RocketHub Partners with A&E to Launch Project Startup

We are proud to announce that RocketHub has teamed up with A&E to launch PROJECT STARTUP. This partnership will support a new wave of entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers to help bring their businesses to life. A&E will work with RocketHub to identify key entrepreneurs who have current projects in development on RocketHub’s platform that reflect the network’s commitment to the new entrepreneurial spirit. A&E will support these projects with a significant seed money contribution to help them reach their fundraising goals, in addition to potential national exposure on all of the network’s platforms – including on-air and online. “A&E remains committed to using our power to reach millions of viewers who invite us into their homes daily to help improve the lives of those we touch,” said Dr. Libby H. O’Connell, Senior Vice President of Corporate Outreach for A+E Networks. “Through our partnership with RocketHub, we will be able to use our platforms to help entrepreneurs throughout the country see their vision brought to life.” In addition to supplying funding and exposure, PROJECT STARTUP will offer workshops, community town halls, entrepreneurial tips from A&E talent and original educational content on crowdfunding. A&E will also be creating co-branded sponsorable custom on-air vignettes for potential advertisers who are looking to link their brands with this groundbreaking initiative.   "Project Startup provides an outstanding opportunity for entrepreneurs who can now raise more funding and access new audiences,” said Brian Meece, CEO of RocketHub. “RocketHub is honored to be a part of the A&E family to expand opportunity for entrepreneurs across America." Click here, for more information. - The RocketHub Team

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  • April 17, 2013

Sparking Crowdfunding in Jacksonville, Florida

The world’s first Crowdfunding Festival, One Spark 2013 will be held in Downtown Jacksonville, Florida this week from April 17 - 21. The five-day festival will include almost 900 entrepreneurs displaying their projects at about 60 venues throughout the downtown Jax area. RocketHub’s own CEO Brian Meece was invited by One Spark to lecture on crowdfunding success patterns. “With One Spark, we are seeing so many talented people come together to put on a great event for the good of our city,” said Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown. “This is not only a great opportunity to ensure our best and brightest have a venue to compete, it’s an opportunity to open new doors for Jacksonville by drawing thousands of people to our Downtown for a truly unique experience.” Brian Lectures on Saturday April 20th at 2PM in the Terry Theatre @ The Times Union Center Click Here for more details. - The RocketHub Team

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  • April 16, 2013

Independent Poetry Press, Argos Books Crowdfunds Community Publishing

Argos Books is an independent poetry press founded and run by three poets. What I love about it is the total freedom we have to make what we envision real in the world—to make contemporary poetry publishing our own. Most of our titles are chapbooks, which we print ourselves make by hand, for the most part. Recently we got the chance to accept this totally brilliant full-length manuscript by a cross-genre poet/artist/performer, j/j hastain. The content of the book combines text and color images; we felt it would look and feel amazing printed in a full-color, perfect-bound format, which requires a much more involved printing process than what we normally do. That’s where the idea for the RocketHub campaign came in. So far, the process has been one of pure serendipity. A whole spectrum of folks—family, friends, acquaintances, fans we didn’t know we had—have emerged to support the campaign. The production of this book is now a community endeavor, a family affair. One of the most fun parts of the process has been putting the rewards together. It feels really reciprocal: we get the funds we need to print this new book, as well as the pleasure of sharing our earlier books and ephemera with our funders, who are near and dear to our hearts. For a successful project, be generous with letting people know about it! One of the most amazing discoveries, for me, is how much people actually want to help. Don’t be shy about reaching out to people and encouraging them to spread the word. - Iris Cushing, Co-Founder of Argos Books, Poet-Translator, Literary Crowdfunder

