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Crash! Bang! Wallop! (Working Title)

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by Andy_Sinclair » Wed Jun 25, 2014 3:36 pm

Hi Guys,

This is going to be a blog about my kickstarter journey.

Well I say mine - it's not just mine it is The People's Orchestra's story.

History

The People's Orchestra is a community orchestra based in West Bromwich (which for my overseas readers) is a town joined to Birmingham (England's Second City).

I am one of the co-founders and got involved as a volunteer, back in 2012, when I read that they needed some Marketing help. At that time the orchestra was called the Mid-England Festival Orchestra (yawn!) and the initial objective was to give talented school leavers, who didn't want to go to Music College, somewhere to play.

At the first meeting I discovered there was no marketing budget (disaster), no funding (worse) and only one player!! I like a marketing challenge, but please!!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I re-engineered the project to a pay-to-play orchestra funded by its members (very much like gym membership) and opened it up to all comers of a high-standard! My view was that we needed an physical orchestra to secure funding and then we could revisit the original idea. I also thought that if the players were paying for the orchestra they should have ownership - hence The People's Orchestra.

Present

Fast forward to 2014 - we have 60+ musicians, 2 paid members of staff and about 15 volunteers. We perform primarily film music and do about 5 or 6 concerts a year - our last one being Film Greats last Sunday 22nd June. We are part funded by Arts Council, England, but we have stiff financial targets to meet before we get the next tranche of money - which is why we are considering crowd-funding.

Project


We have agreement from a Grammy award-winning film composer to create a brand new piece of music for The People's Orchestra - to be premiered at The Snowman Concert on Sunday 7th December 2014 - as you can imagine an award-winning composer doesn't come cheap so we need help funding the project.

Well that's probably enough for now,

Catch you later,

Best wishes,

Andy
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by Andy_Sinclair » Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:50 am

Hi,

Question Time?

Obvious first question - which is the best thread to pose a question? Here? or on the relevant board?

Until I get advice - I'll start here.

Rewards
How many rewards should you have?
How many rewards is too many?
Does anyone know the optimum number of rewards?
Is there a limit on the number of kickstarter awards?

I have a list of 20 potential rewards from a thank you in the programme at the premiere (£5) through to a pop-up orchestra at your event (£1200). In addition, I have more rewards for the stretch goals. But is 20 too much for people to wade through - I suspect it is, but, thoughts please.

Meeting
Off to a meeting later to get some advice from a successful Kickstarter - hoping to learn some more of the pitfalls over a beer - His was a board game, which is now in production, I will pass on any tips received.

Cheers,

Andy
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by Andy_Sinclair » Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:32 am

Hi,

Just a quick note to say all comments good or bad welcome!

Yesterday's meeting with Greg Carslaw was fabulous and full of insights and tips:-

Greg is a games designer and his latest game 404 Law Not Found was successfully funded on Kickstarter last year.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/82 ... =discovery

As promised here is a few of his thoughts. Bit all over the place, but that was the nature of the discussion.

Statistics
Didn't write down exact statistics, but the key message was that Kickstarter backers want to back successful projects, and if you haven't got 40% of your goal in the first week, then the probability is that your project will fail - and potential backers shy away!

Kickstarter Editor
Is awful! So be prepared for that - make headlines a pictorial banner to overcome the lack or originality afforded by the editor.

Words
Brevity is important - don't use 5 words when 1 will do! use images and video rather than words - lots of headings and sub-heads.

Rewards
Make the rewards universal - we were getting a bit too technical with our rewards - by making them open to all we have a better chance of success.

Frequently asked questions
These can't be added until the project is live - but having a FAQ section gives credibility - so have them written and get cutting and pasting as soon as you launch.

Icons
Frequent backers like other people to back and change their User Icon to the project they have just backed - have some icons ready-made for that purpose.

Updates
Keep in touch with your pledgers - update once or twice on the first day, then every 3-4 days, updates can be written in advance

Stretch Goals
Mistake that Greg made was updating once stretch goals had been reached, he recommends that you update just before the stretch goals to get people to push the project - and make stretch goals benefit all backers, not just new backers.

Pricing
We are in the UK and obviously price our project in £££s, however Greg will add to future projects a rough estimate in dollars & euros - saves overseas backers searching for the on-line currency convertor.

