And I think that's what some observers are watching closely. To what extent will Kickstarter actually change Hollywood? If the project creators have been part of the traditional Hollywood system and if they are turning the project over to the traditional Hollywood system (which then dictates how the project will be made and/or distributed it), then it's still, for all intents and purposes, a traditional Hollywood project with some fan-driven PR at the onset.
Then some people are morons. Unless it's stated specifically in the project that the resulting product will be released free of charge, there's no reason to assume this - if you understand how Kickstarter actually works. If people have assumed otherwise, they're wrong.
Yes, I think that is an important point. Giving to a Kickstarter project could still mean the project is going to be developed and marketed the way non-Kickstarter projects are going to be developed and marketed. The fact that the fans are involved in the beginning may amount to just that and nothing more. The project itself could still be mostly just part of the old Hollywood system.
One thing I am curious about is the fact that some people have assumed that crowdfunding would totally pay for a TV show, movie, or album in advance and then after completed it would be made available for free at the usual online outlets. (That point came up when I suggested that a subscription to content on YouTube could be thought of as similar to a contribution for content on Kickstarter.)
Now both the Veronica Mars film and the Braff film are entering into more traditional distribution deals where the completed product is not going to be made available for free. In the Mars case the movie studio and in the Braff case the foreign rights purchasers are planning to charge for these films.
Isn't that still working with the traditional Hollywood system? Fans are putting up the money for part of these projects, but they aren't covering enough of the total cost that the creators are free to by-pass the Hollywood system altogether.
And I think that is why some people have seen these Kickstarter projects as ways for Hollywood to generate some pre-release publicity rather than a true break from the Hollywood system.
I'm talking about the PR aspects. Now, we can say that not meeting one's goal is not a failure, but the question is whether celebrities want to be associated with projects that don't meet their goals.
I'm guessing that if a lot of celebrities don't meet their goals, others will be scared off. We can come up with all sorts of reasons why some projects don't meet their goals, but if we understood the process better, then presumably none would be underfunded: every project would be better designed in the first place and they would all succeed.
Like I have been saying, we don't really know yet how all of this will play out. As the number of celebrities go for crowdfunding, the number who don't reach their goals will rise. And there will probably be coverage of those underfunded projects because they make for good stories. How that will affect perceptions remains to be seen.
Again, if million dollar projects are celebrated, that tends to reinforce the idea that big money is better than small money or inadequate money. We may be talking different funding models than in the past, but we're using the same value systems as always.
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You know, I suppose one thing I am saying is, "Will becoming trendy be Kickstarter's undoing?" Seems like that happens to a lot of online companies.
I believe in the P2P concept, so I am not suggesting networking and community support will go away. In fact, I think it will only grow stronger. But as a part of that, I see the concept of "celebrity" becoming less important, too. I believe in the democratization of creativity and am not really impressed with Kickstarter projects that can cite millions of dollars raised. By cheering these on, we seem to be using the same standards of success as always: big money gets more attention.
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My point is that Kickstarter is Playboy and reality TV in your analogy, so while it may turn out that it attracts has-beens, your example doesn't say anything about how successful it will be, only about the sort of celebrity it may attract. I'm sure Kickstarter would be thrilled to be as well-known, financially successful, and long-lived as Playboy (though without other aspects of their reputation of course).
I'd be more inclined to compare Kickstarter to a daily deal site. As the concept of crowdfunding expands, more sites will develop to serve certain niches. What is happening right now is that Kickstarter may find it doesn't work to be all things to all people.
Kickstarter has already refined what it is by greatly tightening up the design projects. It doesn't want to be a store.
We'll have to see how the celebrity market develops. It might become huge and everyone will do it, or if enough projects fail to hit their goals, celebrities may back off from crowdfunding if they have other ways to raise money.
If it becomes huge, sites catering to celebrities might develop and take business away from Kickstarter. Or Kickstarter might hang on to the celebrities and the unknowns might go elsewhere. Or Kickstarter might have a mix of knowns and unknowns, but other sites will develop platforms to serve particular target audiences.
I guess for Kickstarter the challenge will be for it to maintain its "cool" factor. So how people use it will be a branding issue for the company. Sooner or later all tech and social media companies get replaced by the new generation of companies and that will likely to happen to Kickstarter, too. No, I don't think it will disappear, but some new crowdfunding or crowdsouring or creativity site will catch everyone's fancy and off we'll go to the next big thing.
I don't know, as far as I know Playboy and reality TV are both still going strong.
Oh, Playboy and reality TV are going strong, but the celebs who appear on them are often perceived as lacking any other opportunities. It's the sort of thing you do to keep yourself in the public eye when better offers aren't coming. (Kind of the celeb version of jumping the shark.)
But, like I said, it's probably still too soon to tell whether lots of celebs will successfully crowdfund, whether many of them will try but not hit their goals, or whether most celebs will decide to fund in less visible ways.
And it may turn out that Kickstarter works better for sequels to successful projects than to fund original material.
Here's the latest one to fail. I suppose this is the negative side of celebrity association for Kickstarter. The projects bring more attention to Kickstarter when they succeed and also when they fail. Unknowns who fail tend to slip under the radar, but celebs who fail make more interesting stories for the blogs. So financially Kickstarter makes great money on the successful celeb million dollar projects, but imagewise it loses a bit on the celeb project failures. Yes, failure is built into the Kickstarter project system, but I don't think the company wants to go out of its way to generate stories about the projects that can't make goal.
