From Italy, With Good Music

Piero Bittolo Bon is a rising star in Italian jazz. He was voted as one of the best Italian jazz musicians in 2010 Musica Jazz critic’s poll and seemingly plays every possible instrument - and has one of the best musician’s websites we’ve ever seen. Now he is connecting with a global audience in order to crowdfund his upcoming record. We chatted with Piero, all the way from Italy, about his project and the lessons of global fundraising: What was the inspiration behind the international music project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? This is the second album of Jump The shark, a sextet (formerly a quintet) playing my compositions. I really love playing with this band, mainly because Domenico, Pasquale, Danilo, Federico and Gerhard are such great musicians and great friends, so I can really trust them and let them put their own personality in my music, which is heavily charted but leaves a lot of space for individual and collective improvisation. I loved to record the first album, “Sugoi Sentai! Gattai!!” which had a great success in the jazz and avantgarde music scene, and I felt I had to record a new one to futher develop my musical thoughts and to be a better composer and bandleader, and hopefully to make this band play live a lot more! Also, I’m looking forward to print this cd because Dottor Pira from www.fumettidellagleba.org, one of my favourite comic artists, agreed to draw the artwork for the album. This is gonna be a masterpiece! We can’t wait to get our copy. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of music and Italy - how are your supporters responding? I was surprised how fast the first funds arrived! RocketHub is really a thrilling new way for supporting music and arts in general, especially in a country like Italy where culture sadly has every day less and less money. I have a little but always increasing fanbase, which is responding well to this RocketHub project. I’m a little late in the schedule, but I’ll do my best to convince everybody that this is a project worth fueling! Beside of the cd, I’ll be glad to exchange my musical skills for lessons and home concerts for the help my supporters will give me. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Be creative about your rewards! Be convincing and inform your fanbase about every little news about your project! Use everything the internet gives at your disposal, social networks in particular, to reach and convince new fans! Thank you Piero for the international perspective. For lovers of jazz and good new music, check out this project. -Vlad

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  • March 31, 2011

The Bridge Made of Brass - Crowdfunding a Documentary

Connecting Brooklyn and the Balkans is easy when good Balkan music is involved. Brasslands is a documentary that takes a deep and honest look at this inspirational music, at the American and Balkan bands involved in its rapid proliferation, and the largest festival of Balkan music in the world: Guča. We spoke with Adam Pogoff of the Brooklyn-based team of Meerkat Media that is making this project into a reality through crowdfunding: What was the inspiration behind the cool film project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you, your team, and the Balkan music community? The Brasslands story began back in 2009. I was listening to the radio one night and heard a short BBC story about the world’s largest brass band festival in rural Serbia that attracts over half-a-million visitors. At that time I had already been heavily involved in the vibrant Balkan music and folk dance scene in New York, so I was intimately familiar with the contagious Balkan beats showcased at the annual music festival. I decided I NEEDED to make the pilgrimage to Serbia to see the festival with my own eyes, and began pre-production for a long-form radio documentary surrounding the event (my background is in radio production and ethnomusicology). Later that week I told my friend, Bryan Chang, a filmmaker, about my radio documentary and he convinced me to adapt it to film. Then, a few months later, we pitched the film to the Meerkat Media Arts Collective, a Brooklyn-based group of artists who collaborate on film and other media projects. Meerkat quickly embraced the story and production started in earnest. Fast forward one year, and a camera crew of nine touched down in Belgrade for a one-month shoot in the tiny village of Guča. After returning from Serbia with nearly 200 hours of stunning new footage we knew we had an epic story on our hands. Even though the bulk of our film takes place in Serbia, the story is deeply rooted in NY where there is a dedicated group of Balkan music and dance-lovers. The community is central to the story and we hope/anticipate our film will speak to them in a way they can relate to in a unique way.  That’s a great story of inspiration. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in film - how are your diverse supporters responding? The Brasslands RocketHub campaign is about more than just reaching our target fundraising goal (which is not to say that reaching our $10k goal still isn’t the most important part of our campaign). We are using RocketHub to spur a marketing blitz that aims to expand reach and get the word out about our film. So, for Brasslands, the crowdfunding experience has been an impetus for some important outreach that is easily forgotten when you’re knee-deep in production. Our fans are thrilled about the film and believe in the story. However only a percentage of them have actually given money thus far. This is a huge obstacle to overcome and will hopefully change once we extend outreach and make more pointed appeals. The Brasslands team is taking a tiered approach to the RocketHub campaign so that we don’t blow everything we’ve got at the start. We’ll be rolling out more pictures, sample scenes, blog entries and audio at regular intervals throughout the campaign. So, like all projects, the challenge is turning supporters into givers.  You’ve done a great job of making your campaign interactive. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Spend a lot of time and consideration writing a thoughtful project description. Choose the language carefully so that is a a call-to-action and creates a sense of urgency. For example, ‘your support is crucial in order for me to ______’.  Your description needs to showcase the well-conceived nature of your project so fuelers can give to a something they can believe in. If your project is a film, the trailer will be more important than the project description, so it better be impressive! If your film is already in production, show the breadth of footage you have. Rewards should have some special significance to the film and the donors you are trying to reach. They should be something people actually want. Since Brasslands takes place in Serbia, one of the main groups we hope to reach are Serbian-American’s. We are giving fuelers a bottle of Serbian plum brandy at a higher price point. This reward ties in with the film (watch the trailer to see why), and has special significance to one of our targeted communities. Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t plug Brasslands. So go ahead and fuel our film! ‘Your support is crucial’ Thank you to Adam and Meerkat for the in-depth look at your inspiration, process, and project. Check out this moving project here. -Vlad

