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Do it yourself


OKC residents turn to crowd-sourcing their artistic and entrepreneurial visions.

Molly Evans July 31st, 2013

Self-starters, DIY-ers and crowd-sourcers around the world use websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo to see whether their particular project sinks or swims in the vast sea of online indie-enthusiasts.

In the metro, current projects on Kickstarter and Indiegogo include post-tornado documentaries, a web series produced in the comfort of a traveling RV, EPs galore, a beef jerky food truck and a silo-sized mural.

Local synthpop band Kite Flying Robot set up its Kickstarter campaign June 4 to fund its new, full-length album. The $3,500 project had racked up 76 contributors and received $4,177 by its July 1 deadline.

“[Kickstarter] bypasses the whole system,” said Alex Larrea, guitarist for the group and the Stillwater-based outfit Deerpeople. “It’s a very organic next step with the level playing field with technology and communication instead of having to find a company to decide whether a project is worth funding and a separate entity putting up all the money and then hoping that the fans will pay for it later.”

Larrea said a Kickstarter campaign doesn’t guarantee funding success, and no money short of the desired goal is valid unless it’s reached by deadline.

“While it is disappointing if you don’t quite meet your Kickstarter goal, it gives you a really easy out to maybe reevaluate things,” Larrea said.

Kickstarter also allows the project creator to add incentives to the campaign. For Kite Flying Robot’s project, incentives included unreleased album tracks, early MP3 releases and even an “Are You Kidding?! Pack,” which promised backers of $5,000 or more a trip with the band to Seoul, South Korea.

Larrea said the incentives should be creative and the campaign itself should create a sense of urgency.

Kickstarter, he added, puts the artist directly in contact with the people who really want the product because they are paying directly — almost giving them a producer credit if the project is successful.

“It’s just another step in cutting out the middleman,” Larrea said.

Ideas moving forward
Cutting out the middleman is important for Oklahoma City natives Andrew and Sarah Kopke, who recently managed their Indiegogo campaign from their current home in Lebanon.

The couple started its Indiegogo campaign June 18 to fund The Albums, an online photo-sharing site for families.

“One day, we were looking through pictures of our friends’ families back home and started talking about how all those amazing pictures deserved a better place,” Sarah Kopke said. “‘Simple, beautiful and lasting’ became our mantra because those are things we most felt were missing from the social media we were using.”

The project’s initial funding amount was $20,000, but had collected only $3,025 by its July 16 deadline.

“We still plan to move forward,” she said, “just a little more slowly.”

Through Indiegogo’s “flexible funding campaign” option, The Albums project gets to keep all money contributed, despite it falling short of the goal.

“We knew that even though everyone wouldn’t be able to financially back the project, everyone has a group of people who care what they have to say,” Kopke said. “When an idea moves through networks of friends and family, it’s able to move quickly because of the trust already built within those networks.”

Like Larrea, Kopke said she believes a shorter time period and a variety of accompanying incentives usually generate success.

“We’ve been interested in crowd funding for a long time because we love the idea that people can be rewarded for believing in a project before it even gets started,” she said.

 
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