Star Wreck Filmmakers Experiment With Iron Sky

from the making-movies-for-under-$200M dept

BullJustin points out to us that the guys behind Star Wreck (which we wrote about back in 2006) are trying a few interesting things to promote their follow-up movie project Iron Sky -- a story about Nazis who fled to the moon in 1945 with plans to return to Earth in 2018. To connect with fans, the Iron Sky project released some Creative Commons material for a movie teaser remix and is selling "War Bonds" to crowdfund part of the movie production. To be clear, the "War Bonds" aren't actually bonds -- just a limited-edition package (only 2,000) of keepsakes that includes:
  • a 16-page book with very pretty pictures
  • a DVD with the teaser trailer and two documentaries
  • a signed certificate of support
  • official dogtags
  • undying gratitude
There are about 1,760 war bonds still available at 50€ a piece. Though, you can get some of the items separately from the Iron Sky online store (undying gratitude is presumably included in all purchases).

With only 240 war bonds sold since August 2008, the Iron Sky movie isn't going to be completely funded by fans. But it looks like the British Stealth Media Group has chipped in up to 1 million euros for worldwide distribution rights -- and the movie's total budget has grown to be at least 5 million euros. On top of that, the Star Wreck folks seem to have even bigger plans -- with a separate Iron Sky game project called Iron Sky: Operation Highjump that is looking for contributions/suggestions from fans to create a single-player video game based on the movie's background story. All of which is based on the WreckAMovie community that encourages more films to be bootstrapped and crowdsourced from a collection of both amateur and professional filmmakers.

So for much less than $200 million, the Star Wreck crew is developing creative ways to interact with their fans (and other filmmakers) to get their projects accomplished more cost effectively. They've given away free promotional materials for fan remixing. They've set up a process for fans to donate ideas and money to the project. They're creating movie accessories that get an audience excited about a movie that hasn't even been made yet. Shouldn't this be the way more movies are produced?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 6:05pm

    It would appear that this is a subtle sort of fail for the CwF model, as only 240 packages were sold. That would be a few a week. It seems in order to make the movie, they effectively signed a distribution deal with a production company to get it done.

    Explain again how this is a win?

     

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  2.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Nov 12th, 2009 @ 6:42pm

    Re:

    Patience, padawan. The last one took seven years to complete. This one looks to go much faster, and I expect the War Bonds will take off once they have a little more to show.

     

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  3.  
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    Sohrab Osati, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 7:32pm

    eeerr

    Ok...so your comparing some amateur movie that will cost a few million with a $200 million movie that will probably make nearly $1 billion worldwide plus merchandizing...

    So yea...next time Spielberg wants to get a project going...he should just beg for money from fans? eerrr Im not in denial about how expensive Hollywood flicks can be but what are we comparing here?

     

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  4.  
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    Michael Long, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 7:56pm

    Re: Re:

    ".... once they have a little more to show."

    Actually, that's one of the problems I have with this concept. Say I want to make a movie. Fine. Now, how much do I need to tell you before you'll donate? Enough to spoil the film?

    Think of The Matrix. I could say that I'm going to make a movie about a computer programmer... boring. Okay, a computer programmer who discovers that.... what?

    Anything I say from this point on is going to spoil all or part of the film for the viewer. I could say that it's going to have really cool groundbreaking special effects... but anyone can say that. It's hype.

    You MIGHT be able to get fan funding for a known entity, like say, Firefly/Serenity II, but I strongly suspect that it still made more money on ticket sales from the general public than from fans.

     

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  5.  
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    Michael Ho (profile), Nov 12th, 2009 @ 8:00pm

    not a direct comparison...

    Obviously... you can't directly compare movies with $200 million budgets with movies produced for less than a tenth of that budget.

    But the point here is that entertaining movies can be produced (and will be produced) for less than $20 million -- and these kinds of projects follow a model that appeal to fans, instead of accusing fans of possibly being thieves. And this "treat your fans right" philosophy can be practiced by any film producer, regardless of budget.

     

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  6.  
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    Dohn Joe, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 8:39pm

    Trinkets?

    They could do better than handing out garbage for cash. How about collecting the plethora of user-submitted storyline and hold votes (for cash) as part of the editing process? (i.e. casting decisions, what stays vs. what gets cut, which ending, etc...)