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  • March 30, 2011

Turbo Tuesday with BandBidder.com - Making Music Happen

Crowdfunding is an empowering endeavor. RocketHub is a community, a platform, and a revolution empowering your crowdfunding adventure. There are many other valuable tools available to Creatives that will empower for little cost. Because of this, we have launched a regular column: Turbo Tuesdays. The goal is to highlight other organizations that share our empowerment ethos. If you or your company would like to be highlighted - please shoot us an email. —- Musicians and gig bookers are always in need of new and efficient tools to connect. Setting and accepting a fair price for a musical show can be tough. BandBidder.com tackles both of these pain points through a spiffy website. We spoke with Chris Kelly about the platform and its cool features: Tell me why you and your team started Bandbidder?  What are the pain points you are addressing in the market? BandBidder.com is an online auction platform that matches musicians and other entertainment providers with people wanting to book live entertainment.  I’m a gigging musician myself and I spoke with venue owners and asked them why they don’t advertise their gigs and requirements more.  They asked me ‘where?’ I told them I’m on Myspace, Facebook and some other music sites where I had paid to upload my videos and Soundcloud clips and they can find me there. They told me they weren’t on any of those sites!  I asked them why not? They said ‘We have businesses to run and we don’t have hours to spend online browsing profiles.” So I questioned why I’d spent so much time creating those profiles that only other musicians look at? I asked some more questions about what they wanted for advertising their gigs online. They wanted -           1. To say how much they can afford to pay on a particular gig           2. To say what kind of music suits their customers           3. New talent to show they are interested in their gig           4. A place to read feedback about musicians from other venues that have booked them. That’s when I created BandBidder.com. How does Bandbidder work? Entertainment bookers place an auction on BandBidder.com stating the date of the gig, the location, and the maximum price they are willing to pay. Entertainers who are members of BandBidder.com can place a bid for the gig, up to the maximum auction price. The entertainment bookers can then review the bids and choose the most suitable act for their needs. How long have you been up and running? What is your biggest success story to date? Biggest challenge? The BandBidder.com site has been live since December 2010 and auctions have already been successfully completed on the site in the US, Ireland and mainland Europe. BandBidder has been identified as having global potential and I am traveling to the US next month to speak with venue owners on the benefits of having great live music in their venue. Our biggest challenge is educating people that want to book live music. We give them the opportunity to try new forms of entertainment and retain customer numbers. We also want to teach new gigging entertainers how to find gigs and be as good as they can.  Where do you see your company in the next year or two? We see BandBidder as being a place where people go to book their live gig and where musicians can find regular work, wherever this is in the world. We will see a social element of BandBidder.com for people looking to find out what gigs are on and where. An important part of this is having a mobile presence with a gig location finder. What do you think Bandbidder does that no other online platform can offer? We offer venues a place to advertise their gig at their budget. Bringing venue owners to the site also lets them see what fantastic new talent is out there. Features for Entertainment Bookers ·         Free, easy to use platform to advertise their needs directly to entertainers. ·         Access to a broad and varied database of user-rated entertainers. ·         Additional promotion through social media websites. ·         Full control over pricing – booker states maximum price at the outset. ·         No obligation to accept any bid and they choose the winning act, not the cheapest. ·         Flexibility to adjust to their market by only booking entertainment at shorter notice when required. ·         Regular email updates on live entertainment trends and BandBidder.com offers. ·         Ability to place  auction as a featured auction with images. Features for Entertainers ·         Platform provides a searchable database of entertainment gigs – locally and worldwide. ·         Online profile with a unique URL to showcase multimedia, along with background bio information. ·         Gig Agent – Instant email notifications about work in their area. ·         Ability to bid on as many gigs as they want. ·         Regular email updates on live entertainment trends and BandBidder.com offers. ·         Independent verification of references. We’re currently looking for Artists to sign up to BandBidder.com. It is free to sign up and create your profile.  If you are not a musician, please pass the word on to musicians you know.  Follow us on Facebook.com/BandBidder.  Follow us on Twitter.com/BandBidder.

