From Toronto to the World, Lindy Rocks RocketHub

Lindy is a musician’s musician. Just ask any of Canada’s most beloved indie darlings. Leslie Feist, Ron Sexsmith, Hayden, Tegan & Sara, Serena Ryder, and Luke Doucet are not just aware of Lindy’s music – they are fans. He has conquered RocketHub through a creative capaign to crowdfund his new record. So I had to chat with Lindy about his fans, his creative path, and his crowdfunding campaign. It has been a few years since I made my last solo album. I have been writing songs but I haven’t recorded any of them yet because I’ve been busy with other music projects like my band Major Maker. The band knows about these songs I’ve written and has finally vowed not to play another show until I record a new solo album. It was just the kind of kick in the butt I needed. I am really proud of these songs and I want them to be recorded in the best way possible, which is why I put them up for funding on RocketHub. Sounds like the right time for a campaign! How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of music in Toronto - how are your supporters responding? Crowdfunding is a brilliant new way to fund any project. It’s a great feeling to see those first contributions come in. The feedback has been amazing too. Everybody thinks it’s a fantastic thing that I’m doing. It has been bringing inspiration to the project that will spread to everyone involved. I tried to put together rewards that I believe have the most value for the money. Also trying to keep things interesting for people. A friend offered to make some really cool belt buckles and that has helped get some people to contribute more. If you have a friend who makes cool things, see if their talents can be used to help your project. Also try to get interviews with local papers and reach out to sites that can help you spread the word. When in doubt, go back to the instructions on RocketHub and see if there is something you haven’t tried yet. Great advice about leveraging the value of talented friends. Grab a copy of the album or a cool belt buckle. -Vlad

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  • October 6, 2011

A Goth in Texas? Bad Kid Comes to the Stage in New York

Bad Kid is a one-person show twenty-something years in the making. It’s the story of a Goth boy who dreamed of being anywhere but the middle of Texas in 1991. Preferably somewhere in London wearing fishnet gloves and a cape while standing alone in the rain crying to a Cure song. From the mind of David Crabb, “Bad Kid” is a quirky, insightful, and poignant play. It’s an age-old fish-out-of-water story with a modern twist. David is successfully engaging his fans through crowdfunding. He shared his thoughts and lessons with me. I’ve been writing and telling stories for about three years at cabarets and comedy events in New York City. I found myself constantly telling stories about my Goth adolescence in San Antonio, TX. I realized that these stories would work together as longer narrative. So I built my show around these formative years.  The project really means a lot to me. I’ve been wanting to make a solo theatre piece for, well… most of my life. I’ve always been inspired by the solo shows of Spalding Gray, Whoopi Goldberg, Sandra Bernhart and John Leguizamo. Honestly, I still can’t believe I’m getting the opportunity to mount my show in New York City. The show’s about identity, youth, isolation and what it means to feel “different.” It’s also about drugs. Lots and lots of drugs. Most importantly, it’s about the persistent challenge of being a Goth in warm weather. Vinyl, fishnet and pancake makeup do not mix well with the Texas climate. It’s so sad. Now your time has come! How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of innovative theatre about Goth culture in Texas - how are your supporters responding? Hahaha. Vlad, I think you’ve just coined the phrase “innovative theatre about Goth culture in Texas.” You should patent that ASAP. Everyone really seems to connect with memories of being “the freak.” It’s amazing how eager people are to share how terminally nerdy, grunge, or Goth they were in high school and how unabashedly embarrassed they are about it now. It’s something anyone can connect with. So support has been great. I’ve been surprised by how many folks have shared the link with their friends who I don’t even know. I’ve prepared new trailers for the show and other additional material to release in the weeks nearing the end of my drive. I’m looking forward to it. Oh man…I remember my “freak” days in high school. Thanks for brining those up! Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similarly unique project? Pace yourself! You don’t have to make half your money the first day. Keep in mind that people don’t want to feel inundated by your project. But if you DO inundate them, hit them with something new each time. Create a new video or write a new email update. And also remember to follow through with your rewards and make them fun.  But whatever you do and no matter how Goth your project is, DO NOT mail your fuelers live bats. Trust me. It doesn’t work out. Awesome! Thanks David. Fuel the project here and be sure to check out the show at the Axis Company Theatre at the end of October. -Vlad

