Dedicated Fans Bring Movie Back To Life, Contributing $346k In Just A Few Weeks

from the connecting-with-fans... dept

A bunch of folks have sent over this story of how the author of the popular book Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller, had been working for years on turning the book into a movie, but in the middle of September, he posted to his website that it just wasn't going to happen, because the traditional funders of movies weren't interested in the movie. The book apparently is a sort of coming of age, semi-autobiographical story, involving aspects of the author's spiritual/religious journey. As Miller explained, while the book is a "Christian" book, it has elements in it that those who traditionally fund "Christian movies" didn't want to support (for example, something involving putting a giant condom on a church steeple...). And he suggested that, while the book has found an audience among students going through similar situations, those are not the people who generally fund movies.

Or, perhaps they are. Miller had been able to bring together some funding, but came up $125,000 short of what was needed for the indie film production (including some well-known actors). After saying that the project was dead, some fans apparently stepped up and suggested he try to raise the missing $125,000 on Kickstarter. In the course of about a month, not only did they hit the $125,000 mark in just one week, but fans of the book continued contributing to the cause, leading them to bring in $346,000 by the time the project closed.

That's a rather stunning amount. Prior to this, I believe the largest Kickstarter project had been the famous Diaspora distributed social networking project that got tons of press for breaking $100,000. Of course, no one is suggesting that this is the way to fund all films or that this will work in every case (we've certainly seen Kickstarter projects fail at times). However, it's yet another example of how really committed and engaged fans can make things happen where the old gatekeepers stood in the way.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 10:15am

    Expect the govt to come in and start regulating.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 10:17am

    Pshaw

    It'll never work for bigger or smaller productions...

     

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    Berenerd (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 10:25am

    PLEASE THINK OF THE BIG LABEL EXECS!!!

    How will they be able to fund their yacht expenses if you donate money to someone OTHER than them??? GAWD YOU PEOPLE MAKE ME SICK

     

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    Derek Bredensteiner (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 10:28am

    How big is the religion/belief factor?

    "However, it's yet another example of how really committed and engaged fans can make things happen where the old gatekeepers stood in the way."

    I'd wager that we'll see the largest "donation" oriented activities being successful in more situations like this where a bit of religious fervor is involved, regardless of it being a traditional or a modern religion such as this one. Not to discount the merits of this of course. I'm only suggesting that due to the history/upbringing of these individuals there's already a solid connection between "what I believe in" and "donate money towards that". And Mr. Miller is clearly connecting at a deep level with what they believe in.

    Then again, we can see the exact same phenomena in activities like the previous "Ron Paul Moneybombs". Perhaps a different sort of religion, but fervor and connecting on a deep level with beliefs nonetheless.

     

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      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 10:38am

      Re: How big is the religion/belief factor?

      Meh. Christianity, Buddism, Paulism, Whedonism... it's all about connecting with people. The framework of the connection is irrelevant.

       

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        :Lobo Santo (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 10:44am

        Re: Re: How big is the religion/belief factor?

        The framework matters some--if the Whedonists well and truly believe reavers are coming for them... well, truly frightened people are capable of extraordinary things, some things we'd call crazy.

        Believers (those who fervently believe their particular shared delusion is a fact) scare the crap out of me for exactly that reason; they're not making rational judgments based upon reality, but rather deterministic judgments based upon their false belief.

        Those who know they're enjoying a shared fiction, on the other hand, I can well and truly appreciate.

         

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          ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 11:31am

          Re: Re: Re: How big is the religion/belief factor?

          "The framework matters some--if the Whedonists well and truly believe reavers are coming for them... well, truly frightened people are capable of extraordinary things, some things we'd call crazy."

          Ah. I see where you're coming from, but I have to disagree.

          From the perspective of funding a project, the degree of belief only matters to the point where funding is made available. Sure, there are religious types who truly believe that the end times (or whatever) are here, and would conduct their lives accordingly. Likewise there a Whedonites who think that the Firefly universe should continue in any medium they can get their hands on. Now the former group certainly 'believe' in their message more than the latter group, but it's the money they can front that makes the difference in which project gets funded.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 11:10am

        Re: Re: How big is the religion/belief factor?

        I'm sure the Luddites would be pissed about this particular framework.

         

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        Derek Bredensteiner (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 2:48pm

        Re: Re: How big is the religion/belief factor?

        I disagree. There's clearly more power in some frameworks than others, if only because those frameworks encompass more aspects of the person's life and belief structure than others. Connecting with someone on the type of music they like will provide some opportunities to RtB if you can find a good RtB. Connecting with someone on their religion provides about 8 others, and has the added benefit of that persons "training" in donating cash on a regular basis to their cause, with the only minimal RtB provided as "spread the word".

        Some connections are stronger than others. Some strong connections are easier to make than others if that person already has a strong set of beliefs surrounding it and you tap into those existing beliefs.

         

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    interval (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 10:43am

    Hey...

    More power to the guy. But I have to say, judging by "The book apparently is a sort of coming of age, semi-autobiographical story, involving aspects of the author's spiritual/religious journey." sounds about as interesting as watching milk turn sour.

     

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    droslovinia (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 11:16am

    It's a great book

    "Blue Like Jazz" is a really good book for Christians who want to challenge some long held (and wrong) assumptions and non-Christians who want to have some hope that maybe we're not all a bunch of pontificating nut-jobs.

    That said, I have no idea how they'd make it into a movie, but I'd love to see the scene where they set up the "confession booth" to confess all the sins committed by the Church over the years. That's bound to draw some comments!

     

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 12:47pm

    Too bad

    Too bad this didn't happen with Firefly.

    I'm still bitter.

     

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      hegemon13, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 10:24am

      Re: Too bad

      Unfortunately, IIRC this would have paid for approximately 1/3 of one episode of Firefly. It was a very expensive show, which is part of the reason it was canceled so quickly. That, and the mangling of it's broadcast by Fox.

      It would be great to see Firefly continued somehow as an actual series, but crowd-funding wouldn't pay for one episode's worth of Nathan Fillion's bill at this point.

       

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    Hoeppner, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 2:38pm

    People get payed big money in the movie industry because people like comfortable familiar names, and for what skill they process.

    Even if the first part of the statement isn't as true as it once was it still is and will be for quite some time.

     

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