     

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  7.  
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    Timo Vuorensola, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 9:53pm

    Some thoughts

    Hi, and thanks for a great story! I wanted to join the discussions to explain a bit further what and why we sell War Bonds.

    Definitively, as pointed out by many, Iron Sky will not be fan-funded, and War Bonds are not going to be playing massive role in the film investment process - but more than that, we built them to make it possible for people to chip in, if they wish. Thing is, according to Finnish law, we are not able to just ask money from people, we need to be either doing something for general good cause, or sell something. Thus, we created bonds. And I see bonds as one form of community collaboration and engaging audience from the very beginning of the production.

    Our idea in general is to try to activate the people interested in Iron Sky in as many ways as possible. We created a collaborative film prouduction platform Wreckamovie.com for collaboration with the filmmakers, created the War Bonds for collaborative funding options and try to be active on all fronts to keep the audience interested. It's really the only way for a puny Finnish filmmakers to compete with H'wood marketing money.

    And more interestingly, the resources we're able to reach with Wreckamovie and by selling bonds is extending the possibilities of the film in general. Meaning, every shot given and every bond sold helps the movie greatly. It's always a great fight for resources, just like playing CnC.

     

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  8.  
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    Michael Ho (profile), Nov 12th, 2009 @ 10:30pm

    Re: Some thoughts

    Thanks for stopping by to comment, Timo. I didn't realize Finnish law prevented donations to for-profit entities.

    I look forward to more updates for Iron Sky -- the concept sounds really interesting.... any other plot or background story details to share? :P

     

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  9.  
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    Toni Nummela, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 1:02am

    Re: Some thoughts

    I've bought Iron Sky War Bonds and believe in this production. I have no previous connections to these film makers. Good War Bonds package made me interested in this production.

    1. I've registered to Wreckamovie.com and contributed a little to this project
    2. Because of this I am frequently following the progression of this project (website, blog, Twitter etc.)
    3. I've talked and will continue to talk about this movie to my social network (family, friends, colleagues, web-friends etc.)

    That last point is the key. If this will be a good movie, and even if it won't be, I'll still be mentioning it when it comes out. The question is: Which one do you trust more - advertisement OR your friend/family member etc?

     

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  10.  
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    Sheinen, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 1:22am

    Sounds like a bloody good plan to me. It's not about finance, it's about hype. If there's one thing Hollywoods been abusing it's just that, so why shouldn't someone else for a change?

    I just want to point out that 'Ink' has gone up in IMDB's popularity ranking by 81,093% since last week. Thousands of people who never would have known that film existed not only downloaded it, but went nuts about it - big budget or not. Thats the good thing about hype, once the balls rolling it can't be stopped!

     

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  11.  
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    John Paradox, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 2:09am

    Trailer

    I heard about Iron Sky some time ago, and have gone to the website to watch the trailer. The style appears (from the trailer, which has no actual actors in it) to be similar to Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow. I liked Sky Captain, and also enjoyed both the concept and effects shown in the trailer, but have not been able to contribute, because of my (ongoing...) unemployment.
    I would probably actually purchase a DVD of the film when completed, in that I find it interesting, and hope that the folks making it are successful in getting their funding, and getting it released.

     

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  12.  
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    chris (profile), Nov 13th, 2009 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, that's one of the problems I have with this concept. Say I want to make a movie. Fine. Now, how much do I need to tell you before you'll donate? Enough to spoil the film?

    i agree, you couldn't make the matrix this way, so these guys are clearly wasting their time and need to stop immediately.

    congratulations! you beat the internet. now everyone has to go back to buying CDs.

     

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  13.  
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    Gene Cavanaugh, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 11:36am

    Crowdfunding with war bonds

    Interesting, but not interesting enough for such a long article.
    Why are articles about trivia so long, and important stuff is relegated to relative "sound bites"?

     

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  14.  
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    Timo Vuorensola, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: Some thoughts

    In short, the story is about Nazis on the Moon, who have been preparing an all-out invasion on Earth for 73 years. Now, Americans return to Moon, of course, searching for Helium-3, but they just happen to land a bit too close to the hidden Nazi moon base. And from there, things go downhill for both Earth and the Nazis.