Attention Span
You are excited by the project - but potential backers have a short attention span - craft the first image and the project title & the first sentence - because if you don't hook them they are gone.

Timing
Try to end the project near the end of the month - after payday so that you can get that last surge.

Video
Test your Video - Greg speaks fast and feedback was that no-one outside of England could understand a word he said, they needed to re-shoot !

Anyway that's enough to be going on with - there were other tips that were more specific to our project and once again I thank Greg for his support and will publicise his next Kickstarter project when it goes live in August!

Cheers,

Andy
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by sbriggman » Tue Jul 01, 2014 4:10 pm

Sorry for my late reply. You can either ask the questions here or this section: kickstarter-and-crowdfunding-questions-only-strict-f4.html

- Definitely think the 40% of goal in first week is a good target.
- Yes! Also agree on the headings/subheadings.

Very good tips! Will tweet out this thread and hope to get a few more people to check it out :).
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by sbriggman » Tue Jul 01, 2014 4:13 pm

Also: There is no set number on the "ideal" number of rewards that I've found, as categories differ, but I think this blog post written by the Kickstarter team might be helpful:

https://www.kickstarter.com/blog/trends ... d-duration

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by Andy_Sinclair » Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:21 pm

Thanks for the links Sal - great article about rewards

Andy
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by Andy_Sinclair » Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:16 am

Hi,

A little while since my last post, but this project is only part of my responsibilities and I needed to get my 'other ducks in a row' so that I can concentrate on this project.

'Failing to Plan, is Planning to Fail'

A truism.....I'm sure, but nevertheless one that has stood the test of time.

So today, I am in planning mode...

Done lots of research and reading, but now is the time to get it all down on paper.

I do quite a few business plans & marketing plans and I always start with the Money - that would be my top tip for anyone planning a project.

The Money
So the project is to get a world-renowned Grammy-Award winning Composer to compose a brand new piece of music for an amateur community orchestra.

He has agreed to take part, but his fee is £8.000 ($13.500).

I have a more in-depth spreadsheet, but basically ;-
Rewards will cost me - £3.000
Kickstarter Fees - £1.200
Value Added Tax - £2.500

So basically my target is £15.000 ($25.500).

Without a plan that could be a quite daunting target....... but, I have a plan formulated in my mind and just need to commit it to paper and the discuss and hone....

Have a good day,

Cheers,

Andy
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by sbriggman » Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:53 pm

Thanks for updating us! That's a good quote btw 'Failing to Plan, is Planning to Fail' Might steal that as a title for one of my blog articles :P

Did you include shipping?
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by Andy_Sinclair » Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:59 am

Hi Sal,

Feel free... I must have stolen it from some marketing or sales presentation :-)

Yes, got the shipping sorted for UK and Rest of the World - thanks.

When I revisited 'The Money' I realised that I had made a huge mistake, I was going to promote rewards like, 'Live Screening of the Premiere' & 'Digital Download or CD of the Piece' in my initial offering - whereas these wouldn't be available until I had reached my stretch goals.

So my initial offering is 'The Composition'
Stretch Goal one is to produce a CD & Digital Download of the piece
Stretch Goal two is to live-screen the premiere of the piece
I we need to brainstorm Stretch Goal three - any suggestions?

Cheers,

Andy
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by Andy_Sinclair » Fri Jul 18, 2014 11:16 am

Hi,

Rewards on my Mind.......

... been struggling with rewards!!

and realised that I didn't have a very good reward around the £15 ($25) mark - and this seems to be a critical area to cover....

So we dropped the composer this over Facebook ...

As you probably know with Kickstarter backers pledge money to a project and get a reward if the project is successfully funded - we have a series of rewards from £1 (Orchestra screensaver) to £1500 (The Orchestra playing at your event), however, we are struggling for a reward around the £15 mark!

Do you have some unreleased music/recording that we could use as a digital download?

Or any other ideas?


And he has immediately come back with a suggestion of a digital download of some of the Film Music he has been associated with - this guy was involved in the music for 'Titanic' & 'GoldenEye', so I think that will be a fantastic reward.

I will post the full list of rewards soon for comments from the community,

Cheers,

Andy
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