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  • October 5, 2011

Carla Rose Fisher Takes Her Music to the Movies

After winning first prize in the ASCAP/Lilith Fair Songwriting Competition, Carla moved from her hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania to New York City, where she became a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. After much success in the musical theatre world, Carla is now looking to crowdfund her music into television and film. Carla spoke with us about her project and the important career jump she is looking to make. These songs represent a new direction in my songwriting, which over the years has gone from me-as-artist pop songs to musical theatre to now focusing on the songs themselves (which are now lyric-driven pop) for placement in film and TV. Getting my songs licensed for use on the big and small screen would be a dream come true, because movies and TV shows have helped shape who I am. When I’m watching a movie or a show and there’s a moment in the soundtrack that truly elevates the scene, it rattles me in ways that might not have been possible had music not been present. I want these songs to move others like that. It’s a demo I’ve been working on for years, and I’m using this campaign to see it through. I know that in this digital age pressing CDs is not so common, but these aren’t for sale; they’re to be used to pitch my tunes, and it means a lot to me to be able to hand a copy to someone and say, “This is what I do.” That’s very cool - what you’re building is essentially a modern promotional tool. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world where music and film/television intersect - how are your supporters responding? Well I wouldn’t go as far to say I’m a pioneer, but the response to the project has been wonderful, and I hope other budding songwriters find it encouraging that I’m 81% of the way there and still have 6 days left! What’s great about RocketHub is you can set your rewards to accept contributions of as little as a dollar, so it makes it much easier for people in today’s economy to support the arts. The whole concept of my campaign, “Send a Hamilton to Harrison,” is that 10 bucks, or even 5 bucks, can make a difference. The response to the songs on this demo has been thrilling as well. So many of my supporters are friends and family, and they’re so excited to see me make headway in my career. One song in particular, titled “Go On” (which will be on the 7-song EP we’re printing as part of a short run), was written in response to a friend’s grieving over the death of a parent. The song has helped her cope, and I know that if I can get it placed in a storyline that has to do with loss or recovering from loss, those lyrics can help others, too. I can see how you’ve build such impressive support so quickly. What advice do you have for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? My biggest advice is to not be afraid to put yourself out there. Knowing that a video makes a big difference in getting Fuelers on board, my good friend Sheldon Senek and I made a silly video about the frustrations of making a video! I’m not technologically inclined when it comes to editing software (luckily, Sheldon is), so I decided to have a sense of humor about it. That meant being myself on camera and getting over any qualms I had about unflattering camera angles or what I was wearing that day (it all came together so quickly, I didn’t have time to really plan that out). So you’ll see in the opening shot that I’m wearing a “Forza Blu!” T-shirt, which is Italian for “Go Blue!” — the cheer for University of Michigan athletics. I’ve been a Wolverines diehard since I was a kid, and that’s what I happened to be wearing the day we suddenly decided to shoot, and I didn’t change outfits because college football is a big part of who I am. I’d also advise crowdfunders-to-be to thank each Fueler both privately and publicly, so that you get to express your sincere thanks through the former, and then possibly draw more attention to your project through the latter. Social media is great for this, but don’t assume that just because you post about your campaign as a status update on Facebook that all your friends will see it. Status updates are fleeting, and some people don’t scroll through them all, so your friends could miss it. I took time initially to email close friends privately, then I branched out with social media (creating an event on Facebook for it) and posting on my page and my profile, then sent a mass email to friends and colleagues (which got a great response). But don’t forget about posting a link to your campaign on your Web site or blog, and even including it in your email signature, which 20 days into my campaign I’m just now doing — such a simple tactic, but one we overlook. Lastly, be sure to follow RocketHub on Twitter and Facebook and tag them in your posts. You never know when the staff may give you a big “Like” or share it themselves! You guys are so incredibly supportive and I can’t thank you enough for not only helping promote my project, but also for providing a platform for musicians, artists and makers to find a way to fund what’s in our hearts. Thank you Carla for your music and passion. Check out Carla’s project, because you’ll be hearing her tunes on some of the biggest film and TV shows in the very near future. -Vlad

