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Kickstarted follows the stories of three creators who turn to the 'crowd' in order to pursue their dreams. These creators all recognized that crowdfunding has opened the doors of opportunity to anyone who wants to bring an idea to life. Seemingly, all you need to do is ask for support. What they soon realize is that once you put your dream out into the world, the really hard part begins. Crowdfunding is just the first step – whether you reach your financial goal or not.

In this film we see the entire process from campaign through to completion in an effort to explore what it means to chase your dreams when you have a crowd watching it all unfold. 

At the center of the film is Brad Carter, a musician suffering from a neurological disease that is taking away his ability to play guitar. A high-risk brain surgery gives him a one last opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream: record an album. Racing to complete his mission before his skills fade forever, he turns to the crowd for the funding and support he needs. It's only after he is successfully funded that the odds are truly stacked against him. With the pressure of having to deliver something he's promised in an extremely public manner, Brad fights to relearn his craft, faces the possibility of another brain surgery and attempts to overcome his own demons in order to see his dream through to the end. 

Kickstarted also features interviews and insights from many of the leading names in crowdfunding including Amanda Palmer, LeVar Burton, Emily Best, Ryan Grepper of the Coolest Cooler and more.

Brad's music features throughout the film, check out some of the tracks on his EP 'Fieldhand' below.

How this film got made

Directors Jason Cooper and Jay Armitage had first met when the former was a producer at NBC and the latter an owner of an ad agency. Years later, Jason shared with Jay a story about Elixirs of Pain Hot Sauce, an early Kickstarter project that was overfunded by 8000%.  They decided then and there that the stories of the ‘crowdfunding revolution’ and the experiences happening to creators would make for great content. They then spent much of the next six months developing and filming what would become Kickstarted.

In 2013, to fund their film and intimately learn about their subject, they turned to Kickstarter itself. They were able to raise over $86,000 in 30 days. During the campaign they gained a good deal of publicity when they helped expose an on-going fraud (The Kobe Red Beef Jerky project). You can read about that story in full here.

 Since then, we’ve spent the last two years casting and filming Kickstarted. In total, we followed all or part of eight different campaigns and interviewed over 100 experts and creators. It’s been a wild ride, but we think we’ve put together something that gets to the heart of the modern creative experience. We hope you’ll enjoy the film.

BRAD CARTER - bringing the house down at the El Ray Theatre, Los Angeles

BRAD CARTER - bringing the house down at the El Ray Theatre, Los Angeles

DALE CONSTABLE - Inventor, trying to raise $100k for his latest invention.

DALLAS KING - Filmmaker, trying to raise $75k to make his first feature film.

The hard luck musician: Brad


Brad has been playing the guitar since he was a young kid, he's very talented but has never made an album. He's also a talented actor having appeared in Dexter, True Detective, Sons of Anarchy and Longmire.

The never-say-die filmmaker: Dallas


Dallas is on the brink of greatness, full of energy giving off a positive vibe all around him even after tearing his achilles' heel! Can this UCLA Film Student get what he needs to make his first feature?

The 'old school': Dale & Fred


Dale and Fred are inventors and engineers based out in the desert on Route 66. Can  a couple of old dogs learn some new tricks?






Jason is a seasoned digital and non-fiction content producer. He spent five years with NBC Universal working on shows like The Biggest Loser, Last Comic Standing, Deal or No Deal and Nashville Star. He was also a producer with the NBC Universal Digital Studio, where he helped develop, produce and launch original digital series including the award winning shows CTRL, Gemini Division, Fact Checkers Unit, and In Gayle We Trust. 

An independent producer since 2011, he has created content for some of the world’s most recognizable companies. In addition, he has developed & produced a number of original digital series such "Love in the Time of Robots."



Born in Harrogate in the UK and now living in LA, Jay has been a creative producer for many years.

Jay founded Ralph a creative production shop with offices in London, New York and Los Angeles and has worked on big movies including The Hangover, Nightmare on Elm Street, Bruno and Bridesmaids and TV shows Breaking Bad, Dexter, Fringe and The Vampire Diaries. BAFTA winning and Emmy Nominated through his work at Ralph.

Jay has a passion for filmmaking, is a great believer in the crowd and is totally stoked to share Kickstarted with the world.

