Read this first:
I completely agree – crowdfunding has become the latest victim of technological misuse.
I have so far taken part in a few crowd-funded endeavours – an ingenious bookmark system and a smart phone with a conscience – and think it’s a great way of supporting grass roots innovation. You get something cool out of it, the originator gets insight into how desirable his (or her) idea really is, and brilliant ideas can spread like wildfire.
But for film-making, it’s quickly becoming a lost cause – as Danny points out in the article above, trying to shoehorn any old industry into this uber-trendy market is doomed to fail. It’s perfect for inventions, charity funding, and other projects with guaranteed returns e.g. you fund a phone company…. you get a phone, and probably not for much more than an equivalent bought in a shop (but of course yours comes with an extra smug glow of exclusivity and “cool points” for Being There First)… what do film-makers offer? A quick search turns up such gems as “A thanks on facebook”, “a copy of the script”, “dinner with the director” and “Executive Producer credit!”. Firstly, a thanks on facebook is hardly worth even a fiver… getting a copy of a script for a film you’ve never seen isn’t really tempting unless it was written by someone in your family, and fancy hotels/meals are quite frankly a waste of everyone’s time and money, and when was the last time you pre-ordered film merchandise for a film you’d never seen starring unknown actors? …and don’t even get me started on giving away production credits. I come from a science background where some still see authorship of papers as something to be gifted – I don’t. Free-loading in any form is abhorrent – don’t compromise your integrity and that of your film by crediting anyone who waves a bunch of £20s in your face – everyone who works on a film is bound together by it forever, and in these internet-driven days, obscurity is hard to come by, so chances are these people will be with you for a long time.
If you need money for a film company – get backers… don’t sit around waiting for a dribble of £20 donations from your nearest and dearest. If you want someone to give you a chunk of money – give them something worthwhile back: shares in the company are better than schmoozing. If you want to get more socially involved, by all means do that – personally, I think the one thing crowdfunding can really give independent film-makers is a means of pre-selling tickets to screenings. I think that’s a great idea and love services like EventBrite and Brown Paper Tickets.
Enough ranting – back to work…