Vancouver Based, Eloi Homier Bergeron Makes His Own Dance

Since moving to Vancouver, I’ve found it challenging to find enough dance work to support myself entirely, so - like many creatives - I work at a day job completely unrelated to my craft. And although I’m grateful to have a decent job at all in the current marketplace, my call-center work can sometimes drive me crazy. 3 ways to kill a dancer was conceived in reaction to my frustrating day job experience, and in starting to choreograph it, it’s proving to be good therapy! Aside from the day job pushing me to do this project, the idea of creating my own dance performance has been brewing in my head for a long time, and now is the time to make it happen! Eloi Homier Bergeron’s inspiration and creative story is not uncommon in the arts world. His talent and dance project is unique. I spoke to Eloi about his crowdfunding experience in Vancouver and beyond. I’ve been thrilled and grateful for my family and friends’ response. They immediately grasped my creative vision and the crowdfunding concept, supporting me like true fans. I think a lot of people can relate to the concept of needing to get out of the monotonous day-to-day life and follow their dreams, which has helped my project find success. It’s validating to see how many people I don’t even know ‘Liking’ my project on the RocketHub page, and I’ve even had a few contributions from complete strangers! That’s awesome - you’ve done quite well! Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Some people are not very familiar with the crowdfunding concept yet, so don’t get discouraged if not everyone responds right away. I would suggest explaining in detail what your project is about and giving as much information about how the platform works, to make your supporters feel confident about their action. Thank you Eloi for your inspiration and dedication. Grab tickets and other cool rewards, here. -Vlad

