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.

Filed Under: colin hanks, tom hanks
Companies: kickstarter, tower records


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  • icon
    Richard (profile), 7 Jun 2011 @ 3:52pm

    It brings attention

    This kind of thing actually brings more attention to Kickstarter - which surely helps everyone else....

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

  • icon
    PW (profile), 7 Jun 2011 @ 4:23pm

    Take it or leave it

    The thing that strikes me from that sample comment is how unnecessary it really is. After all, part of Kickstarter's appeal is that as someone donating to the entrepreneur/artist's cause, you're helping someone with a good idea or a compelling project move ahead with it. If you don't like the product or are not compelled by the project then you simply pass and don't donate. What the heck does this have to do with his dad or his personal wealth. Sure, Colin may have gotten more attention for his project from his dad tweeting it, but that's no guarantee that people will donate if they don't like it. If anything, one might call this market research or testing user demand for the idea.

    Also, I don't recall there being a box on Kickstarter stating the entrepreneur's personal net worth as a reviewable category or criteria for donating to the project.

    This backlash feels like an example of small minds and is disappointing.

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

  • identicon
    George L., 7 Jun 2011 @ 4:23pm

    It's Annoying at Best

    We shouldn't kid ourselves - Kickstarter is a corporate backed organization with over $10 Million investment from banks, pension funds, corporations, and other totally NON-grassroots organizations.

    So Hanks raising funds totally fits within where KS is headed. Time to find some alternatives.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2011 @ 5:02pm

      Re: It's Annoying at Best

      If you're looking to only uses services provided without any support from banks, pension funds, or corporations, be prepared to spend a lot of time looking.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 7 Jun 2011 @ 9:08pm

      Re: It's Annoying at Best

      We shouldn't kid ourselves - Kickstarter is a corporate backed organization with over $10 Million investment from banks, pension funds, corporations, and other totally NON-grassroots organizations.

      Did anyone ever claim otherwise?

      And the "banks, pension funds, corporations... etc." is misleading. Like a very large percentage of tech startups, Kickstarter raised some VC funds. VCs raise their money from pension funds and banks, etc. But you don't see people making the same claims you just made about every other starup out there.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Jun 2011 @ 11:50am

        Re: Re: It's Annoying at Best

        Turns out the local organic, fair-trade coffee shop I've been frequenting...wait for it...is INCORPORATED AND GOT A LOAN FROM A BANK!!!

        How DARE they!?

        I guess I'll have to grow my own beans.

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

  • identicon
    Aerilus, 7 Jun 2011 @ 5:28pm

    seems to me with kick-starter you vote with your dollars if enough people feel that a project is undeserving it doesn't get funded that's the kind of simplicity I can enjoy.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2011 @ 5:39pm

    How do those people know that Steven Spielberg and other Tom Hanks friends aren't the ones doing the donating?

    They don't.

    But they flap their pieholes anyway because the internet is full of idiots that think because they have a computer keyboard, they're suddenly smarter than those they were previously dumber than. Snore.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2011 @ 6:15pm

    It's OK

    It's OK if it also calls attention to (and pulls in backers) for projects like this: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thehivenyc/the-hive-nyc-is-building-a-rooftop-garden

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

  • identicon
    Lala Lagula, 7 Jun 2011 @ 6:44pm

    hate the rich

    I find it baffling that Americans hate rich people so much. Esp. people who have worked very hard to earn their riches. It is okay for many people to steal from Madonna, Metallica, Lady Gaga, because they are "stinkin' rich already".
    I agree with other commenter, if you don't like it don't support it. Would people respect Colin Hanks more if he went to daddy to fund any future business ventures? Also I don't think making a documentary about Tower is exactly a get-rich-quick scheme, I think it is much more his personal interest in the topic, which might get media attention but is unlikely to rain income.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2011 @ 6:53pm

      Re: hate the rich

      I don't have a problem with rich people, per se. But when people abuse their wealth to lobby governmental representatives to write laws to benefit themselves and screw everyone over (with such things as copyright extensions), then I have a problem.

      Poor and middle class people aren't doing that. Are they?

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

    • icon
      Nick Coghlan (profile), 7 Jun 2011 @ 10:46pm

      Re: hate the rich

      I didn't understand this attitude either until I started to learn more about just how *bad* the inequality in wealth distribution is in the US (e.g. http://www.vanityfair.com/society/features/2011/05/top-one-percent-201105)

      The place is apparently becoming a veritable model of plutocracy, so it's understandable that a lot of the folks that live there are getting rather annoyed about it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2011 @ 8:15pm

    I like Collin Hanks, I like Jenny Wade better, and I will miss the Good Guys.

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

  • icon
    Casey Bouch (profile), 7 Jun 2011 @ 10:16pm

    I took a quick glance at the Wikipedia page, and this documentary could take a few pop shots at piracy.

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

    • identicon
      Ryan, 7 Nov 2011 @ 4:32pm

      Re:

      "Pop shots"? I believe the phrase is "pot shots" and it means a criticism made without careful thought and aimed at a handy target for attack. Also, the word "glance" implies brevity - "quick glance" is kind of redundant.

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

  • identicon
    Nicedoggy, 8 Jun 2011 @ 12:18am

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


    I don't think so and frankly I don't care, if they do something fantastic it is ok, if they make millions on a $1 dollar movie I don't care either.

    Just don't say ever you support copycrap and I'm all good.

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

  • identicon
    Danny, 8 Jun 2011 @ 5:41am

    Maybe

    ...Colin didn't want to get money from his dad and had no other choice but to go here instead.

    ...Colin did try to hit up his dad, Tom refused and Colin decided to go to Kickstater instead.

    ...Colin decided to do this in order get some word of mouth out about Kickstarter (few things get something rolling better than having a known name attached).

    More power to him I say.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Jun 2011 @ 9:23am

      Re: Maybe

      I totally agree. Some kids do wanna make it on their own, without riding coat tails......heck, if he was doing this with Daddy's money, people would be bashing him for that too.

      You go Colin!

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

      • identicon
        Danny, 8 Jun 2011 @ 11:32am

        Re: Re: Maybe

        Exactly. If you did get money from daddy he would be a bratty poser that should be making his own money but if raises his own then he's a bratty money grabber that should be using daddy's money.

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

  • icon
    aikiwolfie (profile), 8 Jun 2011 @ 8:42am

    Could it possibly be that Hollywood just didn't want to invest in this project leaving the young scamp with few options? Kickstarter isn't like a tax taken from your top rate of earnings. You only contribute if you think the project is worth it right? I just don't see an issue here.

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

  • identicon
    Mike Jansta, 8 Jun 2011 @ 1:55pm

    I donated to this project...

    Worked at Tower Records for 9 years. Really miss it. I pledged because I thought it was cool. However, I work in marketing and I thought it was an incredibly clever PR stunt to use kickstart to publicize the project AND to publicize kickstart, which I had previously not heard of. The web and traditional media are full of stories about this project now and if Colin had used his own money or his dad's money there would be very little anticipation about the project or it's eventual release. In my humble opinion, the only way to make a documentary like this a success is to use Colins name and passion for the topic, Tower's iconic yet fallen brand and this "new" platform where people who have a similar passion or fond memories that involved a trip Tower Records feel that they have a part in getting this made...which they now do. Very clever indeed, and I look forward to watching "my" film.

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


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