Tag Archives: Kickstarter

Ken Levine is Wrong: Zach Braff Should Be Forced to Use Kickstarter. Here’s Why…

Make him do it.

Make him do it.

Ken Levine wrote a blog post that went viral about how Zach Braff shouldn’t use Kickstarter, because he’s too well connected to use a fundraiser site meant for the starving artist. I understand the argument, but this notion that Kickstarter is cloaked in some golden glow of altruism is rather laughable.

Kickstarter is fundraising tool, not a shrine shut off to all but members only. Of course someone well off is going to eventually try his or her hand at it, if not Zach Braff, then someone else. Mr. Levine also has to remember that Kickstarter is not only used by struggling artists, but also by those who want investors for new products. Indeed, one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns is for an E-Paper Watch, which garnered over 10,000% of the original goal.  It’s ludicrous to believe that tech companies won’t take notice and, if they do, expect to be warded off by hordes of  “indie investors” or their supporters crying foul.

If Ken Levine is so incensed by a well-off Hollywood type asking for money, then the best advice is the one he’s already following: don’t give money.  There are Kickstarters that fail–I would introduce Ken to the wonderful and hilarious Shitstarter, which compiles truly awful Kickstarter campaigns. If starry-eyed people want to waste their hard-earned dollars on big name projects, because they naively hope, as Levine infers, that they’ll hobnob and dine with the Hollywood elites, let them. To quote Suzanne Finnemore, “Delusion detests focus and romance provides the veil.”

I am, in fact, completely in favor of more transparency with investment monies given to movies. I want Zach Braff, Harvey Weinstein or any other Kickstarter recipient to answer from groups of investors when he makes a shitty movie. Having Kickstarter investors actually feel the loss of a bad investment I think is a good thing. Hollywood films are so divorced from your own artistic hunger and are so perfectly and systematically distanced from you personally that your only recourse for bad cinema is badmouthing it to your friends, skewering it publicly on blogs or asking for your money back from the cinema (good luck with that).

You shouldn’t have to hound the theater for your $12 back. You and other fellow investors should be able to follow the producer in every public appearance and ask why he took your investments and turned them in dogshit. Turn his next PR appearance into a townhall meeting shitstorm demanding your investment back. You probably won’t get it, but the headlines will certainly bite the producer in the ass. Let those producers know that if they invest via Kickstarter, they’ll be playing a different game. Not one which checks are written in closed rooms without a second thought given to the outcome, but instead one where the producers will be quite intimidated by average Joes to whom they’ll have to answer.

Levine is right about helping out independent filmmakers whenever possible. It’s a great idea. But even here, he misses the point on how to best do this.

Just as you can do for your produce, for the best arts results–go local.

Here in Chicago, I know two filmmakers who made feature length films for very little money. They, instead, used the time, energy and geniuses of other talents to make great looking films like The Pink Hotel and Sci Fi Sol (disclosure: the latter film is a production of this site, The Underground Multiplex).  Chris Hefner, the director of The Pink Hotel and the upcoming The Poisoner, told me in an interview that he made both features for practically nothing. Instead of a lot of cash, he bartered goods and services and even gained the assistance of an alderman who knows the value of having great art created locally.

The biggest mistake we can keep telling future filmmakers is that the only way to make feature films is to chase money. Don’t get me wrong, Kickstarter and other online fundraisers are great. But convincing artists that this method, or pitching movies with the big boys via festivals are the only ways to get your movie made is being disingenuous.  With technology and resources available to make movies very cheaply (we made Sisters of No Mercy 3D, a feature-length film for less than $200), this endeavor is open to more people with more ideas and more stories to tell than ever before. The real trick is to get the audience deeply engaged and the best way to do that is to find your local artists and filmmakers, meet them and support them and your local indie theaters.

Lew Ojeda
(I’ll be presenting a wild show on Saturday night, May 11th in Chicago, “The Ben & Arthur Interactive Cinematic Experience, or Can a Cult Movie Sensation Be Created?” Click on this link for more details and to attend. Click on this link for the promo video.)

A Kickstarter Campaign to Restore Sexploitation Films? You Bet!

Joe Rubin of Process Blue (Courtesy: Mr. Skin)

Spielberg and Scorsese may be busy trying to fund the restorations of classic American films, but sexploitation and porn–in existence since the birth of movies–barely get serious mention for saving.

That’s why I’m glad Mr. Skin profiled Joe Rubin, a friend of The Underground Multiplex (he appears in our trailer for Sisters of No Mercy), and his serious attempts to restore these previously ignored films.

The current Kickstarter campaign for the film company he co-founded, Process Blue, is raising money to help restore three previously lost sexploitation movies by exploitation movie genius Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Ecstasies of Women, Linda & Abilene and Black Love.

Head on over to Mr. Skin’s profile (note: NSFW pics) here. Then, show some money love and contribute to Process Blue’s great work at their Kickstarter site.

Major Alternative Film Funding CAN Work, or “The $10 Million Kickstarter Campaign”

Mike Masnick from the great site Techdirt shares this inspiring article of how a Kickstarter campaign seeking $100,000 received more than one-hundred times that amount in what has become the greatest success in that online site’s three-year history. Due to a previously agreed-to pre-cap at 85,000 E-watches sold, the designers had to end the campaign as “sold out” at just over $10,000,000.

Small innovators like these guys (and the folks behind films like “We Grew Up Here“) are showing big movie investors how it can be done.

IndieWire Chooses “We Grew Up Here” as the Funding Project of the Day

There’s 8 days left for you to help out the TUGM pals trying to raise money for their new indie film We Grew Up Here. IndieWire’s giving them a little help. If you can, please give and get this intriguing project off an running. You can reach their Kickstarter page here.

And how can you resist those adorable kids?




Help Raise Funds for a New Chicago-based Indie Film

TUGM pal writer/producer Andrew Neel and his co-horts writer/director Kevin Pickman and writer/producer Stefeni Tormanen are currently raising money to get a new Chicago-based film off and rolling.

The film is titled We Grew Up Here, and it’s the intriguing story of a musician in search of a former girlfriend from his hometown. Trouble is–both are missing.

They have some talented folks lined up for the project. Please follow this link to their Kickstarter page and help out in any way you can.

Besides, they have adorable kids in the promo asking for your support. Thanks!

Support indie artists!