The Anti-Kickstarter

By | Thursday, December 13, 2012 Leave a Comment
Let's say you want to make a movie about a comic book store. Not like a comic version of High Fidelity but something closer to a pseudo-documentary. Like, say, a kid from the south side of Chicago who doesn't aspire to go to college, but opts instead to open the first African American-owned comic book shop in Chicago. Let's assume that you're not new storytelling. Let's assume that you've been working as a writer for several years now, and have even done some projects for DC's animation arm.

So you've got the talent to make this movie, but not the budget. Perfect opportunity to dive into Kickstarter or a crowd-funding platform like it, right?


The movie project I outlined is a real one by Will J. Watkins. The movie he's attempting to make is called Mike’s on Mars and you can find out more about it with links to their Facebook and Twitter accounts at their website. There's a link in the navigation for a Rewards section, and it spells out tier levels of donations not unlike Kickstarter.

But there's no links to Kickstarter. Or IndieGoGo. Or PleaseFundUs. Or anything remotely like them. Just a link to PayPal, and a snail mail address in case you'd prefer to write a paper check. There's certainly nothing wrong with doing that, but I had to ask Watkins why he opted for eschewing the higher visibility, name-recognition, and (frankly) security of someplace Kickstarter.

His response was that he IS making the movie, and Kickstarter(et. al.)'s all-or-nothing model, plus the project funding deadlines, weren't appealing. He also added, "anyone who believes in this project enough to fund it doesn't want their money back if a fifnacial [sic] goal isn't reached... they want to see every dollar given put up on the screen. I aim to deliver!"

That suggests an... issue (?) that I've heard from these crowd-funded ideas before: that they tend to only work -- particularly on large projects -- if you've already got something of a name already. Basically, that you're relying primarily on existing fans of your work to fund and promote it.

I'm not sure how well Watkins' approach might work. It certainly gives him more time to raise the necessary funds (making a movie ain't cheap, after all!) and it sounds as if he'll be using what he gets more-or-less as it comes in. He might not have the name-recognition associated with Kickstarter, and perhaps not the broad network of existing fans to fall back on, but his project DID make it to my ears (h/t Mark W) and now YOU'RE aware of it from reading this. Is that enough? I don't know, but it'll be interesting to watch. Take a look for yourself.

And, while I'm on the subject of crowd-funding, let me put in another quick plug for Dara Naraghi's project on Kickstarter, Persia Blues. As I've mentioned before, I'm always interested in getting alternate cultural perspectives on things, so I'm really curious to see what this ultimately looks like.

Newer Post Older Post Home