Crowdfunding Movies Possible Even For Original, Rather Than Derivative Works
from the a-step-forward dept
An anonymous reader pointed us to an interesting look at how crowdfunding is becoming more popular for movies. Make no mistake: it’s still not widespread by any stretch of the imagination. But there are a growing number of examples of it working. In the link above, the author, Peter Broderick, points to a couple of movies that were funded this way, noting that they had existing fanbases, as they were based on books that already had a committed following. However, he focuses the main part of the discussion on a movie that came with no such built-in fanbase: I Am I, which was able to raise $111,965 via Kickstarter starting from scratch with just a few friends. The filmmakers smartly had also found an outside investor who was willing to match any such funds up to $100,000, so they came out of this with over $200,000 in funding. They sent out emails to friends and pushed the project on Twitter, and it began to get some attention.
Donations started strong ($17,000 in the first few days), slowed down over the Christmas holidays, and accelerated as they approached the finish line ($24,000 in the closing days). Their contributors included friends, family, colleagues, and a few studio executives. 80% of their 902 contributors were total strangers. Amazingly, 3 of these strangers made $10,000 donations, for which Jocelyn and Simon promised to come to their hometowns and do private screenings just for them. Overall, as is typical with Kickstarter projects, the majority of donations were at the $20 (32%) and $100 (26%) levels.
Their campaign was so successful that it gave I AM I the momentum needed to move into production. Even after their campaign ended, people were still asking to contribute. The I AM I team added a Donate button to their website and is offering rewards similar to those they gave on Kickstarter.
So how did they achieve this? Well, certainly a well-designed website, and a really entertaining video (embedded below) for the project helped, and got some viral buzz going. And, from that, word of mouth really seemed to take off.
The other interesting point is that the community that’s been built up around the crowdfunding are providing much more than just money. There are now about a thousand people who have a really big interest in helping the movie along and promoting it to others:
In addition to the $111,965 raised, their campaign created a large network of supporters. Producer Cora Olson observed, “our initial goal was to raise as much money as possible, but when we saw how many online impressions we were making, we realized that this awareness could ultimately be more valuable than cash when it?s time to launch the film.”
I still think it’s early for such crowdfunding projects, and the failures don’t get nearly as much attention as the successes — which is a bit unfortunate, as there’s much to be learned from what went wrong as well. However, I still think it’s a fascinating area to study and to understand, and I’m glad that we’re getting more and more case studies to learn from out of what’s going on these days.