     

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  15.  
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    Timo Vuorensola, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Trinkets?

    To be honest, I don't believe in democracy of any type in collaborative creation over the Internet, and votes are the best possible way to kill a good story or film. Much more I appreciate people wanting to help a director with his vision, but in the end, it's the director who decides what gets to the film and what not. I've seen quite a lot of different kind of voting systems on films, and they always fail.

     

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  16.  
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    Timo Vuorensola, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Re: Some thoughts

    This is a very wise comment here. Thank you, fellow Finn.

     

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  17.  
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    Timo Vuorensola, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Trailer

    Thanks! Support in all forms is highly appreciated, even if it's just a positive comment!

    The style of the film will be a bit more "realistic" from Sky Captain, although the noir approach is very close to my heart. I would say it's steampunk film noir, but unlike Sky Captain, we try to shoot much of the stuff in at least partially built real sets and take advantage of heavy CGI extensions to make them grand and outstanding.

     

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  18.  
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    Nina Paley (profile), Nov 13th, 2009 @ 4:08pm

    Worldwide rights are owned?

    But it looks like the British Stealth Media Group has chipped in up to 1 million euros for worldwide distribution rights

    Can someone clarify what that means in this case? If worldwide distribution rights have been sold, how will the result be libre? "Distribution rights" means the right to sue anyone who distributes a work without the holder's permission.

     

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  19.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Nov 13th, 2009 @ 6:11pm

    Re: Crowdfunding with war bonds

    "Interesting, but not interesting enough for such a long article."

    Well skip it then. I think the indy/fan film community doesn't get enough attention here.

     

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  20.  
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    Michael Ho (profile), Nov 13th, 2009 @ 6:14pm

    Re: Worldwide rights are owned?

    I don't believe the Iron Sky project has a "free to distribute" aspect to it.... except for the trailer remix contest. But maybe I'm wrong? Timo?

    I was more interested in the "connect with fans" part that included accessories for the movie. eg. "war bonds", video game, etc.

     

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  21.  
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    Ben (profile), Nov 13th, 2009 @ 10:11pm

    War Bonds vs. Shares

    So thinking about the incredible success of Blair Witch and Paranormal Adventures and Iron Sky's potential, is the next step beyond donation offering shares in the production? Fans/customers would direct support the production and have the potential to get a slice of the profit, enticing them to contribute more and earlier in production. Film makers/bands would need to be careful in the terms of the agreement, but supporters would likely experience better returns than state lotteries...

     

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  22.  
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    Michael Ho (profile), Nov 14th, 2009 @ 12:58am

    Re: War Bonds vs. Shares

    So you're thinking of a "SellaBand" .. for movies? OK. seems like a decent idea -- if movies can be created for a few grand or so...

     

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  23.  
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    Joona, Nov 15th, 2009 @ 3:23pm

    Re: eeerr

    Hey buddy, you just don't get it. Their idea is not to "beg money from fans", but to let fans who wish to support them have a cool, voluntary way of doing so.

    You are welcome to visit www.starwreck.com sometime, and you'll see we are all a big family there. Some hangarounds just for fun, some actual collaborators and conspirators. I, for example, know them mostly for previously working in a computer games and nerdy stuff magazine as a reviewer and promoting the guys as I saw they had serious (and not so serious) potential. And I was glad in doing and still doing my part as a labour of love.

    Joona

    P.S. But please behave there. I has a stik of moderator rights :P

     

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  24.  
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    Jarmo Puskala, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 12:05am

    Re: Re: Worldwide rights are owned?

    Yes, the film itself will be distributed in traditional ways. It's just not possible yet to do a free (as in speech) film with a budget of millions of dollars.

    There will be more remix stuff though. As much as possible.

     

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  25.  
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    Daniel, Jan 9th, 2010 @ 4:42pm

    IndieGoGo.com

    A website you guys should check out if your interested in this type of crowdfunding project is definitely IndieGoGo.com.

     

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  26.  
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    tegamen, Mar 11th, 2012 @ 4:32am

    film is a dud ?

    Film is coming out , but is it good apparently not =/

    http://www.reddit.com/r/FilmReview/comments/qn8xf/iron_sky_reviews/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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