Friday, September 06, 2013

The "Dulcimerica" Crowd-Sourcing Pledge Drive

"The Dulcimerica Video Podcast" (iTunes - YouTube) launched in 2006 and has since produced over 200 episodes viewed by more than a million unique viewers worldwide. When I first started producing the series, my equipment was state of the art.  However, with time and much usage, the cameras began to fail, the software became outdated and the popularity of the show plus the immense data storage began costing me extra for bandwidth and server space.  As a free program this is difficult to maintain, so I've added donation buttons on the sites and graphics asking for pledges right into the videos, but it's not been enough to keep things rolling smoothly.

For that reason, I'm initiating a crowd-sourcing pledge drive to raise funds for the upgrades and I'm offering incentives for varying levels of pledges so everyone will receive something cool for their participation. Included on this page is a detailed list of incentives, a F.A.Q. covering the who, what, where, when and why and the specific gear and services that I'm looking to purchase. The result will be a renewed ability to keep "Dulcimerica" rolling merrily along into its 8th year of existence as one of the most popular (and still free!) dulcimer-related programs online!

What are the pledge incentives?

Pledge $10 or more
6 backers

Every little bit counts!  An "I Love Dulcimerica" sticker will be included in a personally handwritten letter of thanks which will be mailed to you on special "Dulcimerica" stationary sealed and stamped in wax.  Classy!

Pledge $15 or more
6 backers

The "I Love Dulcimerica" sticker, the Classy Letter Package and a
special autographed and personalized glossy photo

Pledge $25 or more
10 backers

The sticker, Classy Letter, glossy photo and an "I Love Dulcimerica" t-shirt suitable for framing or wearing.  Or framing and wearing.

Pledge $35 or more
3 backers

The sticker, Classy Letter, glossy photo, the "I Love Dulcimerica" t-shirt
and a your name in the end credits of a special 8th Anniversary "Dulcimerica" episode.

Pledge $50 or more
9 backers

The sticker, Classy Letter, glossy photo, the t-shirt, your name in the
8th Anniversary show and a 16-month 2014/2015 calendar featuring awesome moments from "Dulcimerica" (with your name listed inside the calendar as well!)

Pledge $75 or more
3 backers

Sticker, Letter, Photo, T-shirt, Calendar, name in the Anniversary show credits AND calendar plus a quick personal phone call from me to tell you how much you totally rock!

Pledge $100 or more
13 backers

Sticker, Letter, Photo, T-shirt, Calendar, name in the credits and calendar, quick personal phone call from me AND your name in the credits of "Dulcimerica" for a full year as a co-producer.  Woot!

Pledge $250 or more
1 backers

All of the above PLUS an ad for your business or just a special message inside the 16 month calendar (first come-first served on your choice of month.)

Pledge $350 or more
0 backers

All of the above PLUS a DVD set,  "Almost A Decade Of Dulcimerica", featuring full episodes, never-before-seen footage, outtakes and special features.  High Definition goodness where you can see everything super-clear and real up-close!

Pledge $450 or more
1 backers

All of the above PLUS 8 hours of one-on-one real-time video lessons with me on your instrument of choice; mountain dulcimer, Native American flute, ukulele, jaw harp, whatever you like!  

Pledge $550 or more
1 backers

All of the above PLUS an autographed copy of every CD I've ever released.
No flash drives.  Tangible schwag!

Pledge $650 or more
0 backers

All of the above PLUS an autographed copy of every book I've ever published. WITH the CDs that go in the back and everything!

Pledge $750 or more
1 backers

All of the above PLUS a song written especially for you, showcased on a
"Dulcimerica" episode and released on an upcoming album. How cool is that?

Pledge $1000 or more
0 backers

All of the coolness above hand-delivered PLUS a "Dulcimerica" episode shot at YOUR house where I will cook dinner for you and your guests!  It's going to be a party! (Offer only good in the continental U.S.)

Pledge $1500 or more
0 backers

Everything mentioned so far PLUS a private house concert for you and your guests.  You'll really be workin' it then! (Offer good only in the continental U.S.)

