Two Moms, A Werewolf, And An Escape Room In A Box

on Thursday, Feb. 25th

You know that we dig escape rooms here at Turnstyle, and that we are also into crowdfunding projects, so when we heard tale of a Kickstarter project that promised to put an Escape Room in a box, you know that we had to find out more.

Juliana Patel and Ariel Rubin are two stay-at-home moms who met at a game night during their pregnancies at Patel’s weekly game night. Patel had become obsessed with escape rooms.

“The first time I did (an escape room) it was a chance to completely disconnect from everything,” said Patel. “You’re timed so all your focus has to be on going as fast as you can so you make it out on time. You put your phone away and there’s things that engage your mind in such a way that you have to be present and focused on what’s in front of you.” (more…)

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‘Bedlam’ is Coming: A Post-Apocalyptic Game That Was (Kinda) Double Kickstarted

on Monday, Aug. 31st

Earlier this year, while at E3, I checked up on the guys who made The Banner Saga–Stoic– to see how the sequel to their popular, Kickstarter-backed turn-based RPG was doing. (The short answer: really well.)

While I was in the booth of publisher Versus Evil, who have partnered with the studio to get the game out into the world, I was introduced to the cats at Skyshine. They are another indie studio who have built a turn based RPG which is going to be hitting the digital shelves soon.

Their game is called Bedlam, and it’s a post-apocalyptic haul across a nuclear wasteland with a plot ripped from the fever dreams of teens obsessed with Mad Max and other 80’s nightmare-scapes. Because that’s exactly where the game comes from: the junior high and high school RPG notebooks of Skyshine’s founders. That’s right: they turned their old home brew RPG setting into a video game.

You have to love this stuff.

If the mechanics of the game seem familiar it’s with good reason: it’s Stoic’s Banner Saga engine. The guys at Skyshine licensed the tech to build their game on it. This kind of thing isn’t all that unusual in the game industry, Unreal Engine comes to mind, but it’s great to see one of the early crowdfunding success stories in gaming have this kind of legacy. Given that Bedlam itself was Kickstarted, that means the game was–in a sense–double Kickstarted.

If you’ve got a hankering for turn-based nuclear wasteland action, Bedlam is available on September 17th.

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Kickstarting A Quest for the Fountain of Youth Inside ‘The Grand Paradise’

on Monday, Jul. 27th

I tend to talk a lot about how seeing the immersive theatre show Then She Fell was one of the peak experiences of my life. That one production crystalized years of thinking about performance, theatre, and storytelling for me in one magical night. So you can imagine that when I saw that Third Rail Projects, the creators of that show, had turned to crowdfunding to make their next large-scale piece even more spectacular they had my full attention.


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Revenge of the Latte Fund (The Crowdfunding Beat)

on Thursday, May. 21st

2015 has been an interesting year for crowdfunding… at least it sure as heck feels that way to me. Big projects are back in vogue and there’s talk again about how “superstar” projects are messing things up for the little guys. More on that in a moment, first, because we’ve got our eye on the ball I thought we’d break out an old favorite practice: the Latte Fund.

The ten of you who religiously read our crowdfunding content here will remember the Latte Fund as a little thing we used to do at the end of our crowdfunding podcast. We’d have each of the panelists pick a project they thought was worth $5— the price of a fancy latte here in LA. That’s with tip, by the way.

I’ve kept my scanners online this week and have let a few PR pitches pique my curiosity, so here are a few projects that caught my attention, and one that is my pick of the week for the Fund.


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DIY Midas Touch Turns “Plain” Apple Watches To Gold

on Wednesday, May. 13th

One of the most talked about features of the Apple Watch this year has been the pricing. The consumer electronics juggernaut took a big pricey step into the world of luxury goods this year by offering up an 18 karat gold version of the device.

If you want to roll with the celebrities who are sporting that flashiest of versions you’re looking at dropping $10,000. For, as everyone will tell you, a watch that is almost certainly going to be obsolete in about three years time.

Or you could just gold plate the steel version. Which is something that is businesses are offering up for a few hundred bucks here and there.

But there is an alternative: Do-It-Yourself gold plating, using a device powered by Apple’s own iPhone charger. Or at least there will be if chemist Eric Knoll gets his way.


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Preview performance of Miwa Matreyek's THIS WORLD MADE ITSELF / 2013 (from LAX Kickstarter)

Latte Fund: Kickstarting LA’s Contemporary Performance Festival

on Wednesday, Mar. 18th

It’s been a while since we’ve done a “latte fund” round. As in, I think it’s been a year since I used that term, which is my way of saying that what I’m about to talk about is worth backing to the tune of at least the price of a latte. Which in Los Angeles is about $5 with tax and tip.

