One filmmaker’s heartfelt approach to creating and crowdfunding.
By B. Luciano Barsuglia
Kickstarter launched in 2009 and crowdfunding became mainstream, but it had already been a thing. Prior to that, I had already partially crowdfunded two feature films, and the act of crowdfunding itself truly emerged in 1997 when an English band raised $60K to finance a tour.
However, as the Internet so often does, things get put into overload and us virtual consumers are fed too much of everything. With so many different platforms and so many hit-and-miss campaigns out there, what does it all mean?
I recently contributed to a Sirui Kickstarter campaign to (hopefully) get a new camera lens. Kickstarter makes it very clear that it is not a shopping platform, and receipt of anything is not guaranteed – talk about a gamble. Well, I did it anyway. Call it good faith. I received my lens, but there was no guarantee.
So what does that mean for an independent filmmaker like me? For Koa Aloha Media? And for those who contribute to movies produced by Koa Aloha Media?
To some, there is a misconception that contributing to a campaign, or buying perks is a way of “buying” their way into the industry. The irony here is that people have been buying their way into the industry since filmmaking has been an industry.
The truth is, at least for Koa Aloha Media, every bit helps. While I never rely solely on a crowdfund campaign to produce a project, I absolutely rely on a campaign to expand a project and widen its horizons.
Many people get involved with film-related crowdfunding campaigns to add to their resumes, which it should. Crowdfunding helps. Whether someone contributed $25 or $2,500 to one of my projects, they are aiding in the production of a film. Often times it is going toward an actor’s day rate; or a special effects artist; or maybe the cost of a location (which even for indies can get very expensive); often it goes to craft services (keeping people fed on set); and many times these contributions are going toward promoting, marketing and publicizing the project.
Even when someone is not crowdfunding, but stepping in as financer or private investor to a project, they are essentially paying for the same things but expecting a return on their investment. Often, crowdfund campaigns offer ways for backers to be involved in a project in ways that aren’t accessible to investors. Most crowdfunders are excited to contribute and be a part of the project, but in return are simply looking for the acknowledgement of their contribution and efforts via an appropriate credit in the film.
And this is why I consider the crowdfunders, the backers, the project creators, the participants on either side, all part of my digital family. Together we create and contribute to creative goals and push the creative arts and minds forward in positive ways.
I have created/produced ten crowdfunded projects of my own and been a backer/participant in at least 10 more.
When someone at any level contributes to a movie I produce through Koa Aloha Media, they have 100% not just contributed to a campaign, but earned the credit. And for that, I thank and appreciate you all. Together we dream, we create, and we produce.