Shawn Wildermuth's Rants and Raves

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Ending the Kickstarter
Ending the Kickstarter
December 1, 2017

I want to start by thanking everyone who contributed to the Hello World Film Kickstarter. It’s been a humbling exercise. I’ve learned a lot along the way too.

The film is still happening, but the Kickstarter is being canceled today. No one’s pledges will be processed. Let me tell you a little about why and how you can continue to help if you’re still excited about the project.

Some Background

The goal of the film is to help demystify the developer and talk about my own journey as someone who look like what the media says software developers look like and my realization that it shouldn’t be true. That, as an industry, we’re missing out on the variety of different kinds of people in our industry that would make it a lot better. That’s the story I am telling.

I started this film project about a year ago. I did a couple of small film projects to help learn the process and whether making a documentary was for me, or I was just dreaming. After stumbling and learning a lot, I realized it was possible and that I really enjoyed the process.

Then the hard part started, I talked with other people in documentary film and watched a lot of YouTube videos on the subject and realized that I had to be the Producer not just the Director. This meant I had to create a budget and find a way to finance the film. I wrote a few budgets and shared it with people who helped me figure out how wrong I was. I cut and cut until it was as close to the bone as possible and I ended up with a budget of $130,000. That was a hard day when I looked at that number. That’s $130,000 without paying myself, doing a lot of the work myself, and hiring smart, talented people who could do the parts I wasn’t well suited to (e.g. marketing, art, cinematography, coloring, mastering, etc.).

So I started the film making my company (Wilder Minds LLC) as the first sponsor. They contributed quite a bit to get the first year or so done. The reality is that much of the money needed is back-loaded (when I move into post-production). But at some point I realized that it wasn’t going to be quite enough for production part of the budget.

That’s why I came to Kickstarter. I figured Kickstarter would get some excitement for the film (which it did) and help finance the rest of the production budget (mostly travel expenses). For the balance, I’d still pursue typical sponsorship to complete the film once I reached post-production.

Where Are We Now?

The film is still going to be made, but I’m still working on figuring out where to get the rest of the financing. The Kickstarter is three weeks in and at about 40% funded which means it’s going to fail to get funded. The Kickstarter model is an all-or-nothing model. Because we’re not going to fully fund it, I’m canceling it.

Several things doomed the Kickstarter. First of all, my inexperience running a Kickstarter means I rushed the timeline thinking that the holiday period wouldn’t distract potential contributors. This was the wrong time to run the Kickstarter. I also think I needed to try and get the Kickstarter out to a larger audience than just software developers. The film is for a wider audience than just engineers, and I didn’t have the experience to get this out to a wider audience.

Every failure is a learning experience; or you’re just wasting your time.

Plans for the Future?

Rest assured, I’m making the movie. I am not dissuaded from my original plan. This is a film I want to make and I want to see. Here’s some points about the future for the movie to help you understand where I am going from here:

I will likely re-launch a crowd funding campaign sometime next year. I’ll let you know if I do so you can pre-purchase the movie again if that’s what you supported the project for.

I will continue to seek sponsorship for the film to complete it from corporate or other sponsors.

The movie production schedule continues on and I’m making some adjustments to the speed of shooting the interviews to accommodate the funding changes, but it’s still happening.

Finally, the date for finishing the film hasn’t changed either. The plan has us finished with editing in late 2019 and a release in 2020.

What You Can Do

If you’re a fan of what I’m trying to do, I’d ask you to do a couple of small things:

Add your name to the Mailing List to keep up with updates on the film:

Like the Film Facebook Page:

Follow us on Twitter:

Follow us on Instagram:

Thanks again for all your support!