So, the Kickstarter campaign is over and it seems that we survived to the storm.
Obviously, after almost a month spent submerged 24/7 in this event it's not easy just to blow off some steam and return to the daily routine!
Indeed, this campaign has been incredibly intense and it pushed me away from my comfort zone many and many times: it wasn't easy at all, I confess!
Before going on, however, let me say that I'm quite happy about the result after all, and even if I firmly believe that this project deserved better, I'm also aware that only my mistakes prevented this campaign to achieve a glorious success like our previous one. So, yeah, I'm not happy about myself.
But let's go step by step, to analyze what worked and what didn't work during this second chapter of the Inneath project. I'm used to always start with the bad news, so let's focus on things that didn't work.
Possibly, the first strategical mistake concerns the pre-production priorities I chose for this new project. During our Dwarf campaign, in fact, we didn't expect such a great engagement and we had to literally build from nothing 10 new characters: it was amazing, but as you may imagine, to sculpt all the unplanned stuff required months of work, a fact that slowed down production and contributed to the delay on deliveries. To avoid that situation, with the Second Government campaign I decided to invest all our resources and time to sculpt all the characters and Stretch Goals designed for this new range. To achieve this goal, we couldn't 3d print many characters and, for that reason, we had not time to make a first resin samples of our new miniatures.
I thought that people preferred to see the whole range sculpted than just some resin samples: after all, I thought, we have already produced a whole range of figures so our quality is known.
I was wrong.
I realized, during the campaign, that having more samples of the finished product would have been more helpful to give our potential backers a more accurate view of what they were thinking to pledge for. Moreover, not having resin samples of at least a bunch of my new figures brought us to the second strategic mistake, which is...
•TOO MUCH BLACK AND WHITE.
This was a classic elephant in the room situation. We want to produce fantasy miniatures and, at the moment, our first target are painters and collectors and we put our souls to create colorful characters...so why, for Grundur's holy nipples, are there so few colors in our project?! Seeing the campaign look in hindsight, black&white dominates everything. I love minimal and clean graphics, I'm a big Juventus fan, so black&white is good to me, but damn how could I not notice that there was no visual impact, looking at the campaign description?! I'm a decent painter, I would like to grow as a creative, we make great characters and I didn't think about the importance of painted miniatures, in a campaign designed principally for collectors and painters. This is so obvious, in hindsight, that I would slap my face 'till the next campaign.
Bad, bad, bad mistake of mine.
•TIME RULES US ALL
Originally, the campaign was planned for middle February/March. Unfortunately, an unfortunate series of circumstances obliged us to posticipate the campaign to April. I honestly am not a "holidays-type of person", I'm totally focused on my projects (imagine how happy is my mother about that...) so actually I didn't think about the fact that, starting the campaign in April, we would go through Easter and May 1st. I didn't know even the exact Easter date!
However, I quickly learned that holidays and Kickstarter are not a good mix, and we lost almost 4-5 days of funding for that. Moreover, when I set the ending date, I was totally sure that 12PM means midnight, but then, a couple of days before the real ending, I realized that 12PM stands for twelve o' clock, so for this idiot mistake we lost the most important hours during the most important day of funding: when the whole American continent woke up, the campaign was already over. Gosh.
•IT RAINS IT POURS
Now, it's time to talk about Flonzi. I love Flonzi and, happily, it seems that people love Flonzi too. I adore these creepy and mischievous creatures but I fear that, like in the best 80's horror movie, in someway they managed to manifest their powers into the real world. Actually, in the lore Flonzi have the superpower of bad-luck and, believe me or not, I swear that whenever a Flonzo character was unlocked during the campaign, something bad happened.
I know, it sounds maybe paranoid or crazy, but please tell me if it's just me that I see a dark pattern behind the events that happened:
-after I re-scheduled the Stretch Goals range, we grew a lot, collecting more than 4.000€ in two days, arriving at 18.000€. We unlocked, then, the Flonzi Familiars: the growth immediately stopped and, for the next days of campaign, we struggled to increase our funds because whenever a new backer joined the campaign, another one left it.
After we painfully arrived to 19.000€, going out from the "Flonzi-zone" and unlocking the Redcoat Spitfire, we immediately started to grow again.
Arrived at 24.000€ we unlocked the Mechanical Flonzo, and, again, the campaign growth immediately stopped again. Again, we struggled to advance in our funding quest and only after we went out from the Flonzo-zone, things returned to normality.
I'm Italian so I'm superstitious, but I think that the Flonzo's curse is evident.
•"IS THIS ALL YOU CAN CONJURE, SARUMAN?"
During our previous campaign we managed, in a total spontaneous and unconscious way, to hold high our backers' attention and hype: the whole campaign grew day after day, following the events. We arrived to the campaign with only 13 miniatures sculpted on 15 planned, with not a single stretch goals sculpted. In this new one, we arrived to the campaign with 20 characters sculpted on 20 ones planned, with almost 90% of stretch goals already sculpted.
Which situation was better? The second one? I thought so, but nope: the first one, paradoxically, was better.
The reason is simple (or at least, it's simple in hindsight!): in the first one we add a lot of new material during the campaign, inventing new characters to unlock, presenting new stretch goals and showing the sculpts of the 2 characters originally planned that we didn't manage to sculpt before the beginning of the campaign. This fact, helped us to have almost every day a news to share with our backers, holding high the hype and attention on the campaign! A potential weakness of the project, became a strong point!
In this new one, on the other hand, we started the campaign with almost all the stuff ready, and I thought it was a solid one for our side, but then actually..we had almost nothing new to share! This fact, in my opinion, contributed a bit to give a kind of "is that it?" feel to our backers during the crucial 2nd and 3rd weeks, the most difficult ones. It's not a coincidence, and not only a matter of Flonzi's Curse, if we lost a lot of backers during the 3rd weeks: of course, many left the project for a series of other reasons (a better project to back, lack of finances etc), it's normal in a KS campaign, but I think that the lack of tasty news contributed to tone down the enthusiasm and create a loss of interest and hype in many day1 backers.
Believe me, there is nothing worse for a KS creators than spending the days refreshing constantly the KS page with terror, hoping that nobody else left (and then, see the numbers that go down...).
In the previous campaign we managed the event almost with our own intuition, and we succeed, in this second one I managed the event trying to be prepared and organized, and I failed a lot of decisions.
I think that the lesson is clear: learn from my mistakes and follow more my heart and less my brain!