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Project Lex Has Been a Big Disappointment

I truly believe I owe many of you an apology. I supported, recommended and backed Adam Jay’s Project:LEX, I even played Harley Quinn.  I’m sorry to say with each photo update I see, I grow more and more disappointed.

Upon shooting and seeing the costumes, most felt and looked very rushed together (with a few exceptions of course.)   They were not what I would expect at all from a shoot that raised over $19,000 in crowd funding capital.    We (the models) all took photos on the same dinky stage set with the same foam props scattered about (the lighting staying the same for every character.)  The set stayed the same for every character. My boyfriend and I where stunned when we were on set for Project: Lex.   I looked to him and he looked at me and we both just wondered where did the money go?

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The money didn’t go to the models (we all did it for free) a small percentage of funds went towards costume builds (not nearly as much that should have) hardly any money went towards set builds, it didn’t go towards equipment, the money hasn’t gone towards charity (though the costumes are supposedly supposed to be auctioned off for charity, most are not a high enough quality to auction off). Where did your money go? The money went towards the travel arraignments of certain participants and Adam.  You didn’t pay for an awesome project you paid to fly people to all over the globe. (FYI:  I personally was not reimbursed anything, not even for the gas I asked for.)

That being said Project Lex was one of the most poorly executed projects I have ever seen, and been a part of. The use of your funds was just wasteful. It may not have been intentionally wasteful, but when casting people, you cast to the area you are shooting in. You do not spend the greatest chunk of budget on travel arraignments to fly people from all over the world in because you can and it’s not your money you are burning; it’s your backer’s hard earned money.  (UPDATED: I was just informed Eve Beauregard was not flown out. All the Bat in the Sun actors where, that makes for more question as to where did the funds go?)   Don’t even get me started on the numerous suspicions of him pocketing funds (personally I couldn’t say if it’s true or not, but the greater chunk of money certainly didn’t go toward this shoot.)

I am really disappointed by the results of Project: Lex thus far. What I endorsed was a large scale project based on the DCUO trailer. I expected top of the line costumes, I expected an awesome set with amazing lighting, I expected photos based on DCU online trailer screenshots to be from the correct angles and jaw dropping. None of which was the case.   The images thus far have been anti-climatic and rather than us all anxiously waiting for big debut of them all they have been trickling out like a steady leak.   That’s not how you handle a set of images from a big project.

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As someone who has run a successful campaign of her own I am a huge supporter of crowd-funded projects.  With your help I was able to take my cosplay photography and photos to a whole new level with Sexy Princess Peach.   The biggest chunk of capital going towards my own lighting setup and camera lens.  The rest toward the castle, sewing machine, and materials.   I’m very happy with the results and continue to use the equipment in all the shoots and cosplays I share today.  I am very proud and happy with the Peach images and I hear again and again from friends and fans that they feel the same way.

I can not say the same for Project Lex.    My lesson learned from this is to not endorse any projects that I do not control.   I have no hard feelings or malice towards Adam Jay.  He’s a great and very silly guy (I love his accent!), but he truly lacks the experience and business sense to do these large scale projects.   It was poorly organized and executed.  What really made me feel the need to speak out about this is he (Adam Jay) already has been making posts about doing a new project Superhero Bar Brawl.   What the hell, man?  You didn’t finish your first project yet!   *facepalm*

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  • RJ Floyd

    First off, the kickstarter raised £11,481 (Approx $19,000) which is nothing short of amazing! And we all thank you for your support! But as soon as the funding project was finished is when the reality hit… let’s do a bit of maths here to figure out costs, before another truth was revealed.

    Ok, first off for ease we’ll round up the figure to £11,500. Now, divide that by 16 for the amount per character (rounding up) it’s about £720. Seems fair right? Well there’s a trend with crowdfunding where people like to say they have backed something and go for a reward tier, but they have account details that lead to an old or defunct account so that when Kickstarter go to get money there is none! I only found out about this after I had been told that a significant amount of the fund had been lost due to fees and these failed backings, and then a few people told me that this is common practice and it gets worse. Kickstarter do not inform you of who’s payment has failed and they still remain on the rewards list!

