PATRICK W. SMITH – PRODUCER – KRIS AND SCOTT’S SCOTT and KRIS SHOW
The Show! met up with local filmmakers and Texas Alum, Patrick W. Smith on his role in the highly successful Kris and Scott’s Scott and Kris Show.
The Show!: So walk me through your collaboration with Van and how it led to Penny Arcade and what it became…
Patrick W. Smith: So Van and I went to undergrad together, but parted ways just after. I went to Japan to teach and shoot for a tourism agency in Nagasaki, and Van dove into music videos.
Patrick W. Smith: when I got back, him and I reconnected on a Better Than Ezra music video, and then from there, decided to collaborate on commercial work here in Austin. When we got the news that Penny Arcade wanted us to head up Season 2 of their series, we jumped at it, packed up and headed out there. Within about 2 weeks of getting the offer actually. We met Kris and Scott through the company, as they often collaborate with the Penny Arcade crew, developed a relationship with them, and realized it would probably be a good idea to try to monetize the incredible skill they have. And now we’re almost finished with season 1 of that series.
The Show!: Cool. So it was yours and Van’s idea to do the Kickstarter campaign?
Patrick W. Smith: Yea, I actually had the light bulb on a plane home from Boston, wrote up a little prospectus, showed it to Van, and then after refining the pitch a bit, took it to Kris and Scott.
The Show!: How did you choose the number for how much to raise?
Patrick W. Smith: for the most part, we based it off of precedent. the penny arcade series was shot doc-style, with minimal producing, and with unrented (owned) equipment, so based on those parameters, thought we could do the series with a similar budget to what we had with Penny Arcade. I think the format we chose allowed us to be pretty economical about it. Even though 50,000 might seem like a lot to people outside the industry, it’s really not when it comes to a year of production, post-production, and eventually DVD distribution.
The Show!: So this included distribution outside of the web as well?
Patrick W. Smith: the basic budget we setup called for $40,000 grand for production, $10,000 for distribution, and whatever else we raked in on top of that (which at first, we had no reason to believe there’d be any left over) went straight to the talent.
The Show!: Gotcha- So I see you have 8 episodes online, have you already been distributing through DVD?
Patrick W. Smith: the DVD will be a season 1 compilation, so after the tenth (and final) episode of the season airs, then we’ll dive into DVD sales, mastering, DVD distribution, and shipping
The Show!: Where do you plan to sell the DVD compilation?
Patrick W. Smith: we have a few channels we’ll be using…the first, and almost certainly most productive will be internet sales, we’ll offer the DVD through our distributors site (Penny Arcade) as well as Scott and Kris’s personal sites. In terms of physical sales, there are a number of conventions throughout the year populated by our target market that we travel to, PAX, Comic Con, etc., where Kris and Scott physically sell and sign DVD’s to fans
The Show!: Nice!
The Show!: So walk me through the Kickstarter Campaign, who did you target and how did you promote it?
Patrick W. Smith: Sure. Our first instinct was to look at who’s attention we already had, so with that in mind, we went for Kris and Scott’s captive audience from their podcasts, webcomics, and animated “Blamimations,” promoting the series and kickstarter through those venues first to try and start a buzz. Luckily, there’s a lot of crossover between that audience and the much, much larger Penny Arcade audience, which was where we headed next. We had already embedded Kris and Scott into an episode of one of the Penny Arcade episodes when the company had left on a retreat, so we used that intro (which was well received in the forums), to market the kickstarter on Penny Arcade’s site.
The Show!: What were the results?
Patrick W. Smith: shocking, and nearly immediate. Within three days, we had raised our goal. Kickstarter called and wanted to do an interview to discuss our tactics, which then gave us another boost by being front and center on their homepage. By the end of our thirty days, we surpassed our goal by almost $18,000 But I think a lot of it had to do with our kickstarter incentives.
The Show!: What did you guys come up with as the reason your tactics were successful?
Patrick W. Smith: I think there are a few factors involved:
1. The target audience, generally tech/computer savvy people in their late 20’s through 40’s, tend to have comparatively high disposable income to spend. So that was in our favor.
2. we produced the pilot episode out of our own pockets. In essence, people didn’t have to bet on a good product, because they had it there to judge for themselves. if they liked it and wanted more, they could have it, and if not, they didn’t have to help.
3. Our tiered incentives on the kickstarter we think were pretty reasonable. We basically used it as a DVD pre-order, which is where the majority of our donations came in. We also promised behind the scenes blog footage along the way, original art, autographs, etc. And had a pretty good spread of donations amongst those options
The Show!: So in a way, you were selling a lot of your DVD’s with the campaign itself…
Patrick W. Smith: definitely. we’re not sure how this will affect overall DVD sales after the season’s over, but I guess that’s something we’ll find out in a few months.
The Show!: Is there any money made from the Penny Arcade site?
Patrick W. Smith: to us, it was a free distribution platform, but to Penny Arcade, it was content for their channel, and a source of ad revenue. So anything coming in through Penny Arcade goes to Penny Arcade, almost like a rental fee for using their platform and stealing their audience. We liked the arrangement.
The Show!: Yeah, that sounds like a great deal.
The Show!: So, a little about yourself… Tell me a bit about some of your other projects you’ve done and what you’re working on now…
Patrick W. Smith: sure. I come from a nomadic background, lived in New Zealand, Egypt, and Japan for a while, and started in photography. Eventually moved into commercial and short narratives. I directed a short doc in Haiti and the Dominican Republic about two years ago, and am currently in post production on a narrative short I shot in New Mexico which is told in a language called Tewa, which is dying language only spoken by about 500 people right now. Iit’s been a passion project of mine for about two years, and took about that long to fund and develop.
I also DP quite a bit, I own and rent a RED MX camera, so in the last few months I’ve shot 4 other short films for grad students at UT. And in the middle of it all, I do some commercial work. Just finished a small business promo for Dell.
The Show!: I take it that the Documentary work is your passion?
Patrick W. Smith: I’m actually a huge fan of narrative and doc, and have trouble deciding where my loyalties lie, which is actually why I’m currently in the developing stages of my first feature which is actually a hybrid.
The Show!: Interesting! Any thing you can tell us about it at the moment?
Patrick W. Smith: well, it’s early yet, but will take place primarily in Austin and in parts of Scotland, and the story is sort of reminiscent of an amalgam of Catch Me If You Can meets Winnebago Man.
The Show! : I’m intrigued- You’ll have to keep us posted for sure.
The Show!: Would love to see your Haiti short as well-
Patrick W. Smith: certainly, it got distributed by a group called Media That Matters, so you can find it anywhere online. It’s called, Shades of the Border
The Show!: Awesome , we plan to do a Doc. episode of The Show! – sounds like that’d a great fit.
Patrick W. Smith: excellent, would be happy to bring it out.