In the past two days, I’ve had some conversations that remind me that there is no “fun” in crowdfund. It is a necessary evil, borne of the collapse of the economy, possibly the only chance for the art of filmmaking to continue. That’s versus the marketing channel that is the current Hollywood studio approach, where a “movie” is whatever can be marketed.
A crowdfund campaign is all work, a harsh referendum on the person, spiritually debilitating and, of course, a death knell for a movie project more often than enabling. (Literally.) There is no fun in crowdfunding. It overtakes one’s life for a month or two.
Yesterday, I spoke with our actor who recounted how he cried when he read the script because its emotional impact is so true and vivid. I needed to be reminded of that.
Yesterday, I spoke with an actress and filmmaker who was excited about the chance to make a powerful movie. I needed to hear that enthusiasm and spirit.
Yesterday, I attended the table reading of a new play in Manhattan. It was exhilarating to be in a room of people who love to act, love to write, and love to watch great performances. That brought back to my soul my reasons for making this movie.
Today, in a couple online conversations on Facebook, I’ve been reminded of the realities of crowdfunding itself.
One conversation is about over-saturation.
Being in the middle of a crowdfund campaign myself, I have often wondered when the over-saturation was going to have a killing effect on crowdfunding. It is especially a killing effect that celebrity-hood has entered — and I am not complaining about someone not having the ‘right’ to crowdfund (I’ve written about that here) — and created a new challenge of minimum visibility, which adds to the over-saturation.
I am not sure whether or not this is a zero-sum game for dollars — maybe it is, maybe it isn’t — but it is clearly a zero-sum game for EYEBALLS. It seems that common folks are falling to the bottom half of the crowdfunding universe in terms of visibility, while a few celebrities grab the upper half for visibility.
IT’S GOING TO GET WORSE…
Hollywood is going to be coming into crowdfunding like gangbusters. One of the major subjects at The Wrap’s huge annual conference THE GRILL in a couple weeks will be “Crowdfunding and the Movies: The New Money Model,” which means the elite Hollywood producers who haven’t had to sully themselves with the low-brow fundraising of crowdfunding — who never even understood it — will now clamor to discover and duplicate what the ground-breaking celebrities did. The flood of elite Hollywood producers will push the common folk to the bottom and make them invisible. That’s going to happen in a few weeks, after THE GRID teaches them how to do it.
Another issue that has come up is the generation gap. There is a distinct difference between the over-50 crowd, who don’t aggressively follow crowdfunding and see it as some kind of permutation of common, traditional formal professional fundraising environment, merely free from brokers and such. Unfortunately for me, I don’t fit in with that group of standard, successful people.
The true crowdfunding culture is distinctly under-50 and sees crowdfunding as an entirely different entity with no ties whatsoever to the world of professional fundraising. Sadly, I am anathema to the under-50 group (I am too ‘old’ to be hip, and too ‘young’ to be standard and successful — my misfit status amuses only me.)
Yep, there’s no fun in crowdfund.
It’s all a game of marketing and positioning, of course, but the poor among us (me!) can’t afford the cost of sufficient marketing.
However, yesterday I was reminded why I need to make my movie. That has nothing to do with crowdfunding. That’s a good thing.