Discovering the Relevance of Words
Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon and other fundraising sites are beautiful avenues through which to support creators. Music, film, inventions, theater, web-content, it doesn’t matter. You click on a button and you can send money directly to inspired folks to help them get their passions off the ground. These sites are great for the artists who’ve created a name for themselves, but haven’t hit their monetary stride yet. But a new trend has started. The wealthy and successful are asking for our money to get their projects started. I’ll just restrict this blog post to comment on the movie industry. I have no idea if Def Leopard has a Kickstarter campaign. Although with music piracy running amok, wouldn’t you want to get paid upfront too (Sounds like another blog post for another time)? This new development raised some questions for me. Why not fund it yourself? You obviously have money and connections. And secondly, why isn’t the establishment you work for (the movie industry) funding your project? Why do you need my money upfront? Some of the projects we’re receiving some backlash as well as donations. Most noteworthy are; Zach Braff’s WISH I WAS HERE, James Franco’s PALO ALTO STORIES and lastly, the record-breaking Veronica Mars Movie.
The major studios are pouring A LOT of money into the giant blockbuster movies. Elaborate science fiction films and bigger than life comic book trilogy’s require hundreds of millions of dollars in special effects. IRON MAN 3 cost 200 million dollars (!) to make and grossed 1 billion dollars (!!). Where as a drama like THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES cost 15 million and made 21 million. It’s a business. The studios want to make money, and the numbers have spoken. The general public wants to see epic explosions, people with super powers and metropolises’ being destroyed. I’m assuming they won’t put money into the projects I mentioned getting made, because they are afraid they wont get paid.
Do we really want a handful of movie studios dictating what we watch based on their quarterly earnings? Don’t we run the risk of being spoon-fed the same information over and over, pacifying us into believing that this is the only way movies should be? Subtle stories can’t be entertaining? Or what if it goes the other way? What if one of these blockbusters fails, because we’ve seen the same idea repeated for the past 10 years, what then? Hundreds of millions of dollars down the drain would cripple any industry.
We could support independent films getting made. Even if it is being made by someone who’s had some success and some cash. Why not? They have experience in the industry and have something to say. It still gives us an opportunity to experience a new story, a new idea. Stories coming from all directions, not just the major studios, allows us to choose between multiple films no matter the budget. It encourages free thought and individuality. If people want to see Braff’s film get made or a Veronica Mars movie (both surpassed their fundraising goals) and they are willing to contribute money, essentially buying it, then that project has worth and merit to them. That makes it worth getting made. There is no difference between me giving these people money upfront for their project, or after it’s finished. Either way, if I enjoy the artist and their message, they will get my money. If decide to kick Mr. Franco down some cash, it doesn’t mean I won’t contribute money to my neighbors documentary about his cat. Mr. Pickles has a story that needs to be told!
We don’t want the major studios being the only creators of films. Independent projects are necessary. They strengthen the “spider web” of the film community. The major studios are the prominent, thick strands that run the length of the web and these small studios, no-name actors and struggling writers are the little support strands giving it strength. These fundraising sites also empower by allowing indies to bypass the bias of the major movie production that’s primary goal is mass consumption. These fundraising sites allow for new stories to break through. Not everything should be for everyone. I’m thankful for our individuality and our capability to express it, no matter how successful we are.