I've always regretted that I never truly learned how to draw. The closest I got was being able to render images from comic books with a fair amount of fidelity.
Still, I'd look at the great illustrators or to the Old Masters and knew it was a fruitless pursuit: I'd never be good enough.
Turns out the Old Masters had a lot of help, in the form of a tool known as the Camera Lucida, a device that makes it possible to, essentially, trace a live subject.
Now a pair of art professors are looking to resurrect this lost art tool. Naturally they turned to Kickstarter, and they've already blown through their planned allotment of NeoLucidas. So what do you do when demand outstrips planned supply and you don't want to get into the manufacturing business?
After the Veronica Mars folks raised their $2 million in record time, you knew a similar project would come along. Hollywood, after all, is pretty good at taking what works and doing it over and over and over again until everyone is sick of it. So you just knew that some multi-millionaire from TV would launch a campaign for their own dream project. And you even knew they’d go for the same goal. Because, hey, that’s how these things work.
And the outrage–oh the outrage! Why can’t they fund it themselves? They’re rich and stuff. How dare they?? (more…)
It is 11AM and thunderheads are gathering outside Austin, shadowing the hordes of conventioneers that stream in for South By Southwest. An old college friend, actor turned game developer Zeb L. West, has brought me miles away from the heart of SXSW to the nicest, if plainest, looking strip mall in the city.
Zeb is playing the role of fixer on my quest to understand the Austin independent game scene for an NPR piece. To that end he’s arraigned a meeting with a few of the guys from the indie studio Stoic. They, like Zeb, used to work for one of the largest studios in Austin: BioWare, makers of Star Wars: The Old Republic.
The meet is set for the back of the flagship store for Game Over, a retro-game chain in Texas. More well organized than any GameStop, the store exists somewhere outside of linear time. Perfectly preserved Atari 2600 and ColecoVision consoles sit side-by-side with Nintendo GameCubes. Master Chief action figures and the fabled black Tengen NES carts rest on the shelves. The memory of a more innocent era of video games, all available for purchase.
I’m expecting the founders of Stoic to show up to talk about the history of video games in Austin, why they jumped ship from a “AAA” studio like BioWare, and what makes the city so agreeable to game developers. What I get is a lot more. The three founders bring with them two other members of the studio. (more…)
Whatever happened to kids wanting to grow up to be astronauts? What happened to walking on the moon and dreams of colonizing Mars?
NASA, the American Space Agency for those too who have forgotten or never paid attention, has endured a generation of budget cuts. That’s part of what happend. For decades now what was science fact has been regulated to science fiction.
The Aerospace Industries Association (a lobbying group, so they’ve got a dog in this fight) is hoping to leverage the popularity of Sci-Fi to get people excited about space exploration once more. They’re raising funds to put a 30-second ad for NASA’s space exploration in front of the premiere of Star Trek Into Darkness.To get it done they’ve turned to crowdfunding site IndieGoGo.
The proposed ad will a cut down version of this video, which features the voice of Peter Cullen. If you’ve ever watched a Transformers… well, anything… he might sound a bit familiar.
The first “prosumer” grade video cameras were hailed as the arrival of a filmmaking revolution. Igniting that revolution has proven to be a bit more complicated than grabbing a camera from Best Buy.
The cost of production equipment has been driven down, and the rise of digital distribution — both theatrical and on-demand — has radically reduced certain costs on the exhibition side. However, the core issues that face any filmmaker, how to fund their film and find an audience for it, feel as if they have only grown more acute.
For filmmakers, crowdfunding has been the next big part of a continuing revolution.
“I believe that it has only begun to disrupt the film funding space,” said Emily Best, founder of the crowdfunding/distribution hybrid Seed & Spark. “And that’s a big claim when Kickstarter raised over $30 million for independent film in the past three years. That’s a tremendous feat.”
At this year’s South By Southwest Festival, it became apparent that a new ecosystem that goes far beyond crowdfunding is emerging. One that could, in theory, shepherd a film through all the phases of its life apart from production: development, financing, distribution and exhibition. Perhaps the last obstacle remaining is the lack of a map to help navigate them all.
What follows is an attempt to illustrate some of these choices. A snapshot of the terrain as viewed from the vantage point coming out of SXSW.
It doesn’t get more nuts and bolts than this post-mortem on videoblogger Ze Frank‘s Kickstarter campaign.
Ze Frank had a big following in the mid-aughts, and his fans were looking forward to what he would do next. With some encouragement from Kickstarter, he tried a few things out with his campaign: like running it for only 11 days.
He’s assembled his thoughts, and those of his project manager, in a lengthy blog post filled with facts, figures, insights, and notes on what Kickstarter can do better. I wasn’t kidding about this being a must read. For example:
:: HUNCH :: In my experience backing other project, I have noticed a tendency to give updates related to trying to get more money – “We are almost there, help me raise another X amount.” I don’t think this is a good strategy. You are speaking to people that have already supported you, and if you want them to promote you further I think you owe it to them to come up with new interesting and fun things to share instead of just asking them to restate your cause . I would think foremost about giving back, and then about creating new, shareable media.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and promise you that this will be the first of two posts on Present Shock, the Douglas Rushkoff book that has been getting a mountain of attention in the tech press since it was released earlier this month.