1000 Cones, a video and Q&A with Jesse Thorn

I was a backer of 1,000 free ice cream cones, a Kickstarter launched by Jesse Thorn and Jordan Morris to fly to Denver to give away 1,000 ice cream cones to the public for free. Today, Jesse posted the video from the event and it’s a wonderful little 4 minutes of silly fun giving away ice cream. After watching it, I had a few questions for Jesse so I fired off a quick email and he sent me some responses, the Q&A is below:

How long did it take to give away all 1,000 cones from start to finish?

We started giving away cones when Sweet Action opened at one, and we gave away the thousandth cone around 6:45 or 7:00. And we worked straight through, powered only by ice cream.

The project went together really fast, was that the plan from the start?(I still have a film project from 2009 I backed on Kickstarter that hasn’t delivered the final cut of the film, so I was amazed.)

Jordan and I are headed to the UK this week to do a couple shows in London and Edinburgh, and so we wanted to do everything before then. And I’ve got a pregnant wife and a two-year-old, so I needed to do it now before I had a two-year-old and a newborn. So we pretty much just… did it. We made the Kickstarter video with an old phone, and posted it the day we made it, with a really tight window. One thing we did this time was to raise enough money for a real, pro crew, and having great footage and a professional editor who’s getting paid to hit deadlines helped us get it finished. So we launched today… and Jordan and I are getting on a plane in a couple hours, so we just made it.

Was there ever a moment you thought maybe not a 1,000 people were going to show up?

I was terrified less than 1000 people showed up until at least four PM. And I mean starting from when we raised the money until then. Then my worry switched: that we would have the thousandth person during the dinner lull, and there would be like four people in the store for the big “WE MADE IT!” moment. Luckily it happened just as the families who’d gone to an early dinner were filtering in.

Who traveled the furthest to get a cone (or was it just all Denver folks)?

Our goal was to give away cones to people who weren’t expecting them, so while there were certainly a few JJGo fans who’d heard about it and came from elsewhere, mostly it was just people on the sidewalk walking past. We wanted it to be serendipitous.

If you did this project again, what would you change about it?

Honestly, it was a pretty magical experience. Everything sort of went right. I might remember that when you submit a Kickstarter project, it takes a couple days for it to be approved – I had it all timed out to finish middle-of-the-day on a Friday, and then after the approvals it ended up ending on a weekend morning, when no one is on the internet. That gave me some heartburn. But mostly I just got to ride this wave of happy people for six hours. It was tremendous.