Several days ago I argued that Hollywood stars should be forced to used Kickstarter to fund their projects. It was in response to Ken Levine’s post decrying Zach Braff’s use of the fundraising site for his latest proposed project.
One Hollywood star who took up the Kickstarter idea was Melissa Joan Hart, who was best known for starring in ABC’s “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” She just canceled her Kickstarter for a proposed film project called Darci’s Walk of Shame after raising only 2.6% of her goal of $2 million.
We didn’t launch it correctly. What we failed to do was let the fans know exactly what the project was. If we were to go back, what I would do is either shoot five minutes of the movie or have a full cast. We thought we could do it based on ‘Hey, here’s Melissa. You’ve liked what she’s done, check out what she’s going to do next.
Hart, along with entertainment writers blogging on this catastrophe, emphasized the promotional approach as to why the fundraiser failed. Seemingly taking the cues, she explained to the Los Angeles Times:
“We didn’t give them the two things it takes to sell a movie: a poster and a trailer,” she said. “I really think that’s where we missed the boat.”
That might be true for sci-fi, horror and sexploitation. Indeed, a poster was a starting point in developing some classic films from American International Pictures.
But we’re talking a different type of movie here, and the big problem was that it had to be explained to someone other than a Hollywood exec who can just throw a check your way and think nothing else of it. Hart had to explain it to us. Most of us don’t have the expendable cash to give for what comes off in the Kickstarter description as a vanity project.
Other entertainment blogs can talk about her lack of a trailer, poster, her non-cult celeb status or even the goofy promise of following an investor on Twitter for a year, but what was the real reason this Kickstarter failed?
The premise sucked. It sucked lemons. HARD.
I urge you to click here and read the description for yourself if you haven’t already. If I had any potential money invested in this particular project, I would have asked the following questions:
1) “Darci Baker is a thirty-something schoolteacher who’s really looking forward to traveling with her boyfriend to attend her sister’s wedding in Thailand.”
Was there any footage of how Darci was able to afford a trip to Thailand on a teacher’s salary, or did she have a second and/or third job we don’t know about?
2) And why Thailand? Is that why the goal was set at $2 million? How is the exotic locale going to play as a character and not just wallpaper in a movie about a woman who travels thousands of miles to have a one-night stand? And in that context, why choose a country notorious for its sex trafficking? Will Gary Glitter make a cameo?
3) In the description, Darci is 30+ years old, lost her job, lost her boy friend to infidelity and somehow still has to explain herself to her family and friends about not having a casual fling? Is this a supposed model for independent women? Are you sure she’s 30? With this build up, the film that should have been pitched was Darci’s Walk of Fuck Y’All, I’m Gonna Make Jenna Jameson Look Like a Nun.
4) So what’s the conclusion after the “Walk of Shame?” Darci says a few lines and that’s it? Because that seriously should mean the end of the movie and she can run off with that waiter and open a Thai dating service. (Was I close to guessing the end of the movie?)
This premise was a turd so terrible that Meryl Streep couldn’t get it funded if she offered to drop salary for it. The Kickstarter went exactly as it should have and helps prove the point I made earlier that the stars should come to us directly for their next pitches. Hart came to us and we responded with a resounding ‘NO!”
If Katherine Heigl made other movies just like the description of Darci’s Walk of Shame, as IndieWire suggested, it should give Hart hope. Some Hollywood dumbass with a checkbook is bound to come up with the green for this lousy idea. Who knows? Maybe the publicity with this Shitstarter is enough to get a cable TV movie deal in the works. That way, the investment pain is spread evenly and “silently” to all cable subscribers.