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  • January 5, 2012

Teaching Photography, Empowering Children in Ethiopia

Mona Soltanian-Morgan is primary school teacher with a mission. She is bringing art, creativity, and pro-social education in order to support and empower you people in Ethiopia. Her RocketHub project is raising funds and awareness in order to sponsor important photography education. I spoke with Mona, who is located half-way across the world in the United Arab Emirates. What was the inspiration behind your pro-social photography project? My husband and son and I moved to Dubai earlier this year, and for our Eid public holidays coming up in November, we thought it might be fun to go as a family to Ethiopia to visit some orphanages. Partly because Ethiopia is so close (only four hours away) and partly because we thought it would be a great life experience for our quite materialistic son, now growing up in this part of the amazing, but also quite materialistic, section of the Middle East. Years ago, when I was still a young lass, I had done three similar service type projects. The first was to some Aboriginal communities (in Australia where we’re originally from), the second to Vanuatu, (because a friend of mine who had grown up there would not shut-up about how amazing it was), and the third after I married my husband, to India, where my husband was volunteering for Australian Volunteers Abroad. In all these experiences, the one thing that struck me was that the good will and the warm vibes and the very cool cultural/friendship connections always always always start with children breaking the ice. It has been my experience that adults just smile and nod politely and respectfully at each other while children get in your face and poke you and ask you why your skin is so white and laugh hysterically at you because you pronounced some local word the wrong way. So that was my starting point. The project started out by me raking my mind thinking of something that might engage children while I was there. And then I remembered the trip to Vanuatu where I had cursed myself for not taking more polaroid shots with me, because my polaroid camera had been such a hit (much more popular than I could ever hope to be) and I thought, wow, what if I had just a huge amount of money to spend on cameras and film? And it seemed worth a try to just put it out there and see if other people thought it would be a good idea too. Love it - we’ve seen photography do some amazing things on RocketHub, but this is both original and bold. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of artistic social good in Dubai and Ethiopia - how are your supporters responding? What a lovely ego-boost of a question :) Actually, the whole experience has been quite humbling. The amount of good will and support that is out there amazes me. One example of this, we wanted to use some of our baggage allowance to take some donated goods with us to the orphanages. So I put up a post on an expat forum here, thinking it might be a good first step to getting donations, and I kid you not, within 48 hours we had so many donations we had far exceeded our baggage allowance and had to turn people away. So I feel really lucky to be on the receiving end of all this good will, even though I know it is not for me, it is for the beautiful kids at the orphanages who every-one loves, but by getting to be the mule that takes it all there, I get these kind of default good will vibes bouncing off me, which is a great feeling. That’s awesome - we’ve found that tangible, clear, and creative pro-social projects do quite well with crowdfunding. You’ve built a lot of momentum quickly. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Well to start with I was really shy about the project. And I just very casually put it up on my Facebook page, with a comment like ‘You might want to share this with people who are interested. Or not, whatever.’ And of course nothing happened. So then I kind of tried the complete opposite strategy which was sending one on one emails to people, which was very effective, albeit a bit mortifying to the shy part of my personality. I think the key is to be very passionate about what it is that you are wanting to crowdfund. I really loved this project. I was very passionate about it and that made it easier to be bold in asking for money for it.   Because really, people will only fund it if they also feel passionately about it. And not every-one will be. I really don’t think many (if any) of the people who contributed did so out of a feeling of loyalty to me. For instance, some (but only a few) of my very close friends have contributed to it. I come from a very large ethnic, extended family, and only one (out of a possible 35 cousins) has contributed to it. And that’s okay, because I think the people for whom the project does resonate, will contribute. And that’s wonderful. At the end of the day, I would really recommend taking on crowdfunding for the simple reason that it connects you with many other like-minded people who are also passionate about your project. When I started this project I put in an really ambitious number as our goal, because I thought would be what we could get in the best case scenario. But really I could do the project in a very basic skeletal form with the money we already have now, so the project is already a success in my mind. It would be fantastic to have all the money because that would mean more cameras and more film for the kids, but by putting it out there as a crowd-funding project, I feel like I already have more resources than I ever realistically could have hoped to generate on my own. And plus, it is really a nice feeling doing something as a group. Every time someone donates something, even if it’s a very small amount, I feel they are intimately connected to this project. And at the risk of sounding too airy-fairy, I feel like there are invisible spiritual bonds that are created. Like we are all kindred spirits taking this project on together, in this really pure way. And this has been much more powerful than if it were just me or just me and my family doing this. So I feel grateful. We’re grateful that you brought this project to the RocketHub community. Thank you for your candid answers. Support Mona’s mission and grab some cool rewards. -Vlad

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  • October 31, 2011

Get-A-Game, Find a Friend To Play With

Daniel Tashman is launching a geo-social digital service that connects people looking to play pickup games such as basketball or tennis. His platform connects sport enthusiasts with each other as well as venues, game sites, locations, events, and sport related commercial options local to them. And we think it’s an awesome idea - the RocketHub team is excited about testing it out. Daniel is crowdfunding the promotion process for his cool new application and I spoke with him about his experiences. I founded the parent company, Tomato Lightning, with the goal of creating active lifestyle electronics for young adults; Integrating technology in a physical way to help get the teen/tween more active. Get-A-Game connects people looking for pickup games and sport play and helps promote an active/healthy lifestyle. I wake up every morning feeling like I am trying to contribute something positive to the world. I’ve been thrilled with the response. Our goal is ambitious, but it’s been very rewarding to see the support of so many friends and colleagues. It’s very humbling having to ask for money, but when you get RocketHub emails throughout the day telling you that more people are fueling your project, it empowers you to press forward even harder. Be active In your crowdfunding. People need to understand the importance of what you are doing. Make personal calls, don’t just rely on digital media. Offer the best incentives you can afford. Thank you Daniel for your awesome new app and for flying with team RocketHub. Check out this project, here. -Vlad

