I’ve written about the diminishing returns and commercialization of Kickstarter and even I’m astonished at how quickly my predictions have come true.

What was once novel has become everyday, and has now even on occasion been coopted by “the business.” The result is: It’s really, really easy to ignore funding requests, especially when they come from people you don’t know.

220px-Alice_GuyCase in point are the repeated e-mails I’ve been getting about a doc called “Be Natural” – the story of the largely unknown but apparently incredibly important filmmaker, Alice Guy-Blanche. Only after a call from one of the directors did I finally watch the video on their Kickstarter page. Director Pamela Green’s message was filled with the common perturbation of documentary filmmakers who find that the wider world doesn’t share the obsession for their subject. But I have to admit that this little film is incredibly well made and the topic has to be truly fascinating to anyone who cares a whit about film.

The question, of course, is given that Jodie Foster is narrating and the Sundance Kid is EP and their amazing eight-minute reel is filled with all sorts of Hollywood people, why are they asking poor little me for money? They try to answer that question, though none of their answers is particularly satisfying. 

I don’t say that because I don’t support this project: it seems, from what I’ve seen and read, incredibly cool. But it points out another place where crowd-sourcing may have diminishing returns: the “Too-Slick-For Kickstarter” effect.

In the early days, I was a “give first and ask questions later” kind of guy. Frankly, I don’t really know what has become of most of the projects I supported. But I knew the people behind them, or at least I knew people who knew the people. And they all just seemed so earnest and DIY that there just didn’t seem to be any risk in throwing a $100 their way. Check out any of the videos on Julia Marchese’s page for her doc about the New Beverly and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m not sure what this all means. It’s just food for thought. I’m going to give a little to “Be Natural” and I think you should, too. And we’ll check back in a couple of months in the on-going saga that is crowd sourcing film!

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  • Anonymous

    You are a breath of fresh inspiration…
    When I have more time maybe we could chat.
    Take care,
    Matty G.