The Crowdsourcing Paradigm Shift
Cinema & New Media Arts | On May 10, 2013
Over at IndieWire, SlamDance Film Festival co-founder Dan Mirvish argues that donating might be better than investing when it comes to film:
In all the fuss over Veronica Mars and Zach Braff, people are getting stuck in the trees (most of which fall and don’t get heard anyway) and missing the forest. The crowd-funding/Kickstarter movement in general is changing the fundamental paradigm of film financing from “investing” in films to “donating” to them.
For years (and yes, this really does go back over 100 years), as filmmakers we’ve had to give false hope to investors that they might actually see a return on investment for a film, when we all know the odds of that are slim to none. We’ve all written countless business plans that talk about the success stories of “Clerks,” “Blair Witch Project” or “Napoleon Dynamite” (conveniently forgetting to mention the filmmakers behind “Napoleon”‘s multi-year lawsuit against Fox for screwing them on the backend). We’ve all relayed tall tales to investors of Harvey Weinstein napkin deals at [Park City cocktail party venue] Zoom and “Paranormal Activity” discoveries by Spielberg. And then in the next page – in small print, and dutifully required by the SEC – we always say that investing in film is a risky proposition intended only for people who can afford to lose their money. But wink, wink – WE’LL defy the odds, because our film is SPECIAL!
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But along comes Kickstarter and its kin, and there’s now a way for people to just donate to your film, without the hollow promises, without the awkward net worth questions, and without the inevitable broken kneecaps from investors who felt you let them down. Finally, people are starting to view film as what it is: an art form that is worthy of “donations” from “backers” rather than an inevitably doomed business model that needs “investments” that will “fail”.