Jason proving that filmmaking isn't always hard work.

Rick Diaz, Cinematographer

Ricardo graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Radio-Television-Film. While there, he served as cinematographer on a number of award winning short films which played in numerous film festivals. He then worked as a union camera assistant on feature films, commercials, and music videos. In that time he lensed the 35 MM opening title sequence for the feature film Elvis and Annabelle shot by Conrad W. Hall. In 2009, he graduated with an MFA in Cinematography from the prestigious American Film Institute Conservatory in Los Angeles and also shot the Doorpost Grand Prize winning film “The Man Who Never Cried”. He has since gone on to shoot multiple international documentaries, narrative feature films, and most recently, commercials for clients such as Microsoft Windows, Verizon, Honda, Tillamook Cheese, and Verizon Fios.

Rick's film 'First Girl I Loved' premiered at Sundance 2016.

Pilar Haile-Damato, Editor

Pilar started out in Brooklyn, New York specializing in documentaries, music videos, reportage and fashion before moving to LA and joining the Kickstarted Team. Pilar has been a major part of the team helping to craft and weave the stories into one.

Rob Gokee, Composer

Rob studied Music Theory & Composition at the University of New Mexico, and then spent six months under the tutelage of world renowned composer Christopher Young (Spider-Man 3, The Grudge, Ghost Rider). Rob has scored 12 feature films, over 100 short films, and three dozen different TV series & pilots, including the National Geographic show “Known Universe,” SyFy’s “Fact Or Faked,” PBS’ “Roadtrip Nation,” Speed Channel’s “Car Science,” and TruTV’s “Police POV.” Rob has also scored commercials for Sony two years in a row, promoting their surround sound products. Rob won back-to-back IAWTV (International Academy of Web Television) awards for Best Score in 2012 and 2013, for the shows “Night of the Zombie King” and “Cost Of Capital,” which also won Best Score at the 2013 Indie Soap Awards. Rob’s style varies from epic orchestral to folk, to cutting edge action and horror."

Jay filming in San Francisco


Born in San Francisco, Kim Sherrell is a filmmaker and noted expert in social media and digital communications. An early adopter active in the startup space, Kim is a frequent collaborator with filmmakers, artists, celebrities, academics, and scientists. Her TV and film credits include Goodnight Burbank, From The Ground Up, and the upcoming rock movie musical "Zombie Queen From Outer Space."

J.P. McMahon, Producer

Managing Partner and Co-Founder of A Common Thread, Inc., J.P. McMahon. J.P., also known as just "Jay" started his career in New York City as a Producer working with a clientele of top agencies and companies throughout the commercial production industry. After attending 4 years at the prestigious Northfield Mt. Hermon High School in Massachusetts, J.P. McMahon (Jay) attended the University of Vermont where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree. He currently resides on the Marina Peninsula, CA.

Tristan Drew, Producer

Tristan Drew is a Managing Partner and Co-Founder of A Common Thread, Inc. He began his career in Los Angeles as a Production Assistant, quickly absorbing the film production business from the bottom up to become a Line Producer on Broadcast Commercials and Music Videos for the industries top companies.  Tristan is a native of Toledo, OH and a proud graduate of The Ohio State University, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree. He currently resides in Los Angeles, CA with his wife Summer, three children Asher, Reese and Julian and their beloved English Bulldog Ernie.

Chris Gartin, Producer

Born in NYC, Chris has been an Actor and Producer for many years. Chris was the CEO and Co-Founder of io/LA, a Tech and Entertainment Private Co-Work Community Accelerator that was written up in FORBES. He recently exited that venture to work on new projects like Kickstarted and consult with startups. In addition, Chris has made many significant contributions in the entertainment industry including appearing in two Tony-Award winning plays on Broadway, television hits such as "Shameless" and "True Blood", and major films like "Black Swan”, and "Flightplan".  You may also recognize him from the Kia superbowl commercial "Space Babies" that is still running now.  He just did a role in the film "Transcendence" with Johnny Depp shooting now and is currently shooting the lead in a feature called "The Minister's Wife."

Kickstarted is sponsored by Hiscox Media and Entertainment Insurance