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  • April 15, 2013

Join the Popular Science #CrowdGrant Challenge And Do Something Amazing

Submit your project before June 15 for a shot at crowdfunding with the help of Popular Science and RocketHub. Popular Science has celebrated the world-changing work of scientists, thinkers, and makers for more than 140 years. We’re always tickled to learn how many of these great minds read the magazine, yet are bummed to hear how often sparse funding impedes their progress. So starting today, we’re trying something different: We’re going to help crowdfund our readers’ best ideas through the #CrowdGrant Challenge. #CrowdGrant is a brand-new partnership with RocketHub—a premiere crowdfunding platform—that’s now accepting the best and brightest project proposals in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and other future-shaping fields. Whether you’re a bathtub geneticist or an amateur hydroelectric engineer, a weekend chemist or a microelectronics master, we want to see your big idea in our queue for review. Submissions are due Saturday, June 15, by 11:59 p.m. EDT, and you must use this link to submit. For the “Set Your Time Limit” section of the submission, enter today’s date (we’ll change finalist time limits to July 15 through August 30).  Start planning your project now—it can take a couple weeks to polish an appeal to crowdfunders, as each submission requires a thorough description, a compelling video, rewards for those who decide to chip in, and more. Visit RocketHub’s Success School to learn and master the art of successful crowdfunding campaigns. And if you have any questions about how RocketHub works, its FAQ is a great starting point. Editors at Popular Science and experts at RocketHub will review, vet, and select all #CrowdGrant finalists. Winning submissions will attempt to make the world a better place while embodying the innovative spirit that Popular Science greatly values. Submissions should be related to science, technology, mathematics, or engineering. To help grease the wheels, we’ve provided a handful of hypothetical submissions below: Angela is an engineer who wants to develop an open-source system to monitor a dog while someone is away from home and, if the dog gets into trouble, calls the owner to intervene. But Angela doesn’t have the money to buy the tools and parts to bring her idea to fruition. Brian, a gardener-cum-rooftop farmer, recently completed a prototype for an affordable rooftop farming system designed to fit slanted roofs. To make a commercial product, so any homeowner can easily grow food (and lower energy bills), he requires money to line up factories to build and ship the parts. Cathy is a biological sciences professor who thinks people should have access to a low-cost kit to test themselves for genetic disorders—and keep the sequencing results private for life, no matter which company sequences the DNA. Now all she needs is cash to make it happen. Doug, a Coast Guard dispatcher, spent a year developing autonomous drone software that tracks and follows a rescuer and can deploy lifesavers from the air with a simple hand gesture. All that’s missing are the financial resources to launch a pilot program at his local beach. Evelyn is an astronomer looking for habitable exoplanets. She’s designed a system to allow backyard astronomers to help with the search, but she needs funding to both license her software and mass-produce a custom robotic tripod attachment. We’ll announce #CrowdGrant finalists on July 15, when project leaders can start their 45-day crowdfunding campaigns (all campaigns close on August 30). Unlike other crowdfunding platforms, there’s no requirement to hit a goal to receive funding. Yet most of the hard work of successful crowdfunding campaigns—rallying support through circles of people you know, frequent updates to funders, social media promotion, delivering on rewards, etc.—falls on project leaders. To that end, we’ve created the #CrowdGrant hashtag. Use it to follow the conversation or spread the word about projects on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and more. (And again, we encourage you to click through RocketHub’s Success School before submitting a project.) Finally, you may ask what makes #CrowdGrant different than simply crowdfunding on your own. It’s a great question. Popular Science has served as a touchstone of science and technology for nearly a century and a half. That we’re hand-picking finalists is not insignificant—especially as we reach millions of monthly website visitors, millions of readers of the print magazine, and a rapidly growing number of tablet users. That’s a big draw. We also intend to promote finalists as widely and as deeply as we can. So what are you waiting for? Do something amazing and submit your idea today. Guest Post by Dave Mosher, with Permission from Popular Science Update: Safeguarding your ideas is your responsibility—we don’t have the resources to answer questions about intellectual property or patents. However, plenty of online forums, Meetup groups, USPTO videos, and legal teams exist that might help. (You may want to start with our May 2013 issue’s primer on the changes to patenting, especially in regard to independent inventors.) The fine print: #CrowdGrant is not a contest, lottery, raffle, or anything left to chance with the promise of a cash prize. Submitting a project idea costs nothing and also guarantees nothing. RocketHub’s standard commission structure applies to the money donated to support projects, and Popular Science will share this commission to cover community management, marketing, and other costs associated with our involvement. Just like a typical RocketHub project, this means no additional fees for anyone (hooray!). See RocketHub’s FAQ for complete details about their crowdfunding platform, commission structure, and more. Questions? Email us at crowdgrant@popsci.com

