Crowdfunding in Montreal Canada - Documentary Film “Infinity Loops” by Adam Reider

Adam Reider is an independent filmmaker from Montreal, Canada with a goal to make films that evoke thoughts beyond just the entertainment realm. We had a chance to check in to see what the story is on his documentary film project on RocketHub called “Infinity Loops”. What is the inspiration behind your documentary film project, “Infinity Loops”,  you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is is important to you? This is a film that I feel really close to. I’ve always been inspired by positive things coming from tragic events. I’m amazed at how much of a positive impact people can make after a tragedy and I wanted to capture that on film. I think it’s important to look at what people choose to do with their lives after such terrible event like the Dawson College Shooting in 2006. People who suffered greatly, emotionally and physically are great sources of inspiration as they push towards creating something so positive. The Ecological Peace Garden that’s being built at Dawson college is such a great idea and has brought a grieving and hurt community together in a profound way. It’s a story that I want to tell because I really believe that the Garden project will make a positive impact in so many lives in the community and being able to push that impact to a wider audience is something that, as a filmmaker, is something that I want to do. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of film - how are your fans and community responding? Honestly it feels really good but also quite stressful. It feels great because the support I’m getting even just in terms of getting the word out to people is phenomenal. People are coming out of the wood work and spreading the message over Facebook, Twitter and e-mail. The film community is a tough community to get into as far as fundraising goes. It’s one of the most expensive art forms you can get into so naturally everyone in the community really wants to support other works but can’t always afford it. But I feel really supported by my friends and family as well as people I haven’t met yet and I can’t thank people enough for everything that people have contributed so far. That being said, it is stressful because I know this is an all or nothing situation. Watching the countdown to the deadline is a little taxing on my heart. I can relate :-) Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a project? I would say that people should look at crowdfunding as a wonderful resource but also something like a full time job. You have to put aside your pride and actively get out there to spread the word and literally say “Can you contribute some money to my project?”. You need to be resourceful and go all out with your campaign. It’s important to have some kind of action plan on how you are going to reach out to people. Having a few other people to be there with you as a team to promote the project will help immensely. I say, if you want to meet your goal then go out there and get it. I also think I should add that if by chance you don’t make your goal in time, remember, you just made a ton of new fans, supporters and network connections. Good luck everyone! Well good luck to you Adam - we wish you all the best in your creative endeavors.  Thank you for joining our creative community. Brian

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  • November 19, 2010

Turbo Thursdays with Wikkit - A New Spin on Ticketing

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 to no cost. Because of this, we have launched a (near) weekly column: Turbo Thursdays. The goal is to highlight other platforms that share our revolutionary empowerment ethos. If you or your company would like to be highlighted - please shoot us an email. This week we get “the scoop” from Adam Hunt, the founder and president of Wikkit, who is determined to figure out a way to send tickets over the internet so that anyone can afford to go to a show. Here are his thoughts and insights on his journey with Wikkit thus far. What was the inspiration behind your start-up Wikkit?  Why this endeavor is important to you? The inspiration with Wikkit is true ticketing democracy. I’ve always been really into live music and when I was growing up and working at McDonald’s it was tough scraping up money to go to a show.  And what always really upset me was how much Ticketmaster was charging in fees—it just seemed crazy having to pay $5 or $10 in fees on a ticket with a face value of $15 or $20.  And the worst part is that they’re still doing it today and getting away with it because artists and venues haven’t had other good options. I also have a lot of friends in bands and I wanted to figure out a way for artists to be more involved in the whole process.  One way we’re doing that is letting artists actually create their own events and help introduce venues to this affordable and simple way of doing ticket sales without a lot of expensive hardware or systems to set up.  Anyone with a cell phone can get their wikkit via text message (or email) and all the venue needs to scan wikkits is an iPhone or Droid.  A big part of the whole Wikkit story is that getting tickets via text message is just really cool and convenient for fans. The whole endeavor is important to me because I’d wanted to do it for years, but it didn’t take the plunge and launch the whole thing until after my little sister Hannah lost her long battle with brain cancer this summer.  As cliche as it may sound, I had one of those “life is too short moments” and she really inspired me to do what you love and follow your dreams. How is Wikkit doing thus far?  What success have you had? Tell me about the challenges? We’ve had a great response from everyone that’s gotten wikkit so far :-)  People that don’t have smartphones think it’s really cool that they can still get a wireless ticket on their plain old flip phones.  We’ve also been able to partner with a variety of different merchants and venues from a small bar out in San Francisco (The Gate) to the McFadden’s location in Las Vegas.  We’ve even been doing promos with wikkits for an organic yogurt shop here in NYC (called Yorganic).  I’m most excited about the free concert we threw this week in Brooklyn (at Cameo inside the Loving Cup) featuring Lincoln Schofield’s Old Souls, The Dream Station and Fugitive Souls. Any advice for “on the fence” entrepreneurs looking to start their own company? My first thought was be sure to catch up on your sleep before you get started! Seriously though I think that the best thing you can do is surround yourself with great people—especially people who have other strengths than you and bring something different to the table.  If you’re like me and don’t know much about computers then you better make friends with someone who can turn your sketch on the back of a cocktail napkin into reality.  If you have three co-founders with a tech background then you definitely need someone with a marketing and business background on the team.  You also need to not get frustrated if things don’t happen overnight—it’s a long process and you have to enjoy the ride. Last but not least, people shouldn’t be afraid to take that first step, whatever it is.  I’ve met so many great people with cool ideas who don’t even give it a shot.  And I think that sites like Rockethub make it even easier because you can really invest others in your mission and have a lot of fun along the way—just fueled our first project!!! Thanks these awesome insights (and for Fueling a project!) We look forward to watching your site grow and the prospect of working together in the near future. Brian and The RocketHub Team

