

Don’t we need clean water and toilets in third world cultures much more? I’d rather launch an invisible barn.

Based in New York, Viki Reed is a senior photographer and pop culture commentator at aNewDomain.net. She’s worked with SubBrilliant News, Anti-Press and Thewax. Check out her work at  vikireedphotography.com and email her at Viki@aNewDomain.net or viki@vikireedphotography.com.

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About the author

Viki Reed