Future of (Crowd)Funding

In recent years, crowd-funding on sites such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo has become a somewhat unexpected success.  I myself learned of it when a band I care for was asking for help with production costs: I gave. Later, I received.  The product was great and I was satisfied with my contribution.  Lately, there have been more and more films turning to such campaigns to raise funding of a sort.  Controversy aside, Zach Braff raised a few million dollars for his most recent film, Wish I Was Here and it debuted at Sundance on time.  Additionally, Steven James turned to Indiegogo for production support on the Ebert documentary Life Itself, also shown at Sundance, and being there personally, a lot of talk regarding crowd-funding was mentioned over the two week period.

Now, producer Michelle Manning has turned to Indiegogo to raise funds for Katherine Heigl’s next film, Jenny’s Wedding.  Here’s the kick: the movie is already made.  Production has finished and it was done for about $3 million.  However, Manning states that while the movie is finished, the potential still remains to continue making something even better, and they are asking for $150,000 for the sound, music, coloring and titles in post-production.  Like all these campaigns, they offer the perks such as behind the scenes looks and tickets to premieres, etc.  But this time, with the movie’s production being wrapped, there is a lot of material to be shown to try and gather support.

What does this say about the future of budgeting, crowd-funding and independent film?  A lot of talk (mostly negative) arose when Spike Lee and Zach Braff turned to such sources, raising questions like “Is it right for people who have higher connections and more wealth to use such options?”  Does it take away from the people who don’t have other connections/options? Does it matter? Should it?  I don’t know, but the resource has been gaining more and more publicity each year and like Manning’s team, more are starting to take advantage of what it could potentially provide.  Independent films still require money, and often have the hardest of times acquiring it.  If one could turn to these resources, great, but they have to make sure they have something to show to gather interest if they don’t have a name to capitalize on.

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