The price of an LA latte is extra apt for this campaign, which is for the Live Arts Exchange, aka LAX, an experimental performance festival which runs each year in the City of Angels. For the past two years LAX has been a co-production of Los Angeles Performance Practice and the Bootleg Theater, and it’s featured a cross section of music, theatre, animation, dance and multimedia mash-ups of these and more which become their own thing.

In short: it’s LA’s one-stop shop for uncovering what the edge of live performed art is all about these days. Last year’s festival featured some of the most challenging work I’ve seen in a long while—and yes, I mean the good kind of challenging.


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Now Funding: Kickstarter Drops Amazon, IndieCade Fave Goes Live

on Tuesday, Jan. 6th

Kickstarter is two for two in 2015 so far, at least in terms of getting my attention in the news cycle. Yesterday it was their yearly “By the Numbers” report that I took a closer look at. Today they announced on their blog that they are dropping Amazon Payments in favor of Stripe, another web payment solution.

A little more on that, and on an IndieCade favorite from October that is launching their KS campaign while at the Consumer Electronics Show, after the jump.


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Image via Kickstarter

Close Reading: Kickstarter’s ‘By The Numbers’ Illustrates A Weak Point

on Monday, Jan. 5th

Kickstarter—whose brand name is synonymous with crowdfunding— released an annual “By the Numbers” post today, covering 2014.

There’s some big numbers thrown up amidst the charts and graphs: over half a billion dollars ($529 million to be more specific) was pledged with 22,252 projects getting successfully funded last year.

What I instantly wanted to know was how did Kickstarter do in 2014 compared to it’s own reporting of 2013. Luckily those numbers are still with us, along with the 2012 numbers just for good measure.


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Hungry For Numbers: Kickstarter Feeds Us Potato Salad

on Tuesday, Aug. 5th

Remember, if you can, a more innocent time on the Internet—also known as last month—when we we all collectively losing our minds over a $10 Kickstarter project that became a five figure phenomenon.

I’m talking about Zack “Danger” Brown’s Potato Salad project.

Kickstarter’s Fred Benenson and David Gallagher bring us a look at the numbers behind the Potato Salad project, which closed up three days ago with a jumbo-sized total of $55,492.

It’s a fascinating look, revealing that this joke gone wild managed to become the fourth most viewed project in the site’s history beating out the Oculus Rift (#10) and Reading Rainbow (#8) and Double Fine Adventure (#5) amongst others.

Of course, it didn’t come close to the dollar amounts on those projects. Much of the traffic was probably guys like me: coming back every few hours to stare at disbelief in the rising total.

Missing from the tale of the tape, however, is the mystery of the two great drops. The story of this missing cash is hidden between the lines of Kicktraq’s chart which traces the arc of the full campaign.


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The Strange Case of Potato Salad’s Big Cash Drop

on Monday, Jul. 7th

Today’s Internet amusment has been provided by watching the Kickstarter campaign of one Zack Danger Brown, who sought to raise $10.00 in order to make Potato Salad, and wound up amassing thousands of dollars for what was turning out to be a very profitable joke.

The campaign has riled a few crowdfunding watchers up–a joke campaign that does so well when “serious” campaigns flounder was bound to ruffle some feathers. Even I found it annoying until Polygon’s Ben Kuchera showed that the campaign is actually a teachable moment for would be crowdfunding campaigners: the Brown’s campaign is straightforward and entertaining, is not pitched as a sob story, and doesn’t have a whiff of entitlement. Just the scent of eggs and mayo (and hopefully some good spices).

That would be enough of a story without this afternoon’s twist: when the campaign suddenly lost almost $20,000 in pledge money, even while the backer total kept rocketing up. We’ve reached out to Brown and Kickstarter for comment. Did a venture capital prankster get cold feet? Did Kickstarter nix a fraudulent pledge?

Check out the images after the jump.


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To Build The VR Education of Tomorrow One Scholar Turns To The Past

There are plenty of folks in the education technology field who are excited about virtual reality as the next great educational tool.



We’re Closer To Our Photorealistic VR Future Than You’d Think (INTERVIEW)

A look into the virtual world of tomorrow with USC researcher Paul Debevec.


Prepare Yourselves For The Personal VR Video Revolution

Virtual Reality is rapidly approaching a watershed moment.

Ralph Echemendia

Spoiler Alert: Hollywood Isn’t Taking Cyber Security Seriously (LA Film Fest)

Tonight at the Los Angeles Film Festival, squeezed in between movies and red carpet events, a symposium on Cyber Security is being held at the Grammy Museum.

Gumroad Rentals H

Rent Video Straight From Social Media Via Gumroad

The people who brought the “Buy Now” button to Twitter are going all-in on film distribution.