ETERNAL SUNSHINE IN KICKSTARTER LAND? - Charlie Kaufman takes to crowdfunding
Imagine “A man crippled by the mundanity of his life”. - This is the one sentence story-line of Anomalisa, a stop-motion animated film written by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and produced by controversy-inclined TV producer/writer and ‘Community’ creator Dan Harmon.
The two are taking the non-traditional Hollywood road for financing and instead are asking for a rather modest $200k on Kickstarter. Here is WHY:
“Our goal is to produce this unique and beautiful film outside of the typical Hollywood studio system where we believe that you, the audience, would never be allowed to enjoy this brilliant work the way it was originally conceived,” they write on the Kickstarter page. “We’ve been working in the television and movie industry for years and we just want to make something ourselves. Something pure. Something beautiful.”
THE NEW MAKER RE:MIX
Kickstarter has become a viable funding source for independent projects of esteemed Hollywood writers, producers and game developers. With bigger budgets being raised via crowd-funding platforms, this could indeed become a true alternative to the rocky studio road. Especially well-known talent with an established fan base can easily activate PR machineries to give these projects the extra grass-root push. Movie and gaming studios as well as hardware manufacturers will have to figure what their role in the re:mix is.
The biggest funds raised on Kickstarter to date is $10,266,845 for the Pebble Watch. OUYA just crossed $5M with 21 days to go and overtook the game Double Fine Adventure which previously hold the Nr. 2 spot with a total of $3,336,371 in funding.
These are all projects with an experienced team, a proven prototype and a production infrastructure in place - so a positive outcome is most likely. But: successfully achieving your funding goals on Kickstarter doesn’t always equal successful delivery. According to research by Jeanne Pi and Wharton professor Ethan Mollick, only 25% of 471 projects in a sample taken from Kickstarter’s technology and design categories were delivered on time, after 8 months delay 75% of successful projects delivered at all according to the sample study.
A role for bigger studios could be to support mass-market scaling and distribution of proven concepts beyond the Kickstarter crowd. Studios and hardware giants loose billions in R&D and marketing with no guarantee that new products will be a success. Some of the riskier ideas might never get made. On Kickstarter, producers get an exact feedback who will be paying for the product even before production roles.
Kickstarter has democratized creative production. It will be interesting the see the long term effects this has on the media and entertainment industry.