I just hit send on an email inviting people to join a crowdfunding campaign for my new film, and I can’t quite believe it.
Five years ago, when I first heard about crowdfunding for movies, my thought was: “No way. Begging to your friends for hand-outs to make your movie? NEVER!”
Since then a lot has changed.
We’ve watched the likes of Zach Braff, Spike Lee and even studios turn to crowdfunding to raise finance for their projects.
I’ve observed, kicked in (many times), and slowly my thinking has changed.
I see it as a way for the audience to directly support the filmmaker, rather than the middle men. And that excites me.
People aren’t being asked to throw money at you for nothing (so no begging here) – in return they will get to watch your movie, listen to your score, read your script, party with you in the desert, be in the film. All things that have real value. They’re paying up front to be part of something they otherwise would pay for later – and in doing so, they are freeing the artist to make the work they want to without pandering to the tastes and prejudices of the corporate middle men (the sales agents, the distributors, the theater chains, etc).
Most importantly, I’ve witnessed how crowdfunding creates a momentum for a film, a community of people supporting it, willing it into life, and that is an incredible and necessary thing.
The way I see it now: crowdfunding is a beautiful and honest exchange that empowers artists to make better art and allows the community to be a part of its creation in a meaningful way.
That doesn’t mean I don’t feel nervous about it. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t! What if people don’t want to be part of this film? What if the film I’m offering doesn’t excite them?
This is the plight of every artist always. You make your work, you take it to the market, you hope someone loves it. You do it with all your heart again and again, create and offer, and you do it with no expectations. There’s no other way.
And yes, it is often terrifying, because it’s your heart out there in the marketplace that people are poking over, like a dusty ornament at a garage sale, deciding if it’s worth two dollars or ten. But I guess at the end of the day, it’s the price you pay to be on an artist’s path, and it’s a price I’m always willing to pay.
Our campaign for OF DUST AND BONES launches on Wednesday April 8, on seedandspark.com. I hope you will consider checking it out, and sharing it with friends who you think might love it. It won’t be for everyone. But hopefully this dusty ornament will beat true for some, and they will want to be part of the community that will bring it into existence.