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  • November 18, 2010

Broadway and Crowdfunding - Behind the Scenes with Lisa Howard

RocketHub Creative Lisa Howard was last seen on Broadway as Missy Hart in the new musical 9 to 5.  She may be most known for her starring role as Rona Lisa Peretti in William Finn’s Tony Award-winning musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, for which she received a Drama Desk Award (Best Ensemble). Recently we had the chance to discuss her latest musical project "Songs of Innocence" and her crowdfunding campaign. What was the inspiration behind the music project, “Songs of Innocence & Experience”, you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is is important to you? This project is my debut solo album and it features the music of the Tony Award winning composer William Finn. I’ve chosen to do a tribute album of all his music because it represents my start as a part of the Broadway community, having starred as Rona Lisa Peretti in Finn’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. I played Trina in a college production of Falsettos and fell in love with his music. So it was a great honor to have my Broadway debut be in a show he wrote. It feels like I’ve come full circle.  Great story - so how has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of music - how are your fans and community responding?  It’s nerve racking! I feel like I’m hounding people, but I’ve gotten a very positive response so far. I’m nowhere near my goal yet, but i think people are excited about the project. I’ve gotten a lot of “Likes” on Facebook.  Well your messages are working - any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a project? Have a very concrete plan for whatever type of project you are doing. People want to know they are contributing to something legit. Make up a business plan and have it ready to show people if they ask, give details and don’t be afraid of posting on your Facebook ALL THE TIME! It’s the only way that people will know and keep being reminded about your project! People have great intentions, but they don’t always get around to contributing right away. You just have to keep reminding them:-) Thank you for these insights - we appreciate having your project with us and having you as part of our creative community. We look forward to seeing your future performances. Brian

