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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Kickstarter to fund my what-to-stream posts for another year (ended unsuccessfully)


FINAL UPDATE: The Kickstarter funding period has ended, and the project was not fully funded. Thank you to everyone who pledged. I’ll try another project again soon.

UPDATE: My Kickstarter is not in good shape… but there’s a still a little over a week to go, if you’d like to make a pledge to keep my what-to-stream posts going for another year.

Time to get all Hunger Games on my work here.

My twice-weekly what-to-stream posts — covering new releases on Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and iTunes in the U.S. and the U.K. (and a few other services in the U.K.) — require a lot more work than they might appear to need. And if I have to cut back on my work here — which I do have to do — then theses are obvious choices for the chopping block.

But if you find them really useful, you can help save them, but pledging at least £1 to the Kickstarter I just started. It will run through August 21st. There are some rewards that are, I hope, fun and enticing.

I hope you’ll share the Kickstarter link around with anyone you know who needs good weekly advice on what movies are worth streaming.

Whether or not this Kickstarter is successful, I have other ideas for special criticism projects that might be fundable this way. Stay tuned.

If that dude can raise more than $61,000 to make potato salad, I should be able to get this funded, no?


  • Bluejay

    Apparently I need to be on Facebook (which I’m not) to do this. Is there any other way I can chip in? I’d like to.

  • You don’t need to be on Facebook to pledge.

  • Bluejay

    So I see! Done.

  • Well, that potato salad thing was lightning in a bottle — but you gotta respect someone who can pluck the right string at the right time to make some scratch for himself.

    Here’s to this attempt of yours!

  • Come on folks these posts are great and we need to keep them going. Step up and pledge if you like and use Mary Ann’s site and specifically these posts.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    You make it sound like the potato salad guy was actually trying to make money. Or even produce something. I haven’t done the research, but I’d be highly dubious of any claim that the potato salad was the first time anyone had posted an utterly pointless Kickstarter. Or managed to get such a thing funded. The potato salad is just one that the Internet, in its quixotic wisdom, decided to ironically embrace. (And here I was told irony died almost 13 years ago.) (Also, is it still ironic if everyone does it?)

    I see two possible outcomes for the potato salad guy: the first, and most likely, is he cancels the project. He still has 9 days to do so. 4 out of 5 backers have a good chuckle and move on. The other 1000 or so get really pissed off and start inundating the poor guy with hate mail. At least a dozen file small claims against him. (The closer to the end he waits, the worse this gets.) He becomes the punchline of an internet joke that lasts, oh, maybe 5 years.

    The second is he spends the next several months working very, very hard. He has to plan and execute the salad making party. He has to see to the manufacture and shipping of several hundred hats, shirts, and recipe books (not to mention some 3000 “bite[s] of potato salad”). In addition to time consuming, this will be very expensive. Sixty grand is a lot of money, but it’s not a lot of money, you know? I’d estimate – purely back of the envelope, mind – that the net result is +/- $10,000. Meaning I think he’s as likely to end up a few thousand on top (but not much more) as a few thousand in the hole.

    None of this is meant to suggest that MAJ is wasting her time with Kickstarter. It’s a very low risk proposition on her part. Kickstarter doesn’t publish very specific stats, but others have datamined the public site. Taking into account everything I can find, and what I know about the project (category, length, goal, etc.) I’d say she has between a 25 and 45% chance of reaching the goal. In other words, the same chance as everyone else. I’ll be kicking in, and I’ll share it to my social media at least a couple times.

  • Sure, you’re right about the potato salad guy. It was weird that he decided to add all those expensive and difficult stretch goals. Dude coulda just walked away with $10,000 and made some potato salad and kept the rest.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    It was long out of hand by $10k. He should have canceled or closed it when he passed $1000. At that point it was just a couple hundred backers or so.

    Clearly the whole thing started as a joke: he posted the Kickstarter, his friends would pledge a buck each, they’d get a check (minus Kickstarter’s cut), and they’d all laugh at how they successfully crowdfunded a salad. Then the internet happened, and they must have decided to see how far it would go. Hence, the first few stretch goals.

    But now it’s gotten very weird. There’s evidence that he be serious: no new goals since $3k, no backer number limits on tiers except the haiku(???). Then there’s evidence that he’s completely serious: t-shirt company’s involvement. So, which is it?

