You’ve certainly heard that the Veronica Mars Movie Kickstarter page made like a kajillion dollars in two minutes. I just don’t know why, with the series’ fervent following and the creatives on board, the studio said no to a low-budget movie in the first place, but that’s another blog post.
I wrote about Kickstarter (note – the projects listed are all closed) as a source of funding for film and TV projects awhile ago, and my conclusion was this:
Of course, there will come a point when the number of projects using Kickstarter will begin to degrade it’s effectiveness.
When I got one or two requests a month from people I knew, I always gave generously. When I starting getting requests from Facebook friends about their friends’ projects, I started to become more selective and more conservative in my largess, wanting to spread the wealth, as it were. And you can see where this is going….as requests become more frequent and more distantly related to you the donor, the less response they’ll get. At some point, Kickstarter requests will become a kind of spam.
But like spam, if you reach a giant mass of people and even a small percentage of people respond, you’re still doing OK. Of course, the people making indie movies and thoughtful radio will have to go back to the drawing board to find another new way to get the word out about their their wonderful work.
But the Veronica Mars thing may be a game changer, and not for the better. If the studios are going to let people “vote” for movies they want to see, I worry for the future of cinema. I’m also a tad confused about why people are willing to shell out money that will end up in the pockets of the big corporations. I guess the argument is that you’d pay for a ticket anyway, and people love them some VM. But as I write this, there are 427 people so far who have given $275 for a signed DVD, the TV show on DVD, a T-shirt and a pdf of the script. Wow.
There is another kind of crowd-sourcing in the works, of course, that makes much more sense in this context. And that is crowd-sourced funding with profit participation. If I am going to take a little risk on a movie – especially one the studios won’t take a risk on themselves – why shouldn’t I get in on the back end? As far as I understand it, the people who create such things are wangling the practical and legal details as we speak. Of course, stars rarely see their contracted share of the back-end profit (profit? what profit?), so there’s no reason to think the “crowd” will either!
Anyhoo, here’s a “real” Kickstarter project for your to fund! A movie about a man and his camera that predated the time when we’d document every pimple with a picture - Beyond the Bolex.
The year was 1927, the industrial age was in full swing, and the world was falling in love with the moving picture. The craft of this new art form, however, remained elite and unattainable; It was a novelty for the masses. Enter Jacques Bolsey and his revolutionary invention – the Bolex. He introduced the world to a cinematic camera that would do no less than revolutionize the fledgling medium, shattering its shackles of high-end exclusivity and setting it free for everyday people to create and experiment.