Beggars Can’t be Choosers

crowdfunding , webseries 12 comments

So we’re at that point. We need more things for this production (that has seemed to grow and grow-in a good way, but you know…) than we have the money for. Lots more things.

I once wrote a post about how artists should support other artists creatively, emotionally and even financially when they can. I put (a little) money where my mouth is, and gave to a couple of shows that I thought were worthy. It wasn’t that much, but it was something, and I felt good about giving a little support to others who are doing what I’m doing. Around that time, @glynismitchell and @montoure (the creators of Causality and my partners in bringing it to life) mentioned that soon we might want to do a campaign of our own. Though I had written the post about how camaraderie and support between artists is important, I said that I was hesitant to go that route. I just don’t feel good about asking other artists and potential fans who haven’t even seen our show yet for money to make it. Montoure successfully funded a party at Norwescon (actually, they got MORE money than they had originally asked for), so he was highly in favor of us using Kickstarter or Indigogo when we had some specific items we needed. (We all agree, we will never just say “please give us money to make our show.” If we ask, we will ask for funds for specific items that we need.) At the time, it was all abstract. We didn’t have a list of products that we needed, but we knew we soon would. We tabled the idea of crowdfunding for the time being, and moved on with pre-production.

Now that shooting is imminent, we have a list. And it seems to grow daily. We have a couple of specific, higher end things that we need, and many smaller ones. We’re actively pursuing grants, though applications take a VERY long time to be reviewed, and even if you are awarded a grant, the actual money comes at least 6 months or more after you apply. Since we’re starting shooting in just over a month, that won’t work (though a grant award could refill some coffers, if we find some coffers to open.)

We’re also talking about doing a live fundraising event, though to plan and execute that will also take some money. I believe we will do it, but just like the grant, I bet it won’t bring in any funds before I call “action” on the first shots of principal photography. So, how do we get the money to buy the small travel generator, reasonably-priced steadicam rig, and multiple hard drives? It’s looking more and more like a crowdfunding campaign. Sometimes I think that the time and money it takes to successfully crowdfund would be better spent researching and applying to more grants, planning live fundraising events, and/or marketing some merchandise that could make a small profit to put towards the equipment. But as Montoure says, why not explore ALL options?

This is the part of independent filmmaking none of us likes…the stressing over how to raise the money. But, I guess beggars can’t be choosers, and if we want to bring our vision to life, then some begging is involved.

This isn’t an announcement of an Indigogo campaign or something, but don’t be surprised if you see some sort of announcement in the future. If/When we launch one, we promise not to be too annoying about it, and will definitely approach raising money with the same sense of humor and irreverence that we approach everything else. And when that day comes,  if you have a few bucks, consider contributing to help us get a generator…or a steadicam…or a hard drive…or fixin’s for @chrissprague’s $60,000 sandwiches (no, we’re not going to ask for $60,000 for sandwiches…it’s just that he’s a highly educated chef who can make awesome things, but we so far only tax his abilities and education for simple hand-foods. Therefore…oh, I can’t explain it, but trust me, though food is a big part of our budget, it’s not THAT big. And we probably won’t even ask for food money, but I just wanted to say “$60,000 Sandwiches”).

My point is, I’m not excited at the prospect of using crowdfunding to subsidize any part of our production, but I do recognize that it is a great invention that has helped many artists create. So, I should accept it for what it is, only a part of our overall financing strategy, and focus on what I AM excited about: making Causality. And, I should go donate something to another worthy show to support a fellow artist…and maybe gain some good karma too.

Posted by   @   September 1, 2011 12 comments
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Sep 1, 2011
7:55 am
#1 Joe Wilson :

You guys are very smart to make a specific list of stuff you’re fundraising for!

I’ve used a Glidecam as a cheap steadicam rig and bought one on eBay, you might also check Craig’s List for them. I’d also check out Cheesycam.com, which is where I found plans for the DSLR rig I used (and my dad made!) There’s all kinds of DIY stuff over there and the plans to make them.

Good luck!