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  • November 17, 2010

Jazz + Crowdfunding + French Horn + Mark Taylor = Very Cool RocketHub Project

Jazz musician/composer Mark Taylor has tons of talent and is a super nice guy to boot. Here’s what Time Out New York has to say about Mark and his unique instrument - "The French horn is a notoriously finicky beast to master in a fast-paced improv setting which is probably why not many players have made their mark with the instrument. Add Mark Taylor’s name to the list of the chosen few."  We had the chance to chat with Mark about his upcoming recording "At What Age" and his RocketHub campaign. What was the inspiration behind the music project, “At What Age”,  you are currently running on RocketHub - and why is is important to you? It’s been 6 years since my last release “Circle Squared” (also a self-released project) and I felt it was time to document the new music I’d been writing since then. Also, I’ve recently gotten very interested in the question of how “casting” your band impacts the music you make. I had a quartet with what I felt was a unique personality and I wanted to see where I could go with it. As a composer, I’m convinced that the relationship between the composer, the performers and the audience is interdependent. You need all three parts to complete the circuit (of course the definition of any, or all, of those parts is open to discussion). As a performer I’ve been committed to doing all I can to promote the French Horn as a lead or featured instrument in jazz and improvised music. Recording and releasing CDs is one way to help people see this instrument in a whole new light! Very cool - how has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of music - how are your fans and community responding? I’ve had a wonderful response from my peers and colleagues (although sometimes it’s difficult to convert goodwill and support into dollars and cents!). Other musicians I know are curious to see if this works for me or not, and I’ve learned the importance of setting an appropriate goal amount. I can say that my friends, family and fans really are stepping up in support of this project. Community can be a powerful thing - any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a project? Decide what you really want to accomplish with your campaign, work hard ahead of time to build up your fanbase/network and, most importantly, know how big a target goal your fanbase can support at this time. Oh, and be prepared to spend time spreading the word and then reminding everyone again and again!  I’m a big proponent of self-determination for creative people and I think crowdfunding is a very powerful tool in our arsenal. Thank you for this inside scoop - we appreciate having your talents here on RocketHub. Photos courtesy of http://www.marktaylormusic.net Brian

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  • November 16, 2010

Turbo Thursdays: The Recording Academy®

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 to no cost. Because of this, we have launched a (near) weekly column: Turbo Thursdays. The goal is to highlight other platforms that share our revolutionary empowerment ethos. If you or your company would like to be highlighted - please shoot us an email. Last week we had the pleasure to present an educational crowdfunding panel in partnership with The Recording Academy® - the organization that is famous for the GRAMMY® Awards. The RocketHub team was honored to participate in The Recording Academy’s Music Box event hosted by the D.C. Chapter at George Washington University. Before, during, and after the event, I was able to learn a lot about this awesome organization. Not only is The Recording Academy good at organizing world-renown music-award extravaganzas, but they also offer a ton of resources for musicians and music professionals at all career levels - even students. They’ve been doing it for over fifty years: “Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers.” So if you’re interesting in joining the GRAMMY365 community and gaining cool benefits - including travel discounts, professional development, gear offers, or potentially choosing the next GRAMMY winners - learn how to join. -Vlad

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  • November 11, 2010

"The Crowdfunding Revolution" - A New Book by Kevin Lawton and Dan Marom

This past summer I had the pleasure of chatting with two brilliant guys, Kevin Lawton (contributing writer to VentureBeat) and Dan Marom (PhD candidate in Finance at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem).  They asked if they could interview me for their upcoming book called “The Crowdfunding Revolution”.  We were honored to contribute quotes, concepts, and are own unique takes on how crowdfunding is changing the world.  Now this book is being released to the world - and we recommend it highly to anyone who is fascinated by this new methodology for funding projects and endeavors. Here is the Editorial Review from Amazon- "Deep and intertwined in our humanity, is a need to support and feel involvement in the kinds of projects and companies which we care about. Until the recent crowdfunding phenomena emerged, our more centralized and intermediated capital formation and funding mechanisms scarcely recognized the social power of crowds which form affinities around any kind of mission. Crowdfunding is a natural systemic response to fill this gap, and an expression of our collective human will. It is perhaps, one of the most powerful developments in our modern-day socio-economics, and promises both to transform the capital formation landscape and to offer an avenue for a creative and intellectual re-birth. Whether funding sports-car racers, startup companies, indie movies, fashion, scientific research, or community projects — crowdfunding is already well under way, changing not only the way that we fund efforts, but the way we interact and support them. It is in the most simplistic terms, social networking meets venture financing. And a number of people in venture financing are now getting involved it. This is a deep and broad look at the history of finance that got us here, the present day zeitgeist of crowdfunding and its associated social networking & group dynamics, and a visionary look into the future and greater empowerment of crowdfunding. Join us on this intellectual discovery. Be part of the Crowdfunding Revolution!” Much thanks to Dan and Kevin for putting these insights and discoveries together in a wonderful read - RocketHub is excited to help pioneer this new frontier. Brian Meece

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  • November 10, 2010

Behind the Scenes with Chicago-based Musical Collective - blink.

