What Happened to the Kickstarter?

The video above explains things well. If you can't watch or like reading, here's a lightly-edited transcript:

TL;DR: The Kickstarter tanked, I cancelled it about a week in, everyone's been great, and I'm reviewing how to move forward in 2018. Read below (or watch above) to hear more about why, and who I am.


My name's Timothy Knox, and I am "Curator." Nice to meet you!

I have couched Curator in a really unfortunate way, making it look like a team of people, or like it was a "really legit company," which largely had to do with my own insecurity. Curator is one person.

I'm 24 years old. I grew up in Portland, Oregon, in the US.

Ever since I was a child, I loved putting together my own soundtracks for games. I would do lengthy line-in gamerips of my favorite games (I think I remember working for like a week on the PS2 Transformers: Armada game) and, you know, cut them all apart in Audacity and figure who composed what and make some nice album art for it.

Almost all the music I had growing up was soundtracks from film and games.

In May of 2014, I think I was just looking up composers whose names I knew online one evening(?) when I wound up on George "The Fatman" Sanger's website.

 The website I visited in 2014.

The website I visited in 2014.

 George's website today.

George's website today.

There I heard a sample that most of you are probably familiar with: Welcome to the Zoo, but from the master recordings.

It was fully clear; it wasn't compressed like it had been heard in the game, and up until that point I had never really thought of those recordings existing, unaltered, at all. So that was neat.

I used the contact form on his site to say "Hey! Oh my God, I'd love to hear more! Do you have the rest of the Putt-Putt Saves The Zoo soundtrack? I think that's some great music,"

and he replied,

"Yeah I have it but it's all messy and don't be mad at me if it comes out one day in a better format."

I bought the little album he had on sale digitally at the time and I "cleaned it up," naming and identifying everything and sent it back to him all organized and polished (I designed some basic little album art in GIMP) and said, "hey, this is what I can do and I think I could do a lot more." 

 The original album art designs I made...

The original album art designs I made...

 ...hundreds of centuries ago.

...hundreds of centuries ago.

So then years passed and I formed Curator as a company with the thought that I want to own this in a really really nice format—I want to own this in a really nice way, and I don't think that will be possible unless I do it; unless I make it happen and design it myself.

Then I got in touch with Tommo, the rightsholders for the Putt-Putt IP.

Tommo has been really, really challenging to work with. We talked with them for three years. We had phone calls, emails, Skype meetings—countless of all of the above to try to get this thing done, and basically the feeling they expressed was that it wasn't worth their time or energy because they felt it would not sell any copies, or enough copies to make their investment—just of writing up the contracts—worthwhile, financially.

Nonetheless, it went on for so long because I was also told over and over "Oh no no no it'll happen!" Like, "next week" or "at the end of next week" or, you know, "at the end of the month." That was really really challenging.

Eventually they were working on an agreement with George himself and they said, "Yeah, I think we're in a good place to move forward! Timothy, I don't know how long it'll be, so, you know, do something else with your life because this could be months and months and months and we have no idea." So we're basically back where we started, which is: no idea when this is going to happen.

It's important to note in all this that George Sanger owns the audio itself. He owns his music. That's why we're able to offer it. That's why he has it. The only rights we need from Tommo are the ability to use Putt-Putt's likeness.

This Kickstarter is going to be canceled.

It's a mess. It tanked really hard because the infrastructure wasn't there in the first place, you know? I want to publicize through, yes, gaming outlets, and Did You Know Gaming, and PeanutButterGamer (Austin and I struck up a nice friendship recently).

After getting feedback from you guys, what I understand the two most important things here to you are:

1) Just hearing the music you remember, and

2) the vinyl.

And I think the vinyl is really beautiful. It's too bad that we didn't have a way to show you what it looked like before the campaign started. I was really adamant about starting the campaign because it's been years that I've been working on this, so to get it out into the world was really important. November 1st was the 25th anniversary of Putt-Putt himself (we think; it's hard to be sure).

What I'm going to do is regroup, take a look at things, start to establish a presence—start to establish a relationship with you guys over the next eight weeks or so, and I think we're gonna try again for the Kickstarter at a much smaller scale.

I think we can put out 500 units of the vinyl, which is gorgeous, and we'll have renders of what it would look like so you can actually see it (the Hotline Miami guys did a similar thing and it's a good way to communicate a vision).

 Something like this.

Something like this.

But I think we can do 500 units of that and get out the music digitally for about $60,000. I think it'll be a little less than that. What that doesn't factor in is any licensing fee to Tommo, if we can finally convince them to license this gosh-dang thing!

So anyway. Sixty thousand dollars. That seems doable, doesn't it? As opposed to a quarter of a million? I think that would be really, really neat.

I apologize for doing this in such an obtuse way.

I've been working on this for so long and in such a vacuum; you know, very, very solitary. It's quite the change to finally be out there in the world with it and receive some feedback from real people—from consumers of the product.

One other thing: the guest musicians. They came about because I could not restore the original Penguin Boombox recordings. I talked with Rhett Mathis, the composer of those tunes, and he sent me over the original floppy on which they stored and it has a little bit of water damage.

 The floppy in question.

The floppy in question.

I sent it into a lab for recovery, we waited like eight months and tried a bunch of different stuff—looks like those might not exist so I was like, gosh dang, I really want to do the complete soundtrack, you know? So I thought "oh, why don't I reach out to some people about throwing in a remix from the greater community?"

guest artists (sans nataly).png

I think what we'll do is probably make them a stretch goal if they're still interested in being involved at this point. This thing for them has had so many false starts because they've been involved in the behind-the-scenes of it, so I don't know if they'd even be interested in, say, January trying to do it again. They've just been really, really great.

So that's what I got. Thank you so much for hearing me out, thanks for all your suggestions throughout the campaign and and reaching out and saying hello. I think we can make a vinyl happen, because I think a vinyl would be really beautiful; we've got art for the labels, we've got that (I think) wonderful watercolor for the central four-panel gatefold, and a slipcase...I think it could be really gorgeous.

laid out.jpg

I really care about you guys. You don't know me from Adam but it's been so awesome to see and feel other people loving something from their childhood and wanting to support something this big and weird even though it really didn't look like it was going to succeed, so I really appreciate it. Thanks for your patience. It's good to meet you, and you can stop looking me up on LinkedIn if you want because you can reach me more easily by like tweeting at me @lookforcurator or on Facebook or whatever. I'll make myself more accessible.

Alright. Stay awesome.