Kickstarter often likes to remind its users that its services shouldn’t be thought of as a catalogue from which to shop from, but rather as a place to fund ideas. This might sound like a fairly natural and common piece of advice to those of us who visit Kickstarter to scope out upcoming web series and help contribute towards them and “get involved”, because unlike design, technology and fashion products, web series backers are funding a project on the strength of pretty much its ideas alone. You don’t have a final draft of the script when you pledge, and you have no real idea if the finished product is going to entertain you across its many episodes, or drop the ball from the very first – as a general rule of thumb with film and video on Kickstarter, expect the unexpected, and understand that you’ll never quite know how the series you’re backing is going to turn out.
Of course, as with most rules, there are obviously exceptions…
You see, something that I find interesting about webseries in regards Kickstarter is that, unlike the other categories I mentioned above, you do tend see quite a few crowdfunded sequels in Film & Video. Followups to popular series, one-off, concluding episodes to close a winding narrative, and even prequels and side stories set in a show’s universe. With these kinds of familiar projects it’s very easy to fall into that bad, catalogue-shopping habit which Kickstarter likes to dissuade, and yet as you inevitably continue to browse in this mood, occasionally something very exciting will happen – you’ll stumble upon a project for the second season of a show you’ve never heard of!
If it’s never happened to you before, it feels a bit like shopping for macaroons at an expensive cakery, but filling up on free samples as you do. If that’s never happened to you before, it’s a bit like shopping for value cheese at a Tesco deli counter, but filling up on the free toothpick-impaled, grilled sausage bits as you do.
This is precisely how I felt when I stumbled across a freshly started campaign for a followup to Matt Rocklin’s brilliant and surreal “Dogs & Me” – a show I’d never heard of until just then.
Dogs & Me is a bizarre, but highly enjoyable single camera sitcom that is based (hopefully) very, very loosely on creator/star Matt Rocklin’s life. I’ll be sure to get a full review of the show out on these very pages soon, but until then, Dogs and Me is a show about a young Hollywood actor and his two talking dogs, Scarlet and Jerry (superbly voiced by Petra Areskoug and Ray Plumb respectively).
Whilst not perfect, the series is hugely enjoyable, and all too easy to marathon through in the space of a single afternoon. The series picked up several web and comedy-fest awards this year, despite a distinct lack of press coverage.
Glancing over the Campaign page, Rocklin has a strong idea of where he wants to go with the series, what exactly he aims to do with the pledges, and how to go about treating fans and picking up new ones for a second, expanded series. Something that’s hugely encouraging is Rocklin’s clear dedication to social media and awareness of the growing trend in web series to involve your fans in as many interesting ways as possible. Rocklin states -
“Most of our fans came from social media. Therefore, our project is budgeting additional funds for promotional campaigns on YouTube & Facebook. These two sites have unprecedented networks that we wish to target using creative ads and promotional trailers.”
As well as setting aside funds and planning for a social media campaign, Rocklin aims to expand the production to allow for a bigger and better series by planning a 10 day shoot – double Series 1′s brief but hectic 5 day shoot. Rocklin lays out his plan -
“The majority of the budget for Season 2 will fund a 10 day shoot. In addition to paying our crew (see breakdown below), we will need to hire a cinematographer with industry standard lighting and camera gear to maintain our high production value. The cinematographer will require several crew hands to adjust lighting as needed and handle the moving of gear. We’ll also require a professional sound mixer & recordist.”