Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Hollywood Babble On & On #1005: How To Kill Crowd-Funding

Yesterday Deadline: Hollywood posted a story about an experienced film finance maven that has just opened BlueRun Crowd-Fund, a consulting firm that specializes in organizing film-based crowd funding campaigns.

First thing that struck me when I read the headline was: "That should kill crowd-funding."

Bear with me for a minute, because I'm not just playing the cynical bastard, I really do have serious concerns about this.

After Veronica Mars shattered records in both speed and amounts raised for a project I got a nagging feeling in the back of my neck that the floodgates will open and crowd funding will de-evolve from a spontaneous way for fans to express themselves to just another way for Hollywood to do business as badly as they do all their other business.

One of the problems Hollywood has is that all of their business affairs are run by alleged "experts." These "experts" aren't really expert in anything other than convincing other "experts" into believing their theories on managing businesses.

Crowd-funding is all about artists connecting with fans directly without the meddling of big corporations and their "experts."

In the aftermath of Veronica Mars, now the corporations are saying "me too," because it's more or less free money for them, and with the corporations come the "experts" and their snake oil recipes for guaranteed crowd funding success.

I fully expect the crowd-funding sites to become flooded with projects that are not the sincere creations of struggling artists but are the creations of "experts" and focus groups not for their creative merit, but based on what the focus groups tell the "experts"  to then tell the other "experts" in the corporations what they think the key demographics who donate to crowd funded projects supposedly want to see.

The trick is that the people who back crowd-funding tend to be a bit savvy when it comes to manipulation. Give them something they truly want to see, and they'll give generously. However, if you present some pasteurized homogenized and sterilized project conceived by consultants and executives something isn't going to smell right to those people, and they'll stay away.

With the websites flooded with these projects, truly independent projects run the risk of being lost under the tide of corporate goo, and then everyone loses.

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