May 10, 2013
Charities Are Already Crowd Funded, But Now Anyone Can Be a Producer
Earlier this year, it was announced that Rob Thomas had raised more than $5,700,000 to make a Veronica Mars movie via a Kickstarter campaign. Thanks to 91,585 backers, he raised more than double the $2 million goal to bring the canceled TV series to the big screen.
This project actually set the record with the all-time highest number of backers.
And then there was the backlash. In various news stories, some people weighted in, suggesting such things as “There will be some pretty angry investors/backers if this flops.”
Of course there were those who questioned whether Hollywood actually needs the fans to essentially “pre-pay” for a movie. One person summed up this feeling in a comment on TVGuide.com:
“People who make a ridiculous amount of money just to make movies just got you to give them money to finance a project that will make them another ridiculous amount of money. And all you get is t-shirts and Twitter updates in addition to having to plunk down another $10 – $12 just to see the movie that YOU financed. You’re not a producer. You’re a sucker. You really don’t think they have the money? Kristen Bell probably spent $2M renovating her baby nursery. If the true intent was to prove that such a movie would have box-office backing that money would (and should) have been raised for charity.”
Is this comment accurate? Could the money have been better spent on charity? Well, consider that even not-for-profits raise a lot of money that doesn’t go to the cause. Surprise, surprise but most charities that are non-profit still use a large amount of the amount of the money just to stay “in business.”
So, could researchers go straight to the masses and cut out the middle man? Perhaps, but it could come at costs.
Those such as Rob Thomas or Zach Braff, who is raising money to produce another film, are more likely to deliver than if AIDS or cancer researchers reached out for money. In fact, the worst thing that happens with movie makers, authors, musicians or other “artists” asking for money is that they deliver a bad product. The same goes to those who are trying to “build a better mousetrap.” The worst that happens is that the product doesn’t work out.
But charities are already crowd founded, and this means year after year people give money towards finding a cure, discovering treatment options or just helping those who are ill. If a charity such as this were to turn to Kickstarter, it couldn’t possibly pledge to find a cure for cancer even if the goal was a $10 trillion. Even that amount of money wouldn’t likely “cure” the disease.
In the case of illness, the results can’t be measured in the same way a film is made. That’s fine.
As for those who question why Hollywood types even need to turn to Kickstarter, the reason is simple. Hollywood won’t greenlight a movie based on a cult TV series that was canceled after a couple of seasons due to low ratings. Veronica Mars fans might find that statement harsh, but it is the truth.
Editor’s Note: Peter has neglected to recall one of our favorite cancelled-series-made-into-a-movie: Firefly / Serenity
Now those fans can live up to the statement, “I’d pay to see that,” and pony up the money in advance. As far as why the film’s stars and creators can’t pay for it that’s simple too – why should they risk their money for something the fans want? The answer is that they shouldn’t, no matter how much money they have.
It is about investment and risk. The truth is that for the fans they’re taking the risk – albeit a small one. However, considering that the average movie ticket is around $10, is this really asking too much?