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Monday, July 30, 2012

Diary of a Kickstarter Campaign: Gaining Momentum

By most accounts, the middle of a Kickstarter campaign is where you hit a lull and backers drop off drastically. I think by holding off putting up my project video until the middle of my campaign, I avoided that. Six days ago, when I added the video, my project was 33% funded. Today, I'm 72% funded with 11 days to go. I felt a huge rush of relief when I reached 50% funding! One 'bad' thing happened this week with my Kickstarter project. There was a suggestion to have a vanity URL, which you get by simply checking a link in settings. Supposedly that makes your project easier to find. Sadly, it also deleted all 300+ 'Likes' that my project had. Since popularity on Kickstarter is based not only on backers & dollars but also on "Likes', this sent my project into Kickstarter oblivion. Even with the increase in numbers, it's no longer listed on the popular page. So I would suggest if you want to use a Vanity URL, you add it at the launch of your campaign. Right now I'm feeling cautiously optimistic. I love when my family and friends get excited and call when they see that I have a new backer. Another great thing happened this week, when five of my previous backers increase their pledge amounts. I'm so excited about knitting up the rewards and having people out for ranch visits. One supporter is even having me knit her ring bearers' pillow for her upcoming wedding. What an honor. I can't tell you how much your support is appreciated. Look at the amazing illustrations that Sean McHugh did for me.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Diary of a Kickstarter Campaign: The Project Video

By all accounts, the project video is the single most important component to a successful Kickstarter campaign. Only 30% of projects without a video end up being fully funded. Kickstarter strongly recommends that you post your video at launch. I didn't do that. I'm trying to keep the momentum going with my campaign, similar to the 'But wait, there's more!' pitch used in direct response. My Erin Murphy Knits Alpaca Project was up on Kickstarter for a full fourteen days before I added a video today. I think the thought of making a video can be pretty daunting. It doesn't have to be. My video was completely made by my twelve year old son, Dylan, during a two hour Apple Film Camp.
He produced it, directed it, filmed it and scored it. He wrote the music on Garage Band and used I-Movie. We shot it in one take. Some of the project videos on Kickstarter are pretty fantastic, with hired production teams and big budgets. Our video is decidedly low-tech with no budget. We included the basics that every crowdfunding video needs. First, you need to tell the audience who you are. It's definitely nice to put a "face" with the project. I also think it's a good idea to tell a little bit about what Kickstarter is. Crowdfunding is still a fairly new concept. Then you need to talk about what your project is and what you're trying to raise money for. Then, talk about your rewards. Kickstarter is a win/ win type situation. Backers support up and coming creative projects and in return they get something cool from the project. Tell the viewers all the different ways that they can help support your project. In addition to backing you, they can also spread the word via Twitter, Facebook and blogs. Finally, thank them! Crowdfunding is a team effort! My project is currently 33% funded with 16 days left in the campaign. Click on the link to see our new video and a huge thank you to all my supporters!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Diary of a Kickstarter Campaign: The First Week

