Sidewalk Traffic - Crowdfunding Feature Film Post Production

Sidewalk Traffic is a comedy-drama feature film, inspired by a period in my life when I was underemployed, clinically depressed, struggling with the realities of new fatherhood and trying to make peace with my station in life. I started to free-write about what was rattling around in my consciousness, how my long and lonely days were playing out, trying to purge the bitterness and get closer to the light of inspiration.  I wrote about the aftermath of suicide, extended unemployment in a shitty economy, the shake-up of gender roles in new parenthood, the cruelty of show business, and the inexplicable and often absurd passion of artists. There was something to laugh at in all of it. Brutal realism and naked honesty are funny, and there’s something universally relevant about these themes. So I took those free-written ramblings and adapted them into a feature length screenplay, which we shot over 15 days in NYC this past winter with actors like Samm Levine (Freaks and Geeks), Heather Matarazzo (Welcome to the Dollhouse), Kurt Loder (MTV), Dave Hill (This American Life, HBO, Fuse), Tom Shillue (Mystery Team), Paul Borghese (Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn), Tibor Feldman (Arbitrage). Our lead actors Johnny Hopkins and Erin Darke gave breakout performances as new parents fighting the good fight to keep their love alive and hold onto their dreams. At the present time we are, concurrently, editing the film and raising financing on RocketHub for post-production.  RocketHub is a great, user-friendly portal for crowdfunding and along with BVEW, has been tremendously supportive with advice, promotion and making connections. I am not a natural salesman and truly hate begging for money to indulge my artistic passions, but this is the game and you can’t win if you don’t play.  Raising money for a narrative film, art for art’s sake, is not like raising money for a cause. It’s harder to sell the do-gooder aspect of supporting an indie film. But I have found that passion is contagious and made it a point to accentuate the quality of the story and craft of the film we’ve made, which people are responding to. Sidewalk Traffic’s RocketHub campaign has been featured in Moviemaker Magazine, Filmmaker Magazine, Film School Rejects and our supporters feed off of the buzz we get from every tweet, facebook posting and online write-up. They brag about the project on their social media pages, which generates more traffic and more contributions for our campaign. My highly glib crowdfunding advice: Be relentless, but never intrusive. Be humble, but never lack confidence. Be sincere, and don’t fake it.  Believe in every thing you do and others will, too. - Anthony Fisher, Award-winning Writer, Filmmaker, and Voiceover Artist

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  • July 8, 2013

The Art and Craft of Hair - Crowdfunding Head Shape Matters

My inspiration for this innovation: I wanted to be a Master in my Craft, haircutting. I was a hairstylist for 12 years before I ever learned how to cut hair “technically”. Before that it was just by feel or visually. Once I learned the rules of haircutting, I put myself through the grueling process of changing 12 years of habits. It took eight long years before I felt like I had Mastered them. Only then did I start to see some “Challenges” !!!! I cut the EXACT same haircut on two different clients and the haircut looked VERY DIFFERENT. I doubled checked everything… to see what I had done wrong, everything was right! WHY DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?????  That day I saw just how much Head Shape changed a cut!!!!! Which brought up the question, how would I have to cut it differently on THIS head shape in order to get the haircut I wanted?????? I WAS A HAIRCUTTING EDUCATOR… traveling across the US, teaching haircutting and had NO IDEA how to do this. I tried to experiment but knew it was very involved and that I would need to dedicate much more time. I closed my Salon  and researched! What I discovered COMPLETELY BLEW ME AWAY!!!! I want to share these finding with Hairstylist EVERYWHERE!!!! It will CHANGE AN ENTIRE INDUSTRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Crowdfunding has been very emotional for me! The outpouring of support has been AMAZING!!!!! A salon owner who had brought me into her Salon to teach my cutting system, HEAD SHAPE MATTERS, really wanted some DVD’s for follow up and for any new team members at her Salon. She contacted me about it and I let her know that I just didn’t have the money to produce DVD’s right now. She started sending me links to crowdfunding sites as well as telling me that she wanted to be the first to fund it!!!!!! When I first read about  crowdfunding, it felt like begging. I asked her to help me see it the way she did. She told me that I had knowledge and skills that she wanted. That the DVD’s would help her grow personally and help her team grow. She also said that there were many, many more that would love this information. That it was an exchange of gifts.  The Industry has been so generous!!! Within the first 24 hours hours of launching the Project, I was 46% funded!!! I have received so much encouragement and THANK YOU’S from my peers. I don’t even know how many people have tweeted and shared my link on Facebook, I have lost count. I am overwhelmed with gratitude!!!!!! My advice: JUST DO IT!!!!!  I spent about 2 months researching other successful campaigns. I watched great videos… OVER AND OVER, taking notes on everything they did. I read blogs and interviews on how to be successful at it. I practiced my speech in front of a camera… oh about… 500 times!!! I WOULD DEFINITELY RECOMMEND doing your homework. I would also, recommend doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, in other words, if you want people to support you…. you must first support others!!!!!! - Kim Weaver Moore, Hairstylist, Educator, Crowdfunding Entrepreneur