    Either way, let’s take the original figure again and take away £1000 for failed or redacted payments so we’re left with £10,500 take away the fees 3%-5%, I’m going to assume it’s 3%, because the more money you raise the less fees you have to pay, and we’re left with £10185 overall. Divide THAT by 16 and we’re left with approx £635 per character, not looking as good now is it? I was told more or less what was lost in fees and let me tell you, I’m being CONSERVATIVE!!!

    But wait a minute… not all the money can go on characters? What madness is this? Because there was a set to build, hotels to rent, rewards to pay for and never mind transport!

    Considering the hotel alone, 4 rooms for 3 nights would cost in the region of $1500 at least! I am basing this upon a search on the hotels website on similar dates and rooms. Convert that to Sterling that’s £900! So take that from £10,185 and we’re left with £9,285! Divide that by 16 and now it’s only £580 per character.

    Now, I take this point to say that there was a WILD accusation that no one got paid for their work. True, we all gave our time for free, and I paid my own way to get there. But these are things I have no problem with as Adam is my friend, I wanted to be a part of the project and no one forced me to spend the money! We gave our time willingly, why? Because we love what we do, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m so glad I could be a part of it.

    However, I did get money to build the costume. And these costs are based upon ACTUAL figures to which I have all the receipts if anyone wants to call me up on it. The cowl was bought by Adam and shipped to the states, it costs $295 + shipping (Approx £175). I was given £300 to purchase materials, which I quickly exceeded because MATERIALS AREN’T CHEAP!!! I paid for the rest out of my own pocket.

    Without factoring in how much I spent, that’s £475 for Flash alone and that’s conservative as well!

    So, with our figures so far we have taken fees, hotels and ballpark for the costumes across the board (some cost more, some cost less) into account:

    11,500 Raised
    -1,315 in fees and failed payments
    -900 in hotels
    9,285 Sub total

    475 Approx cost of costumes
    x 16 amount of characters
    7,600 Cost of costumes

    9,285 Sub total
    7,600 Cost of costumes
    1,685 Total

    So, after all that only left with 1,685 and we still haven’t factored in the set materials, food to keep us fed and watered for the days, and the cost to put people up for the work in the days leading up to the shoot.

    These figures are a bit more general now. But let’s guess it cost about £600 ($1,000) for set materials. There was a lot of elements to that set, a buttload of paint, the stage had to be built, the rubble, downed power lines and the big blue screen in the background. Food, let’s say it would have cost $150 (£90) in food the spread that was there the 2 days (doesn’t seem much but it all adds up). And, of course there is the cost of putting people up for the few days beforehand. I don’t know anything about this hotel, so I can’t make a guess at what it cost, so I’ll have to leave that one blank.

    1,685 Total
    -990 Set
    £995 Left

    Out of that amount Adam would have had to advertise the shoot, pay for rewards, and pay for his own flight and accommodation (for the days he wasn’t staying with us)

    If you see the amount of rewards (including that coffee table book which certainly is not going to be cheap) you can see that the money is not just being frittered away. My figures could be out by a bit, but I was being conservative on purpose.

    How dare someone imply that money was pocketed, if anything it’s the other way around!

    • Anthony Mc

      Great to see the most comprehensive post on the debate gets avoided ;)

    • Zero Angelus

      This is a very nice breakdown, and a very nice reminder that pledged money does not equal disbursed money. So, with this in mind, was there any kind of communication that informed people of the true amount raised, and the adjusted total? Unfortunately, most kickstarters don’t update after the deadline, which causes a lot of wondering and grumbling. I was not part of Project: Lex, so I don’t know if this is the case here.

  • Gilly Cash

    Wow…. So just to be clear… Project Lex is already over??? Wtf!!!! I think someone needs to be AUDITED!

    • http://LizKatz.com/ Liz Katz

      He is still having the mages finished. But they are turning out to be more cheese than cool and bad-arse.

  • http://LizKatz.com/ Liz Katz

    I’ve spoken to a few more people on the issue. I will make another updated article. Evidently Adam has a history of not paying people for their costumes and work. Also it seems a big chunk of the costumes used where made for free. I’m confirming that claim now.

  • Patric Ryan

    I really had high hopes for it too. Some of the costumes looked sooooooo low quality. I was watching this all along and hearing about it. Kept kicking myself for not kicking in some cash to see a cool project, but everytime a pic gets released I feel as though I was right in spending that money on Steam. lol. Anyways, really sad to hear you didn’t have a good experience. You’re one’a the bests.

