Welcome to a new weekly column, KICKSTARTER THE WEEK, where we’ll feature ladies in comedy with Kickstarter campaigns. My hope is that it will help to inspire us to support each other monetarily in our endeavors through Kickstarter.com.
But what is Kickstarter? From their website:
Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative ideas and ambitious endeavors.
We believe that…
• A good idea, communicated well, can spread fast and wide.
• A large group of people can be a tremendous source of money and encouragement.
Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.
With each project featured on the blog comes a promise from me to pledge at least the minimum amount. I ask that each of you, if able, do the same and in return the same will be done for your Kickstarter projects! This way we’ll ensure we’re all able to create some pretty amazing stuff regardless of monetary deficiencies.
Our feature Kickstarter article comes from voice artist and writer, MICHELLE FIX, who is working to get her ridiculously adorable cartoon THE GLAMOUR BEES off the ground. [Michelle will be taking over the weekly Kickstarter column after this so let’s all welcome her!] Let’s hear from Michelle about THE GLAMOUR BEES, their message and how she got involved with Kickstarter.
What was the inspiration for the Glamour Bees?
This started as a back and forth between a roommate and myself almost ten years ago. Wow, time flies! It was a joke that we were both the Queen Bee and needed worker bees to clean the apartment. We decided to make it an animated show and started initial back and forths, but he moved, stopped contributing and lost interest so I took the reins.
I turned the focus to teaching children how to be kind, thoughtful, and respectful of others by using good manners. So instead of fighting about who is the Queen Bee, it’s more like “Please, after you.” “Oh no, I insist…after you.” It’s become about sharing and valuing other people and their feelings and place in this world –having respect for your own self, of course. But not to the detriment of others – the title of Queen Bee is not the “bee” all and end all, a loving, kind child is the goal. And with the bullying nowadays getting younger and younger, it’s even more important to start teaching this early. No more mean girls. Glamour is a kind heart on the inside.
How long have you been working on the project?
In total about six or seven years. I did TONS of initial research about bee colonies because I wanted the show environment to reflect an actual hive – and for the show to empower little girls to do whatever they want in life. In a hive, there is one Queen, about a hundred drones (males) and then 40-50,000 workers who are all female.
They do everything! And I think little girls can do everything and anything to, so it’s a great reflection of real life – in my world! And the cooperation amongst a hive and the amount of work they accomplish and good they do, all appealed to me from a story-telling perspective. I could go on and on about bees at this point. I love them!
What were your first steps after research?
Well, after researching the bees themselves, I did research on children’s developmental processes, television, and education. And I worked out tons of characters other than the two main girls (Honey Bee and Dew Bee), then selected a few that came to life and started writing little stories, poems, book titles, and the like. I went to the Little Airplane Academy to learn how to write a children’s animated show. They created The Wonder Pets (a fantastic show), Oobi, and Third and Bird. They’re experts and do really quality programming for children; and I wanted to partner with people smarter and more capable than me to get the coolest show possible.
I soaked up as much I could and wrote my show bible, found an animator and someone to do backgrounds (a friend of mine found them and has become a producer on the project). Then I created a website and a little mini-movie on DVD of the bible itself. That all took about two years in total with the scheduling conflicts and re-draws.
What are your long-term goals for these characters?
Well, the astronomical costs of animation led me to a re-think. I did pitch the show to children’s television producers in Los Angeles summer ’08 and the show was received with very positive feedback. But they had no budgets. It was not the best time in the economy. So…..I decided to have them made into puppets and film my own online series and also have live puppet shows in nursery schools and daycare centers.
I want to be able to eventually do shows for free in low-income areas so that those children are also included in this process.
Ultimately, I want the Glamour Bees to be an entire brand that fosters respect for one another and the environment. I’ve been looking into having little t’s, bibs, hoodies, etc. made and I want to follow the Tom’s shoes model of a one-to-one program. For any purchase, a commensurate amount goes to a charity. Also organic, and fair trade – made by people who are being treated decently. I think that creative projects can be fun (super important!!) and also be socially conscious and span many disciplines: media, education, production. Honey Bee and Dew Bee and their friends and family are great ambassadors for this goal.
What has been the most challenging element of the project?
I’m super impatient – so waiting for people’s schedules to be free to work on drawings, backgrounds, setting up meetings, getting people to answer the phone or reply to an email! That’s the most frustrating thing for me. I work really, really quickly and like to fire on all cylinders!!! Put the turbo on, so to speak. So learning that you can’t do everything at once and you can’t do it all yourself has been a good, but challenging lesson for me. I’m an instant gratification person.
Also, just getting it in front of people. The web is both a blessing and a curse. It’s so much easier to get your stuff to look really professional and have a site and content. But that means it’s that much easier for thousands of other people too. So, you have to be just as creative in marketing and being that crab that crawls out of the bucket as you are in creating the content itself. Of course, if your story and characters aren’t compelling, you are going nowhere fast. But if they are, you just really, really have to believe in yourself and keep forging ahead.
Luckily, the Glamour Bees was selected for this great site called Kickstarter and that has helped with another avenue to get the word out.
How did that happen and what is that process like?
Kickstarter is this amazing site that funds creative projects for artists, tech people, designers, and the like. It’s amazing! I love it. You send them a proposal for a creative idea to be funded and they have a committee review it and then give a thumbs up or thumbs down. If accepted, you write up a dossier about your project, get a list of pledges and their corresponding rewards together and then film a little video plea. Launch, give yourself a deadline and then promote, promote, promote because it’s an all-or-nothing situation. If people don’t contribute and you don’t make your pledge amount, you don’t get anything. The prospect of failure is a good motivator, let me tell you.
I heard about it through Rachel Biello, who forwarded it for a different project that we were working on together. But I thought it would be a great opportunity for the Glamour Bees too. So, I sent off a submission.
Is this something you’d recommend for other creative ladies?
Absolutely. 100%! Whole-heartedly!! The process of submitting your project to the site itself puts you into a very disciplined, focused space. And with the deadline to get the funding you really have to think about what it is you want for your project. It’s been great so far – fingers crossed it continues until my deadline ends!
MICHELLE’S Kickstarter goal is a mere $8,600. She has raised $1,523 to date and has 18 days to raise the rest. I’m sure we can help out with that! [The minimum pledge is $3.]
THE GLAMOUR BEES Kickstarter Page: http://bit.ly/b5bL8j
Do you have a Kickstarter campaign? Email us at contactgloc[at]gmail.com