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  • March 29, 2011

From the Crowd, Faces - Canadian Crowdfunding Success

Both haunting and inspirational, Philip Robbins’ collection of photographs “Faces:Newfoundland,” is just plain good. Philip has created a moving set of portraits (and beyond), and now his crowdfunding campaign aims to bring these images to the world. We spoke with Philip about his inspirations and what the future brings: What was the inspiration behind the photography project you are currently running on RocketHub?   The inspiration for my project, Faces: Newfoundland, is a little complicated. The ‘Faces’ series started as a video projection called Faces: 4min13sec that was made for a ‘guerilla’ DIY drive-in organized by local artists [Daniel Payne, Jillian Parsons, Gerri Lynn Mackey, and myself] last summer. Since then I have created a 4’x8’ triptych/billboard, many smaller prints, and a video installation called Faces: Broadway. This last projection was a series of a dozen faces [including a local politician, musician (Allison Crowe), actors, and artists] projected onto the windows of a local business.  The common theme of each project was the intentional creation of implied narratives. I removed the context, audio, and descriptions allowing the viewer to fill in the blanks. The resulting scenarios develop and change based on what the viewer brings to the installation.  My proposed process is simple. Travel to locations where I know people [to cut down my costs] and create dynamic portraits outside, using natural light, and making them equal by using a common backdrop for each. The process evolved from my fondness for Richard Avedon’s In the American West series. Avedon traveled the American west creating outstanding portraits of the people, and characters, he found along the way. Each portrait was made in front of a white backdrop and then printed at human scale. The exhibition images will be large, 36”x22”, black and white digital prints named for the volunteer and the location in which they were taken, ex. Philip (CornerBrook,NL).  The inspiration to launch the project on RocketHub came from podcasts. It seems that many indie ventures are trying this method of fundraising and I decided to take a rick. To put myself, and my artwork, out there and see how people responded. Worse case I would raise $0 and best case I would have enough money raised to finalize my project and maybe print a small artist’s catalog. We’re big fans of Avedon’s work at RocketHub HQ as well - a worthy source of inspiration. Why is it important to you, your team, and the wider community of Newfoundland? The project is important to me because I had an idea that I just couldn’t shake. I researched RocketHub and I felt nervous, uncomfortable, and inspired. I decided it was better to try crowdfunding and fail then never having tried it in the first place. A unique element of crowdfunding is that it only works if your family, colleagues, and community get involved and show their support for your project. Their contributions are a tangible symbol of their support and energy towards you. It’s amazing what a community can do when it comes together and supports its members. In the end it’s not important how the work itself is received but the process it took to get it made. However, like all artists, I do hope that my photographs are successful and engaging to everyone who sees them.  I named the project Faces: Newfoundland to give the portraits context and to promote the island. RocketHub is a world wide organization and I hoped that people would stumble across my project and want to get involved. Newfoundland and Labrador is a beautiful province and is renowned for its scenery and its  people. It’s the people who live, visit, and move here that I want to document. Unfortunately, it’s not within my budget to travel to Labrador at this time as part of this project. However, I would like to complete that element of the project sometime soon. My goal is to document a journey and the characters I discover along the way. The journey forces me out of my comfort zone, it forces me to interact with strangers, and to alter my boundaries. It allows me to re-visit locations I can’t get to regularly and to re-establish contacts and friendships along the way. In a less obvious way Faces: Newfoundland is also about the limitations of arts funding in Newfoundland and Labrador. There’s one source of arts funding, they awards grants twice a year, and they are difficult to get because they aren’t distributed proportionally across the province. If I were to apply for a regular grant it would likely get rejected. How can an artist develop if they’re never given a chance? You’re doing quite well engaging your community. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of photography - how are your supporters responding? I’m glad I tried this experiment, but I have mixed feelings about crowdfunding and my role as a ‘pioneer’. When I signed up for RocketHub I had no real expectations, but I wanted my project to succeed. I just felt compelled to try. I wondered if anyone would donate their own money to me and what people would think of my project. Filling out the project profile turned out to be harder than writing a regular grant proposal because I knew it would be visible to the world. I must admit that, initially, I wanted people to stumble upon my project and feel compelled to donate. I soon discovered that self-promotion requires a lot of hard work, a plan, and determination. It was a struggle to publicize my project and not spam all of my friends and family. I had to target my message and social media tools effectively. The response from my supporters has been phenomenal. I’m lucky to have such a supportive infrastructure of family members, friends, and colleagues who donated what they could. It means the world to me that the people I respect deeply supported me. However, I must admit a little hesitation in discussing my ‘success’ because if it wasn’t for a huge donation from my twin brother I wouldn’t be close to my goal.  It seems that you’ve found the right balance of promo and family support. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? I don’t know how qualified I am to make suggestions, but along the way I have been given good advice.  Be clear about what your project is, what you need, and document exactly where the money is going. Make the rewards as fun as you can. Make a video, be on topic, and don’t take to long to make your pitch. Engage people, find unique and meaningful ways to solicit donations, and try not to spam your family and friends. Contact local media. Be yourself. Now you are crowdfunding veteran. Click here to get involved in this cool project. -Vlad