  • el Cam

    I dunno lol this is her site she can pretty much say whatever she wants on it. opinions are like ________ everyone has one

  • https://www.facebook.com/brad.passow Brad Passow

    Sorry to hear it turned out poorly, I have just stumbled into the whole Cosplay world and am looking to get more involved as a photographer and image editor and will admit to being motivated partially by the project and the pages of the participants. I even played with editing the two pictures that were released to the public to play with (and sent a copy to you).

    I would have to say that if you are incorrect about the model’s travel expenses being covered by the funding that makes your concerns about the usage of the money.

    In a more positive spin, can I encourage you to produce an event like this of your own? It seems like you can put together a very talented team and create something that would be truly epic!

    • http://LizKatz.com/ Liz Katz

      I’m planning on a large scale project, but entirely different and based on a classic RPG PC game. When you do large cosplay projects they shouldn’t just look like people in costumes, they should look like the characters brought to life.

      • https://www.facebook.com/brad.passow Brad Passow

        I definitely look forward to seeing what you come up with, and if there is anything I can do to help just let me know!

      • Gilly Cash

        That would be Awesome! Your endevours with cosplay are truly talented and seeing it on a larger scale would be dynamic!

      • Adam Davis

        Which RPG? Or when will this info be divulged? I’d be interested in helping with this.

      • Hal Katz

        Being an old fart, I have only a glimmer of an idea of what you are all talking about. But, it sounds like, after your disapointment with roject Lex, you are going to do your own cosplay project. My advise to you is got to it gal! You’ve got the guts and the moxie and, now, the experience to do a bang up job. My little girl has grown up into a full woman. My money with with you.

        Grampa Hal

  • Rebecca

    It seems there is a lot of misunderstanding in your post. You focus a large chunk of it on the fact that people were flown in internationally. The fact is that these flights were paid for by the cosplayers, not from the money raised for the project.
    If you don’t like the photos coming from the project, that’s an entirely different matter and completely understandable as everyone has different tastes. However, slandering the photographer who put a lot of time and effort into this project and putting down fellow cosplayers who contributed their own time and hard earned money to be involved as much as (or more than) yourself is backhanded and rude.
    Please don’t spread vicious rumours, particularly when you yourself are not certain of the facts.

    • http://LizKatz.com/ Liz Katz

      No, the project paid for their flights. The cosplayers paid nothing.

      • http://LizKatz.com/ Liz Katz

        Flown from NY, TX, Australia, etc to LA. All paid for by the kickstarter funds.

      • Eve Beauregard

        Hey Liz, lovely to meet you during the shoot.
        I’m sorry that you must be misinformed. I paid for my flights from Australia, not the backers of the project. I’d really encourage you to seek out more information before making assumptions or comments on character.
        I wish you the best of luck in future.
        Eve Beauregard.

        • http://LizKatz.com/ Liz Katz

          Well he did pay for the bulk of Males actors in the project to fly out. If he didn’t pay for your chunk that just adds to more pocketed money by Adam.

          • Eve Beauregard

            I’d be wary of making very serious public claims about fraud. That’s all I have to say on the matter. I’m terribly disappointed in this display.

          • http://LizKatz.com/ Liz Katz

            Then tell me where did the money go? It didn’t go towards that project.

          • Jorge Martinez

            law of life, never provide your picture and support something in which you do not travel deeper in his administration, today I learned the hard way

          • http://LizKatz.com/ Liz Katz

            @disqus_za6i8XWify:disqus exactly the lesson learned!

          • Jorge Martinez

            certainly regret what happened, and that is lesson is to grow and take charge of similar projects in your hands, PS: Your enchant me : * Greetings from Mexico

          • http://twitter.com/sciamachy Sciamachy

            Sounds like it needs some forensic accountancy doing. If he can account for it all, fair enough. Who is he responsible to though, legally? Who enforces the contract if there is one between donors & project lead?

          • http://LizKatz.com/ Liz Katz

            No one enforces it. Crowdfunding is risky due to that. Whether he took the bulk of funds for himself or not He did technically do the project.