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  • August 16, 2011

Innovating Philanthropy - Tampa Students Crowdfund Support

Tampa has a significant population of homeless, and as part of a school project, a group of inspired students decided to put together care packages and deliver them to people on the streets. Led by Ralph Caputo, this same group has decided to boost their efforts through an innovative crowdfunding campaign. We believe that crowdfunding and RocketHub can revolutionize philanthropic giving. And Ralph and his cohorts are a great example of this. I spoke with Ralph about his efforts and his success. What was the inspiration behind the pro-social project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? I am an International Baccalaureate student and part of the IB program includes developing and implementing a service project in our community. My family has been involved in a homeless ministry for several years where we cook for and feed a group of homeless people, so I knew that I wanted to do something for them. They are always needing more general supplies for life, like toothpaste, deodorant, socks, bug spray, and other simple necessities that we take for granted. That’s how I got the idea for creating care packages for them. This project is extremely important to me because of our connection to these homeless people. They are not a random group of homeless people, they are people we have relationships with and who we will recognize on the streets. We will not limit the distribution of our care packages to the people we feed on Sundays, but we will start there. Your caring and dedication comes across very clearly. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of philanthropy in Florida - how are your supporters responding? I was a little nervous beginning because there are not many philanthropic projects on RocketHub, but it did seem to provide me with the tools that I needed. I wasn’t sure if I would get any attention from the RocketHub community. I thought about collecting money through a PayPal account, but I liked the way building a project in RocketHub worked. I liked being able to put my video up, the information about my project, and the awards for fuelers. Thinking about what rewards to offer helped me set up the project with different ideas such as personalized cards in the care packages to the homeless. I don’t know if I would have thought of that if I weren’t thinking about what rewards to offer my fuelers. My supporters are very enthusiastic and generous in giving because of my purpose. We see more and more cool and innovative philanthropic approaches like yours. So you’re at the forefront of this trend. You’ve built a lot of momentum quickly. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? You have to use all of your networks. I shared via Facebook with the help of postings from my family members. We sent emails containing the RocketHub project link to all of our contacts. Don’t forget email. It is very valuable for this kind of fundraising. That’s right - we see email as still being the most important digital form of communication. Thank you for your project and initiative. Check out this project, here. -Vlad

