Mismanaging Kickstarter funds; a tale of two series

As some people might know, Knights of the Dinner Table Live Action has run into trouble. I don’t know exactly what happened; did Ken Whitman mismanage the money raised? Or, were there simply a bunch of unforeseen costs which made actually delivering on the promises made in the Kickstarter campaign impossible?

To be honest, it doesn’t matter to me, the fact is that so far, a year and a half after the fund-raising campaign, all I have to show for it is a publicly available video on youtube. Considering I pledged for much more, including tickets to a premiere event at GenCon 2015 (which I would have had to purchase from Whitman again, since he apparently lost the backer information… never mind that he and D20 Entertainment seem to know who ordered the DVDs) I feel very disappointed in how the project has turned out. Now, I won’t be making GenCon this year, although I had thought 2015 would be the year in which I made my pilgrimage, so in the end the tickets don’t matter, but it does ire me that my fellow backers had to pay, twice, for tickets to see something which, as it turns out, isn’t really done yet any way (to Kickstarter backers Whitman revealed, today, that episodes  two and three will be screened in a raw version – but hey, at least he’ll be bringing a blooper reel!). And it also means that I feel less than confident that I will ever receive the DVD and movie poster which I also pledged for. An after-party and Q&A session with the development team and cast was also promised, but apparently fell through, only to be picked up by disgruntled backers, who have also made sure that (some of) the actors involved in the series can attend.

Maybe it’s me, maybe I cursed this project. I certainly haven’t had the best of luck with Kickstarter campaigns supposed to fund movies and the like. First I pledged for a little project called the Uncle Ruckus movie (of Boondocks infamy) which failed to raise its goal, in part because – well I’m going to blame people being stupid, because it would have been awesome.

Then I backed Matt Yang King’s World of Steam, which made good on the physical rewards quickly (pins, props, and stuff), and has struggled to meet its movie goals, struggled not failed. The World of Steam made a bit of a mistake by not hiring an accountant and had to pay taxes on the money raised. The big difference between The World of Steam and KODTLAS is that I don’t feel swindled out of my money by mr. King, he has delivered on what has been possible (even if we won’t be seeing the six episodes they promised) and because he has been very clear in his communications about the problems and challenges surrounding the project. Unlike Whitman, he hasn’t blamed the writers and tried to get the backers to pay twice. In the end King and the rest of the people at the World of Steam (who are all working on the series in their spare time, and even adding their own funds to make it a reality) have my complete confidence. They’re Hollywood pros and actually give a flying cluck about the project. So while I wouldn’t hire Matt Yang King to do my taxes, I cannot say anything negative about his artistic vision. The World of Steam, so far, has been incredible.

KODTLAS on the other hand has had a more limited budget, and while I didn’t expect A-list actors, I was generally pleased with the actors’ performances, however the sound seems slapdash, and even the finished version on Youtube feels ”rough”.

Bottom line: if King needs another backer for a season two of the World of Steam, I would gladly float him a few bucks. Whereas I wouldn’t give Whitman or D20 Entertainment a single dime, even if he was selling pencils on the street.

The big difference lies in how the money have been mismanaged. King made an honest mistake and has been transparent and honest about it. Whitman, it seems, has taken a ”Do Not Disturb” approach.

The thing is that mistakes happen, and when you back a project on Kickstarter you aren’t guaranteed that it will be an awesome success, if that was the case the projects wouldn’t need Kickstarter to begin with. Plenty of decent people have had projects fail after a successful Kickstarter campaign, but, unfortunately, plenty of people have been fraudulent, misleading and criminal on Kickstarter as well.

So while I am eagerly awaiting the next episode of The World of Steam, I have pretty much given up on KODTLAS. I still hope to be proven wrong of course, and will edit and redact as needed if I should find myself in these circumstances.


World of Steam: On April 17th 2015, King informed the backers on Kickstarter that the series will consist of three separate stories, one of which (named The Duelist) will be cut into three episodes. In the end the fans will get five episodes of steampunk goodness.

Links and sources:

KODTLAS Episode 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g41Dj-bEV4o

World of Steam ”The Clockwork Heart”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08–Ju_JI0Y

Source: KODT live action series Kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/d20e/kodt-live-action-series/description


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