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  • October 4, 2011

Kiva Fellow, Sandra Pina Goes to Honduras

Sandra Pina is a Kiva Fellow who will be travelling to Honduras to do good work. She is engaging her network of friends, fans, and strangers to crowdfund her positive journey. I spoke with Sandra about her experiences and anticipation. What makes you tick? My inspiration? Kiva! It’s a fantastic organization that allows people to connect through lending to alleviate poverty. Kiva lenders log on to the site and lend as little $25 dollars to a micro-entrepreneur in need of a loan. For me, Kiva was a way in which, a recent college grad (me) with very limited funds, but strong convictions about access to affordable financial services and poverty alleviation, could contribute and support the superb work being done in the microfinance sector. Kiva Fellows serve as volunteers and are the “eyes and ears” on the ground that work directly with Kiva’s field partners, local microfinance institutions. I’ve had this fellowship in my mind since 2008. As a result of the financial meltdown, I couldn’t afford to finance my trip nor could I bear to ask friends and family for their support either – everybody was strapped. Flash forward three years to 2011. In the middle of attempting a career change and hell-bent on working in microfinance, I convinced myself that if I was accepted into the program, I would find a way to pay for my trip. I was accepted into the 16th class of fellows and so began my RocketHub journey. We’re big fans of Kiva here at RocketHub HQ - and have learned a lot from their approach. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world Kiva-based philanthropy and travel - how are your supporters responding? I had no idea that crowdfunding existed until this past February. I logged on to RocketHub to support a friend who created a project to support his band’s first US tour. I was immediately impressed by how professional his project page was. Clean, visually pleasing, great information, video, links, and surprisingly enough, rewards! I bookmarked the page because, well, I had an inkling RocketHub would come it handy and it did. RocketHub provided a super professional and modern way of articulating my project and presenting it to fuelers. It also helped me to clarify my goals and motives and set realistic expectations. I can’t forget to mention how EASY it was to use. It took a few hours and a bit of trial and error to get the Lempira Project off the ground. The support has been tremendous. I’ve heard not only from family and close friends, but high school and college classmates and even a few strangers. It’s been incredibly humbling to receive encouragement and support from acquaintances I haven’t seen, emailed, spoken to or Facebook messaged in years. I think it has really put my relationships into perspective and led me to truly value the network I’ve managed to create. Creativity comes in all forms! You’ve built a lot of momentum. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? I find fundraising to be extremely difficult, because, let’s face it, no one likes asking for money. I know going into it, that being shy would be the death of the Lempira Project. Despite that, it took some courage to get the ball rolling and send out those first emails. Personal emails and messages were very effective. As RocketHub suggested, I first reached out to family and close friends. After the initial wave, I was all about blasting my project using social media; I even included a link in my email signature. It can feel a bit awkward to email someone out of the blue and ask for their support, but I got over it and so will future project leaders. It’s part of the process, don’t lose much sleep over it. There’s nothing to lose but potential fuelers.  Remember to be consistent throughout your campaign. Most people aren’t going to fuel right away. Find ways to keep plugging your project without being too obnoxious. I was careful to leave the window open for all types of support- be it monetary, advice, travel suggestions, or passing my project on to others. You will be very surprised at what may come your way. For example, a friend linked me with her parents in Honduras and I am living with them throughout my fellowship. They have shown me great hospitality and allowed me to live life here as a Hondureña and not a tourist. The awesomeness does not stop there. Another friend generously provided a Delta Buddy Pass to get me to Honduras at a discount, so now I can spend that extra money on things like food. So, my advice is to reach out to EVERYONE because you will never know who will be willing to help and in what way. The “asking” gets easier once you realize how dedicated you are to your project. Your apprehensions will fade away and it will become more about sharing this really cool piece of yourself with people in your circle, money will become secondary.  Your passion and dedication will come across and fuelers will sense them both. I think that’s what draws people in. Infuse your project page and your communications to fuelers with your passion. With that, you’ll be well on your way. Thank you for your extremely candid and insightful answers! We wish you much luck in Honduras and beyond. Support Sandra, here. -Vlad