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  • August 15, 2011

Opera for the People

Giasone was one of the most popular operas of the 17th century; this raucous telling of the Jason and Medea myth features tortured lovers, a bitter old maid, and other interesting characters. Using a style that incorporates commedia dell’arte, punk and cabaret, Opera Omnia’s version of the quest for the Golden Fleece is sure to delight the fun crowds of New York. We spoke with Wesley Chinn of the Omnia team about pulling off and funding a modern opera. What was the inspiration behind the innovative opera project you are currently running on RocketHub? This is actually our second project as a company, so let me give a two-part answer. Opera Omnia’s first project was Monteverdi’s Coronation of Poppea, which we presented, in English, at Le Poisson Rouge in August of 2008. The previous January, I had just played a show with the Worldess Music Orchestra, which is run by Ronen Givony, who does the classical programming at LPR, and he sent out a call soliciting classical programming proposals for this new club he was involved in. I pitched him on doing an opera, and pulled together the other two artistic directors of the company (Crystal Manich, stage director, and Avi Stein, music director), with whom I’d been talking about doing this for a while, and we put together the show. Thanks in part to the late-summer doldrums, and in part to the buzz around LPR’s opening, we were able to get a lot of attention. We managed to to get a full-page preview in the New York Times arts section, got a lot of further attention and sold out our show. I’d been running around for nearly a decade before that telling everyone that I wanted to put on 17th-century opera in English. These early operas have huge amounts of text that goes by relatively quickly, with occasional tunes mixed in; this can make them a little difficult when done in the original language, but in translation you see this wonderful thing, which is that it’s almost more of a play set to music than an opera—the effect is that it sounds like old music, but as far as dramatic pacing and the general experience it has more in common with Gilbert and Sullivan than it does with, say, Wagner. So in a relatively small room like Le Poisson Rouge, and accompanied by these early instruments like harpsichords and lutes, everyone can sing in a way that you can really understand them without having to work at it, and suddenly you have direct communication between actor and audience—unmediated by supertitles or a libretto—as you would in a play, and you have a show that anyone can enjoy.  I love opera to death, but oftentimes we feel like we have to do homework in order to enjoy the show properly. There’s absolutely a place in this world for art that isn’t too easy to understand, but I wanted to show that opera doesn’t always have to fall in that category, and sometimes can just be a lot of fun.  As far as this show in particular (have I gone on too long yet?), it had been three years since our first one, and obviously those years were tough ones for the economy (not that we’re done with that, as the last weeks have shown!). We’d raised almost $25,000 in donations for the first show, and I knew a couple of those were from people who’d done me a one-time favor. The thought of trying to put on another opera was just too terrifying. But eventually it was just time—furthermore, I figure that collectively, it’s the fact that businesses and individuals are afraid to spend money is part of what holds back our economic recovery. You might call the show the world’s smallest economic stimulus program (something I guess you could say about many RocketHub projects). If you want to get political, you could also take the conservative standpoint, in which case I’d say that giving money to us is a chance to demonstrate that supply-side economics actually works! Your passion clearly comes through in the project. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of opera music in New York - how are your supporters responding? As I hinted above, we’re also going about some more traditional fundraising, through snail mail letters and such; the $5000 we’re seeking to raise through RocketHub (hopefully more!) is just a portion of our overall goal. What RocketHub has enabled us to do is to not only to amass some smaller donations, but also to reach out to people who I wouldn’t have been comfortable sending solicitations to. It’s hard to ask for money! But I’ve been delighted at some of the people who I knew supported our work, but who I didn’t expect to be interested in contributing monetarily. There’s a little part of me that feels bad about getting money from my friends, but mostly it’s an amazing feeling to have people tangibly put themselves behind what you’re doing. What I’ve been particularly pleased with is the response from the creative community of the city (which is confusing, of course, because in RocketHub parlance, we’re the Creative). Our donors are an immensely talented group, and if you locked them in a room, they could write and produce their own very successful opera! That makes total sense - crowdfunding part of the total amount needed is very common. We are all Creatives in one way or another :) You’ve built a lot of momentum quickly. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? As I mentioned above, we had a few advantages going into this—nearly 1500 people saw our last show, and thanks to both the magic of the media and the interconnectedness of the New York music scene, we had a pretty healthy reputation already established in a bigger circle than that, which I think helped a lot with getting people to respond to our campaign. I like to think we also had a well-conceived project. While opera is inherently among the least-practical ventures one could imagine (and I like to compare deciding to put on an opera with deciding to jump off a cliff and hope that your parachute opens on the way down), I think our project has a clear place in the music scene and it’s clear what we’re trying to accomplish and why it’s different from what anyone else is doing, which I think is really important. The part that everyone should understand is that the internet isn’t magical. I’ve heard a lot of marketing professionals talk about wanting things to go viral as though it were this magic thing that’s going to solve all of their problems. It’s hard to quantify exactly why some things go viral—but they have to start with some combination of compelling content and some initial people who will care enough (or be so compelled by the content) to aggressively pass a link on to their friends. In fact, for us so far RocketHub is mostly a convenient way to reach out to our existing contacts and give them an easy way to support us without picking up a checkbook and finding a stamp. It helps that we have a reputation as a company, but our success so far also rests on our reputations as individuals and the donations are partly a personal vote of confidence.  That part is something anyone can duplicate to some degree—come up with a project you can stand behind and understand that you will have to marshal your personal network to support you. That said, of course we do hope that our campaign goes viral and that we start getting donations from people we’ve never heard of who just love our idea, so if you’re reading this, please feel free to click on our campaign and give us some fuel! Thank you Wesley and Omnia for this awesome project. The RocketHub team looks forward to coming out and supporting the performance. Get your tickets and other cool rewards, here. -Vlad

