Ben O’Brien has never let the fact that he doesn’t play an instrument or write songs keep him out of the music scene. In college, this meant his brother (that’s me) had to devise a band with two lead singers, one of whom could sort of growl along. Post-college, it meant making a slew of music videos that tie into his puppet-and-green-screen-heavy video series Showbeast, which Ben describes as “a kids-TV-show style series of short films that come out irregularly for adults.”
I seriously believe that Amazon can chalk up at least 25 percent of its profits to the ease of the online impulse buy — you know, the way clicking on a button is so easy it doesn’t feel like you’re actually spending money.
Instead of feeling guilty about online spending sprees, why not balance them out with a little bit of impulsive online philanthropy via Kickstarter? It feels better, and it’s sometimes tax deductible!
If you’re not familiar with the site, it’s basically a funding platform that helps musicians, artists, filmmakers, and other creative types collect small (or large) donations. The creators set a funding goal — say, one or three or five thousand dollars — and try their hardest to raise that amount of money in a set amount of time. If they do, all is well; if they can’t get enough pledges, however, the money goes back to the donors — so you don’t need to worry about donating money for a project that never goes anywhere.
Plenty of Baltimore artists have used the site to make things happen in recent months. The Copycat Theatre’s Rooms Play, one of the highlights of this year’s Transmodern Festival, raised $5,343 from 103 different backers. Some local projects that haven’t reached their goals yet include:
- Matt Porterfield’s new film, I Used to Be Darker, needs $40,000 by August 13. They’re 40 percent of the way there. If you donate at least $5, you get thanked in the film’s closing credits!
- The Pleasure Collective plans to support young writers by printing a monthly lit mag and quarterly books