If celebrity Kickstarter projects end up for most of them as the equivalent of reality TV and Playboy covers (what you do when your career is flagging), then it may put a damper on the concept.
Years ago eBay tried doing celebrity charity auctions. I could see problems with that from the beginning and it didn't continue for very long. Lack of bidding interest was too visible, so what was meant to be a goodwill thing ended up being negative PR for a number of celebrities and they backed off.
We'll have to see how it plays out. Will Kickstarter transform celebrity projects or will the failed ones be seen as vanity projects that never should have been conceived in the first place?
"A review of 926 diplomatic cables of correspondence to and from the U.S. State Department and embassies in more than 100 countries found that State Department officials actively promoted the commercialization of specific biotech seeds, according to the report issued by Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit consumer protection group."
That's the strategy US Govt. has adopted all-along - supporting the bad people (by terming them as good, obviously) to reach their desired (usually nefarious) goals and not leaving any stone unturned to silence those who are vigilant enough to say exactly what they see (that it's not in the best interest of the public).
I continue to have problems understanding how "government" is separate from private companies. If you remove government and allow private companies to operate without any constraints, seems like you would get more of the same or worse.
Here's what that article said:
Reuters reviewed a product catalogue from one large contractor, which was made available on condition the vendor not be named. Scores of programs were listed. Among them was a means to turn any iPhone into a room-wide eavesdropping device. Another was a system for installing spyware on a printer or other device and moving that malware to a nearby computer via radio waves, even when the machines aren't connected to anything.
So private contractors finding flaws and developing ways to exploit them would likely continue. They would just find people other than government to sell their info and programs to.
Having people looking at you with Google Glass on their faces would be like having people talk to you with their phones or cameras held up in front of their faces all the time.
It's there, acting as a potential barrier. It's a tech device in between you and the people around you. And it doesn't need to be there in the way that ordinary glasses or a hearing aid would be.
Whether or not you are recording the conversation, watching something on Google Glass, or doing neither but still wearing the glasses, it's an obvious symbol of something coming between you and the person in front of you. It's a sign of either real or potential disengagement, or worse (a monitoring device).
I think it will all come down to private companies. You have private companies collecting and selling data. You have private companies selling security services.
All the government does in this picture is to write checks to someone, so I don't see it as a government versus private discussion really. It's still about money and who gets to sell what services to whom.
Another issue that may hit Kickstarter is if some sites charge a sliding percentage based on scale. Some sites are likely to start charging a smaller percentage for the million dollar deals than for the little deals. Kickstarter can't really do that because then it would look like it is favoring the celebs over everyone else.
Another way to favor the celebs over the little guys is what some music sites do. They charge a flat fee for their services. It's great for high volume projects, but not a good deal for small projects.
And I think that's what we are talking about. We haven't yet seen lots of celebrities get into this. Once they do, will they upstage all the unknowns?
Or as the percentage of celebrity projects increases, will their failure rate go up? Using Kickstarter as a publicity stunt won't have as much appeal if the fans can't be rallied to support the project. Or, the stars can do what Palmer did and set the goal low enough that it is sure to be met.
Of course, then there is the project fulfillment. You have to budget for all the goodies that you've promised and some people may decide it is a distraction from just getting the project done.
As I said, I think what will happen is that the crowdfunding market will start becoming more niche-based. Kickstarter is the big game right now, but in time there may be sites that cater to celebrities. Others that cater to foodies. Others that cater to unknown artists. Others that focus on local projects. Others than are event based.
We saw what happened with the daily deal sites. We'll likely see it with the crowdfunding sites, too.
Entertainers have ALWAYS had patrons. There's no discussion here. Why is it wrong for them to seek patrons?
I'm talking about a patron in the older sense, when artists weren't selling tickets. They were being supported by a rich benefactor. Most established celebrities are not being supported this way. They might have had that kind of support when they started, but when they have lawyers, agents, business managers, etc., they aren't being supported by a patron like an artist who is being kept afloat with donations.
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You've missed the latest about the Stones, I take it. It's been the talk of the live music scene. They haven't been able to sell out on their recent tour and have been having to heavily discount ticket sales.
It's been written up in a number of publications and Lefsetz has been covering it.
His argument is that Zach Braff wasn't getting any of his money because he has Hollywood connections.
That was my attitude about musicians I helped. I wasn't going to contribute to someone already successful, and especially to someone who had more money that I had.
I wanted to make a difference in the life of someone who really needed a break and whose long-term career success was going to depend on whether or not he/she got help early on. I also figured that a starving artist would probably appreciate the help far more than someone who had already gotten lots of money over the years.
And here, also explains what happens when you crowdfund. People start asking questions about your project. They are going to ask where the money goes, whether you really needed to use the money that way, etc. We've already gone over this with Amanda Palmer, which this article mentions.
Some of you will say that people who don't like the project don't have to support it. And that's true, but they also feel free to criticize you for doing it. Crowdfunding may require a thicker skin than just doing your project and tapping into the usual investment sources.
The Kickstarter Principle: Crowdfunding doesn’t work without transparency and trust — Tech News and Analysis: "The lesson from both of these incidents is the same, I think. If you are going to appeal to the crowd for support, then you are essentially striking a bargain with them: they provide money, but you have to do more than just provide whatever the end product is. You have to be as open and transparent as possible and do whatever you can to maintain the trust of those supporters, and that changes the dynamics of the situation completely. And once that trust is lost, the game is effectively over."