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  • August 12, 2011

We Are Daryl Shaber - The Salesforce Community Crowdfunds Success

Because of the large size of the Salesforce community, it is very easy to get bogged down with information overload. This is where “We Are Daryl Shaber" comes in. The site will be a hub for unofficial and official Salesforce community resources. And Patrick Connelly is the man with the plan who is leading the movement. He has galvanized his network of individuals and supportive organizations (including Appirio, Bracket Labs, and Shell Black) to quickly crowdfund this new platform. I spoke with Patrick about how he did it and where he plans to take the community. Inspiration: Part of my job is as a developer on the Salesforce platform. Over the years I’ve learned a lot of things about the community and where to find information, but it has taken a long time. The problem isn’t that the information isn’t there, but that it is spread all over the place. That’s where the idea for our project stemmed from. What wearedarylshaber.com is designed to be is a hub for all of this information. What’s with the name you ask? There is a Twitter bot named Daryl Shaber that retweets information about Salesforce and other things in the Salesforce world / community. So, just like the information that comes from Daryl Shaber is not from one individual, the Salesforce community is not one person. The entire community is, in a sense, Daryl Shaber. We all are a little bit of Daryl. Experience: To be honest, I was a little leery about how well the fundraising was going to go at first. Originally we posted the target amount at what it would cost us to run the site for a year as well as buy some promotional items to take with us to Dreamforce (the annual Salesforce conference). But once we started posting our RocketHub project online and the donations started coming in, I was ecstatic. I’ve been part of several projects in the past that never got off the ground because of people say “sure, I’ll chip in” and never actually doing it. But thanks to the outstanding Salesforce community we are able to not only fund that stuff we had originally planned, but are now able to provide more promotional items and beef-up our backend. Advice: I think the biggest reason behind our success has been social media. Prior to the launch of the RocketHub, we generated some buzz about an ”upcoming project” and got people to pay attention. Then when we launched the RocketHub we posted the information anywhere somebody would listen.  It really helped that one of our organizers, Amber, is very connected in the Salesforce community and helped get the word out. The other key to our success are the companies Appirio and Bracket Labs who made large contributions because they too are large supporters of the Salesforce community. Plus, people like free t-shirts :) Thank you Patrick for leading the way and for bringing this great community to RocketHub. Check out this project, here. -Vlad

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  • August 10, 2011

Christmas in August - Sean & Aimee Crowdfund a New Album

Sean and Aimee Dayton are award winning musical artists from North Bay, Ontario. They’ve released three albums and are now working to develop their new Christmas record. I spoke with Sean about what inspires this dynamic duo and about the timing of their new endeavor. What was the inspiration behind the music project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you and why do a Christmas album now? It seems the older I get, the busier Christmas becomes. I hear it from friends and family all the time. Running around buying presents. Working extra hours to pay for the presents. Then trying to find time to wrap all the presents. It can be a pretty hectic time. Our Christmas album is kind of a response to that. To give people a chance to slow down in the midst of the craziness. It’s sort of an acoustic Christmas album. A lot of us have great memories hanging out with family in the living room … that’s how we’re trying to approach this album. A ‘Living Room Christmas’. Our faith plays a big a part in the songs we’ve selected. That’s what Christmas is about for us.  That makes sense a lot of sense. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of music in Canada - how are your supporters responding? The response has been amazing so far! We’re definitely on track to reaching our $5000 goal. The window for selling Christmas music (traditionally) is pretty small .. so the great thing about this is that it’s helped open the window for us. Not only that, .. I’m seeing that people are buying extra copies. That probably wouldn’t have happened any other way. We’re only 15 days into the campaign, but I’m already convinced that crowdfunding is the way to go.  Very smart use of the crowdfunding mechanism. You’ve built a lot of momentum quickly. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Build relationships. Most of my supporters so far have been people that I know personally. Facebook & twitter are great to help get the word out, but you might not get a huge response unless you have relationships with some of these people. They’ll be more apt to support your project .. especially when they know you (and they’re interested in what you’re doing). Also, a good deal/incentive never hurts - especially when it involves Christmas cookies!! Thanks Sean and Aimee for your heartfelt project. Check it out, here. -Vlad