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  • July 3, 2013

Revitalizing Detroit through Entrepreneurship and Crowdfunding

Anyone who knows anything about Detroit knows that abandoned buildings are a serious problem for the city. The whole 139 square miles, from Downtown to Eight Mile, contains a wide variety of derelict structures. These empty properties attract crime, reduce property values, and reflect badly on the city. At the same time, though, there is a housing crunch in certain neighborhoods. The occupancy rate in 2012 for rental units in the Downtown and Midtown neighborhoods was 95%. I had to pay rent for a month before I even moved to Detroit in order to secure a spot in my current building. With a recovering housing market, a revitalized city, and a generation of young people ready to urbanize, the time was right for a project like Rebirth Realty. I think our story resonates with a large cross-section of society. You’ve got urbanists, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, and Detroit lovers who can all find elements of Rebirth Realty to admire. We have supporters from across the country, from friends here in Detroit to a real estate agent in Virginia. I suspect there are many towns and cities around the country with historic homes in troubled communities who could apply our crowdfunding model to their rehabilitation projects. I’ll be interested to see how crowdfunded redevelopment catches on. For success crowdfunding, above all, make sure to tell your story. For us, our goal is to create a home for future VFA Fellows while rebuilding the neighborhood community. We want to bring the Fellows - smart, talented, people who care about their city - into a setting where their presence makes an immediate impact. I think that’s a story people can get behind. Also, offer some awesome perks! The one night/one weekend lodging rewards have been our most popular perks by far; we’re basically competing with Airbnb on that one. Naming rights have been key as well. Finally, you’ll need a great team. My teammates (Max Nussenbaum, Scott Lowe, and Sean Jackson) are hard workers with a commitment to, and passion for, our project. - Tim Dingman & Rebirth Realty Team, Entrepreneurs, Innovators, and Real Estate Crowdfunding Pioneers

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  • June 28, 2013

The Sugar Glider Genetics Project - Citizen-Science Meets Cuteness

The Sugar Glider Genetics Project is an initiative that I have been developing for several years and started when I was living in the USA, working at the National Cancer Institute in Maryland. I have always had an interest in the genetics and evolution of marsupials and I was amazed to discover the large population of Sugar Gliders that are kept domestically in the USA. It is quite a regular experience to go into a pet store and find them for sale. My immediate thoughts were, I wonder where this exotic animal has been exported from? I knew that Australia has strict regulations about the export of native animals, and after reaching out to the community of exotic veterinarians in the USA, it seemed that the most likely source was Western Papua/Indonesia. But nobody knew for sure. I could not find any records to support this claim, because Sugar Gliders are not a regulated agricultural species nor are they endangered and covered by the CITES convention. So I decided to use a wildlife forensics approach to answer this question. Initially all the sample contributions were donated by US veterinarians but after a while I started to receive a lot of emails from interested members of the community that own sugar gliders as pets. They were very interested in where their Gliders have come from but also in what might be the genetic causes of the unusual coat colour variations that have been selectively bred in captivity. It was the fact that the community of Sugar Glider owners were interested in this project that made think that this might be a good project to fund via crowdfunding. I decided to launch the campaign when I was invited to provide an informational video for a Sugar Glider Owners convention that was held in Columbus, Ohio. The video was premiered at the convention and meant that I was able to immediately reach out to the core interested parties. Many of the Sugar Glider owners from this convention have dedicated time and energy to promote the project and help generate international interest in my research. When it comes to crowdfunding Science, it definitely helps to have a charismatic and attractive study species, such as the Sugar Glider. This makes the project more accessible to a general audience. We are about half-way through the campaign period, and have reached 64% of the funding target. We have had quite a range of donations, all the way from $10 to $1,000. I would say that initially the majority of funders have been either from the Sugar Glider owner community or from my network of scientific contacts. I am hoping that with some more wide-reaching publicity in national news papers and scientific blogs that we will start to reach and attract donations from a wider audience. This project definitely has the potential to reach a wide audience, for example just 12 hours after a Facebook post by the science blog “Science Alert” about the Sugar Glider Genetics Project, the post was “liked” over 5,000 times and shared by nearly 1,000 of the Science Alert Subscribers. For crowdfunding success, make sure you know your target audience. The main reason that my crowdfunding campaign has been successful is because I have been able to work with a core group of people that are passionate about the project and care about answering the questions that my project poses. - Clare Holleley, Principle Scientist and Team Leader of the Sugar Glider Genetics Project, International Crowdfunding Innovator

