Kicking & Screaming: Week #2


Welcome back to the blog mini-series where I write about my experience running a Kickstarter campaign to help release an album.

As much preparation as I have done for this beast, which I managed to drag out over six long months of dread, procrastination, and ambivalence about the entire concept of crowdfunding, I immediately discovered just how unprepared I was the moment I hit “launch” and saw the typo in the very title of my project.

It wasn’t just that I didn’t have all my “materials” together (I don’t, and I’ll try get to that in a future installment), and it wasn’t even that I had no idea how much actual time, energy, and attention this would require (I thought I did and I underestimated), but there’s an emotional component that I didn’t predict even though I’d been told about it explicitly by my Kickstarter yogis at Lightning Records.

First off, in the week prior to launching, I assembled a massive email list of every friend, family member, potentially receptive acquaintance, musician, and writer I could possibly think of. This psychic and geographic tour of my last twenty years was like an imaginary “This is Your Life,” complete with visits from once-intimate friends and lovers I’ve lost touch with or simply lost, former creative heroes and collaborators who no longer maintain a creative practice or who have far surpassed me with their abilities and careers, and people I consider my closest friends and allies—people who, in my head, share my daily thoughts—but I rarely speak to and don’t see more than once every five years.

So after wading neck deep into this Lake of All Souls, I then had to pick and choose whom I would email directly with a little personal note and to whom I’d send an unpersonalized email, because it was simply not going to be possible to do the little personal note thing for five hundred people.

And thank god I didn’t. Because after the mentally and emotionally exhausting process of individually emailing over two hundred of those folks, I started receiving responses by the dozens. Responses are good! They’re exactly what I want and need in order for this whole thing to work, and it truly is wonderful to be in touch with all these friends. But the responses themselves require more elaborate responses from me, as does each pledge.

Each generous, heart-warming, supportive, loving pledge, which is the other thing I wasn’t prepared for—how profoundly moving each pledge would feel when it arrives.

I’d been so caught up in all the material preparations for the campaign and in my anxiety about it not working, that I forgot to imagine anyone actually supporting the campaign, so it was a total surprise when it started happening. It’s humbling. Gratitude does not begin to cover the deep appreciation and support I feel when even the smallest pledge comes in.

There was no way to prepare for this feeling because to do so would have been to expect people to give which would have soured the true spirit of The Ask.

I still have no idea whether or not this project will get funded, and in order for that to happen, it will most likely have to spread beyond my already existing network, but that’s a thought for another day. Right now, at the end of week one, I just feel lucky to be here.

Scott Pinkmountain is a writer and musician living in California. He is the creator and host of The History Channeler comedy podcast and has written for This American Life, A Public Space, HTMLGIANT, and other publications. He has also released dozens of albums of both instrumental music and songs including the recent No Country Music. He can be found at More from this author →