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  • April 11, 2013

New York Street Musicians Come Together

This recording project is a celebration of a job well done; in which we have spent the last three plus years creating. But to back up slightly; for me, my interest in music and stories stems from a childhood spent on Indian land in the southeastern part of Oregon. We didn’t have electricity or paved roads. We got our entertainment from storytellers. Indians tell stories for lots of reasons, but ultimately storytelling preserves culture, cultivates identity and affirms existence. The opposite also holds true. When the stories stop and are no longer told, we lose pieces of our identity. Our community diminishes, and part of the cultural knowledge is gone. Busking, which is performing on street corners for money, is a culture; it is an identity; and it is filled with great stories. Three years ago, I set out to capture and celebrate some of these stories in our Art style/Coffee table book, The Noise Beneath the Apple, which is over 200 pages long and includes an actual record. During  the time I was working on this book, I thought ‘how cool would it be, to bring all of these street performers together under one roof, to create something truly genuine and authentic and unique, to capture a piece of the busking culture in a way that would be far bigger than any one of us individually. What a cool story that would be.’ The busking community is such a magical, musical and mysterious one, which overflows with talent, stories, trials, perseverance, connection and love. I am honored to be a part of it, seeing the connections and the unfolding. I really believe that the song New York State of Mind in conjunction with the massively talented musicianship of these street performers is the ultimate celebration of our time together. As you know, there are many different platforms available to work your project from. As a Virgo, I researched them all! As a journalist, I interviewed several founders of the varying platforms. For me, RocketHub was the best choice for a number of reasons. First was accessibility. What I mean by this, is that my contact, Brian Meece, was very able, willing and responsive to my questions. I have never done this sort of thing before, and I had—(and continue to have)—a lot of questions. He always answers my emails, sends me links to similar projects that had been successful, sends me articles on various issues surrounding crowdfunding, reviewed my project with me, gave me pointers and insight, spoke to me on the phone, and has provided a level of support that convinced me that he (and RocketHub) truly believed in this project and in me as a project leader. The second reason I chose RocketHub, was that I felt our project fit best in their forum. RocketHub is geared towards the arts and social concerns. You won’t find people raising funds for a root canal here. The high caliber and type of projects on RocketHub, clearly communicated to me that they have high standards. I was happy to be a part of this circle. With the online tools, personal support and high quality platform of RocketHub, my experience as a crowdfunder, has been great. We are raising funds, creating something epic and everyone is having a great time. Our supporters love the idea and have been great about contributing and sharing, sharing, sharing on their social networks. We have so many cool awards; I am very excited to fulfill them! Tips for success: 1) The key is in knowing your network. Who are they? How much can they fund? How can they contribute? Will they contribute? Are they engaged with you? Do you have a personal connection with them?  Remember the Six P’s: Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance! :) I had spent a fair amount of time connecting with people on my blog, via all my social networks, developing connections with music lovers, such as myself. I don’t have the 1% in my network. I have those that are working for a wage; those that are getting that last tread off their tires before they replace them; those that are making Halloween costumes for their kids as opposed to buying the newest designer ones. These are people with a lot of heart and soul. They may not have much, but, they will support things they believe in. That being said, I think you have to be realistic about your fundraising goal. How much do you really need? How much can you really raise? I think it is good to think of your project in tiers. What is the least amount of money you need to do your project? For example; start off with a Dixie cup wedding; if you get to replace it with crystal, Congrats! 2) Be prepared for the proverbial dip! I had read about this in the PDF downloads from RocketHub, but, I didn’t really know what that was going to be. I decided to have a celebration, whenever we hit our ½ way mark; which for us, happened to be exactly midway through the campaign. You have to have some new items and special things to celebrate, keep your supporters engaged and keep the energy up through the dip—(which I think is ½ way into the campaign!) If you are a musician, a StageIt concert is a great idea. For me, I had some videos in reserve to release at the ½ way mark, along with a celebrity endorsement and our performers covering New York State of Mind in the streets of New York during their gigs.   3) And a final thought about crowdfunding is fulfillment. I have spent a lot of time preparing and planning for successful fulfillment. Our supporters have funded us well in advance of our project on faith and trust; the least we can do is provide great awards in a timely manner. After all, we plan to replicate this project next year in New Orleans, (same project/different song!) I hope to continue to build and add to my current network of supporters. As everyone in business knows, it takes 10 times more time, effort and energy to create a new customer, than to retain a current one. If our supporters are delighted with the experience—(which I know they will be)—they in turn will tell ONE of their friends; on the other hand, someone who is unhappy will tell ten—(or so I’ve heard!)  :) Until next year Rockethub, when in New Orleans we shall meet! - Heather Jacks, Indie Music Pioneer

