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Kickstarter Tips: Your Video
by Benjamin Gifford on 08/11/14 06:38:00 pm   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


It’s loud, confusing, it shows snippets of the game, it doesn’t tell the story of WHY you’re putting it to the Kickstarter community! There’s no call to action, no drive, no personal story on the video that explains who you are, why you want to do this, what challenges you’ve faced. Sound familiar? Welcome to yet another failed Kickstarter project and a video that makes you wince or leave you confused.

Your video is the most important component for your project, it’s where your backers and potential backers will gravitate towards first to understand. Do take the time to source as best as you can quality audio recording and video recording technology and edit, edit, edit. Don’t be in a rush on the key selling point on your project and what others will use as they share your project with their networks. I’d suggest talking to other devs and students at your local IGDA chapter and see what resources they might be able to offer you in order to make your video the best quality you can. I also suggest that you practice in front of a few different people on what you’re going to say in your video and use storyboards to plan it out. Again, the time you take to invest in your video will assist in showing your uniqueness and professionalism and don’t forget it’s how backers will begin to form their opinion and possible friendship in believing in your dreams.

Begin your video on a personal note, introducing yourself (be original though, there are thousands of unsuccessful projects that begin with “Hello Kickstarter” so why not set the very first impression people will get from you and your project by linking your professionalism, personality and project together?). This allows us viewers to begin building a personal connection to the project. This should be reinforced shortly after when you introduce the entire team behind the project. You should summarise the project early within the first 20 seconds of the video; clearly and concisely explain what your project is about.

The bulk of your video ought to be focused on clear communication of all the top level differentiators that make your game unique and special, or in other words, deserving to be funded. If you can share and make Kickstarters understand why having this project successfully funded out of the many others, you’ll be doing well. Don’t forget to talk through the different reward tiers briefly (don’t go through them all) and if you have an early bird reward I’d make sure to mention it to build up momentum. Also if you have it, take ten or so seconds with a series of screenshots/images/animations with a flyby on any press or others who have written about your project.

Wrap it up with a clear understanding of what stage of development your project is at and what exactly you need from us Kickstarters to help bring your project to reality. At the end, tell your story and invite Kickstarters to become part of your success story’s triumphant conclusion (make it a specific call to action as best as you can). Setting clear calls to action (click to back, don’t forget to click Tweet and Share) and perhaps following your studio/self on Twitter too).

And in the end? Make sure to thank us.

Remember that the video, while one of the most important tools on seeing your Kickstarter has the best chance at succeeding, is not the only tool you ought to use. I’ll chat later on about other Kickstarter tips.

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Marvin Papin
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Show gameplay
Show you can make it
Show yourself, to tell people you're not hiding for any bad reasons

Kevin Zhang
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Hey Benjamin, what do you think of games like Hyper Light Drifter and Night in the Woods, where they just showed a trailer and the game and nothing else? Do you think have a video after the trailer with the devs talking would have added enough value to the video for it to have a noticeable effect on these games' pledges?

Benjamin Gifford
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I like those games, Kevin, however I think they are both examples of KS projects that generated significant pickup through the indie scene and they're both fortunate as they've come just before the 2014 KS tipping point where multiple projects have been successfully funded (and funded significantly I might add) but have failed to deliver the actual product. This in turn I think has jaded the crowdfunding scene where people are starting to ask appropriate questions before they hand over their money. Games look cool and promises are given from the project team to the backers, and then the project isn't being delivered which simply irritates players and also ruins the KS channel for indies to get a source of funding they wouldn't normally have. I was just observing one project where the deliverable is for PC/Mac and then what they did is release an iOS F2P which really has set KS backers in an uproar.

That said, there is always games in which the audio/visual/story elements can be so compelling that they generate to the viewer a connection (for example, The Sun Also Rises, Deer God, to name just a few). I just don't think though it works for the majority of game projects out there.

But the video, while one of the key points to a successful KS being funded, isn't the only point. Interaction with community also is right up there, and I think all of these you've pointed out are excellent examples where the project team has understood that proactive and constant communication with your community will help.

Kevin Zhang
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Great points! I'm planning a Kickstarter campaign for an upcoming game we're making right now (, so your points about easing the doubts that people on Kickstarter have these days is a great point. Would love to show you a WIP of our KS video I have a good enough draft. Thanks again!

Jerson M King
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Hi, Im new here and I'm trying to learn everything I read on here.
Probably is true that there must be a personal message in the video.
At this time we (the team to which I belong) have a kickstarter proyect and it goes very wrong. The video shows the game as it is, not as something that could be. Development already begun and it works. But we need resources to finish. And apparently that was not enough that someone wants to donate money.Probably the people want to hear something directly from people who are doing it, and not just see the gameplay on a trailer. I dont Know.
We used twitter to make it known, and We have received many good reviews from people. the vast majority likes, but still it seems no one is willing to cooperate.
What is more disappointing to see, is how games that seem of lesser quality and do not have anything development, achieve their goals.
Not saying it's bad. They did well their campaigns and achieved what they wanted and that's great I'm happy for them. But would like to achieve what they have achieved. And whether to learn from mistakes.

Sorry my bad english XD
If you want to know the project of which I speak is called FIGHTERS UNLEASHED. so you can find it on kickstarter.

William Dube
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When we made our video, we focused on making sure to base it on how we thought potential backers approached KS projects:

A. Do I like how it looks?
B. Do I like the gameplay?
C. Do I think the team can deliver?

As for the structure of the video itself, we went with:

1. A hook: grab their attention with the first 10 seconds (A)
2. Meat and potatoes: pitching the gameplay (B)
3. Our vision: why Kickstarter, who we are, what and why we need it (C)

Kickstarter today is much tougher and more competitive than it once was, you really need to stand out. I think the key to Jotun's success (so far!) is that we have really high production values for both the art of the game and the pitch video itself.

Get help from people who are better than you at what they do!