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  • September 30, 2011

From South Korea, Celebration and Crowdfunding

We regularly get all sorts of outstanding out-of-the-box projects on RocketHub. The Hangeul Day 2011 Exhibition project is one of those gems. I spoke to Hyunwoo Sun, the leader of this event and crowdfunding campaign that looks to celebrate language through art. What was the motivation behind your artistic/pro-social project? Where is does your energy come from? For the past few years, I have witnessed that a language (even if it’s not one of the most popular languages in the world) can really bring people together, and when you learn a new language, you have new dreams and goals related to the language. If not everybody could fly to Korea in the near future to experience life over here, I thought I could give them some more motivation and inspiration, by creating an event that would make them feel that they are there.  For this project, to celebrate Hangeul Day, the day that the writing system of the Korean language was created, anybody can submit their own art, writing or drawing, even if they don’t really speak the language well and I will display it in an exhibition here in Seoul. Local people as well as travellers will be able to view the work of people around the world who are learning this language and get inspired. So far I’ve only done this online through slideshow videos, but this year I thought “why not try something extra awesome?”… et voila!  I really like how you’ve combined art and language into one celebration. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world visual art, exhibitions, in Korea and beyond - how are your supporters responding? It’s been amazing! Right after I posted this, I received a lot of comments from friends and supporters telling me that this is a great idea. I was very happy to see that they all understood really well, not only my inspiration and motivation behind this proejct idea, but also the fact that this project needs support from them. As I’m writing this, I’m only on Day 2 of my campaign and I’ve reacedh 34% of my goal [at 40% as of today]. This is amazing!  What’s you’re advice for other international Creatives looking to crowdfund similar projects? I am not an expert on this but I think people will always show support (either by contributing or by spreading the word) for something that they can have a vicarious experience from or something they find some value in. As long as you help them understand clearly what kind of value you are hoping to create from your project and how they can have the experience WITH you, I think you will get a lot of support from many people.  Very solid advice. Fuelers look to go for a fun ride and successful crowdfunding projects enable this journey. Get involved with this project, here. -Vlad

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  • September 29, 2011

The David Barrett Trio Rocks Out, With a Little Help From Rush’s Alex Lifeson

David Barrett is a stellar guitar player who in 2010 took the opportunity of a lifetime. Guitarist Alex Lifeson of Rush offered to produce the David Barrett Trio. They recorded three progressive rock instrumentals at his studio, Lerxst Sound, using Rush engineer Richard Chycki, and the results were spectacular! Now David and his group, including bassist Jason Farrar and percussionist Sascha Tukatsch, are using the power of crowdfunding and RocketHub to make the next seven songs into a reality. I chatted with David about his plans and about working with the legendary Alex Lifeson. I did a lot of touring and recording with artists that were very good, but also vocal orientated and very commercial. After that work dried up in 2002, along with the record companies, I decided I was going to play only my instrumental guitar music, and go at it alone. I was very inspired by two of my favorite guitarists, Steve Howe and of course Alex Lifeson. Since 2004, I released a series of self produced guitar records, and would always give a copy to both Steve and Alex. They said some encouraging things that really helped me move forward, because I was doing everything by myself - writing, arranging, producing and engineering with little outside input. I’d spent time in Toronto, New York and Nashville with tons of great soloists - players like Tommy Emmanuel, Tony McManus, and Stephen Bennett, even Les Paul and John Williams! So I was getting inspired and at the same time I was figuring out how to pull off an instrumental guitar thing that was both musical and entertaining. In Jan. 2010, Alex listened to my latest acoustic album The Dead Arm and had some constructive criticism, but also offered to produce with the idea that I’d benefit from such an experience. Alex really insisted I use a band because he felt the music would develop more fully that way. I’m truly inspired because I’m working with a great rhythm section as a power trio, and my favorite guitar player is producing. I have Alex to thank not only for the production team, but also for renewing my interest in loud electric guitar, which is what I do best. From Les Paul to Alex Lifeson - the guitar gods must be smiling down upon you. You have some big names associated with the project - how did that come about? I met Alex Lifeson’s son Justin back in the early 1990’s when I was recording with Mark Holmes at Jeff Healey’s studio in Toronto. Justin’s a great guy and an old Platinum Blonde fan, so he knew Mark from back in the day and dropped by the studio one evening to say hi. We became friends, and I got to know Alex sometime later. Over the years Alex has helped me out with gear, recording projects, and we’ve even jammed in his basement a couple times. The engineer on this project is Rich Chycki, and coincidentally, Rich was the house engineer at the Healey studio on all the sessions I did with Amanda Marshall and Mark Holmes. Rich also produced my first solo guitar record in 1995 called, Staring Into The Sun. I recommended Rich to Alex, ten years before he actually became Rush’s main recording and mixing engineer! That’s quite a natural path. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of music in Toronto - how are your supporters responding? It’s something very new to me. I became aware of RocketHub when a Rush fan emailed the website link. I researched crowdfunding and thought it was a great idea because RocketHub made it clear it wasn’t a charity and it took the investment part out of the equation. In my early years of playing music, some managers I’d worked with raised funds but there was always an unsound business model at work that seemed to offer unrealistic returns that would never be paid. RocketHub makes it clear that artists create something, then offer rewards to fans that contribute funds. You can get a lot of people to give any amount they choose, and you can customize the rewards that your fan base receives. So far we’re halfway through with 40 days left and we’re raised 20% [at 50% now with two weeks left]. We’ve also got some generous offers from studios willing to help. Will it cap off at a certain point, or will contributions increase as we get closer to the deadline? I don’t know, because we’ve never done anything like this before! You’ve built a lot of support and buzz. Any advice for creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Now more than ever the music business and digital technology is going through a huge change, and it’s of course not over. For any project to have any hope of gaining momentum it has to start with the intention behind the music. If the intention is for anything other than making great music, you won’t get too many people jumping on board to contribute. So it has to start with the music, if it’s good enough and honest enough you’ll find someone like Alex Lifeson will come along and donate his talent and time - and hopefully a huge crowd of Fuelers will follow! Awesome interview. Thank you David for your music and for your words - hopefully the RocketHub team can see you play in NYC soon. Fuel the music, here. -Vlad Rush image courtesy of Rushdude.com

