If you’ve been living under a rock and have no idea what crowdsourcing is, wake up and pay attention. Crowdsourcing is presenting your project or product on an internet site like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to millions of people who might be interested enough in donating money to the completion, creation, or distribution of that project/product.
Most campaign hosts (those seeking the donations) will offer something to donors, often on a sliding scale equivalent to how much they donate, as a little prize of sorts for taking the time to donate money to their cause. This type of fundraising has become quite popular for filmmakers of independent film.
Crowdsourcing not only raises the necessary cheddar to begin, complete, or distribute an Indie film, it also raises awareness and gives producers a good idea just how in-demand their film happens to be. On the consumer end, it allows movie buffs to preview a film and show their appreciation and anticipation for the finished product. It also often allows those same movie lovers to become part of the process since hosts will sometimes offer the chance to be listed as a producer on the film if the donation is above a certain amount. Producers are, after all, the financing behind every film. How cool would it be to see your name rolling through the credits on the next breakout Indie film?
Two very interesting films are currently running Kickstarter campaigns and need your help!
Nakom, a film by Kelly Daniela Norris and Travis Pittman, seeks to share the culture and societal changes of the village by the same name with a wide audience. Rasquaché Film Productions out of Austin, Texas (home of SXSW Film Festival) presents the chance for a Co-Executive film credit for those who donate $2,500 or more, but there are really neat ‘thank you’s” for donations beginning at $5. What’s it about? According to their website, “Iddrisu, an ambitious medical student from northern Ghana, returns to his home village after the unexpected death of his father. There, he discovers a debt his father incurred to support his own education, and must delay his university study to work toward a successful harvest of the family’s millet crop. Now head of the household, Iddrisu struggles to abate tensions between his father’s two wives, to appease his as-bright younger sister whose own education was subordinated for his, and to deal with the consequences when his brother’s illicit relationship with a young cousin turns tragic. But as the rainy season arrives and transforms the landscape, a sense of the simplicity and profundity of village life grows in Iddrisu, and a romance with the chief’s daughter forces him to reassess his own prejudices. At his father’s funeral – held, as custom, a year after his death – Iddrisu must choose between two very different futures.” Check out Nakom’s Kickstarter campaign here.
Another interesting tale comes from filmmaker John Cvak out of Los Angeles, California. Road to the Well is a dark comedy about friendship and the trials that can arise which can tear them apart. “Road to the Well opens on Frank, who's mired in the bureaucracy of mid-level management at a Los Angeles shipping company. He’s a philosophy grad-school dropout with few friends and an empty and superficial relationship. When his boss demands that he relocate to a job up North, Frank's passivity lacks the leverage to refuse.
That night Frank gets a random call from his old friend Jack who's desperately in need of a ride. Frank's confused. Jack lives in New York. He heads over to a decrepit part of town and finds Jack meeting with some questionable company. Frank encounters a gorgeous woman, Ruby. He becomes enamored. He can't take his eyes off her. Before he can get a word in Jack pulls him away. The pair head off to a party where Frank catches his girlfriend in bed with his boss.
Jack and Frank head to a bar. Jack reveals that he forfeited his affluent life out East in order to travel the country. Frank doesn't understand. Then Ruby reappears. Frank can't stop looking. He finally approaches her. They hit it off and head into Frank's car for some privacy. As the moment peaks, they're attacked. Frank blacks out.
He wakes and finds Ruby dead in the trunk. How would the situation look? He’s drunk. He’s all alone. He calls Jack in a panic who convinces him of the implications. Jack's unmoved. It's clear he was involved in some way. He demands they get rid of the body. Frank will take his job and they'll bury her on the way up.
They take off in the middle of the night, ending up deep within the Northern California mountains, reuniting with old friends and running into strange characters all along a dark and cerebral journey.
On the outside, the story explores the humorous and absurd situations which arise from longstanding relationships. The banter, the honesty, the inability to drop past fights and disagreements. At its core, this film is about friendship. How far will you go for someone else? What is the breaking point? What secrets do we keep from those closest to us? What are the limits of trust?”
Cvak shares where they are, currently, with the film. “Production is scheduled for September. The video on the KS page is only a concept trailer which we made for $300. We wanted to demonstrate the level of quality we could produce with very little. At this point we've secured 60% of our financing. We're now on the hunt for locations and beginning preliminary casting.”
Associate Producer credits start at donations of $3,000, but movie buffs who’d like to see this one completed and available for streaming or DVD can donate as little as $1. Check out their Kickstarter campaign with trailer here.
With large studios going only for sequels with computer graphic panache instead of original stories with substance, it takes the consumers, you, the viewer, to make it clear what you’d like to see in theaters, on demand, on Netflix and other movie streaming services, and available for purchase on DVD.
Supporting Indie film is a way to support art, good writing, and acting. It’s a jobs creator that benefits all sides to include those who just love watching a good movie.
Check out Nakom and Road to the Well on Kickstarter, and take a little time to browse other Indie films seeking crowdsourcing.
Do you have an Indie film project that could use some exposure? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message me on Twitter at @MGwynnExaminer.