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  • March 28, 2011

The Sweet Sounds of Sweet Soubrette

"Take Amanda Palmer covering Radiohead and then take Phoebe Legere and drain out the jazz and replace it with Jenny Lewis circa The Execution Of All Things and then throw on some fishnet stockings and you have Sweet Soubrette…this time she has a full band and the songs have texture and beauty." - Rock NYC …Wow! We agree. Ukulele-powered indie rock band Sweet Soubrette is one of the coolest musical groups we’ve had on RocketHub. They recently released a cool new album and have now engaged their fans to crowdfund a new tour. We spoke to their fearless leader, Ellia Bisker, about the journey: What was the inspiration behind the music project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you and your band? The background to this project is that in early January we released the second Sweet Soubrette record, Days and Nights, which was two years in the making, and we needed a project to focus on following our big release show. We had worked really hard on that—rehearsing a huge backing band, making sure the vinyl shipment was going to arrive in time, promoting the release to the media, getting people to come out and pack the venue, which they did. The support of our fans and friends was amazing. But once the show was done and the album was officially launched, we needed a next thing to focus on to keep the momentum going. Not just for the sake of morale (though I’ll admit, after the big show was over and life went back to normal—the letdown!) but because when you’re an independent musician, an album release isn’t a single event, it’s a process, and you need a new reason all the time to keep reminding the world that your music is out there. Otherwise you get absorbed into the background noise. So this tour was both the answer to “what next?” and a pretext for reaching out to our fans in a new way after the official release. We play a lot in NYC, but we’ve never toured as a band before now. To play in other places in full rock band formation is a big step for Sweet Soubrette—we’ll be playing our songs for the fans in these towns the way they’re intended to sound, and we’ll be playing for a lot of strangers. The challenge is to turn those strangers into fans. It’s exciting. We are really proud of this record—it sounds amazing, and we’ve gotten a tremendous response from the first wave of listeners. So we’re ready to do whatever it takes to introduce it to a wider audience. The other challenge is funding the tour, because it’s expensive to drive around in a rental van for a solid week and feed the musicians and then play for $5 door splits or uncertain hat passes because you aren’t an established headliner yet. It’s an investment in the future, but you get a chicken and egg problem financially. That’s why crowdfunding seemed like a great way to let the people who are excited about the music now help us get it to the next level. Here’s to a great tour and a slew of awesome shows. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of music - how are your supporters responding? After a week and a half, we’ve raised more than half of our goal amount. So the response has been good so far. Some of the support was what I would have hoped and expected—the people I’m closest to personally have definitely come through. But there have also been some wonderful surprises—a work friend who gave more than I would have anticipated, a fan all the way in Australia who gave $120, a mystery fan who gave $250 anonymously (though I expect to find out that person’s identity eventually, since the reward for $250 is a house show…).  