Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Kickstarter/Indie GoGo: Are filmmakers bribing us for money?

I've been perusing KickStarter of late reading on what I could get if I donate funding for a film. You know how it goes, donate $1 get your name on the website. Donate $50 get a signed DVD or something. Donate $500 you can a blowjob from all the female cast members (including Grandma Holly)

It's not even the projects that I'm really interested in. It's the shit they attach to the donation amounts. I find the stuff they giveaway just out right hilarious. Like this one from Emma Caulfield who played Anya from BtVS. She wants to make a comic of some sort and is asking for $7000. For $40 you get "A signed photo of Emma in her famous, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Bunny Suit, holding a sign saying thank you, with your name on it" (that's kinda cool).

I like the one's for films where if you donate like some crazy, ludicrous amount like $2500-$5000 dollars they'll give you a role or you'll be an extra in the film. I started thinking if I did this I would so have to document my experience. Sometimes the exception is you have to pay for your flight and hotel to get to the shooting location. Really? I donated 5 grand and I still gotta pay for my plane ticket? If I donated that much I'd want a damn speaking role.

Now this is crazy. Remember that low budget horror flick Thankskilling? Well they are looking to make a sequel. Holy shit. Check this out. There are 3 backers for the $10,000 dollar donation. This is what you get:

And for the first time ever -- CHOOSE WHEN YOU WANT THANKSGIVING! You pick the time, date, and location...and we bring you this -- the ULTIMATE THANKSKILLING PARTAAAAY! Available cast & crew will come to your hometown, office, frat house, church (uh, yeah), etc for a PRIVATE SCREENING, Q&A, and THANKSGIVING FEAST! Gather everyone from your high school or college to raise the money to get us there, and we'll bring tons of prizes and help pack the house! This would be an absolute blast!

The filmmakers are gonna have to throw this party 3 times! And you know some of the people you want to come won't show up.

See if I donated to this indie horror movie called Alpha Girls, I'd want a slumber party with the actresses. I feel if your going to bribe me into giving you money, I need the best case scenario. I find these sites are useful to fund your movie. The fans now have the power to back projects they like. But it feels all dirty doesn't it? These artists are pandering to US to give them cold hard cash in exchange for something of lesser value. Is $5000 dollars worth a speaking role in a film or getting killed by a crazy turkey where you are in the film for 3 seconds?

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for the fact that the fans are direct contributors to these projects. But I question the price these filmmakers are asking. It's an interesting concept and I'm sure there are pros and cons for sites like KickStarter and IndieGoGo.

But in any case, I want to know what you think of these KickStarter and IndieGoGo pledges. Have you donated to anything on KickStarter or IndieGoGo? How was your experience? Do you dig the fact that you can get something cool for your donation? Or are you skeptical about what you get in exchange for your donation?

Sound off! I want to hear both sides of the argument!


  1. Always a pleasure, Jeff!

  2. Yes I'm skeptical and I call bullshit in some cases. I think the asking price is too high and some are obviously trying to pocket some coin.

  3. If I'm donating to a documentary about a social problem that I feel needs to be addressed by a film, I don't want any acknowledgment because it's too much like being thanked for doing something charitable. If I'm giving money to a movie that is telling a fictional story, I want points because it's a project that's being made solely for commercial purposes and I'm an investor. So basically, there's no way I'm giving money to something like what you're describing. But I'm weird.

  4. In my experience, people often underestimate the actual cost of creating anything. People look at a painting and say "I could do that" when they can't, think "meh, it's just some paint and canvas - how can they charge that much" when the reality is that it's twenty bucks for that canvas if you buy it and hours to stretch it yourself, each tube (depending on color) can be three to ten (or more) dollars, and solvents, brushes (sometimes as high as fifty bucks) and let's not even mention the classes to acquire the skills to actually pull something like that off.

    When you get into something like film or sculpture the cost skyrockets.

    Very few people are "making coin" in the arts. If they are, it's barely living wage. Every artist I know has spent far more of their own coin on any given project than they ever ask from anyone else. And even other artists shame them for asking for anything. We've all somehow been taught to devalue these things, yet we all enjoy them.

    You pay for it anyway - with commercials that brainwash you - in fact, if you're not directly supporting the artists, you're somehow, behind the scenes, instead, supporting the people who make nothing but make money of the labors of creative people.

    I get your point, but it's seriously misguided. What value does this blog offer? No one would fault you for making money off it. The wonderful thing about sites like kickstarter is that you don't have to support them if you don't want to. And I doubt very many people are doing it FOR the exchange value of the gifts. That's not how art works - or how art support works. It's not meant to be an even exchange - if it were, then the art doesn't get made.

  5. Anon - I don't doubt art should be supported in its many forms. But asking fans to donate large sums of money in exchange for a cameo seems uneven. But clearly its a once in a lifetime experience and you can do whatever you want with your $. In any case, its a point that can be debated and I myself have found projects I'm willing to support.