          • Terry McGinnis

            I would like to share my thoughts, 19,000 is really not that much to do a big shoot as everyone expected, I understand how you guys would think where is all that money go? I spend 5k just to keep that studio alive, 19000 only would only last 3 month of rent… lol.
            1. there are posters, coffee book, gifts to be printed and sent out (printing are not cheap and international postage are not cheap)
            2. there are living expense, hotels (for the cosplayer that fly in)
            3. there are funds that kickstarter keep
            4. there are times and researches involved to do such a project, (just like cosplay commissions, not because the material is cheap, does not mean we all work for free)
            5. there are unexpected expense, like buying the wrong stuff, shipping costs, insurances, etc.
            I know there are some money to be made, but probably not much, you have to understand, this project took months of planning, traveling and building, and lot of post production time as well… he need to survive too you know.
            I know money could be spend differently and more efficiently as I have talked to him, but this is trial and error, you have to understand, you can only go as far as you connection allowed! meaning if you didn’t know all the connection you have, and know all the ppl you know today, and you have a little money, can you pull off what you did? this is just my personal experience and thoughts.

          • http://LizKatz.com/ Liz Katz

            Terry please be honest, did you offer your location for free because he told you he suffered some financial losses during project Lex?

          • http://LizKatz.com/ Liz Katz

            @disqus_uC7MP2LLBu:disqus please be honest, did you offer your location for free because he told you he suffered some financial losses during project Lex?

          • http://twitter.com/sciamachy Sciamachy

            So there’s no Kickstarter oversight over their users to see that they keep their promises?

          • http://LizKatz.com/ Liz Katz

            No, and technically he did use some of the funds to build the costumes and do the shoot. Though he didn’t do it to the level he promised or quality, he did follow through.

          • WhiteFox

            Contract? In general crowed funding doesn’t involve a legally binding contract.

          • Zero Angelus

            Liz and Eve, maybe it would be a good idea to trade notes and possibly bring in a few of the other cosplayers from the project, in order to make a more accurate assessment of what happened? It looks fairly obvious from pics of the set and costumes (amateur’s eyes only) that a lot of the money was not spent on what backers assumed it would be, and it had to go somewhere…
            Also, Eve, what were your thoughts on how the project was conducted, from your experiences with it?

        • WhiteFox

          This just adds to the question… If the money didn’t go for travel expenses, how did $19,000 get spent on a project that had one fairly basic set?

          • http://LizKatz.com/ Liz Katz

            @disqus_vS3YE48YvB:disqus Those where my thoughts exactly once Eve mentioned she wasn’t reimbursed. My boyfriend and I are quite familiar with costs of sets, materials and costumes. Adam claims he spent no money on new equipment for the shoot, and that this was a not for profit shoot for charity… so, where did it go???

    • Charlie Miller

      Kind of amusing, that you would tell her not to make statements without information, when you yourself do not have information. Hmm…

    • Daniel Perez

      Even if she was misinformed about the international flights, being wrong on that piece of information makes the main point she is trying to make even stronger. “Where did the money go?”.

      Her not liking the photos, is NOT, in any way, an entirely different matter. It is a follow up argument, made to discard the possibility that a big part of the money was spent there. It is not about personal taste, but about quality pictures. They could be incredible pictures, but she is referring about the lack of proper light, costumes, and scenery that you can get out of a better than usual budget. She didn’t make one single comment about the skill of the photographer.

      If what you are saying is true about the photographer, putting A LOT of time and effort into this project; and assuming the money was spent in the way it was supposed to be spent, then the result should be by far, better than what is actually presented. This leads to the assumption that either the money was not spent correctly, or that the photographer is so incredibly bad, that he actually made a 19 000 dollar scenery look even worse than an alley in a poor neighbourhood.

      In relation to your comment saying that she is putting down fellow cosplayers, can you point out where did she do that? I don’t see even a word about that.

      One thing I agree on, is that the way she delivered the information contained a lot of speculation and it does spread rumors. You have to understand that she is sharing the information right away, because she feels a greater obligation to the fans she reached while backing up this project, than to keeping it in the dark until she has all the details. She could’ve waited until the shoot was completely released or even long after that, but she felt guilty towards everyone who was keeping up with the posts she made related to this project. As if she was the one lying the whole time.

      In conclusion, you lady, are an ignorant, hateful, piece of shit.

  • Steven Thunderhorse Quintero

    wow…and i was seeing a lot posts about that project. That sucks that it turned out like that.

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