The first week of my Kickstarter project, Erin Murphy Knits Alpaca Project, has been invigorating, embarassing, exhausting and FUN! Not all projects sent in to Kickstarter are approved. My initial project was sent back because it was for 'general business expenses' and Kickstarter only allows projects with a finite goal. I also have a charitable aspect to Erin Murphy Knits and Kickstarter doesn't support charitable campaigns. I rewrote my pitch in five minutes and sent it back for approval. They contacted me 24 hours later to tell me it had been accepted. I think what most people expect when they launch a project on a public funding platform is that the 'public' will be able to see their project. With over 4,000 projects on Kickstarter right now, only a precious few are featured on their front page. You need to reach out to your friends to spread the word. In the first 24 hours of my launch, I wrote about my campaign on Facebook and Twitter. On the second day, I wrote about it in my blog and on my favorite Bewitched website message board: For most Kickstarter campaigns, including mine, there's an initial burst of traffic and backers at the launch, then there's a 'trough' in the middle with occasional backers and a sudden burst at the end as the project is featured on Kickstarter's Ending Soon page, where it's visible to all the Kickstarter viewers. In my first three days I had fifteen backers and was 12% funded. The part that's been most difficult for me is asking friends for support and asking everyone to share the link via Twitter and Facebook. Asking for help is a crucial component of crowdfunding. You have to be able to reach outside your group. As a "pitchperson' by trade, I love to sell things. I love to point out the benefits of a product and tell people honestly how that product is a solution to a problem. Also I'm involved with many charities and have no problem reaching out and asking for help for someone else. With my Kickstarter project I'm definitely out of my comfort zone reaching out and asking for help for myself! I'm trying to keep my campaign interesting and adding rewards as I go. I'm hopeful that will keep the project fresh and allow me to share updates that aren't completely repetitive. Some Kickstarter employees Tweeted about my project and commented that they "Wish I had a video for my project". I'll be adding one this week. I shot one on Friday, but when I went to put it up the video and audio wouldn't sync. I'm not using my TV production connections to film my video. I'll be shooting it in one take on my 12 year old son's camera. I'm sharing lessons I learn with my launch in hopes to help others make their projects successful. The goal of my campaign and most Kickstarter campaigns is to raise funds to complete a creative project and I don't think you need to spend money or be high tech to do that. Yesterday my project was featured on a website called They had me listed as #2 on their Hot List; but also had me trending as only getting 63% of my funding goal. Fingers crossed that they're wrong! I think timing the project you launch is crucial. I may be fighting an uphill battle promoting handknit alpaca accessories in the midst of a summer heatwave. But there really is a method to my madness. The goal of my project is to launch a Winter 2012-2013 Erin Murphy Knits Alpaca Collection. With a summer Kickstarter launch, everyone will get their rewards well in advance of Winter and holiday gift-giving. Please click on the link below to check out my Kickstarter campaign. While you're there click on the "Like" tab right under the photo. If you're feeling particularly generous you can also click on the "Tweet" tab to share with your friends and be sure to check out the rewards!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Rest in Peace William Asher, My Uncle Bill!

Yesterday morning I received a call from my dear friend Rebecca Asher. I was expecting her call, since I'd just contacted her about getting her dad the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Television Academy this year. Over the last 10 days, I'd had conversations with two of my friends at the Academy about honoring Bill & I was eternally optimistic that he'd somehow be able to attend. Sadly Rebecca's call was to tell me that her dad, my beloved Uncle Bill, had just passed away. The news wasn't entirely unexpected, he was 90 years old and had been extremely ill for well over a year. My emotions were raw and overwhelming. It's nearly impossible to put into words the loss I feel for a man who changed my life so completely, a man I met when I was a baby and respected and loved like a parent. I think sometimes actors lose contact with coworkers and move on to the next show with simply a glance over their shoulder. That wasn't the case with my relationship with Bill Asher. In the eighties and nineties, I went to pool parties and barbecues at his Malibu beach house. We had talks about him creating a remake television series of the film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, with his wife Joyce Bulifant playing my mom. We also met several times at hs office with photographers and illustrators since he wanted to create an animated/ live action Bewitched series with me. I thought the idea was silly, but I gladly would have done it for him. Over one lunch, I mentioned that I'd just gone to Magic Mountain with his sons Billy & John. His face lit up, 'Are you and Billy an item? I'd love that!' no offense to Billy, whom I adore, but my response was , 'NO! EWWWW! He's like my brother!'. He gave me a hug and told me that I was already part of his family. Over the last ten years, Uncle Bill and I had the pleasure of seeing each other dozens of times, at events like the TVLand Awards and when Lizzie got her Star on the Walk of fame.
We both attended the Bewitched feature film premiere in New York and were on hand for the unveiling of TVLand's Bewitched statue in Salem. Darren and I drove out to the desert when he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.
I was also there (pictured here with Rebecca and Billy Asher) when the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honored him with his contribution to 50 years of television. In turn, he and his wife Meredith completely surprised me at an event where I was modelling the famous Joan Collins Playboy gown. One of the last conversations we had, Uncle Bill looked in my eyes and told me that he "knew I'd grow up to be a beauty and that I looked so much like 'his' Lizzie". As I drove home, I cried. Hollywod has lost a true Legend who will forever be remembered for his contributions to the entertainment world, including Bewitched, I Love Lucy, Gidget, The Patty Duke Show, etc. etc. I in turn feel like a sad little girl who lost my Uncle Bill; but feel very lucky to be part of his family.

