Phase I Kickstarter

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Our "Phase I" Kickstarter campaign was to support character design and other pre-production artwork. I really had very little idea of what to expect from this, as it's my first attempt at a Kickstarter campaign, and the project really wasn't very widely known when we started.

To my surprise, the Kickstart itself was fantastic for spreading news about the project, and I'm really grateful for that -- almost as much as for the fact that we succeeded (by the skin of our teeth!) and now have a budget to support the pre-production work!

Where the Money is Going

In the interest of keeping an account, here is a breakdown of where the Kickstarter money goes:

Amount Description
$2410.00 Total Raised
$ 120.50 5% Kickstarter Fee
$ 91.04 Amazon Payment Processing fees (3.7%)
$2198.46 Amount Received by Anansi Spaceworks
$ 324.00 Estimated Fulfilment costs (printing, shipping, handling of rewards)
$1874.46 Production Budget ("Top Line")
$1600.00 Agreed-upon commission for Daniel Fu's model sheet work
$ 100.00 Incentive budget for Rosalyn Hunter's script finishing work
$ 100.00 Donated to Pyppet2 project for our production workflow
$ 74.46 Remainder / Margin

I estimated the fulfillment costs based on the actual rewards to be delivered. I didn't actually add up all of the Amazon Payments fees, I just subtracted what they gave us from the total minus the 5% Kickstarter fee -- this turns out to be about 3.7%, which is consistent with the advertised "3% to 5%" cost I was told to expect (probably if we had lots of small rewards, the Amazon Payments fees would've been a little higher).

Of course, we do have a few other expenses (webhosting, for example), but we also have some other business income (I get paid a small amount for the articles I write in Free Software Magazine -- indeed this is what has paid for almost all project expenses prior to the Kickstart).

This may be supplemented by donation or "flattr" revenue through our website, and we should be setting up a merchandise store sometime this Spring -- but of course, I don't expect to make sales until we are releasing some real content!

The primary work, of course, is the character design work that Daniel Fu will be doing. This will include design drawings for 16 characters: the 8 colonists, 4 additional named characters, and 4 mix-and-match "extras" or "walk-ons" that we will use to base additional characters in the pilot. The actual modeling of these characters would be a great subject for a "modeling sprint" which has been suggested to me. We may also be able to adapt some of the town characters from Sintel to use as background characters, since the design proportions we have chosen are very similar.

Obviously, I'm contributing unpaid at this point. Rosalyn is basically unpaid, too, but we decided that a $100 "mad money" incentive would be a good way to give her some urgency for finishing the pilot script in a timely way.

I originally expected to run another Kickstarter specifically for supporting software development, but after a discussion with Brett Hartshorn, author of the Pyppet digital puppetry software we hope to use, we decided that it probably wasn't necessary. Instead, we've just contributed a $100 donation which he says he's going to spend on another game controller to test with Pyppet.

And that leaves just under $75 worth of margin to cover things like postage on rewards being higher than I estimated, or other contingencies.

Actual costs:

Postage on the posters was:

5 x $2.17 for 1.3oz foreign flat/folded --> $10.85 3 x $1.08 for 1.3oz domestic flat/folded --> $3.2476 7 x $1.88 for 3.3oz domestic tube/rolled --> $13.16 2 x $4.33 for 3.3oz foreign tube/rolled to UK 1 x $3.46 for 2.7oz? foreign tube/rolled to Switzerland

  (I'm not sure why this one was measured light -- the clerk may have misweighed it. I hope I didn't just mail an empty tube -- I did check them all, so this seems very unlikely).