Pledge $2000 or more
0 backers

You are The Boss if you reach this level!  Not only will you receive EVERY incentive listed here, but you'll have your choice of one of two options.  Either I'll write and record an entire album for you based on your themes, suggestions and preferences (holy concept album, Batman!) OR a full week spent in the studio with me as I record and produce YOUR ALBUM.  Not only will I produce your album, I'll set you up with digital distribution online so that you can start selling music straight away!  And I'll take you out for Mexican food when we're done. (I'll bring the studio to you, so no need for travel or lodging arrangements.)

How much are you trying to fundraise?


What exactly is wrong with your gear?

Since I went full-time as a musician, and because I don't charge a fee for "Dulcimerica", there hasn't been a budget to upgrade software or repair damaged equipment.  One of the two cameras that I use for shooting sustained water damage on tour which wiped out the LCD viewfinder.  The motor for the lens assembly malfunctioned later and has to be propped open in order to view anything.  The secondary camera uses Hi8 video and will not be compatible with the next round of Mac OS upgrades.  My only tripod is broken.  The Final Cut Pro editing suite that I have, along with DVD Studio Pro and LiveType, are all outdated and are no longer supported by Apple.  I've been holding off upgrading to the latest OS because it will render these programs completely unusable.

The other problem has nothing to do with gear and everything to do with too much of a good thing!  "Dulcimerica" has over 200 episodes which all need to be stored on a server in order to feed both the current iTunes directory and also the archives on the website.  Besides the ever-growing server space, there is the tremendous bandwidth involved as people from all around the world access the data and either stream or download the media.  My current internet provider has warned me that I'm taking up too much space, so I need to move all of the data to a different provider.  The show has grown too big. Kind of a nice problem to have - but it's still an issue.

What will $5000 purchase?

Here are the items we've identified and their respective costs:

2 Sony HDR-PJ430V Handycams - $1800
2 Sony NP-FV50 Batteries - $69.90
2 Transcend 32 Gb Class 10 SDHC Flash Memory Cards - $45.16
Final Cut Pro X - $299
Motion - $49.99
Compressor - $49.99
Logic Pro X - $199.99
Mountain Lion - $19.99
2 Fluid Head Tripods - $300
Server Data Relocation/Implementation/Setup/Hosting
Raw Materials For Incentive Production
Packaging and Shipping For Incentives

Thankfully, software costs have gone down.  Final Cut, Motion, Compressor, Logic Pro are the updated tools that will allow me to edit, design graphics, record and mix sound and export online and to DVD.  They will all be compatible with Mac's latest OS, Mountain Lion.  The cameras are in the mid-$800's apiece and are not quite professional-level, but have features that will speed up the production process (one of the big issues we've had - an investment of over 8 hours for each ten minute episode due mostly to logging of video tape.  These cameras work off of flash drives and can even send the footage via wi-fi to the editing bays.)  Finally, the moving of all the data from the current server to a new host where we'll need to pay for a year up front.  The rest of the funds will assist in producing and delivering the incentives.

Why aren't you using Kickstarter for this pledge drive?

According to Kickstarter's rules, you have to have a finished project to show at the end of the drive.  Our fundraising drive's main purpose is to upgrade equipment so that we can produce an ongoing video podcast. There will be a brand new DVD set, "Almost A Decade Of Dulcimerica", that comes out of this drive.  However, it won't even be possible until we purchase the equipment to make it happen. Unfortunately, we don't qualify under Kickstarter's rules, so we're conducting the drive on our own.

What is the timeline you're looking at?

We'd like to have raised all of the funds by the end of 2013 with an eye on delivering the incentives in January of 2014.

Can I get a refund on my pledge if you don't meet your goal?


Can I pledge with a check or money order instead of PayPal?

Yes, you can.  Please make it out to "J.O.B. Entertainment Inc." and mail to:

J.O.B Entertainment Inc.
P.O Box 560727
Orlando, Florida  32856

Who can I talk to if I have any questions about the pledge drive?

You can talk to me, Bing Futch, either by e-mail ( or by calling me directly. (E-mail me first and I'll give you my phone number.)

Will "Dulcimerica" continue in the meantime?

Yes, I'm currently uploading episodes from footage shot this summer and will shoot some additional episodes throughout the next few months.  No matter what, "Dulcimerica" will continue.  We're just hoping to streamline things to make it easier to produce and manageable for everyone concerned.  Thanks for your support and thanks for watching!

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