On top of the financial support, there have been some interesting ancillary benefits—a performance opportunity I wouldn’t have had otherwise, some unexpected press, an opportunity to connect with old friends and fans. This crowdfunding campaign has also given me some serious artistic encouragement—it’s been incredibly motivating and affirming to see people get excited about being involved in this project. I’ve done a little educating, too. After a friend responded to my request for support by saying, “I’m planning my own tour and making my next recording, so I can’t spare any cash, but I’m rooting for you!” I pointed out that if he also did a crowdfunding campaign, I’d reciprocate, which would likely generate additional support (beyond whatever amount we gave back and forth) through added visibility. Plus I think it’s a great to remind yourself that it feels good to support other people’s projects when you believe in their work. He gave $20. Great community perspective. Any advice for musicians looking to crowdfund a similar project? It’s good if you’ve laid the groundwork by already being in the habit of reaching out to your fans/friends to update them about your project, so that it doesn’t seem out of the blue when you contact them for funding—you’ve already built a relationship. Come up with reasons to remind people repeatedly about your campaign—a new video, a show announcement, updates about the project itself. Not everyone opens every e-mail, or pays much attention to what they read. Who knows, maybe the third time’s the charm! Be persistent about reaching out to people individually, not just in mass announcements. It can be tedious, but tends to be more effective. Plus it gives you a chance to get back in contact with people you may not have spoken to in a while, which is an investment in the relationship, even if not a contribution—and maybe you’ll just reconnect now, but then they’ll support your next project.      It can be hard to ask for things without feeling like you’re begging, or imposing on people, so I think it’s helpful to remind yourself that you’re not asking for a handout—you’re offering people a chance to get involved in a cool project, not to mention whatever exciting rewards you’ve come up with. In other words, there’s something in it for them too.  Reach out to absolutely everyone, because it’s hard to predict who will catch fire about what you’re doing, and people will surprise you. Thank you Ellia for the honest insights. Good luck with the rest of your campaign and with the tour. Check out Sweet Soubrette here. -Vlad

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  • March 25, 2011

Where in the world is RocketHub? Gainesville, Boston, and Los Angeles

We love to get out of RocketHub Ground Control as often as possible and spread the word about the crowdfunding revolution. In the upcoming two weeks we are lucky to be in three great cities: Gainesville, Boston, and Los Angeles. Gainesville, Florida - University of Florida Music Law Conference - Saturday March 26th starting at 8:00 AM ET The Music Law Conference at The University of Florida Levin College of Law is hosting its 9th annual conference on March 26, 2011. The conference brings together musicians, lawyers, students, academics, policy makers and entertainment professionals for a weekend to network, learn, and share ideas. It is our goal that everyone, from the disgruntled ex-band member to the seasoned entertainment attorney, who attends the conference will leave with a new perspective on the music industry. Our own Vlad Vukicevic will be speaking at the "May the Force Be With You!" panel. For more info on the Gainesville event check out this link.  Boston, Massachusetts - Berklee College of Music Town Hall Sessions - Monday March 28th starting at 6:00 PM ET RocketHub’s team of Gus Rodriguez and myself, Brian Meece, will talk about the future of music business, crowdfunding, live shows, multimedia, brand engagement, and other topics with top students from Berklee. Afterwards, the session will open up to the student public for Q&A and more interactive discussions. For more info on the Boston event check out this link. Los Angeles, California - Musicians Institute Social Media Seminar Series - Thursday April 7th starting at 7:30 PM PT The Musicians Institute’s unique campus is located in the center of Hollywood, and will serve as the host to expert panels moderated by Joy Kennelly of The Joy Writer. The sessions will feature high-profile entertainment industry executives and technology experts that will discuss how to utilize current social media platforms, upgrade your social media skills, and brand and market your company, your label or yourself online. For more info on the L.A. event check out this link. -Brian