blink. is a musical collective steeped in jazz, rock, and free improvisation featuring bassist Jeff Greene, drummer Quin Kirchner, guitarist Dave Miller, and saxophonist (and early RocketHub success) Greg Ward.  blink.’s members, all active Chicago-based musicians, came together in the fall of 2006 with the purpose of playing some of Jeff’s new compositions and experimenting with improvisational ideas. We recently had a chance to talk with Jeff about the blink. RocketHub project. What was the inspiration behind the blink. tour project?  Why is is important to you? I learned about RocketHub from Greg Ward, who plays alto sax in blink., because he ran a very successful campaign to get funding for his band’s record.  I was blown away by the support he received from friends, family, and music lovers whom he’s never met.  So I decided to try it for myself for blink.’s current touring as we go to the Netherlands for the first time.  Performing my own music with great friends and musicians in Europe has been a dream of mine for a long time and this tour is just the beginning of establishing a network of fans and other musicians that we intend to build on for many years. Very cool!  Greg was an early RocketHub success - and we are happy to see him and his friends on the site. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of music - how are your fans responding? So far my experience has been everything I hoped it would be.  Our fans have responded very positively and we jumped to nearly 20% of our goal in the first week.  That was encouraging and I’m confident we’ll be able to reach our goal. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a project? My advice to others who are interested in crowdfunding is to believe in your project.  People want to be a part of something that matters, and if you don’t let others know about your passions then no one else will! Thanks Jeff for these insights and for joining the RocketHub community.  We are excited to be a part of the success of blink. Mahalo,  Brian Meece

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  • November 9, 2010

Crowdfunding a Cabana in Panama? Welcome to a New Spin on Eco-Tourism

Lauren Ziemski and her boyfriend Ryan recently had the opportunity to visit the islands off the coast of Panama known as Bocas Del Toro.  This is a logical destination spot for anybody who has love of clear blue water and a good surf break. After their visit, the couple decided to design a lifestyle that escapes the trappings of “life” or “work” as most folks know it - and their Panama Cabana Adventure Project was born. We had a chance to get some extra info from Lauren and get some insights on their decision to crowdfund this fascinating eco-tourism project. What was the inspiration behind your Panamanian Cabana project? The inspiration is basically quality of life.   My boyfriend and I decided that we didn’t want to be stuck in jobs we weren’t happy with just to make a paycheck. We want to be passionate about our jobs and fulfilled in our lives. We want to live our lives to the fullest while we are young, not just working working working until we are of retirement age. The trappings of a 9-5 here in the states can be a difficult hole to dig yourself out of so we are taking a risk. Hopefully this risk will also help contribute to fulfilling our guests lives as well.  It’s all about people having amazing experiences.  How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of eco-tourism?  - how is your audience responding? The immediate response was so overwhelmingly supportive.  We couldn’t believe how quickly people wanted to help be a part of the project and specifically the steps we are taking to make sure it’s eco-friendly. People have said how they wish they were ballsy enough to do what we are doing and how proud they are.  Basically everyone just says to go for it!  We feel very blessed to have so many amazing people in our lives.  Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a project? The best advice we can give is to really get the word out to everyone you know.  Friends of friends, family friends etc. We have been surprised by some of the people that have donated. You never know how your project will resonate with someone. Don’t be scared to break out those emails you haven’t used in ages. Those people could truly be inspired and in turn pass it on to others they know.  The snowball effect is amazing. 

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  • November 5, 2010

The Recording Academy® and RocketHub Present Crowdfunding at George Washington University