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  • September 27, 2011

The Recording Academy and RocketHub Present Crowdfunding At Grammy GPS In Memphis

The Recording Academy® (internationally renowned for the GRAMMY® Awards) has partnered with us to organize and deliver a new expert panel discussion on crowdfunding, fan-funding, and micro-patronage. We’re very happy to be working with The Recording Academy again, following the awesome event we held together in D.C. last year. The new event will again empower musicians and those in the music industry with the knowledge to leverage their existing network of fans for funds, awareness, and authentic feedback. It will be part of the Memphis Grammy GPS: A Roadmap For Today’s Music Biz. The panel will include RocketHub yours truly and we will discuss the current crowdfunding marketplace, the ins-and-outs of successful crowdfunding projects, and future trends in this burgeoning movement. Memphis – Grammy GPS: A Roadmap For Today’s Music Biz LOCATION:  Stax Music Academy 926 East McLemore Ave Memphis, T.N. 38126 DATE:  Saturday, October 1, 2010 TIME:  11:00 AM – Check In I have grown up admiring The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Awards – so it’s an honor to be working together again to help musical artists. -Vlad

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  • September 26, 2011

Final Call - Brilliant Animation from the United Kingdom Comes to Life

We love cool animation projects at RocketHub - heck, even our logo has a touch of this important artform in it. So that’s why “Final Call - An Animated Short Film,” spearheaded by Sara Barbas, is particularly near to our hearts. Sara Barbas is a Bristol-based Writer-Director with an international track record in the field of animation. Sara has been working in the animation industry since 1997 in different roles, having mainly freelanced for Aardman Animations and the BBC. I spoke with Sara about her international project and love for animation. What was the inspiration behind “Final Call,” the cool animation project you are currently running on RocketHub? I’ve been working in the animation industry for many, many years as a modelmaker, animator, development director and lately as a writer on big productions (Aardman Animations, BBC, Gravy Media). ‘Final Call’ will be my first independent short film with a proper budget and financing plan and an incredibly talented team attached. I’d like ‘Final Call’ to be my calling card for my vision as a writer-director.  The inspiration for the story itself came from a true story that happened to a friend of mine. I never again forgot the feeling that came over me when she told me how her and this young man missed out on a great opportunity, when they were very much in love, because of a small misunderstanding. And years later, they realised this over a coffee. But it was too late. The feeling of having missed an opportunity seemed so strong to me I wanted to emulate it and represent it and share it with an empathetic audience. Also, as a frequent traveller, I have spent many long hours at the clinical environments that are airports. I have queued endlessly and gone through security countless times. For this I wanted to use the setting of an airport – a place of transition, of arrival, of departure. And in particular the security check – where you have to go through an almost humiliating process of x-raying your belongings, taking off coats, scarves, boots, getting out laptops. Of almost feeling like you have done something wrong. These two ideas together have been the basis for ‘Final Call’ and my goal is to, even if for a brief moment, have an audience feel for the characters and identify themselves with them and hopefully leave the screening feeling that they ought to seize the day. I’m looking forward to seeing the final product. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of visual art and animation in the U.K. - how are your supporters responding? Crowdfunding is still a very new resource and idea. People are at first surprised with the concept, but it has been well received. In general they think it’s a very clever platform - they like that there are lovingly made rewards in exchange for the contributions as well as the doors it opens to independent filmmaking in a time when arts and film funding are scarce. You’ve educated your community quite well, built a lot of momentum, and are steadily building massive support. What advice do you have for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? I’ve been working very hard at it! I’m trying to spread the word amongst friends, family and my professional network very carefully. I’ve been using social media (Facebook, Twitter) and have sent personal messages and emails. I’ve also made some very lovely flyers in the shape of business cards that I am planning to leave in strategic places like the local arts cinema, galleries, production companies as well as hand to people I might bump in to. I have gradually been adding my own money to the pot whenever I can. I really believe in this project and I want to make it happen! I was also very honoured to have huge animation names pledge towards my project: Peter Lord (Aardman), Miles Bullough (Aardman), Tristan Oliver (Laika), Anna Kubik (Studio AKA), Philip Child (Pixar) and lots of friends from The Animation Workshop in Denmark and other independent artists and filmmakers. I am very pleased to see my efforts rewarded and to be a step closer to seeing the film realised.  I would say viral sharing is key, spread the word nicely without being pushy, ask highly regarded people to endorse you, update the blog regularly and show them you believe in it so much that the project has to be funded! I’ve also got a lot of people telling me they’d like to know how the story ends. Well, there is a surprise, but we have to fund it to see it! Thank you for working so hard - it’s definitely paying off. Grab a piece of this animation project and support Sara, here. -Vlad