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  • March 24, 2011

Making a Political Short Film - Crowdfunding a New Perspective

Sides of the Track is an innovative American short film. Set in the year 2018, the film depicts a hypothetical scenario in which further incidents of terrorism lead to the mandatory registration and surveillance of Muslim and Arab-Americans throughout New York City. This project is spearheaded by Mohammad Maaty, a talented young filmmaker who we first met at RocketHub’s Long Island City Film Symposium and who also works for HBO. We had the chance to sit down with Mohammad and have a deep conversation about his crowdfunding project: What was the inspiration behind the film project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you, your team, and the wider Arab-American community? The inspiration for this project largely stemmed from a need to respond to the heated rhetoric that developed following the proposed “Ground Zero” mosque in Manhattan last year. I was discouraged by the unquestioned animosity propagated by our elected officials and the mainstream media and I wanted to illustrate how it has contributed to the increasingly lax social consciousness that continues to dominate the perception of Arab and Muslim Americans in this country. As an Arab/Muslim American, I’ve experienced a wide spectrum of reactions following the 9-11 attacks. While some have been negative, it has always been an inspiration to know that a diverse percentage of the population understands that many religious, ethnic and racial groups go through this most shameful and at the same time perennial of American responses. As a native New Yorker and long-time filmmaker, I was blessed to find a multinational and talented team dedicated to work on a project that aimed to address this facet of our society. It was important to the team that more of our fellow citizens come to the conclusion that the convenient perception that groups can be painted a single color is as false as it is counterproductive. We hope the message of this film resonates with the general population but also helps to provide a symbol of solidarity with those feeling the direct effects of the current climate. While the message is a universal one, the fear-mongering aimed at Muslim and Arab Americans has posed the ever-present need to speak up for those in need of a voice. The sensationalism, the media hyperbole and the unscrupulous politicians looking to ride the wave of mass suspicion, sets this country back and diverges from what makes it great. I believe deep down that hostility comes from a lack of exposure as much as a lack of understanding, and this short film is a small measure of furnishing a bit of both. Interesting stuff - I love your approach to this complex topic. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of film and politics - how are your supporters responding? Crowdfunding has provided an incredible opportunity to raise funds through channels that would have otherwise not been possible. The success of our campaign has reinforced the support for the message of our film, and we are incredibly grateful for that. While we knew that there would be members of our extended friends and family that supported the cause, crowdfunding has served as an effective portal to get the message out and encourage interested individuals to be a part of the on-going filmmaking process. In particular, the reward system that RocketHub.com offers has helped people get involved in an innovative and meaningful way.  We’re glad that we can help make this happen. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? DO IT! We are lucky to live in a time where we can easily share our personal interests with a wider community as a result of social networking. Crowdfunding is a novel way to take advantage of this concept and get people to give impassioned but underfunded projects a chance to be realized. Thank you Mohammad for your deep insights and honest perspective. Congratulations on your rapid success! Check out the project here. -Vlad