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  • August 5, 2011

Whiskey Planet - A Virtual World is Crowdfunded

"Whiskey Planet is a brutally realistic, gritty and heavily-stylized post-apocolyptic survival sim game." They had be at the first line. Being a big gaming fan, I was intrigued. So I needed to talk to Christopher Postill about his crowdfunding endeavor. Chris seems to be the modern-day Renaissnace Man with a few major creative interests. What was the inspiration behind the gaming project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? The project has been a loooong time in the making. It was originally conceived as a collaborative graphic novel; a story inspired by Tom Waits’ music, The Day The Earth Stood Still, The Road, Mad Max and whiskey of course… all this dirty, gritty, unapologetic rough-around-the-edges stuff. I loved the post-apocalyptic stories that were more about people reacting to the loss of modern day society rather than people getting eaten by zombies. However, the comic didn’t happen for a number of reasons (there were 5 separate authors to say the least).  I still loved the idea but it got moved to the backburner for a while. When Josh (the lead programmer) and I (game design) worked together at a game development company a few years ago, I showed him some of the material I had developed. He thought it could be a cool online game, but again, our schedules were much too hectic at the time. We both went our separate ways for a while, but kept emailing each other saying “Hey man, we really should make that game some day!”. When I found RocketHub, it seemed like a really good way to make it happen, and here we are. The game is like a mix between playing RISK with 50 people, having an alter-ego to keep alive (in real time) in a ‘post-collapse-of-society’ world, and a really cool gritty comic book narrative to create/explore with your friends. We’ve got 5 factions that all play differently; sort of like Magic: The Gathering if the goal of the game wasn’t only to destroy your opponents, but also to keep yourself alive in a harsh world. Honestly, it is almost half a game and half a social experiment… to see how players will handle the world we build for them. I’m curious about how much co-operation will happen. That’s why we’re so passionate about it, there is a lot of “Why hasn’t anyone built this yet!?”, “Can our game get away with being that harsh?” and “Imagine that in real life?! That’d be insane!” as we test. I’m a big Tom Waits and Risk fan - so I see where you’re coming from, in an awesomely weird way. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of indie-gaming and self-publishing - how are your supporters responding? I love crowdfunding. It is really hard, but when people get behind your game they seem legitimately invested in it and that’s brilliant. Indie game development seems to be a pretty established industry now, but there are still a lot of questions about how to do it right. With Whiskey Planet, we’ve kept pretty quiet about development. We just slowly sent off the funding campaign to people we thought would be legitimately interested in it. Word seems to have made its way around and now we’ve been seeing a lot of feedback from both supporters and haters alike. There are a number of forums discussing how the game will play, what is and isn’t cool about it, etc. We’ve been doing our best to stay on top of these conversations and take everyone’s thoughts into mind. Moral of the story is, with crowd-funding you need to make something interesting, you need to be honest/transparent about how you make it, and you need to count on the crowd to help you make a good game with not only money, but supportive feedback and damn harsh criticism too. We see crowdfunding as a major new path for indie game developers. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Too much to fit into a few paragraphs… First and foremost, be innovative, especially with gaming projects. There are massive studios with massive budgets out there and the best way to stand out is to try some new things with your game. For us its the permanent death, the mix of real-time survival and social strategy, and the cool AI that creates a fixed economy of wildlife/food supplies. We approached the game as though we were challenging players to fight not only against each other, but against the game itself to stay alive. Instead of treating it as a problem, we embraced the idea that certain ‘towns’ in our game might become almost uninhabitable for a period of time if players get too greedy and destroy all the wildlife there. We think that is cool! Not everyone will I’m sure, but those who like a game that challenges what they are used to playing, will almost certainly dig it. So, in short, take the standard procedures from whatever genre game you are making and flip them on their heads, if anything you’ll make something interesting.  Games are particularly fun because you can offer really cool incentives. We’re designing landmarks in the game that are named after our funders. Those who really back the project get a whole town named after them. These are huge parts of the narratives that will come out of the game and its fun to honor the people who support us like that. When “Dakota’s Tavern” (named after one of our current funders) is the last stand of The Horde Punks in such and such a town, we hope he can get a good smirk out of seeing that happen. The last thing I’ll say is promote like a human. I learned really quickly that blasting out copy and pasted emails isn’t the way to go about promoting online. Especially with crowdfunding, you are looking for people to become part of your project, to take a genuine interest in your game and support it. Find bloggers, actually read their blog, then write them an email like you were meeting them at the pub. If they feature your project, they will write a much better article about the game as well as YOU yourself; and their readers will be all the more into it. I could ramble on, if you actually want to chat about your project, or Whiskey Planet, etc. shoot me an email at chrispostill@gmail.com! Great advice and honesty. Reach out to Chris if you have any questions or visit his project page to jump in. -Vlad