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  • April 9, 2013

Filming Female Boxing - Crowdfunding a New Documentary

Female boxing is just so raw, captivating and beautiful. When I first met Heather “The Heat” Hardy at the famous Gleason’s Gym, I knew her character and personal story would give the audience a look into the world of fighting and the stakes at hand. But this film is more than a fight movie. It goes behind closed doors and explores the inequalities females face in the industry and how the sport plays out in a larger social context today. The response has been tremendous. When we had 26 days left in the project, we had already reached our goal. This prompted us to raise our goal to $20,000 on April 3., which will help our production value and allow us to up the creativity that goes into making a movie and developing a strong storyline. I am thankful for every single one of our donors who believe in HARDY and continue to support and fuel our vision every day. So my experience has been wonderful and continues to be as we near the end of our mission. RocketHub is a phenomenal platform to rally excitement for a new project, especially a film with a cause like HARDY. Though a relatively new phenomenon, crowdfunding has proved to be a successful way to raise money and reward your donors. My advice for others would be to step up to the challenge of crowdfunding and just “go for it.” I had my doubts and concerns before I launched the project, but once I let go and knew that my film would help make a difference and a strong statement, I knew others would become as determined and excited as me.  - Natasha Verma, Journalist, Filmmaker, Crowdfunding Pioneer

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  • April 5, 2013

To Tennessee - Hitting the Road with Crowdfunding

The thought of fundraising had never entered our minds when we began planning this tour. Originally the tour started out as a brief and very low budget trip through Tennessee where we would book a few shows, work with local musicians (we couldn’t afford to take a full band down) and eat a lot of barbeque. It’s always been a dream to perform in Tennessee as our music is so deeply influenced by the various musical traditions of that state with the Appalachian mountain music influence in Knoxville to the east, the country music tradition and recording legacy of Nashville in the center of the state and the fundamental impact of the blues in Memphis as the first stop up the Mississippi river from the delta. The idea of playing music in these cities started out as not much more than an exciting trip. As we started planning our trip, bigger and better opportunities kept presenting themselves and what started out as a brief, low budget tour turned into an important chance to take a big career step forward. Pretty soon it became clear that in order to make the most out of these opportunities we would need some serious funds to make it all happen. We were able to book some amazing venues and concerts, from a live radio performance, to some very hip clubs, to a supposedly haunted dive bar/performance space. In order to appropriately promote these gigs we needed funding. We were also put in touch with some incredible musicians across the state and, while it was still much cheaper than bringing down a band, in order to pay them appropriately we would need a significant budget. The chance to work with these amazing musicians in great venues seemed like an unmissable opportunity to try to get some important press coverage for the tour and the music and to make the trip a career move in addition to an great experience. We quickly realized that funding this project out of pocket wouldn’t be possible, yet the opportunities seemed too important to pass up. After (unsuccessfully) racking our brains for a rich uncle it became clear that fundraising via crowdsourcing was our best option. This was our first time doing any kind of crowdfunding, so it felt like we were pioneering throughout the whole process! However, right away we realized that this particular campaign was going to be a challenge because it wasn’t a product based project. We were very wary of asking fans and friends to contribute to a project that didn’t have a direct gain for themselves. It was very different than, say, crowdsourcing to fund an album or film or comic book, where donors contribute to a product that they will ultimately receive. Our solution was to mix tour themed incentives with some “non-Pete Lanctot” related ones. We’ve designed tote bags and stickers (logo to be released soon!) specifically for the tour to give out as thank you gifts to backers, as well as offering personally written postcards from Tennessee, and personal thank you videos shot from the tour. We also will be raffling off an iPad and offering free music lessons and our services playing classical/jazz music for special events (we’re both music teachers and play in a lot of weddings on the side). We are also sending out signed copies of the album, “The Best of the Bantam Years” which we handmade to look like 45s for any contribution of $10 or more, which seemed like a nice personal touch. So far the support has really been amazing. We’re just around 60% of the way there with a few weeks left. We are blown away and so grateful to the fans that have contributed. One of the most surprising things we’ve experienced is that a number of old friends that had fallen out of touch have not only contributed to the project but have also reconnected with us. It’s been great to catch up with some old friends and many of them have been turned on to the music. It’s really been an exciting campaign so far and we’ve had our first few viral contributions in the past few days. People off of our mailing list and non-facebook friends have started to contribute. We’re trying hard to take this process one step at a time. For success, be genuine, personable and humble. Spend the time to contact your fans and supporters directly to let them know what’s going on. Send a personal email to let them know what you are trying to do and how they can help. Even if they can’t donate, maybe they can pass the project on to someone who can. Be very clear about why you need the support and specific about what the funding will go towards. For us, this tour is an amazing opportunity to gain new fans, work with some amazing musicians and get some really important press, and we’re really hoping it will be a big career step forward. It’s been extremely important to us since we first decided to crowdsource for this tour that it be very productive and not come off as a vanity project. I hope that the emphasis we have placed on articulating that has been a big asset to this campaign. Choose good incentives. Your friends, family and fans support you because they like you (and hopefully believe in you). If they wanted a car wash, or a new iPad, or a taxidermy prairie dog or a trip to Bermuda they could go out and buy it for themselves. The prizes are probably not their main motivation for support. That said, good incentives certainly don’t hurt. Be creative about your prizes, make them personal, but most importantly, make sure that they are useful. You don’t have to offer a new Corvette, but it’s important for your thank you gifts to pass the “would anyone actually want this?” test. That being said, since writing this, the taxidermy prairie dog seems more and more enticing. Stay tuned, a new prize level may be on the way… - Pete Lanctot & Ginger Dolden, Musical Innovators