Sep 1, 2011
9:26 am
#2 Paul Best :

I don’t know that I would say the 3k I have in a Glidecam rig is cheap, but the offer to come up with it along with an HVX200 and help you guys is still on the table. Will be up your way 1st of October. Isn’t Indie film fun!!!

Sep 1, 2011
9:41 am
#3 Zach Klinefelter :

I really wish I could help. I have a generator but it’s not a “baby” (nor is it huge; a person can carry it). I will certainly chip in when you get the Indigogo campaign up… I have a couple friends in Pennsylvania who did extremely well with it on their respective films, and even exceeded their $2K and $3K fundraising goals.

Sep 1, 2011
6:15 pm
#4 Glynis Mitchell :

I just wanna say, you guys are the best. Thanks for all the offers of help.

Sep 1, 2011
10:23 pm
#5 Never :

I am in agreement that artists should support other artists. Glynis knows I’d be contributing to this project financially if I could, but I have to agree that Kickstarter is a place that might help you get your funding needs met through a broad audience *and* advertise for Causality. Even if you have a set list, that list needs to be fulfilled in order to complete production; consider the options. I’ve supported people on there when I could afford to kick a few bucks in the ways of artists and activists that needed support for their projects. I may do the same some day soon.

Sep 3, 2011
6:38 pm
#6 Ralph Fontaine :

Thank you guys so much for your words of support and offers of help. It’s great to know that we’ve managed to connect with some really supportive, great people. We may soon take you up on some of those offers to help out, and of course don’t hesitate to let us know if there is anything we can help with in your projects. Thanks again!

Sep 5, 2011
8:55 am
#7 Zach Klinefelter :

No sweat Ralph! Hey, two things: first, I said above that I knew friends who had obtained funding through Indigogo; I meant to say Kickstarter. Second, it’s odd that you chose the title “Beggars Can’t Be Choosers” as I was spouting that exact phrase to people, repeatedly, while sealing the distribution deal for my film a few weeks ago. Of course, we’re both independent filmmakers, and I’m sure that title is (aptly) applied by us folks all the time. Anyway, that’s all I got for now! One other thing, if there is something I have that you guys happen to need, don’t hesitate to ask and don’t worry about paying me; you’re a very professional group working on a time travel saga with a tight budget, and I believe in each of you. I’ve listened to several of the podcasts and feel like I’m just hanging out, getting a sense of the knowledge and camaraderie of the team… and I know everyone there has an in-depth knowledge and appreciation of science fiction, old and new. I feel like everyone who is involved with this has a strong purpose and everyone on the creative team is bringing in uni, and maybe it makes sense that the composer is more a fan of the Jerry Goldsmith-Treks than the James Horner-treks… It’s interesting how when someone offers such an out-of-the-norm opinion like Jesse.

Sep 5, 2011
9:00 am
#8 Zach Klinefelter :

I prematurely posted that comment, it kind of sprawled all over and I accidentally hit the “Enter” button. Not sure where I was going with it… Lost my train of thought! By the way sorry if I sometimes don’t know who I am referring to, I’m just listening to the podcasts and not seeing who is always talking is a little odd.

I think where I was going with that last comment about Jesse (he is the composer?) is that he’s often the one that says something I just can’t possibly agree with or something which actually makes me re-think it. That’s a compliment more than anything… Still I can’t get over the Star Trek vs. Star Trek II comparison… but at the same time I see where the preference is coming from. Okay, done for now… Good luck all!!!!

Sep 5, 2011
9:02 am
#9 Zach Klinefelter :

Fragment from that 1st sentence was supposed to go something like “everyone on the creative team is bringing in unique ideas and talents” or something like that.

Sep 5, 2011
11:41 am
#10 Glynis :

That’s exactly what we’re going for with the podcasts! Thanks, Zach, huge complement. You should come on and chat with us sometime! Email me.

Sep 5, 2011
11:42 am
#11 Glynis :

Yes, Jesse (jesseplack.com) is our composer and Sound Designer. He’s great. I think it is really valuable for us as a creative team to not always agree; I’d prefer to think something over a few times than just have a hivemind.

Sep 6, 2011
1:00 pm
#12 Zach Klinefelter :

Absolutely, well put!!!

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