    There are of course a few more possibilities. My original two assumed that the guy is both reasonable and intelligent. So, it’s possible he’s a nice fellow who really has no idea what he’s gotten himself into. He’ll try and make good no the whole thing. At least until it all starts to move sideways on him, sometime between September 1st and October 1st.

    Or, I’m severely underestimating the level of “asshole” on this guy. I mean, clearly he was willing to be a little bit of an asshole, misappropriating the Kickstarter platform like this. But maybe he thinks he’s just gotten the most ridiculous payday of his life, figures he’ll pocket the money, maybe post an “oops” message (if not a “haha suckers!), and has already booked his cruise to the Caymans.

  • Bluejay

    Bumping this up in the “latest comments” page. C’mon, folks! Click through to MAJ’s Kickstarter page and read the FAQ if you need any more convincing.

  • Well, it was a bit ambitious for a first effort — I was happy to contribute, and I’ll do it again next time. Maybe use something like IndiGoGo or Patreon, where you can keep whatever you make rather than losing it all if you don’t hit your goal.

    You did good with the backer rewards, nothing physical to be purchased or shipped that would cost you money.

  • A first effort on Kickstarter, but hardly a first effort on the work.

    where you can keep whatever you make rather than losing it all if you don’t hit your goal.

    Yeah, but I’m not going to commit to doing X amount of work for .00000Y of the money needed to support it. That’s been the problem all along.

    The what-to-stream posts have failed to do anything I hoped they would. But I’ll talk about that in a post next week.

    nothing physical to be purchased or shipped that would cost you money.

    No, there were postcards that I would have to buy and mail. But that would have been a minimal expense.

  • Good point. Hmm.

    What if you did a tiered goal system, where for ever X amount of $$ you’d do a certain number of the posts per month? Set the initial goal low, and have the stretch goals add additional posts. Patreon would be good for that, but kickstarter or indigogo would also. Especially if we can plan on getting back up to 650p. That’s a not insignificant amount of money. Maybe budget out how much you’d need to “earn” for each post to be worth the time, and set up goals that way.

    With Patreon you can set it up so backers would pay for each new post, or at monthly rate… though that would probably need to replace the subscription plan?

    I’ll keep brainstorming.

  • Kathy_A

    Can I pledge in US$? Otherwise, I have to call my bank to clear an overseas transaction.

  • It would be just as much work to do the posts only every other week instead of every week. The work is in the research to find out what’s new and the organizing and formatting of the posts.

    I *did* set up the Kickstarter to cover how much I need to earn each week to keep doing the posts.

    The simple fact is this: Very few people have any interest in supporting what I’m doing here. Not just the streaming posts, but everything. I’ve given readers all sorts of different ways to lend their support, over many years, and none of it has worked.

  • I’m afraid not. Have you tried the pledging process? Did it reject your card?

  • Danielm80

    Would it be possible to sponsor a post? Let’s say I wanted you to review a slightly obscure film, or an episode of Sherlock. Could I send you a donation to cover your time and expenses?

  • I was wondering the same thing. I imagine a lot of your readers are from the U.S.A. Seems to me that your missing out on a lot of potential donations this way.

  • Maybe I’ll see if I can come up with a way to make that possible.

  • And I’d be missing out — maybe — on a lot of potential donations if the Kickstarter was US-based. I’ve had UK readers come to me with credit card issues around their subscriptions.

    There’s no perfect solution.

  • bronxbee

    i used my US credit card, in dollars and it just converted the amount to pounds automatically.

  • Kathy_A

    But did your credit card company reject it for security reasons? A few months back, I tried to put a deposit on our Dublin hotel for our trip this fall without calling the bank first to let them know there was going to be an overseas transaction, and they rejected the charge, so I had to call the bank, tell them about the sole charge coming in that day from Ireland, then go back to the hotel and tell them to try putting it through again.

  • bronxbee

    no, i’ve never had that problem with a credit card — i buy stuff from overseas and contribute to UK and Irish sites all the time.

  • Mark Cogan

    Generally I’ve found that non-US projects (the ones I’ve backed, anyway) use Indiegogo rather than Kickstarter; perhaps they’re just set up better for worldwide payment options.

  • Kickstarter only just recently opened the platform up to projects outside the US, which is why no one outside the US was using it.

    I’m not sure there’s any way around it: global payments mean people have to use credit cards, which means currency-conversion fees. People in the US have been somewhat sheltered from this, perhaps, because there are always plenty of ways to spend your money within the US.

  • Bluejay

    Well, bummer. I’m sorry this didn’t work out. I will miss these posts.

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