“The End of Magic” by Virgeo Studios is the most expensive brickfilm Kickstarter project to date, with a lofty goal of $20,000. If successful, it would greatly expand the poseability of minifigure arms by adding 7 additional sets of arm shapes, essentially turning the minifig elbow into a functional joint. However, there’s almost no chance it will be successful.
Don’t get me wrong, I would love to get my hands on some high-quality custom minifig arms. I snatched up Guy Himber’s Crazy Arms and I have made a habit of removing minifig arms from their sockets and holding them in with putty to increase their poseability. And, as with every other brickfilm Kickstarter project I’ve come across, I backed “The End of Magic” almost immediately after seeing it. That being said, let me explain why I think this project is doomed to fail. I hope this can serve as an example to others about how not to structure a Kickstarter project.
The goal is too high
$20,000 is a lot of money. That’s more than double the amount raised by the most-funded brickfilm Kickstarter project to date. It’s also more than was raised by Guy Himber’s successful Pigs vs. Cows custom minifig parts project. There are only three LEGO-related Kickstarter projects that have raised over $20,000 (1, 2, 3), and only about 10% of successful Kickstarter projects have passed that bar. Greg Tull will be very lucky if he manages to raise $11,000 for Bound (which we highlighted previously), Emiliano Acevedo will be a miracle worker if he gets to $20,000.
The marketing is wrong
Is “The End of Magic” primarily a project that appeals to LEGO fans who want new custom parts, or LEGO fans who want to support independent LEGO animation? The goal puts it in the range of custom parts projects, but the rewards offered line up with those of brickfilm projects (custom minifigs, DVDs, etc.). In a project like Pigs vs. Cows, higher reward levels offer different amounts of parts packs, in “The End of Magic,” the custom arms are only available in a few low-price rewards and there’s no clear way to get multiple kits. This is two projects smushed into one and the result is muddled.
In addition to muddling two distinct markets, Virgeo Studios doesn’t seem to have a large existing base of fans to market “The End of Magic” to. The reason BrickMania was able to raise over $50,000 for custom LEGO tracks is that BrickMania is an institution in the LEGO fan community. Their booth is always packed at LEGO fan conventions and they have dedicated marketing channels with significant followings. Guy Himber was able to raise over $18,000 because he is a well-known builder, tied his project into the theme of a major LEGO convention, and got covered multiple times by the premier LEGO blog. As Kickstarter says “Kickstarter is not a magical source of money.”
Emiliano has put a lot of work into designing these custom pieces. This video makes that clear (while also providing an unfortunate example of male gaze):
I’d like these arm pieces to become a reality, but given how the project is structured, I don’t think it’s going to happen. I hope that my critical analysis of this project will help those of you who plan to do Kickstarter projects in the future think about how to make your project successful. Research other successful projects as well as your market to set a realistic goal.