Posts Tagged ‘kickstarter’

There are all kinds of people and businesses in the startup world. I know some people don’t view writers and directors as such, but I know a few and I would disagree with those people. I think people who throw down their own cash and credit, gather friends and family money, and use crowd sourcing to bring their ideas to life are just as much an entreprenuer as those of us trying to build sustainable business models.

Jack Marchetti’s is one such man. Jack is a 32 year old screenwriter from Chicago and what’s different about Jack is that he’s about to go blind. Not today or tomorrow, but in a few years. This makes for a compelling story. A young man, in the prime of his life, happy and successful as a computer technologist, but faced with a certain future of gradually losing his sight and any ability to direct a movie. It’s one thing for people to have dreams and say, “Well, I can always get back to that later in life.” In Jack’s case, that’s exactly what he cannot do. If he’s going to direct a movie, it has to be right now.

Jack has worked very hard to get one particular script on film. 4 of a Kind is a story about four friends that find themselves in an impossible situation. Motives are unclear, priorities are screwed up, and things happen. Very bad things happen. It’s a very good story with very compelling characters. The script finished in the top 100 of the third season of Project Greenlight, the brainchild of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

I worked with Jack on two projects as a computer consultant and I’d recommend his work to anyone, not just on his technical credentials, but his affable and intelligent nature. He has the right sense of communication to be an excellent leader on a movie set and I sincerely doubt he’d have any problems working with any level of talent or budget. He’s focused and ready to work.

So with all of that said, I urge you to visit the 4 of a Kind Kickstarter crowd sourcing page and pitch into an important moment in Jack’s life. You can also follow the campaign and eventually the movie-making progress on Twitter and Facebook.


As you all know, the Kickstarter campaign fell short by half. It’s not a bad showing, but not a great one either. I probably should have researched successful campaigns before starting it. There are tricks to prize amounts as well as having a PR plan to get people’s attention. I learned a lot doing it.

But does this mean there won’t be a mobile IF platform? No. It means we just have to continue working with volunteer programmers or programmers willing to sign a revenue based contract. It means I can’t pay someone today to have it done X days, which is a much more efficient development model than sending the occasional e-mail that says, “Hey, how’s that code coming?” and getting the reply, “Sorry, got waylaid by real life. I’ll get back to it soon.”

These are all honest answers. I get waylaid by real life myself and have an enormous list of the tasks that I need to tackle myself. As long as everyone that works for Textfyre has to keep a day job, it’s a long slow process to get to where we need to be, which is generating revenue.

We’re making progress with a mobile Java engine, but the Apple Cocoa code is lying dormant on sourceforge. We will be publishing a Windows Phone 7 application that will be available for the U.S. launch in November. Hopefully we’ll have news on other platforms.

Thanks to everyone that pledged to the Kickstarter campaign. It was much appreciated. I got a lot of great positive feedback from the process.


Andrew Pontious started working on an Apple implementation of FyreVM and he’s moving his work from a private source control repository to the new SourceForge.Net FyreVM repository soon. This will also be released under the MIT license, which means anyone can use it for personal or commercial purposes.

The harder part is the user interface. Andrew will likely have a very basic UI implemented for testing FyreVM, but it will be up to the community to help bring about something more visually appealing and usable.

I’ve found a user experience consultant to work with the community, but the quote is rougly $4,000. This would include 5 weeks of iterative user experience work. Andrew is partially committed to helping out with mocks and Chris Cavanagh, a Silverlight developer, is also open to doing mocks.

The result of this work wouldn’t be the actual UI. It would be the general look and feel. We’d have to then work with someone with graphic arts experience to take the usability designs and make them pretty as well as having a programmer implement any of the active components of the experience (rollovers, transitional animations, etc).

I’m committed to finding a way to fund this effort. I’ve started a Kickstarter campaign, but haven’t launched it yet. I want to put a video together that tries to explain to potential contributors how important this is to the IF community.

Remember, the user experience isn’t just about Apple products. The results could be implemented in Parchment, on Windows, in Silverlight…or in any other interpreter.