11 Projects that Transform the Act of Storytelling
These Kickstarter projects aim to enhance the stories we tell and the ways we tell them.
There’s a story at the heart of every Kickstarter project. Not only do creators share their personal histories and the experiences that unfold throughout the creative process, but many projects are story-driven themselves — think epic video game quests, imaginative children’s books, and film and arts projects that present tales real and imagined.
This year we saw many projects innovate on this theme by expanding both the types of stories we tell and the ways in which we tell them. We saw Indigenous creators bring their traditions to life through comic books, first-person essays from people affected by the criminal justice system, and magazines that encourage young girls to be bold. We also saw inventive podcasts, a tech-driven update to picture books, and maps that tell stories about the very places they illustrate.
Here, we’re highlighting a collection of live and funded Kickstarter projects dedicated to storytelling in its ever-evolving forms.
This miniature projector bridges the gap between paper and digital books by creating an immersive story time experience. Once attached to a smartphone, it projects illustrations from beloved children’s books like Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Ugly Duckling onto your wall or ceiling as you read along.
This project is live on Kickstarter through January 12, 2017.
This series of children’s books aims to do away with damsel-in-distress narratives in favor of true-life tales featuring important women in history. The first book in the series will tell the story of Bessie Coleman, the first African-American woman to get her pilot’s license.
This project is live on Kickstarter through January 15, 2017.
Change the Script
The nonprofit behind this series of collaborative filmmaking workshops aims to offer LGBT youth the opportunity to tell their own stories on screen.
This project was brought to life by 95 backers on December 15, 2016.
Thank You for Playing
This poetic documentary follows the creation of That Dragon, Cancer, an emotional Kickstarter-funded video game that documents the heartbreaking experience of a couple caring for their terminally ill son. (Watch it here, and download the game here.)
This project was brought to life by 875 backers on March 4, 2016.
To quote creator Erin Bried, this quarterly magazine for girls aged five to ten “doesn’t tell girls how to look or act, but instead inspires them to be strong, smart, fierce, and, above all, true to themselves.” It’s no surprise that the first issue, launched in summer 2016, promptly sold out. (Subscribe to Kazoo here.)
This project was brought to life by 3,136 backers on April 26, 2016.
The Marshall Project’s Life Inside
With close to 2.3 million people currently incarcerated in the U.S., this series of first-person essays amplifies the voices of those affected by the criminal justice system, including inmates, correctional officers, judges, and more. (Read the series here.)
This project was brought to life by 550 backers on July 22, 2016.
Nonstop Metropolis: The Remix
Inspired by Nonstop Metropolis, writer and activist Rebecca Solnit’s literary atlas of New York City, these two works commissioned by the Queens Museum combine maps and storytelling to tell diverse micro-narratives about the Big Apple. (See more from the exhibit here.)
This project was brought to life by 240 backers on April 1, 2016.
A collaboration between artist Pedro Reyes and the arts organization Creative Time, Doomocracy is a political artwork in the guise of a haunted house. The exhibit, which took place in Brooklyn, NY, in October 2016, painted a frightening picture of the current (and future) state of U.S. politics. (See more from the exhibit here.)
This project was brought to life by 389 backers on September 29, 2016.
This documentary about professional boxer Claressa Shields debuted in theaters across the U.S. just months before she won her second gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. It follows the then-teenage athlete from Flint, Michigan as she trains for the 2012 Olympics. (Watch T-Rex here.)
This project was brought to life by 652 backers on August 12, 2012.
Food City: Four Centuries of Food Making in New York
From the Dutch settlers to the artisans selling homemade goods at farmer’s markets, this book traces the lost history of food-making in New York City. It’s also the story of a daughter picking up where her late mother left off. (Purchase Food City here.)
This project was brought to life by 297 backers on October 31, 2015.