I just finished sewing the “Wolf” skin jacket. It went together very well. The fur and the black canvas work well together. The new puppet’s name is Isaac. This will keep him nice and warm when he is out in the wilderness hunting…
I started a new puppet on Friday. It is going to be an entry to the ProjectPuppet 2011 Puppet Contest. This years theme is around a time machine accident where characters from the 1850′s through 1900 fall through time.
This will be the first year that I have entered. I thought about it last year, but didn’t have everything together now. But, now with 5 Roly puppets under my belt, I figured it was a good chance to do something new.
I have done a few things different with this puppet
After the puppet is finished and submitted, I will post all of the details around the character that I have created for the contest.
If you have time, I encourage you to create a new character and submit a puppet to the contest.
In this “Post-PC” era I find that I am using traditional desktop and laptop computers less often. Instead, the iPhone and iPad satisfies most of my computing needs. The iPad allows me to work where I want, when I want, without the cables that come with my laptop. This is not to suggest that the iPad can replace a PC yet, but for the vast majority of my needs, it can.
Recording voice-overs with the iPad is just one area where the iPad has replace the PC; script writing is another. Most of my script writing is now done exclusively on the iPad. Prior to owning an iPad, I used Celtx on the PC for my script writing for about two years. Celtx for the PC and Mac is available on their site for free. Celtx has now released version 2.0 of their iPhone and iPad script writing tool. It is available as a Universal app (iPad, iPhone, and iPod) for $9.99, though it is occasionally available for up to half off. While version 1.0 was a good start, it wasn’t a replacement for the desktop version. With version 2.0 it is now feasible to work strictly on the iPad. Celtx Script 2.0 gives me the ability to grab my iPad, and work on a script anytime I have a new idea. When writing or doing significant edits, I use a Apple Bluetooth keyboard with my iPad which allows me to efficiently type. When I don’t have access to the physical keyboard, I find that the built-in iPad virtual keyboard works quite well.
The script text can be one of the following styles
The 2.0 version for the iPad you can now email the script as a PDF or print it directly from the iPad using an AirPrint compatible printer. I am hoping that some of the story development tools that exist in the desktop version also come to the iPad. These tools allow users to enter notes, and character details. For now they only exist in the desktop version.
I don’t like to have to transfer files from my iPad to my desktop, but Celtx has an add-on service that makes this trivial. It is called Celtx Studio. It is a web based service that allows the iPad, iPhone, PC and Mac to all sync scripts up to a server that Celtx maintains. This service does come with a cost, it is 4.99 a month of 49.99 a year. For this amount up to 5 users can access the scripts. Additional users can be added for an additional fee. The Celtx Studio service keeps track of all of the versions of the scripts so that if I mess up one version, I can go back in time and view older versions. It also tracks which users are making the changes to the scripts. With Celtx Studio, I never need to worry about losing work done on my iPad or PC as there is a backup already available on their servers.
I have been using the Desktop version for several years now, and the iOS version since it was launched. Over that time Celtx has been very active about putting out new features and improving both the desktop and mobile versions. Since the release of the 2.0 version, it is very unlikely that I will ever head back to a desktop or laptop. I find the iPad to be the most productive way to write.
Tags: Script Writing
The Partnership for a Czar Free America Kickstarter project wasn’t successfully funded. While this is disappointing, it isn’t an end of the world issue, so lets discuss what was learned from the experience. On the surface you can see many very successful projects on Kickstarter. But this can be misleading. Don’t think it is going to be easy to get funding. It is a lot of work, and a lot of stress. It requires savvy internet, and social marketing.
How Kickstarter Appears to Work
Kickstarter’s internal algorithms for project placement are private, but over the course of the project I can guess at some of the variables in the algorithm for project placement.
Recommended Projects - Recommended Projects are project that Kickstarter feels are particularly promising. A recommendation is golden. It appears that most recommended projects meet or exceed their funding goals. I am not sure exactly what goes into getting a recommendation, my project wasn’t recommended, but quality, and relevance go into it. Recommended projects get rotated onto the home page of Kickstarter, they are also at the top of the particular subject matter pages, like Art, Comics, Dance, etc. So these projects have the advantage in getting noticed. They are also included in blog posts, and Kickstarter emails.
Popular Projects – If you aren’t lucky enough to get a recommendation, popularity comes into play. It is hard to tell exactly what Kickstarter uses to determine popularity, but the basis for it appears to be the number of backers that you have over a period of time. Popularity doesn’t necessarily seem to tie to the amount that backers contribute, but to the number of backers that have pledged to your project. The Most Popular projects are show below the Recommended projects on the subject matter pages. My project could be found on the Film & Video / Web Series / Popular subject matter page. It required approximately 10 clicks/scrolls to get to my project. On the last day my project managed to end up on the Video – Web Series Most Popular. That is still 4 clicks into the site to see my project. If I had been more popular, I could have been viewable with as few as 2 clicks. The number of clicks to get to your page is critical when you are dealing with a site that hosts thousands of active projects.
So how do we use this information
Kickstarter is a business. They are funded by taking 5% of the proceeds that you earn. The would like all projects to succeed, but they only market the projects that will make them look the way that best suits them. This isn’t good or bad, just recognize it.
Recommendations are gold, so do your best to make your project as polished as possible. Have a video, have innovative rewards, have a compelling message. But you might do all of these things, and still not get a recommendation. Does that make your project bad? Not at all, it just means you are going to have to work harder to get funding.
The most important thing that I have identified, is to have a community of followers before you launch your project. If you don’t have a community, and you don’t get a recommendation, you are going to have to develop your community while the Kickstarter count down timer is running. This is a bad situation.
I didn’t have a community already interested in my project. There weren’t videos on YouTube, or other venues so that people would already know me and my puppet characters before I launched my project. Big mistake on my part. I took about 6 months getting ready to launch my project. I put all of my effort into the kickstarter page itself. I should have been developing a community of interest at the same time.
Here is a graph of my project’s backing over the course of the funding period.
As you can see there is almost no funding for my project for the first half of the Kickstarter funding period. This means that my project’s popularity never moved for the first 15 days of my project. I was using this time to get my community moving. I am not saying with 15 more days I could have made it, but I would have had a better chance had backers started contributing immediately.
Over the course of the project I only managed to get 8 backers. This is pretty pathetic on my part. I know a lot of people, but I didn’t do enough to get them behind the project. I should have had lined up 10 to 15 people who could contribute over the course of the first 5 days. This would have given my project a solid foundation to build from. Even if they only had contributed 5 dollars each, it would have helped build momentum early.
Why was this so hard to do? I have to sell my ideas at work every day. The simple answer is that I wasn’t ready for it. I had visions of fabulously successful projects dancing in my mind. “Kickstarter makes it easy”. Well no, it just gives you a platform. Make the most of this platform, by being ready to market your project to the best of your ability from day one.
What else can you do
Originally I had published my project under my small suburb of Denver. That is great if there happens to be two or more projects running currently in that town. Suburbs show up with the big city, but only if there are two or more projects in them. So I moved my project to Denver to gain another method of visibility. I do know that this helped. I received at least one backer from the Denver area, who would never have seen my project had I listed it as the suburb.
So again, develop your community first. Let them know the Kickstarter project is coming, tell them how important even a 1 dollar pledge is. Get them excited before you launch so that you waste none of your funding period. Don’t get discouraged, keep going until the end. Even though my first Kickstarter project wasn’t successful, it was well worth it. I am going to work to finish this project, it will take longer, but that is OK. It is time that I can use to build a community so my next attempt will be successful.
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