The Recording Academy®(internationally known for the GRAMMY® Awards) has partnered with RocketHub to organize and present an expert panel discussion on crowdfunding. This innovative event will empower musicians with the knowledge necessary to understand how to leverage their existing network of friends, family and fans for funds, awareness, and authentic feedback. Our own fearless leader, Brian Meece summed up crowdfunding as “a new spin on an established idea: Beethoven + Social Media = Crowdfunding for the modern musician. Welcome to the re-birth of patronage” - and The Recording Academy loved it. The panel will consist of two RocketHub Co-founders, Brian Meece and Vlad Vukicevic (me), who will discuss the current crowdfunding marketplace, the ins-an-outs of successful crowdfunding projects, and future trends in this burgeoning movement. Joining us will be three musicians and successful crowdfunding pioneers, Kate Dawson, Gustavo Rodriguez, and Alfonso Velez, to discuss their personal experiences with this new and powerful approach. The panel will be moderated by Richard James Burgess, a music industry veteran and author of the seminal “The Art of Music Production.” Please join us tomorrow if you’re in the Washington D.C. area - the event is open to The Recording Academt members and the public: Music Box: Crowdfunding - The New Independent Music Model Event LOCATION: The George Washington University 103 Funger Hall 2201 G Street N.W. Washington, D.C.  20042 DATE: Thursday, November 4, 2010 TIME: 5:30 PM – Check In 6:00 PM – Panel Discussion 8:00 PM – Panel Ends/Wrap-Up PANELISTS: Richard James Burgess, Moderator Smithsonian Folkways   Brian Meece Co-founder, RocketHub   Vladimir Vukicevic Co-founder, RocketHub   Kate Dawson Singer/Actress   Gustavo Rodriguez Singer/Songwriter Alfonso Velez Singer/Songwriter This is a wonderful collaboration between an organization that has been helping artists for over fifty years, The Recording Academy, and our quickly-emerging grassroots platform that is giving artists the ability to connect with and leverage fans like never before, RocketHub. I have grown up admiring The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Awards – it is an honor to be working together to help musicians. For more info and to register, click here. A little more info about The Recording Academy: "Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Academy, please visit www.grammy.com. For breaking news and exclusive content, join the organization’s social networks on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thegrammys), MySpace (www.myspace.com/thegrammys), Twitter (www.twitter.com/thegrammys), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/thegrammys).” -Vlad

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  • November 3, 2010

"There’s A Hippopotamus On Our Roof Eating Cake" - The Movie

RocketHub project "There’s a Hippopotamus on our Roof Eating Cake" is an Australian story that follows rogue 9-year-old Zoe (Portia Bradley) and a shower-singing, bike-riding, cake-eating Hippopotamus. The trailer looks and feels superb - and the production stars Portia Bradley (My Year Without Sex), Angus Sampson (Where The Wild Things Are), Bridie Carter (McLeod’s Daughters), Terry Camilleri (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure), and Rob Alec (Eraser Children) - and is written & directed by Jaime Snyder We spoke with filmmaker Joel Sharpe from Pocket Bonfire on how this live action interpretation is bringing a new angle to this much loved 1980 classic.  What was the inspiration behind film for “There’s a Hippopotamus on our Roof Eating Cake”? One Sunny morning, riding the train to university, my friend Jaime pulled a picture book out of his bag grinning to himself. We were in the process of brainstorming ideas for our next big film project and Jaime was revealing his latest brainwave, ‘There’s a Hippopotamus on our Roof Eating Cake,’ he’d found it in a box of old childhood things. I hadn’t read the book before, I was sure of it, how could you forget reading a book so bright, so funny, so whimsical. And so I was inspired with each turn of the page, Jaime explaining his ideas away, “a film of nostalgia, we’ll do it for real!” I agreed this was indeed a pretty darn good idea. So it grew and grew, more than we would know, at the heart of it, we just wanted to make a really good film. That’s a great story - how has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of filmmaking - how are your fans responding? Filmmaking is a really challenging medium where making money is extremely unlikely, especially when working on short films. Therefore raising funds has to come from people who just want to support you or the project and finding people who are willing to part with money for little or no return is a challenge in itself.  It is something that we have had to consider from the start of this project, but it is also something that we have decided to face head on. Crowdfunding is great because you really get to take full advantage of the Internets networking ability. You can spread the word faster and you don’t have to pull crazy hours doing it. The experience has been positive and you don’t get that nasty feeling of being knocked back or rejected by funding bodies. We are lucky to have a really encouraging community and group of friends, but sometimes people don’t know how to help you, Crowdfunding gives them an easy opportunity to support you with little to no effort. The response has been good for us because the whole process is easy, people can share it around on facebook or other social networking sites without really going out of their way. It’s encouraging and well, a little bit fun. Your campaign is doing well so far - any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a project? If you are interested in crowdfunding, sit down and really think about your plan of action. Get all your facts down and think hard about why people are going to support you. You can’t simply rely on the kindness of strangers. Also, consider crowdfunding as just one part of your fundraising endeavors, you just never know who will find worth in your project. I happened to find one of those people at a friend’s birthday diner party because I was late and sat at the empty table. Chance meetings are a one in a million but if you try everything you can eventually you’ll succeed… Maybe. Thanks for these great insights Joel - we are excited to see this finished project. Mahalo, Brian Meece

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  • November 2, 2010