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  • June 26, 2013

The Queens’ Tea Company Crowdfunds Gourmet Venture

In 2012, we had the opportunity to visit China for a neuroscience conference Michael was attending. We decided to make a tea trip out of it, since tea was one of our hobby interests, and since Asia is the motherland for the beverage. We explored numerous tea houses in China and Japan, met families who are tea farmers, and took classes from tea experts who have been trained in traditional tea history and preparation. We were completely enamored. The richness of the cultural traditions blended with the abundant health benefits represented a striking, fun overlap of our academic backgrounds, i.e., biology and history, respectively. It really was one of those electric experiences of discovery, and we became giddy to start sharing the culinary and cultural pleasure we were finding from tea. We like to say that tea is the original social media. It provides an ideal medium for connecting people to one another, to history, to other cultures, and to the earth. These are some of our core personal values, and we were energized to start a business that includes these principles in its corporate identity and vision.  Crowdfunding is still a largely underexplored creature. Running a crowdfunding campaign has certainly been a good way for us to market ourselves. Because of our campaign and its overt mission to develop a tea culture in our city, we’ve had the opportunity to appear on local television and participate in various radio and podcast programs to discuss our goals. All of this exposure has been valuable to us as a company. It is one of the secondary benefits we’ve experienced from running a crowdfunding campaign. It seems that because the crowdfunding approach to starting a business is so new, that many people are unclear why they should donate to a for-profit endeavor. People are conditioned to think of donations in the realm of non-profit charitable work, or the arts—not in the domain of business entrepreneurship. So part of the challenge we’ve faced is simply educating potential donors about the mechanism. It may seem obvious, but our experience is that having a well-produced video is very important for establishing a sense of instant credibility to a person who is being exposed to your idea for the first time. We’ve also seen people who were already fans and supporters who started to take us more seriously. Even though it cost us a little more upfront, a clean, professional-quality pitch video has been an asset. Secondly, if we could go back and re-do the campaign, we would have spent more time laying the groundwork for a fan group who would commit to be our cheerleaders during the course of the campaign. We would have focused more effort on building a base of enthusiasm before the launch. There is perhaps an expectation that one’s primary task in conducting a crowdfunding project is to simply launch the campaign, and that a well-designed video will instantly go viral and do the heavy lifting for you. This idea is illusory. We would have definitely laid out an editorial calendar and more extensive media goals, were we to do another campaign in the future.  - Seth Anderson and Michael Adam Ferguson, The Queens’ Tea Founders, Entrepreneurs, Crowdfunding Pioneers

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  • June 21, 2013

The Triagular Hot Dog Comes to Life - Crowdfunding Innovation from Sweden

For many years I was bothered with my sausages rolling off the gill into the dirt. Simple problem-solving resulted in the idea of a triangular hot dog. But it was first when I became a parent I saw the full potential of my triangular innovation and just had to do something about it. People are crazy about the product, they are already writing songs about it. But crowdfunding is new and strange for some and they send me envelopes with money. But I need the on-line support as much as the cash. The effort of many, putting in small amounts, is worth a lot more than you think. It attracts other funders and having many supporters is priceless in negotiations with suppliers and other partners. So, if you find a project you like, give it your support. Even if it’s just one dollar. Choose a project you’re passionate about. Figure out how you can reward your funders, tell everyone you know and go for it! I have at least two other projects that will be crowdfunded after I get this dog out on the market. Be amused and learn more from my many mistakes inventing stuff at my blog. - Martin Wande, Inventor, Dad, International Crowdfunding Pioneer