Friday, July 13, 2012

I Just Launched a Kickstarter Campaign!

At an event recently, I was talking to an executive about my new company, Erin Murphy Knits, and some of the things that I'd like to accomplish this year. She told me it sounded like a perfect fit for Kickstarter. So my journey into the fascinating world of "crowdfunding" began. Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. People set a specific fundraising goal for a project and offer rewards to their supporters. My project, Erin Murphy Knits Alpaca Project, has several goals: to increase awareness of alpacas and the benefits of their amazing fiber, to support the local economy, and to develop and expand the Erin Murphy Knits brand by creating a winter/ holiday 2012-2013 collection. One of the main goals of my Kickstarter campaign, is to raise enough to get a portable alpaca corral, so I can bring the alpacas to special ed, school, hospital and boutique visits. I tried to come up with fun rewards that would appeal to everyone from the casual Bewitched fan, to those interested in owning luxury fiber products. Our family first got involved with alpacas as a form of pet therapy for our little boy with autism. As parents of a child with special needs, we were also thinking of a long term career option for our son, since animals are his greatest love. Alpacas are truly magical creatures. They are extremely eco-friendly and easy on the environment. They're clean and quiet animals, who use one communal poop pile for an entire herd, so they're easy to clean up after. Their poop is also amazing fertilizer. Alpacas are consdered exotic animals or livestock and are primarily used for their fiber. Once a year, the alpacas are sheared. Then we process the fleece and I handknit items with the yarn. Alpaca yarn is soft like cashmere, lighter weight but warmer than wool. Alpaca fiber is hollow and naturally water-resistant and fire-resistant. There's also no lanolin in alpaca, so people who are allergic to wool, or don't like the itchiness of wool, love alpaca knits! I guess now it's time to ask for your help. Please spread the word! Tell your friends about the Erin Murphy Knits Alpaca Project on Kickstarter. Even the smallest donation can make a huge difference. I know the economy is tough right now for everyone. I wouldn't be asking for help if I didn't need it. I'm hoping that people who've enjoyed watching Bewitched all these years, would consider making a $2.00 donation to the project & know that you're helping with something worthwhile! Amazon won't charge you until August 10th and won't charge you at all if I don't reach my goal. While you're on the Kickstarter website, look around at some of the other projects. It's really cool!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

In Honor of Comic Con..

It's that time of year again...time for ComicCon! Every year I get a bunch of e-mails asking if I'm going to be there. Surprising fact, I've NEVER been! Another surprising fact, there were Bewitched comic books & I was featured on the cover of a bunch of them. I may make the drive down & sign at Comic con next year. the party invitations are certainly tempting.

Monday, July 09, 2012

My Webseries Debut!

Hey Friends! I've spent my entire life on television, but here is my debut on the portable screen. Watch me as Vanity in the webseries Karma's a Bitch! The episode is titled "Meet The Beings".

Monday, July 02, 2012

Behind the Scenes at Art Project Los Angeles

We attended the third annual Art Project los Angeles Auction event this weekend at Bonham's. The event raised $180,000 for AIDS Project Los Angeles . It's a wonderful cause & we attend every year. Beautiful pieces from Picasso, Warhol, Keith Haring, Julian Schnabel & others were auctioned live to the well dressed crowd.
Richard Grieco's 'Mr. Emptiness' was one of the top sellers. Richard's a great guy & you can see more of his work on his website: . Some of the other celebrities present were Kathy Griffin, Alfred Molina (who was the high bidder for Lawrence Schiller's Marilyn Monroe photograph) & John Savage.
My beautiful dress is by friend, designer Meghan fabulous. The neckline is made out of hand sewn broken mirror pieces. Very cool! .
My vintage Champagne Cocktail ring was made by my friend Joan at Pop Culture Princess.