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  • April 2, 2013

Redefining Aging, Crowdfunding an Entry into Miss New York Senior America

As I was approaching 60, I could see that society was changing my choices due solely to my age. I was scared. I was getting scared of the future. I felt that I had a choice to deny or accept that I was aging. I decided to define what aging meant to me.  I want to eradicate the image of the aging frail bent over woman (or man) 60 years of age and older. Seniors of today are a Renaissance group empowered by vitality, flexibility and believe that to live is to give. This led me to run for MISS NEW YORK SENIOR AMERICA, a living example of what mature people have to offer. The organization sponsoring the beauty pageant is a non-profit. There is no prize money for whomever wins the title of MISS NEW YORK SENIOR AMERICA - the prize is the process and the message. Crowdfunding was a business tool discussed in an entrepreneurial class I had taken this year. People discussed various applications of the tool. I knew that the Pageant would cost more money than I could afford. In alignment with my philosophy that we can learn anything new at any time, I thought raising money for my expenses on a new platform was perfect. The question then became which crowdfunding platform. I asked around, and found that someone who I trusted had a good experience with RocketHub. There are no costs involved with setting up a project that makes it ideal for anyone with artistic projects needing development.  I cannot say enough about how wonderful the support staff has been in helping me connect with others and be clear about seniors making a difference. After I launched the project that in and of itself was an experience, I had to contact the support at RocketHub to ask how people were now going to find the project! I was emailed the link. The staff was extremely patient and they do talk on the phone! My supporters pleasantly surprised me with their enthusiasm about my learning how to sing now and they were thrilled to experience this new platform and be a part of the process. My supporters believe in spiritual power of reinvention. I have gotten the courage to step thru my fears by borrowing from their strength. The presentation is of course important but the message is key. The message is why people will engage and fund the project. I live my message, and that makes it real - At any age…even if it doesn’t feel like it, THERE ARE SECOND CHANCES. I was unfamiliar with making web videos, so I spent a little too much time trying to make mine perfect, instead of getting it out to more people. I would suggest to others using the platform to just go with what you have. Waiting for great may be the enemy of being good. - Ellen Sexton, Modern Renaissance Woman, Crowdfunding Pioneer

