by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
colin hanks, tom hanks

kickstarter, tower records

Is It Bad When The Rich & Famous Use Things Like Kickstarter?

from the why? dept

A few different people pointed us to variations on the story of how Tom Hanks' son Colin Hanks is funding a documentary about Tower Records via Kickstarter. With plenty of time to go, he's already passed his goal of raising $50,000. Of course, he was significantly helped along in reaching that goal thanks to a tweet from his father. The project sounds nice enough (as someone who spent a ton of time and money at Tower Records as a kid, I'm certainly interested in the documentary itself), but what struck me about this is the comments found under the THR article linked above. They're almost all angry that someone like Colin Hanks would use Kickstarter for something like this. Here's a somewhat representative sample:
Seems to me that the meaning of Grass Roots is lost on the hollywood elite.

It is not about rich people taking money from people on kickstarter and using it to fund a film without any kind of investor responsibility. I wonder, Jem, if you would have the guts to ask if they TRIED to use their own money or money from their incredible amounts of connections and investment routes OR if they simply thought: "Dude, we could get lower and middle class people to just GIVE us their money!"

In this economy this is some of the most narrow-minded use of crowd-sourcing I've seen.
The other comments are similar. I was kind of surprised, because I don't actually see anything wrong with anyone using such platforms, whether they're rich and famous or some poor nobody just starting out. One of the nice things about a platform like Kickstarter is that beyond just being a system for fundraising, those who use it find that it's a great way to really connect with an audience and fans. For a movie like this, that makes a lot of sense. It's part of the marketing as well. And, honestly, this is getting some people to prepay for stuff. If Colin Hanks had found the money elsewhere (say, from his Dad) and then made the movie, and people went and paid $10/ticket to see it in a theater, would the same people be complaining that it was the rich people "taking money" from "lower and middle class people"? Also, the whole point of Kickstarter is that the people aren't just giving away their money -- they get something in return.

Part of me wonders if this is the same sort of way that people react when the little indie band they loved becomes super popular worldwide, where people seem to start to resent the band, as if they felt that the band was "their band" and couldn't go out and find a wider audience. Perhaps that's how some people feel about things like Kickstarter, where they feel like since its initial users were smaller and less well-known, that that's all the platform should be used for. But I have a hard time seeing how this takes away from anyone else's use of the platform at all.

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