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  • September 22, 2011

Interview With an Attorney - Brian Mencher Talks Crowdfunding, Resources, and Beyond

Brian Mencher is a close friend and RocketHub ally. He is the founding partner of Beame & Mencher LLP and he handles legal matters in the entertainment industries, with particular focus in the music business – artist representation, intellectual property management, deal-making, and general business governance. Brian organizes very useful seminars in San Francisco, New York, Nashville, and Los Angeles that are aimed at helping artists navigate the wonderful world of law. So I thought it would be good to chat with him about his views on emerging trends and legal tips for crowdfunding. So Brian, who are you, what do you do, and how do you help artists? I’m a musician and passionate about music. I joined band in middle school, and continued to play all the way through college. When I attended law school, I initially thought I wanted to be a criminal defense attorney (big fan of the O.J. Simpson trial!). I realized, however, that music was my calling. I wanted to surround myself with creative people. And so, in my third year of law school at the University of Florida, I created Music Law Conference - a two-day conference featuring music business panels and a 30-band showcase. After graduation, I moved up to New York City to create a law firm that represents, guides, and inspires musicians and executives in the music business to achieve extraordinary results. I handle all business matters in a musician’s career - from business start-up and branding to deal making and negotiations. The proliferation of crowdfunding on RocketHub and beyond - particularly for creative endeavors such as music - has enabled thousands of artists and entrepreneurs to raise millions of dollars for new projects. What are your top few legal-related tips for Creatives embarking on the crowdfunding journey? Crowdfunding is the wave of the future. While there will always be corporate sponsors, individual fan-based contributions connect the fans directly to the art; and develops a lifelong fan base for the artist. When accepting these contributions, general standards of conduct apply: 1. Be clear about your vision and how contributions will go to support that vision. 2. Provide a timeline for when checkpoints are to be achieved. Let your Fuelers know when your final product will be complete. 3. Deliver what you say you are going to deliver, and deliver it when you say you are going to deliver it. Its also important to distinguish between crowdfunding (which is donation-based) and investment (which is equity-based). You should avoid granting any Fueler with an equity interest in your project. This would be considered a securities, which opens up state and federal securities law concerns. Sound advice. You’re big on education and artistic empowerment when it comes to law. Can you list a few resources for artists looking to become a little more legally savvy? Donald Passman’s book, "All You Need To Know About The Music Business" is one of the best (and affordable) resources for learning about the music business. I’d also highly recommend “Music, Money, and Success" written by industry powerhouses Jeff & Todd Brabec. You’ll probably need to read some chapters more than once (as I’ve done!). Conferences, seminars, and festivals are excellent ways to gain a lot of knowledge and network with other creative people. There are also a lot of resources online - Digital Music News keeps me up-to-date on industry news, and occasionally reports on legal developments; the performing rights organizations in the United States (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and on the recording side, SoundExchange) are great resources for music business information, as is the National Academy for the Recording Arts and Sciences (the organization that hosts the Grammy Awards); and our firm’s website offers a lot of great information on numerous topics that musicians should be aware of. That said, nothing really can substitute for attending law school, gaining real-life experience in the industry, and staying informed with recent developments. I strongly recommend all Creatives to schedule a consultation with a lawyer before embarking on any major project - this is an affordable way to share your vision, become aware of legal concerns for moving forward, and develop a relationship with a trusted advisor that will be there for you when you are ready to be legally represented. That’s quite a valuable list. Thank you Brian for chatting with me and for giving us your thoughts. Check out Brian’s awesome seminars here - and reach out to us if you’re interested in receiving the RocketHub discount. -Vlad