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  • March 28, 2013

Fighting Tuberculosis through Crowdfunding

The work in my research group at IDRI is very focussed towards making new drugs for tuberculosis (TB). We had been using electron microscopy to understand how the bacteria that cause TB make their cell wall, which is the outer layer of the bacteria that protects them from the environment and is a major obstacle to antibiotics. We realised that this type of work could also help us to understand how to make better antibiotics and we designed a study that would help us answer this. However, we did not have funding to run these expensive experiments. One of my collaborators, Siouxsie Wiles, had a project on RocketHub and had achieved her funding goal, so it seemed like a really good idea to try this and I thought that this was a project we could ask people for help with. I have been amazed at the response. We reached our goal within a week, something I never thought would happen so quickly. I was hopeful that we could achieve our goal within the longer time frame, but this was really fantastic. Being able to tap into crowdfunding on RocketHub has really expanded the range of work we can do. I have a talented group of scientists working with me, they are all really dedicated to our goal of making TB drugs, which would help so many people in poorer parts of the world. We are all familiar with the terrible numbers, but we also know that most people don’t realise it is still a major problem. This process has helped us raise visibility of the global problem and of our work. The really nice things are that it has put us in contact with many people who are interested in our work, and that allows us to have a continuing dialog. As a scientist, it’s really important to be able to talk with everybody about the importance of our work and also to explain the passion, the creativity and the fun that we have in our daily work and this has provided a mechanism for us to do this. An added bonus has been that we now have some very nice videos that explain our work to the public. We have had many people view the videos and lots of compliments on the content and the sentiments.Many of the group have been involved in making our videos which is great training in how to make science accessible and understandable – and it has meant that every person in the team has been able to share their work easily with their friends and family. My crowdfunding advice would be to set aside enough time to develop and support the project. You need to think through your project carefully and then make some effort to explain it for everybody - you definitely need to have a passion for communication and engagement with your supporters. I think a defined project with clear goals helps, and of course, making videos and photos and blogs are a great way to get people coming to visit your project. Be prepared to add content during the project - I was lucky to have a group of willing volunteers ready to help with this, but you don’t need a team of people to do this, one person can do it just as well (you just need some energy!). Also, make sure you thank your supporters and be prepared to enter into a longer term relationship with them. Finally, I would say you need to enjoy the experience, personally I found the whole process really exciting and energising and I have loved doing it. - Professor Tanya Parish, Vice President, Drug Discovery, Infectious Disease Research Institute

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  • March 26, 2013

Music Fans are Mad for Justice

Mad for Justice has been performing original rock music in New York City for the past year. The band members in various combinations have played together in other successful bands in NYC. Mad for Justice blends together elements of modern/alternative rock, funk, classic rock, and R&B into our own distinctive sound. We get fantastic audience reactions at our live performances. We are recording a 3 song EP of three crowd-favorite songs so we can share our music with more people. The producer on this project has over 20 years music industry experience, and formerly worked for major label EMI Music Group as a producer and director of A&R talent development. We are very excited that he hears the qualities in Mad for Justice’s music to resonate with new listeners who will hopefully become fans. Support has been very good from our friends, family, and local fans of Mad for Justice. The key now is to spread the good word about our music to new listeners in New York City and around the world. The music industry today has many talented, creative people competing for the attention and support of fans. Connecting with the people who are excited about new music and willing to contribute to a top quality studio recording is the big challenge. Many music fans are not familiar with how dramatically the music industry, major label record companies, and independent artists have changed over the past decade. In the world today, crowdfunding is an essential component for aspiring artists to take their music to the next level. We are extremely grateful for each and every contribution in support of our studio recording. For our Mad for Justice EP project video, we feature a live performance recording. Very real, very raw … no post-production whatsoever. It gives a glimpse into the energy and musicianship of the band, and to the exuberant audience reaction. We have seen other projects with video’s that talk about their project and provide some personal insights into the artists. Some of them are very clever and engaging. Perhaps that type of focus is better for introducing the artists and attracting new supporters. Our advice is to look at the video and written presentation of other projects for ideas, and go with whatever approach feels right for you.  We wish everyone the best in fulfilling their dreams! -Phil Reeves, Guitarist, Mad for Justice Founder

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  • March 21, 2013