Celebrity Kickstarter Campaigns — Who Failed And Who Succeeded?

January 22, 2015  |  
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Everyday people and budding entrepreneurs have been using crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to raise capital for their projects or businesses, but the rich and famous aren’t above using the same means to get a little cash money and make their dreams come true. Are you with it?


Thirteen years ago TLC promised to give their fans a final album but since the death of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, that plan has been on hiatus. But the duo just announced that they are headed back to the studio to record their fifth and final album. However, they need some help from their fans and they’re seeking $150,000 via Kickstarter. Contributors could receive TLC’s music video outfits, an exercise class with Chilli, slumber parties, movie dates, phone calls, outgoing voicemail messages, their name in the liner notes, and a whole lot more if they donate to the cause.

Spike Lee

Spike Lee has been making movies for over three decades and for his latest project he turned to crowd funding for capital. But the filmmaker caught a lot of flack for using Kickstarter to raise $1.5 million for “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus” because many felt he could’ve used the contacts he’s made throughout his career to find investors. Lee paid little attention to the backlash and ended up exceeding his goal. Check out our interview with him about the campaign here.

Zosia Mamet

Zosia Mamet plays the sweet, innocent, fast-talking Shoshanna on HBO’s “Girls” but in her off time she has dreams of being a singer. Mamet formed a folk band with her sibling Clara and Cabin Sisters turned to crowd funding for the $32,000 they needed to turn their song “Bleak Love” into a video. Sadly, they never came even close to what they were looking for and barely managed to raise $2,300.

Whoopi Goldberg

Moms Mabley was a groundbreaking female comedian whose contributions and achievements went largely unnoticed until Whoopi Goldberg’s documentary was finally made. Goldberg fought for years to find the funds for “I Got Somethin’ To Tell You” and she turned to Kickstarter for the $73,764 it took to make the film. The documentary debuted at the TriBeCa Film Festival and was later picked up by HBO for distribution.

Lake Bell

Lake Bell was one of the first celebrities who turned to Kickstarter to raise money for a project. The “Children’s Hospital” star hit up the public in 2010 for a paltry $8,000 to raise money for her short film “Worst Enemy.” Bell managed to pull in pledges from “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria and comedian Jeff Garlin. Her film debuted at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

Darryl “DMC” McDaniels

Darryl “DMC” McDaniels was one-third of the groundbreaking and trailblazing hip-hop group Run DMC but after achieving success in the 80’s, he decided to rebrand himself as a superhero. McDaniels was desperate to get into the graphic comic book business and he was featured as the hip-hop superhero in an alternate universe in his own comic book. The legendary rapper was looking to raise $100,000 to get his idea off of the ground but the campaign ended when he couldn’t even raise six grand.

Melissa Joan Hart

Melissa Joan Hart is best known for her work on “Clarissa Explains It All” and “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” but she decided to ditch that wholesome image to make a movie. Hart turned to Kickstarter to raise $2 million for “Darci’s Walk of Shame.” But after a month into the campaign, the plug was pulled when just $50,000 was raised. Luckily, Hart still had her day job on “Melissa & Joey” to fall back on.

Shemar Moore

Shemar Moore taught all crowd funding users a very important lesson: if you don’t reach your goal with one platform, lower your goal and try another one. The “Young and the Restless” star turned to Kickstarter to raise $1.5 million for “The Bounce Back.” But with just $249,459 raised and one more day in the campaign to go, things were looking bleak. Instead of giving up, Moore took another stab at fundraising with Indiegogo. This time his goal of half a million dollars was more realistic and he managed to raise $638,483 in 60 days.

Ed Begley, Jr.

Ed Begley, Jr. made a name for himself as an actor and an environmentalist. Taking a page out of Al Gore’s book, the “St. Elsewhere” star decided he wanted to educate the masses on how to make the world’s greenest home through a web series. He turned to Kickstarter to raise $25,000 and ended up exceeding his goal by five grand. A year and a half after the campaign ended, “On Begley Street” made its debut online. Begley also had a reality show about clean living on the Planet Green network.

Eugene Mirman

In addition to celebrating comedy and making people laugh, the sole purpose of the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival was to poke fun of other comedy festivals. Comedian Eugene Mirman and his friends turned to Kickstarter in 2011 to raise a measly $18,000 to keep the festival going in Brooklyn. It was so successful, the group returned to the crowd-funding platform the following year for an extra $5,000 to bring the festival to Boston and Cambridge.

Zach Braff

Zach Braff made his directorial debut in 2004 with “Garden State” and when he was ready to make the follow up a decade later, he turned to Kickstarter for funding. The “Scrubs” actor was looking to raise $2 million. He met that goal in just two days. After collecting more than $3 million when the campaign was over, Braff’s “Wish You Were Here” made its debut at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and then enjoyed a limited release in theaters.

“Veronica Mars”

When “Veronica Mars” was cancelled in 2007, fans everywhere were in an uproar. A groundswell began to rise and people clamored for the female private eye to be brought to the big screen. In early 2013, show creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell kicked off a Kickstarter campaign to fund a film. The goal was $2 million and incentives were offered to those that donated at least ten dollars. The goal was met within ten hours and more than $5 million was raised in the campaign. However “Veronica Mars” tanked at the box office and grossed less than $4 million worldwide.

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