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Website ‘kick starts’ teacher’s project

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Posted: Monday, December 3, 2012 4:30 am

Kickstarter.com has proved to be a successful platform for helping some local entrepreneurs, crafters and entertainers get their work off the ground.

Mark Williams, a teacher at Belton Independent School District’s New Tech High School at Waskow, used the crowd funding platform website for his Budwrap project in August 2011.

“I saw the site and I saw people getting through different projects by using social media,” Williams said. “I needed some startup capital ... and at the same time to see if people would be interested in the product.”

Williams had been holding onto his idea since he was a teacher at Ellison High School in 2008-09 and saw several students using earbud headphones and wearing silicon wrist bands.

“There has to be a way to integrate those two,” he said he thought.

When he finally figured it out, he also discovered the Kickstarter website and saw many others had success launching projects by using the site.

Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects in everything from films, games and music to art, design and technology, according to the website.

It allows people to share and promote their ambitious, innovative and imaginative projects by letting others provide direct support.

“I just did it on a whim,” Williams said about turning to the website for funding.

Writers Terrel Williams and Gojira Yuki of Killeen, who are creating “Devil Gene R,” a visual novel, also turned to the website to fund their project.

And after two pledge drives — the first of which failed — the two are on their way to producing their artwork for everyone to see.

“I think with Kickstarter it is really great because crowd funding is all about the community,” said Terrel Williams. “If everyone likes your project, they will back you; they don’t then it fails. It shouldn’t discourage people if you fail.”

Terrel Williams and Yuki realized their goals were too high for their first Kickstarter project, so they revised it, revamped their ideas and now they have funding for their free-to-view novel.

“It was all a learning experience. We had very little idea of what we were doing (the first time) it had become a little bit harder, but failure isn’t something that you should be afraid of,” Terrel Williams said. “You learn from what you did and try to reorganize what you did better.”

While Kickstarter’s website states that only 44 percent of the projects were successful, these two local projects have been a testament to finding peer-to-peer funding for innovative ideas.

Their success

With a goal of raising $5,000 to fund his idea of wrapping headphones around a wrist band, Mark Williams’ Budwrap Kickstarter page exceeded his goal by about $6,000 at the time pledges closed.

Williams attributed some of his success to taking his Kickstarter project further and submitting it to tech websites such as Gizmodo and Wired.

“They picked up the site, and it went on from there,” he said.

Budwraps can now be purchased online at www.budwrap.com. It has remained a side job for the Belton teacher, who spends his nights filling orders.

Williams’ and Yuki’s second attempt for their Kickstarter project started in June and ended in July.

Their goal was $3,000 and they raised $3,500 for the anime-style visual novel’s first episode.

They are still in production and are currently working with voice actors for the project. People who pledged funds for their project should continue to follow their Kickstarter page for updates and a future release date.

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