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  • August 3, 2011

Illustrating the Journey - Crowdfunding and Self-Publishing

We live in a beautiful world. Alexandria Neonakis offers a very unique and gorgeous perspective on both common and uncommon sights. “Places” is a personal art project that Alexandria started upon taking a giant cross-continental road trip with her sister last summer. Alexandria is now leveraging the power of her friends and fans to self-publish this wonderful collection of illustrations. I spoke with Alexandria about her journey and about the process of DIY publishing. What was the inspiration behind the visual art project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? The idea for Places came to me while on a cross-continental road trip with my little sister last summer. We drove from our hometown in Halifax, Nova Scotia to Los Angeles, California. North America is a beautiful continent, and each individual stop was absolutely flooded with incredible people and scenery. I used a flip camera to record pieces of the drive and little moments. When I got home and re-watched all of the videos, I decided to do a series of illustrations. I wanted to try to capture not only the places, but the feelings and memories I had there. It really just snowballed from there. I spend a lot of time traveling. I realized while working on the project that each place I’ve been has had a distinct impact on my life. A project of this size however takes a ton of time. To be able to complete a project like this would be a huge accomplishment to me as an artist. It’s a big goal, but I’m a pretty determined person… I drove 6000kms in 14 days in a Honda Civic even though people told me that I was nuts for even trying. I feel like I can do pretty much anything haha. Your work is great and your journey comes through in the images. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of art, particularly an innovative and new form of visual art - how are your supporters responding? Crowdfunding was something I didn’t fully understand at first. I stumbled onto RocketHub a couple weeks ago and started looking around. At first I thought my project was too small and wouldn’t get enough interest. Everyone else had things like songs and music videos and TV shows to pitch and all sorts of really interesting stuff. I am interested in my project, but would anyone else be? Also… it’s digital art. there will be a tangible book at the end, but do people want digital doodles? I pretty quickly learned that people love them, and that my network are just as excited about this as I am! I think a part of the reason the doodles were so widely appreciated is because I post them on the person’s Facebook wall with a little thank you message. It gets shared on their network, some set it as their profile pic… it gets shown off in a way that a real sketch on paper mailed to their doorstep probably wouldn’t. Each contribution from the $5 donation to the $500 donation gives me a little lump in my throat. It’s one thing to be passionate about something, it’s another entirely to have other people excited enough about you and your projects to give you what they can. That’s a brilliant use of Facebook and digital content. You’ve built a lot of momentum quickly. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? To people who want to do this, just do it! Post it to your Facebook, your Twitter, your Deviantart, your blog… hit as many people in your network as you can! Don’t be naggy or beggy or anything like that, I just said “Hey guys, you know those drawings of places I’ve been making the past couple of months? I want to make those into a book, and I’m looking for contributions! Check out my RocketHub project” and it just went on its own from there. Having a good network of peers helps. All of the people who funded me so far are friends, fellow artists and fans of my work from Deviantart. If you’re an artist, whether you want to make a RocketHub project today or maybe in a few months, get to building your network! It’s not just about finding clients, it’s about connecting with your peers. I am always willing to help out with a cool arts project, and Places is proof that lots of people, both artists and fans of art, feel the same! I also try not to over flood my Facebook or Twitter with posts asking more people to contribute. Instead, I post the reward doodles I’ve been doing as I finish them, and that has built a ton of momentum. People see the rewards being given almost immediately, and that makes them more willing to contribute. I want to generate excitement and support, I don’t want Facebook and Twitter friends to stop following my posts because I’m begging too much haha. Lastly, don’t feel like your project is not worth it. It’s a lesson I learned from my RocketHub experience :) Perfect advice! Thank you Alexandria for your beautiful work and poignant insights. Reserve your copy of the book. -Vlad