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  • June 14, 2013

The Dirty Sock Funtime Band - Crowdfunding Kid-Friendly Tunes

The Dirty Sock Funtime Band has had some amazing experiences creating music, music videos and TV episodes for families around the world. When we started, the kids’ music industry was just getting off the ground. We released our first album and within one year, we were on “Jack’s Big Music Show” on Nickelodeon, traveling the country and releasing a new album. As the industry has changed, we have explored ways to change with it. So, instead of seeking out a traditional record deal, we decided to reach out to our fans directly and do a RocketHub campaign. We had been recording a new album, The Dirty Socks Come Clean, and knew our fans really wanted to hear it. But in order to release it to the world, we would have to raise some more finances. One of our friends, Tabitha St. Bernard, used RocketHub to launch her innovative zero waste fashion line Tabii Just, and we were so inspired by her success that we decided to work with RocketHub. While the campaign isn’t over, people are responding well, especially this week as the campaign is coming to a close. Our fans are attracted to the prizes, from an exclusive EP of new songs to pre-ordering the album. Many have jumped at the opportunity to help. We have also gotten praise and recognition for being able to go out and release the album independently. Other bands who have tried their own campaigns before have been really supportive. There have been challenges. For some fans, this new approach to releasing an album has caused confusion and it has taken explaining all that goes into an album release, such as marketing, manufacturing and making music videos, to help clarify why we’re even doing a crowdfunding campaign. My biggest piece of advice is to accept that it’s a big project, put all other major projects that need promotions on hold, except for projects that lead directly to RocketHub. Be honest with yourself. It takes time and effort to raise money and it is not an easy thing to do. Secondly, be prepared to work on fundraising every day. Make sure there is no lag time. Keep people engaged daily. Last, it’s important to be realistic about the goal and not overshoot your abilities. If you definitely have the capacity to reach certain goals, then you need to aim for that.  Anything else is icing on the cake. - The Dirty Sock Funtime Band

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  • June 11, 2013

Invitation to Dance - A Film About Disability, History, Community, Civil Rights, and Dance!

Though we’d known each other for years, we usually saw each other only once a year at the opening night of the New York Film Festival.  Then Christian read Simi’s memoir, My Body Politic and instantly saw it as a film. We’ve been inseparable ever since. At the beginning, we thought we might make a narrative feature, but it soon became apparent that the real people in Simi’s world and their stories offered richer and more interesting possibilities. And the documentary, INVITATION TO DANCE was born. We followed the advice we got from Vlad Vukicevic at RocketHub, and Matthew Seig at our fiscal sponsor the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) which was to first reach the people we know, or are part of the groups and organizations that we belong to. From the strong initial response of our “first followers” that strategy certainly seems to be effective. But word is spreading, and INVITATION TO DANCE is grabbing the attention of not only insiders in the disability rights movement and disability arts community, but a broad spectrum of people in the arts, social justice movements, education, the film world, and more. INVITATION TO DANCE is, of course, about disability, but it is about history, community, dance, civil rights and more. For crowdfunding success, begin building the community around your project from day one -when you start pre-production. Later on, this will be your first audience. The strength of this group determines your success. Work with pros, who care about the projects they commit to. The folks at RocketHub and NYFA are very helpful, engaged and knowledgeable. But be prepared to work non-stop for the duration of the campaign. You will have to find dozens of ways to tell your public that your film is important and their contribution will make a difference. - Simi Linton & Christian von Tippelskirch, Directors, Producers, Crowdfunding Innovators

