Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

Created by artist Michaela Clisson, Magic Lost's starring character Piper is played by voice actress Danielle Judovits. She's known for roles in Toy Story, Sailor Moon and other animated works. Image by Clisson

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise start-up capital for projects that might otherwise fail due to lack of funding. Each week, Xpress highlights notable Western North Carolina crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd.

Magic Lost point-and-click adventure game

Programmer Bryan Powell and artist Michaela Clisson are teaming up to create a magic-themed point-and-click adventure game called Magic Lost. “It’s about this young witch named Piper who uses her magic spells and the potions that she brews to solve puzzles, explore and battle wizards,” Powell explains in the campaign video. As Piper defeats wizards, she is able to solve more puzzles and access more places. Users decide what abilities she acquires along the way, thus determining what future conflicts the witch-in-training can maneuver. Clisson’s artwork pairs seamlessly with the fantastical storyline, adding a dark and feisty feel to the cartoon characters and settings. The duo aims to raise $68,000 by Monday, Nov. 2, to cover game development, taxes, fulfillment of rewards, audio for the project and other business expenses.

The POP Project book-raiser

Asheville’s The POP (pages opening people) Project is a volunteer-powered nonprofit that sources and donates books to schools and other community organizations across Buncombe County. Despite hitting a milestone of $100,000 worth of books distributed, according to POP’s website, WNC has a continued need for these literacy boosters. “That’s where Usborne comes in,” writes Andi Mears, educational consultant for Usborne. “My passion is igniting the fire of imagination in children through books. Through Usborne’s Literacy for a Lifetime grant-matching program, together we can raise funds to help under-served kids.” Mears explains that for every dollar raised on her crowdfunding page, $1.50 worth of books will be donated to POP. She aims to raise $1,000 to benefit POP’s constituents by February 2016.

Image courtesy of The POP Project
Image courtesy of The POP Project


Problematica looks at the moments big and small that make us what we all become — something both good and bad, something difficult to classify. It’s about growing up, making choices and remembering the possibilities of our amazing world,” explains the author, who goes by the name of Lorum Ipsum. In other words, he says: “Each of us is two pounds of wet brain trying to deal with an entire universe. It’s about that.” Ipsum’s science fiction tale is told from the perspective of 11-year-old protagonist Julian Scobie, who, along with his older sister, is propelled into an action adventure that involves hunting down the siblings’ missing parents. “They’ll encounter wormholes, silver space suits [and] lost civilizations,” the first time novelist writes. “But they’ll soon end up with more questions than they started with.” Ipsum says he has already completed 90 percent of the novel, but he aims to raise $2,500 by Monday, Oct. 26, to fund a month off from work to complete the project.

Send your crowdsourcing campaign news to kmcreynolds@mountainx.com. A limited number of campaigns will be highlighted each week, at Xpress’ discretion. Campaigns must be locally based and should represent a current project with an achievable goal. Conditions are subject to change. Read about more Western North Carolina projects here.


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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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