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  • September 20, 2011

Capturing the Live Experience - Big Rude Jake Goes to the Crowd

Jake is a composer, blues shouter and musician with a diverse set of influences. The Big Rude Jake band successfully meshes the sounds of traditional jazz, jump blues, rockabilly and punk. The lyrical style was inspired by his love for his favourite powerhouse songwriters like Tom Waits, Jacques Brel and Berthold Brecht. What a ride! Now, Big Rude Jake is engaging his fans and global community to crowdfund a new, live record. Capturing the live experience isn’t easy, so I spoke with the Big Rude Jake team about the challenges associated with this process. On a recent tour of France, we were struck by how audiences reacted to the live show, even though most of them didn’t speak English. It was a real wake up call.   During the past five years, I emphasized the song-writing elements of the act, making special efforts to feature the lyrics above all. But it suddenly occurred to me that the most universally attractive aspect of Big Rude Jake is the energy of the live show! This is not to say that I regret taking the time to brand Big Rude Jake as a song-writer. It’s just that many of our fans the world over love us because we are a lot of fun. And that is good! When we got back to Toronto, I immediately set out to create an album that captures the energy of a live performance, with enough sound fidelity to be radio friendly. People had been asking for it for years. We bounced the idea off of our friends, family and fans, and everyone agreed: now is the time to record in front of an audience. The RocketHub team has been seen quite a few times watching your live videos - so you’re definitely on the right track. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of music in Toronto - how are your supporters responding? Support for the project is starting to build momentum, and we are getting very excited. The whole experience has been an emotional roller-coaster ride. While RocketHub creates the infrastructure for this kind of fundraising, it is up to us to get out there and spread the word. It’s not easy to ask for support. You have to stick your neck out. You have to put yourself in a vulnerable position, emotionally. If you have faith in your fans and in your project, I believe you’ll find that support is out there. But you must be positive.  Plus, it’s been important to remind ourselves that we’re not asking for a handout. It seems everywhere you go, people are asking for donations. We are offering valuable rewards of equal (or greater) value to the cash that our fuelers contribute. That makes it easier for us to share the idea with people.   Of course, the other thing that makes it easy is the fact that Big Rude Jake is blessed to have the best fans around! That’s very important and honest advice - framing the project around “trade, not aid” is vital. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? We have taken a two-pronged approach. My wife handles the online aspects of our presentation, and generally monitors a million and one details, and I have been on the phones and on Facebook and going through e-mail contacts to connect with people while still working on the music. You could say my wife is in charge of marketing, and I am in charge of sales. I can’t say I like doing sales much. But I love this project more than I hate sales. As such, we have been getting results. My advice, therefore, is to stay positive. This is not a program for cynics or pessimists. Stay away from nay-sayers. Connect with people who believe in what you do. If you are like me and you get freaked out when things are not going along as you planned, walk away from it for a few hours. Go and do something that will get your head back in the right space. Call up a friend who is supportive. Listen to some music that really inspires you. Do something fun. Then get back at it. That’s very sincere and correct. Thank you for this interview. To experience Big Rude Jake, head over here.  -Vlad

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  • September 19, 2011