• Mike Del Ninno

Kickstarter! Failure to launch.


Apparently I won’t be cashing in on the billions of dollars raised on Kickstarter to fund my original one-act play, The Circle Belle.

I thought it was going to be EPIC, just not an epic failure.

You know what they say; it’s the journey not the destination, although getting there before I croak would be nice. Before I move on to plan C (plan A was failure to secure a development deal with NASCAR and acquire sponsors, and plan B was producing the play myself with funding from Kickstarter), I thought I would share my experience, and take a look at what I did right, and what simply didn’t work.

When I say epic failure I mean EPIC FAILURE, as only 6 (six) individuals jumped on board to share in my journey to produce a play. Kickstarter only lists pledge supporters when a minimum of 10 sign up, so the least I can do is thank those 6 (six) individuals for stepping up and showing me some love!

John Scott Green $125 (Scott was the first person to get involved by reading the original draft of the Circle Belle. He was absolutely an awesome supporter, and was instrumental in assisting with the process. I graciously thank him for his time, knowledge and support)

Patricia Del Ninno Kopp $75 (My incredibly awesome, talented, and loving sister! Love you, sistah)

Diane Rizzo Cunningham $50 (My sweet and always supportive cousin! Love you, Cuz)

Barry Bronson $30 (An old PR friend from Valvoline)

Team Roundtree, Inc. $30 (Jamie is a golfing buddy – way to step up Mr. Roundtree, much appreciated)

Joseph Wernert $10 (Joe was one of the first show car drivers from the old Mark Martin days. A true professional and great guy. I haven’t talked to Joe in over 10 years, and yet he stepped up. Thank you old friend)

I know - the rest of you just didn’t hear about it, right? Oh wait, you’re all waiting for plan C.

I must admit I find it very odd I didn’t receive any additional support. I sent out a beta of the project, received feedback, adjusted accordingly and then launched with a well thought out marketing plan including:

A great product – the script.

A great venue – The News Journal Center

A great production team (including experienced Director)

A nicely produced web site

Press release(s) sent out to over 25 targeted media sources. No one picked up the storyline.

Regular postings and updates on mainstream social media sites

Calls to family and friends

Emails to family, friends and community leaders

Plus, Michael Scott Hull (a local designer) brought the project to life with playbill graphics, stage design sketch, and a well-produced project video.

Really? Only six pledges? Huh? Something’s amiss!

For some reason, my project simply didn’t strike the spark that ignites crowdsourcing. I’m still scratching my bald head, wondering why more of my friends, social media contacts, and Kickstarter junkies didn’t feel it was worthy of support? What could it have been?

The project was too ambitious for Daytona Beach? No, it couldn’t be. I mean it’s the home of NASCAR, The Daytona 500, and those are pretty ambitious projects. And the storyline? Moonshining and stock car racing? Sounds like a perfect fit to me.

Maybe it was the budget of $40k (I did post a detailed line item budget). After reviewing successful Kickstarter projects, it would seem most projects in that budget range are successful in major markets (NYC, L.A., Boston, Chicago), and not small beach towns. But even then, only six pledge supporters? Not even a show of support from the locals? Ouch!

Or maybe it was Kickstarter itself. Not many individuals in Daytona have heard of Kickstarter (even though several projects have already been featured in the local paper). It does take a tech-savvy sort to figure out, even though I posted a simple six-step guide to pledging. And the play was to be performed in Daytona, somewhat limiting the national appeal.

I could always blame it on Amazon Payments. Apparently, that’s the only payment vehicle via Kickstarter. No PayPal option? Nope. Some folks just don’t like taking that leap of faith into the future and believing in non-traditional funding methods. Nor do they like signing up for multiple online payment accounts – heartbleed virus and all.

The international community could have been my savior (especially support from my Italian cousins), but alas, a glitch in Amazon Payments doesn’t allow transfer of international pledge funds from Kickstarter into my personal account; moonshine and stock car racing – the perfect crossover fit for that international F1 racing enthusiast.

Maybe I should have grabbed onto one of those solicitation emails after my project went live. I liked the one promising to tweet my project to over 30K twitter Kickstarter followers from some dude for only $5. After reviewing his twitter page, I opted out.

Oh well, I could keep scratching my bald head until I grow hair, OR chalk it all up to another learning experience and move on to plan C (which I haven’t figured out yet).

What the hell, let’s rock on to plan C. Nothing can be worse than this epic fail.

Really? Only six supporters? As they say on sports center, “come on, man”!

#Kickstarter #NASCAR #CircleBelle

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©2020 Mike Del Ninno