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Old 09-17-2018, 04:26 PM   #16
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Thanks so much, those are some really interesting thoughts and it all sounds very reasonable.

The festival circuit line really is one of the evergreens, Iíve seen it a lot, but apparently people donít realize how hard it is to do a successful festival run and get distribution. On the other hand, as an indie filmmaker you donít have too many other options for distribution, either.

The RED investment idea is so naÔve, itís actually funny. I mean, I want to finance the movie and not someoneís RED.

The point you make about stars Iím not sold on yet, though. In fact, I havenít really considered the option that star attachments could actually cause resentments, but come to think of it, it would totally make sense. Iíll definitely look into that a little further, thatís something the online experiment should allow me to analyze.

Your point about grandiose plans is also something Iíll look into. Itís extremely rare for movie crowdfunding campaigns to raise just one million dollars, many traditional indie productions are a lot more expensive. That makes it quite hard to predict how potential backers react to different funding goal levels. If itís an Ąall or nothingď campaign, higher goals should actually be associated with lower risk that the filmmakers run out of money and canít complete the project. And if the campaign fails to reach the funding goal, backers donít care, because they get their money back.

The thing about rewards is that some people might feel inhibited to pledge, because as backers they carry the risk, that the project fails, but they are not part of the upside potential. Maybe the movie ends up being profitable, the backers will be left with their keepcase and thatís it.

Anyways, some really interesting points here, I appreciate the discussion!
(And Iíll be happy to report back as soon as I have some reliable results from the experiment, of course!)
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Old 09-18-2018, 01:12 PM   #17
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You pointed out, "people don’t realize how hard it is to do a successful festival run and get distribution." Oh man, is this ever true! People seem to think that just getting accepted into a festival will get them a distribution deal. That's just not how it works. You've got to go to the festival, in person, and aggressively work the rooms, to have even a chance of landing a distribution deal.

If your movie has no exploitable elements, then even if you do land a distributor, the deal probably won't include an advance; you'll get a share of the money the movie makes. First, the distributor will pay their expenses; second, they'll take their cut; third, they'll pay you (if there's anything left).

You said, "I haven’t really considered the option that star attachments could actually cause resentments". I recall three examples, just off the top of my head: the Veronica Mars movie, Zach Braff's Wish I Was Here, and some David Fincher project whose name I can't recall that sought development funding. The first two were controversial at the time, with people saying that this is not what crowdfunding is for; the last saw people saying that development funding should properly have been supplied by a studio, and was yet another way for huge corporations to socialize the risk and privatize the profit.

On the other hand, Veronica Mars and Wish I Was Here got funded and got made. You can't argue with success -- or rather, you can't argue that success is not successful. But you notice that, in Hollywood terms, those are very, very small budgets (even if, in indie terms, they are very, very large budgets).

You said, "It’s extremely rare for movie crowdfunding campaigns to raise just one million dollars, many traditional indie productions are a lot more expensive." Do you mean that it's rare for movie campaigns to raise as much as $1,000,000? 'Cause that does seem to be the case; in fact, raising one-tenth that amount is rare. The aforementioned Veronica Mars movie raised just over $5.5 million -- with a dedicated fanbase and almost 100,000 donors.

You can't use crowdfunding to compete head-to-head with Hollywood. If a creator wants to raise $100 million or more for a special-effects bonanza ... well, you hope the people with the butterfly nets catch up with that person quickly.

What do you consider a reasonable amount of money for an independent movie to cost? What do you consider a reasonable amount of money for a crowdfunding campaign to raise for an indie movie?

You said, "as backers they carry the risk". But they don't! The donors risk nothing beyond the amount of their pledge -- and once they've pledged, their involvement with the movie is over. Whether the movie is a runaway success or is never even finished is immaterial. If the creators run up huge debts and the movie fails, the donors are not on the hook for that. (And, as you correctly point out, if the movie is a breakout hit, the donors don't share in that reward. C'est la guerre.)

I look forward to hearing the results of your crowdfunding experiment!

-- Damian

Last edited by The Lone Banana; 09-18-2018 at 01:14 PM. Reason: Corrected a couple of typos
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Old 09-20-2018, 05:20 PM   #18
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About the resentment. You say that you can't argue with success, and it's true that the two examples you mention (I was thinking of the same ones) actually did get made, but just judging by the ones that did get made would lead to biased results. It would be interesting to analyze success rates as a percentage of projects proposed, dependent on the funding goal. As far as I know, Kickstarter doesn't provide information about failed campaigns and I don't know of any platform that does. But arguably, there are just less projects with high funding goals in general and then the probability of succeeding wouldn't be that bad.

Also, what you said kind of means that crowdfunding actually isn't as much of a way to overcome traditional gatekeepers as it is always praised to be. It just extends the scope of externally-financed projects and allows lower-budget productions to get financing. And I frankly believe the same thing. At least for now.

Regarding your question about reasonable budgets for indies. My answer to that is anything but substantiated. But I think it's pretty unlikely to independently produce a movie (meaning without distribution deal at the time of production) for less than a million dollars and still have a good shot at getting distribution. And again, raising just one million through crowdfunding is extremely rare at this time. (Doesn't mean it's always gonna be like that).

I still think that backers bear risk, because their involvement is not over after backing. As a backer, you might expect a physical reward, you might expect profit contribution, you might just expect the satisfaction of supporting a cause, but you pay in advance and if the campaign initiators fail to complete the project, your expectations will not be fulfilled. As the initiator, you don't have anything in the game except for your reputation, because you got the money from the crowd. Now, obviously you do risk running over budget, but if you do, that's on you. You could have avoided that.

But hey, those are some really interesting points we're discussing here and they actually do help me a lot for this research project of mine! So thanks
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Old 03-18-2019, 03:29 PM   #19
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hope you are alright.

I have come across your post about a friend of yours who successfully crowdfunded a film. You said if someone was interested to get to know her, they should DM you. I was wondering whether you could help me with it as well
Thank you very much in advance.

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Old 03-19-2019, 04:00 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by The Lone Banana View Post

3) Too-grandiose plans can turn off donors. If your idea is an interlocking series of movies like the MCU, I know you have no sense of realism. Marvel has pre-existing fans of 80 years of stories and characters by hundreds of creators, and spends $200 million per movie; you don't have any of those advantages. Ask for donations to this movie you want to make, and I might think more kindly. Likewise if you're trying to raise millions of dollars; that just makes me think you're an amateur with more dreams than practicality.
I get what your saying and I wouldn't write in plans like that either but just for note it can be done without an 80 year fan base and 200 million, Kevin smiths movies often interlock in ways to create a 'universe' and its definitely attracted fans (although the fact that Jason lee plays 3+ different characters drives me nuts lol)
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Old 03-19-2019, 06:18 AM   #21
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There is an older thread full of crowdfund experiences from 2012 to 2015:

Lots of insights on failed campaigns as well.
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