Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Crowdfunding Convert

Have you ever backed a project financially? Flashback ten years ago and this would have meant you were an investor with thousands to splash about on things like property development. 

But now, thanks to the magic of crowdfunding, you can contribute even just $5 towards something you think is worthy. 

I must admit I have always been a but sceptical about the begging-bowl aspect of people launching a crowdfunded project. I must have seen it as a bandwagon upon which every struggling artist and tech entrepreneur had jumped. "Give me money to make my amazing app a reality!" "Cash me up & I'll put on an exhibition!" I imagined them shouting. 

And sure, there are thousands of projects out there I wouldn't fund because of disinterest, but also because I judge that the person or group doesn't "deserve" my money. 

Last night, after watching a partially crowdfunded movie, I'm willing to review my opinions. Why? Because I'm always whinging about the lack of original content in film and on tv. Sure, I'll go and watch the lastest sequel in a big franchise but I'm also wanting to hear new stories, about new characters in new worlds. 

And the reality is, tv and movie studios just don't like gambling their money on things they aren't 100% sure will make a profit. Thus, we get a lot of stuff on our screens that has always proved to be a sure-fire hit formula in the past. 

The beauty of crowdfunding is people who normally wouldn't get a cent of studio backing can ask the general public if they'll pay for them to create their content. Genius! Especially when it's people who are already known good performers or creators. 

In this case, I watched the Veronica Mars movie. Previously a tv show that was canned, the star Kristin Bell got a big-screen sequel off the ground with the power of crowdfunding. Without this revenue-raising platform, the project would have been almost certainly dead in the water. Fans were willing to pay to have another story created for their favourite character. 

Another great crowdfunded project I'm looking forward to is Alan Tudyk's Con Man. This is going to be a web series - a medium along with streaming services that I think may eventually 
 kill commercial tv. Funded by thousands of dollars of Firefly (Alan's previous tv show) fans' money, the series is filming at present.

So, I'm a total convert. If crowdfunding can help creative people put great movies and tv shows in front of my eyeballs, I say we should put our hands in our pockets occasionally, instead of paying studios and watching advertisements. 

Have you ever backed a crowdfunded project? What was it? 

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