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  • March 23, 2011

From Canada to Colorado, Crowdfunding Away All Waste

Grant Baldwin and Jen Rustemeyer had a simple dream: to live completely waste-free for a whole year. What resulted was both a lighthearted and a poignant film about the sobering problem waste is in our “throw away” society. Now Grant and Jen have been invited to premiere their awesome film at the Vail Film Festival in Colorado. They are engaging friends and fans to support their journey to the United States. We spoke with Jen about the crowdfunding campaign and the deeper signficance surrounding the film: What was the inspiration behind the environment-based film project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you, your team, and the wider green movement? The Clean Bin Project is a documentary based on our year long competition to see who could produce the least amount of garbage. You know when you buy something at the store and it’s just this little thing -like a memory card for your camera- and it comes with this ridiculously huge plastic package? Or you get some crackers at the grocery store, and when you get them home you realize that they are individually wrapped? We always tried to do our part by recycling, but buying overpackaged crap and producing tons of garbage left us feeling really guilty. We decided to make a change. And, because the environmental issues out there seemed so huge, we decided to just pick one thing. Garbage is tangible; we all create it every day, and it’s easy to see when you’re doing a good job of reducing. Then we decided to make it a competition because it makes it way more fun! Although we started the project just for ourselves, making The Clean Bin Project documentary film has allowed us to reach out to so many more people. Last summer we cycled the movie across Canada, sharing it with 30 communities. People say that it left them inspired, and they often contact us to share details about how they made personal changes in their own lives - that’s the best reaction we could ask for. Movies are just a great great media for getting your message across. I don’t think it’s a film just for “greenies”. it’s an entertaining movie, and our message is simple - pick one thing, and then do it. No matter where you are on the sustainability spectrum, we can all do one more thing. As an indie filmmaker, showing your movie at festivals is pretty important. That’s where other filmmakers, networks, and distributors, will see your film. And if you really want to promote your film, you have to be there in person. We are super excited to be having our World Festival Premiere at the Vail Film Festival in Colorado at the end of March. It’s truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and an honor to be included with so many other great films and to bring our message to an audience that may not already be on the green path. This is what the past three years of weekend filming and late night editing have been leading up to! Wow, that’s quite a journey. You guys are rocking your fundraising campaign. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of film and the environment - how are your supporters responding? We heard about crowdfunding on the CD Baby podcast (which is great by the way). One of the guys on that ran a successful RocketHub campaign. We’d spent all our money making the film, so we had little left for promotions; when we made it into our first festival, we really wanted to attend in person, and we thought we’d give it a try. So far support has been great, and offering people pre-release access to the film is a fun incentive. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Well, we aren’t done our campaign yet, so I don’t want too be to sure of myself, but I think it has really helped that we already had facebook and twitter followings that we could reach out to. Our quirkiest reward (Grant will wear your face on a shirt for every screening in the next 2 months) went within hours of posting it, so I guess comedy wins. Comedy does well. Congrats to Grant and Jen for all their success and for creating both an entertaining and informative film about waste reduction. To support this great project, click here. -Vlad

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  • March 21, 2011

SXSW Recap - We Rocked Along With a Million Faces!

Whew! What a week it has been for us as we stormed the 2011 SXSW Conference. We hosted panels for music, participated in panels for film, and did interviews with Next Stage, Billboard, and The Austin Chronicle. Thanks to all the RocketHub friends that helped make the trip so successful. We met thousands of artists passionate about making their projects happen, and gave them tips and tricks to find success in the current creative climate. It was an honor to participate in such an amazing conference and we look forward to heading back next year. Crowdfunding is revolutionizing the way creative work gets made and we’re proud to be at the forefront of the new wave. But crowdfunding is just the beginning. Stay tuned for more from the inspired and ever-humble RocketHub team. -Brian

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  • March 18, 2011

Kerri Leigh Crowdfunds a Music Dream

Kerri Leigh grew up listening the country classics. From Willie Nelson to Patsy Cline, her inspiration comes from the best. And now, Kerri is working to be the best. She has been seen on television, on the cover of Woman’s World magazine and featured in Redbook, The Post, and Oprah Winfrey’s own O Magazine. Now, Kerri is directly engaging her fans through a cool crowdfunding campaign on RocketHub. So far she is doing quite well. We had the chance to quickly chat with Kerri about her progress: What was the inspiration behind the music project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? I knew in my heart that I was always meant to be a singer. I love the way songs can move people. I’ve come to a point in my career where I have great songs, great opportunities and now RocketHub has given me the freedom to pursue them all by helping me fund this album. This is important to me because singing and being a performer is my dream. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of music - how are your supporters responding? So far we have had great response and the fans love being able to be a part of making the project. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a music project? If you keep up with content like videos and blogs as often as possible, it attracts more fuelers to your site to contribute. Thank you for your concise words of wisdom. Check out Kerri’s project, here. -Vlad

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  • March 16, 2011