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  • June 10, 2013

Dancing Entrepreneurship - Full Force Crowdfunds the Next Step

Full Force Dance Repertory has been around for about three years now. However for the first two years were seasonal, operating only during the summer months because were in school. Anginese was in graduate school for dance therapy and A.R. Kadeem was in undergraduate for dance. Upon graduation we decided to run Full Force year-round.  In our first full year of operation, we wrote our business plan. Writing this was our inspiration because once it was completed, we realized that we needed to have more financial support. We have performed at various venues throughout the past three years, including being featured Off-Broadway, however we never had our own full dance concert. That is something we feel is most definitely needed in order for us to grow as a company. Our goal is to have one by the end of the summer - not to mention paying the dancers is important as well! Crowdfunding is nerve-racking! Because we are pioneers in the this field, there isn’t a Crowdfunding For Dance Companies for Dummies.  We wish there was a manual on how to crowdfund for this sort of genre. We are always thinking about this project. Once we officially went live with our campaign, we actually both dreamt about the outcome for the first few days. Various scenarios have played in our minds of what could or could not happen. However, we have stayed positive (and been praying) through it all. This means so much to us. This is apart of our dream, so it we can’t help but to consistently think about it. Our supporters have been responding very well. We know that every crowdfunding project has its ups and downs. There comes a time in which people are constantly donating, then all of the sudden it stops. There is dead moment. When this happens, it is always best to go back to the drawing board to see what can be done differently and more creatively. And that is what we have been doing! For each lull we have, we rework something.  We immediately see a spike in our funding after that. Granted, it has been challenging; but without challenge growth is impossible. For success, be different. This is what we knew we had to do when we first begun our project. There are many projects out there vying for attention and are soliciting support. But the thing that makes one project standout from the other is not necessarily a cool invention or a great organization, it is the uniqueness of it. Make sure you know who you are first and based off of that see what else is out there so that you can be different. Reach out to everyone….EVERYONE. Don’t be afraid to ask for support from all people in your network and beyond. You never know how they are willing to support your project. - A.R. Kadeem and Anginese Phillips, Dancers, Choreographers, Entrepreneurs

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  • June 6, 2013

Venture for America Announces Fellow Innovation Fund to Support Projects in Detroit, New Orleans, and Other Cities

Fellows gain access to American Express OPEN Forum’s Network of Entrepreneurs and RocketHub’s Crowdfunding Platform to fund their ideas. New York, NY — Venture for America, a fellowship program that helps recent grads become entrepreneurs, announced today that it will be offering its Venture Fellows the opportunity to use RocketHub, a crowdfunding platform, giving them the chance to compete for $25,000 in funding for their projects and ideas. For the first time ever, this “Innovation Fund” will offer the opportunity for these young entrepreneurs to access money available only to Venture for America Fellows. Additionally, American Express OPEN Forum, a sponsor of the Venture for America since 2012, will provide support for VFA Fellows with access to its advice-sharing platform, featuring powerful expert insights and a community of entrepreneurs. VFA Fellows will be able to leverage OPEN Forum’s network of entrepreneurs to exchange advice and make informed decisions related to a variety of business topics. “We are thrilled to give our Fellows the opportunity through the Innovation Fund to begin launching their projects and ideas,” said Andrew Yang, Founder and CEO of Venture for America. “This is really the first step toward giving our Fellows the opportunity to one day launch their own businesses and create jobs.” The projects competing in the challenge include a non-profit that teaches entrepreneurship in middle schools in New Orleans and Detroit, a networking app based in Providence, RI, and a sandwich shop in the up-and-coming “Over the Rhine” neighborhood in Cincinnati, OH. The Fellow that raises the most money through RocketHub between now and July 8th will receive $10,000 from the Innovation Fund, with other prizes for second and third place. To learn more about their projects and contribute to their ideas, you can visit “RocketHub is excited to partner with Venture For America to support their initiative of revitalizing American cities through entrepreneurship,” said RocketHub CEO, Brian Meece. “Crowdfunding now plays an important role in bringing innovation, jobs, and opportunities to communities across the nation.” Venture for America’s Fellows are recent college graduates chosen through a rigorous, multi-stage application and selection process. By giving these aspiring entrepreneurs a pathway to join startups and providing them with training and mentorship, Venture for America hopes to mobilize these young people as entrepreneurs moving forward. Fellow Innovation Fund Projects can be viewed at About American Express OPEN Forum: American Express OPEN Forum is an advice sharing platform featuring powerful expert insights and a community of entrepreneurs. Our focus is on unlocking the collective knowledge of entrepreneurs and growth-minded business owners by creating a community where they can come together and share their experiences. To learn more visit About RocketHub: RocketHub is an international, pioneering, open community that has helped thousands of entrepreneurs, scientists, artists, and social leaders raise millions of dollars. Part of RocketHub’s mission is to educate the public on the power of the crowdfunding model. As a result, the founders have lectured on crowdfunding at top schools and conferences around the globe, and have even testified in the U.S. Congress on the power of online fundraising.

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  • June 5, 2013