In an economic climate where creative and artistic projects arguably face the greatest barriers to traditional forms of finance, many are now turning to the ‘crowd’ as an alternative source of funding. Our case study discusses the use of crowdfunding in the film sector and some of the relevant issues that arise.
What is crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding or rather crowd financing is a creative way of funding through social means. It is as a source of finance emerged from projects seeking to raise money by appealing to a large number of people through the Internet. Usually, websites serve as a platform from which projects can make their case to the crowd. Interested members of the crowd can then pledge donations on the platform, in return for which they are promised a benefit-in-kind if the project is successful (eg, an invitation to a screening or a copy of the finished version of the video game). Other times the reward is just being able to participate as a donor. This model is thus well suited to artistic and creative projects that have the ability to build a following among a fanbase.
How to start crowdfunding
The first thing is to create a project page on one of the many crowdfunding websites (see below). Your page should have an explanation of what the project is, who is behind it and why you need money for it. There should be a specific amount, so if the goal is not met, the money returns to the donors. It’s good to add pictures (drafts of your prototype, drawings, pictures if you already have something to show, pictures of the team etc). In Kickstarter, you also need to have a video explaining the project. The goal of the page is to make people want to help you by giving a little bit of money.
The biggest crowdfunding site on the Internet is Kickstarter, which raised a total of $220 million from 61,000 launched projects so far. Thousands explore its listed projects every second waiting to give away their money to the project they think is most deserving.
Crowdfunding sites links：
1. Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com
2. Indiegogo: https://www.indiegogo.com
3. Rockethub: http://www.rockethub.com
4. Pozible: http://www.pozible.com
5. Go Fund Me: http://www.gofundme.com
6. CrowdFunder.co.uk: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk
7. Pubslush: http://pubslush.com
8. Sponsume: http://www.sponsume.com
9. PledgeMusic: http://www.pledgemusic.com
10. StarNext: https://www.startnext.com
Crowdfunding for non-profits: http://www.crowdcrux.com/top-10-crowdfunding-sites-for-nonprofits/
Crowdfunding and the Creative Industries: the film Veronica Mars
Veronica Mars is a TV show that aired from 2004 to 2007 in the network UPN and later CW. It starred Kristen Bell as teen detective Veronica Mars. Even though it was praised by critics the series never delivered in ratings. It was cancelled after three seasons. But because the show had a niche audience, creator Rob Thomas decided to write a movie script continuing the series. Warner Bros, the owner of the show, opted not to fund the project.
Link to the Veronica Mars world and synopsis: http://www.marsinvestigations.net/timeline.php
On 13 March 2013 Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell launched a Kickstarter fundraiser in order to get the film made. Warner Bros. agreed to back the project only if they managed to raise the amount needed to film. All the main actors were also on board. The goal of USD 2.000.000 was met within ten hours, and the movie ended up raising USD 5,702,153 from 91, 585 donors.
Some of the campaign accomplishments at the time
· Fastest project to reach $1 million.
· Fastest project to reach $2 million.
· All-time highest-funded project in FILM category.
· Third highest-funded project in Kickstarter history.
· Most project backers of any project in Kickstarter history.
Full campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/559914737/the-veronica-mars-movie-project
1) What are the limits of this scheme?
2) Do you agree that crowdfunding is an empowering tool for the audience or are they being manipulated into financing projects that should find their own backup?
3) In relation to Singh’s ‘Value, Markets, Patronage’, what type of risks do these campaigns face? Could this be the ultimate way to ‘lower the costs’?
4) What is it about these types of projects that attract so much attention from donors?
5) How do you think art institutions could benefit from crowdfunding?
Key words: crowdfunding, film industry, sustainability issues, audience, risk.