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  • August 1, 2011

Toronto’s That Choir Inspires Global Support

That Choir, conducted by Craig Pike, is one of Toronto’s newest and most exciting Chamber Choirs. The group has gone to their fans and music-lovers around the world to raise the funds needed to record its first album. I had the pleasure to speak with Craig about his inspirational campaign and about the lessons of crowdfunding. What was the inspiration behind the music project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? That Choir was formed 3 years ago as a casual opportunity to bring 14 friends together and share a musical experience every two weeks. At the end of 4 months of rehearsal we performed a concert of 8 pieces of a capella music for 40 mutual friends at Trinity Chapel in Toronto, Ontario.  Since it’s inception, we have grown into a 32 member chamber choir of auditioned members of the Toronto Arts Community and beyond. We now perform to audiences of up to 250 people and our concert programs include up to 14 pieces of new and traditional choral works that include new Canadian Composers. The next step for That Choir is to record it’s first album. The groups artistic integrity has grown as has its audience base, so NOW is the best time to do so - and we are thrilled and excited for this venture! Choral Music is an integral part of the Arts. It’s marriage of storytelling with musical creation results in the ultimate experience for the listener. By recording our first album, That Choir is hoping to reach a larger audience, and expose more and more people to this wonderful art form ! How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of choir music - how are your supporters responding? That Choir’s experience as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of choral music has been an immensely positive one! I believe that everything happens when it is meant to happen…and NOW is the time for us to be undertaking such a venture. The world of fundraising is changing, and to offer patrons of That Choir the chance to contribute online at RocketHub, and also get rewards back in return from their contribution is not only convenient but creative! Being a new choir, we are financially dependent on the public and our audiences. Every contribution HELPS That Choir achieve our goal. The fact that you can contribute from $20 - $10,000 offers everyone a chance to support the arts dependent on their financial situation.  As a result, our supporters are contributing accordingly and generously. In our first 10 days of fundraising, That Choir has received contributions ranging from $20 - $1,000. We look forward to what the next 80 days of this campaign with RocketHub has in store for us!!! You’ve built a lot of momentum quickly. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar community project? Believe in your project and know your audience. That Choir, from the beginning, has been a community. From its members to our audience, we all love getting together to create music, and more importantly SHARING it. If you believe in your project - so will others - and those “others” will spread the word.  Be ambitious. Be smart. And ask yourself the tough questions. Is now the right time to be fundraising? What do you truly hope to gain from fundraising online with RocketHub? Are you willing to put the DAILY work of getting the word out to your fanbase and beyond?  And finally, you must show that what you’re fundraising for has integrity! Be clear about your mandate, and show the world what you have to offer thru video’s and audio clips.  Thank you Craig and thank you That Choir. Your crowdfunding advice is very appropriate and poignant. Learn more about this cool group and get involved. -Vlad

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  • July 22, 2011