Candy Gourlay (foreground), Mary Hoffman (middle ground), and The David at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 14 April 2015.

Candy Gourlay (foreground), Mary Hoffman (middle ground), and The David at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 14 April 2015.

Last weekend, I started building our Kickstarter campaign page. I’d been putting it off and putting it off, studying and researching instead of just getting on with it. I always procrastinate when confronting a new learning curve for the first time. Good or bad, it’s part of my process. But I gotta say, once I dug in, the experience at the back-end of the Kickstarter machine was easy, seamless, a pleasure.

Thank you, Team Kickstarter! When we get to the stage, at Time Traveler Tours & Tales, where we’re ready to build the back-end of our publishing engine, I want it to be just as smart and responsive and visually appealing as yours. But I digress. Because I’m here to tell you:

The Truth About Kickstarter Campaign Videos

All that I read in my days and weeks of procrastinating, I mean researching, suggests that every Kickstarter campaign is all about the video.

Indeed, when you land on a Kickstarter campaign page you see, right there front and center, begging you to react with a great big red arrow button that screams, “Watch me now!” is the campaign video.

We started with a hearty Italian lunch.

We started with a hearty Italian lunch.

The video is the most valuable piece of real estate on the campaign page. It’s where project initiators get 2 ½ - 3 minutes to grab the world's attention with their story.

So the simple truth is: you better get the video right or potential backers will bounce. It’s the rare campaign that succeeds without a video. If your page doesn’t include one, you’re wasting your time.

The video is the heart and soul of your campaign. It must:

Then we story boarded our production based on my ponderous earlier script.

Then we story boarded our production based on my ponderous earlier script.

  • tell your story, while communicating a message;

  • draw people in by touching hearts and minds;

  • invite them to participate in your mission or movement;

  • give them a reason to scroll below the fold to learn more; and

  • do it all in under three minutes.

Add to that the pressure of creating, on a non-existent budget, a video of reasonably professional quality that is fun and sufficiently gripping that people get lost in it and watch to the end…

Then, we turned my London living room into a studio set up...

Then, we turned my London living room into a studio set up...

It’s a tall order indeed.

Fortunately, at Time Traveler Tours & Tales we now have Candy Gourlay in the house!

Candy is a brilliant storyteller (Tall Story, 2012; Shine, 2015), and a fantastic amateur video director and producer. She volunteered these talents as an in-kind contribution to our campaign.

I can’t even begin to calculate the value of her contribution. I’m so grateful I wanted you all to know. Thank you, Candy!

we picked my wardrobe, did hair, and make up...

we picked my wardrobe, did hair, and make up...

Candy started by helping me to rein in my propensity toward the verbose. We began several weeks ago with a rambling, stilted script. It was 8 ½ minutes of dull; I’m the first to admit. Now, she’s got me completely off script and communicating not only why we’re making IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF GIANTS with Mary Hoffman, but also how we intend to leverage the process to launch a publishing micro-enterprise.

We worked all afternoon, right up until sunset when we lost natural light. Then Candy went home to work her magic with Final Cut Pro. And I remembered all the things we didn't say!

We worked all afternoon, right up until sunset when we lost natural light. Then Candy went home to work her magic with Final Cut Pro. And I remembered all the things we didn't say!

Because here’s the deal: We plan to produce Mary’s Story App Tour while simultaneously establishing the foundation of a digital publishing engine that will allow us to go on producing Story App Tours, and their derivative educational products, well into the future.

Around this one story app, we will build the content architecture of our future engine: a framework – or minimum viable product – that we can then go on adding to and improving upon for years to come. Once up and running, our fully realized engine will enable us to:

  • develop content under the Time Traveler Tours & Tales twin imprints, 

  • create apps for other publishers and cultural institutions; and

  • license the tool for others’ use to build their own apps at an affordable cost.

So we were back at it the following week, this time with Mary and David at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

So we were back at it the following week, this time with Mary and David at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

But that’s the long-term goal…out there…over the rainbow. For now, we’re starting with a single story, Mary’s, and we’re mounting a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds we need to keep us moving, steadily, toward our greater goal.

Gotta go now. Candy's calling me back into the studio, because we've got our work cut out for us. It turns out it’s much more complicated than you might think to communicate all the above -- and more -- in less than three minutes.

But with the combined talents now filling the rafters of the TTT&T House, I have no doubt that we will succeed by launch day, 19 May 2015.

Please send your encouragements, as well as any advice you may have about how to create a killer Kickstarter campaign video, in the comments below.

Ciao for now!
Sarah


PS Don't forget to RSVP for our live-streamed Kickstarter Kick-off Event on 19 May 2015 in NYC. You can participate from anywhere in the world with a computer and wifi connection. Even in your pajamas! YAY!

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