StoryScout 2024

Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

$859,425! The New Kickstarter Record for a Documentary Is Set by a Nerdy Science Film!

Kickstarter recently set an amazing new record in the documentary category when 16,850 backers pledged $859,425.

The campaign?

“Help bring to life the definitive film on Bill Nye The Science Guy and his quest to change the world through science advocacy and education. With intimate and exclusive access, this is a behind-the-scenes portrait of “the Science Guy,” as he debates anti-science creationists and climate change deniers, while inspiring Millennials to participate in STEM. With wonder and whimsy, the film will follow Bill’s journey to change the world… with science.”

The Kickstarter All-time Top Ten

#2. “For the Love of Spock”

  • 9,439 backers pledged $662,640

#3. BRIDEGROOM – A Love Story, Unequaled

  • 6,508 backers pledged $384,375
  • “Watch the video that millions have seen and that might help change the way people view marriage equality.”


  • A feature length documentary about the unofficial fan convention for aficionados of the show “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.”
  • 2,621 backers pledged $322,022

#5. “THE WRECKING CREW” The Untold Story of Rock & Roll Heroes

  • 4,245 backers pledged $313,157



  • From Australia: A feature length documentary that will unite women across the globe to love their bodies!
  • 8,909 backers pledged A$331,046

#7. “Be Here Now” – The Andy Whitfield Story

  • Inspiring documentary about Andy Whitfield who put the same dedication he brought to his lead role in SPARTACUS, into fighting cancer.
  • 5,265 backers pledged $302,810

#8. Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time

  • Recounting the extraordinary life of author Kurt Vonnegut, and the 25-year friendship with the filmmaker who set out to document it.
  • 3,755 backers pledged $300,319

#9. The Killing of Tony Blair

  • From UK: “Some people make a living, others make a killing” – an exclusive new documentary on Tony Blair which will break unexplored ground.
  • Created by George Galloway.
  • 4,459 backers pledged £163,891

#10. Outerlands: Season One

  • A 6-episode documentary series on the people and culture of videogames.
  • 4,396 backers pledged $247,481


  • I’m struck by how many of these films are pre-sold from a tie-in with a bankable TV show, a noteable name or a brand.
  • Only Embrace and Bridegroom break the pattern.

And More


  • Plimpton! Kickstarter Case Study in 3 parts. 1. Backstory2. The Campaign, 3. Ten Takeaways / Results
  • The film is terrific: a vulnerable celebrity author links the sports and literary worlds with a whiff of northeast aristocracy.
  • Its an all-time favorite Case Study : So revealing and instructive about the challenges of running a Kickstarter campaign!


  • An overview of Kickstarter’s history of pledges in the documentary category.
  • And more valuable ideas on how to plan and execute a campaign.

Update: Kickstarter Focus

  • Kickstarter’s founders just turned their backs on the IPO pot of gold to reaffirm their altruisitic, non-profit mission.
  • Read The New York Times coverage here.

Thanks to Kickstarter’s Justin Kazmark for the data and links!