Here we are again, ready to fire up our engines, and head down that extensive, arduous runway for liftoff … and fire up another film project. But this time we’re stoking the fire a little differently, no actually … a lot differently. We’re not only launching a crowdfunding campaign for the first time, we’re doing it all ourselves. Plus, we’re not traveling the now traditional route of Kickstarter or Indiegogo that most crowdfunded films take. We’ve actually created our own little crowdfunding website, www.LaunchOurFilm.com.
Now why in the hell would we do that? Are we trying to reinvent the wheel or what? Do we think we can do it better? Who do we think we are anyway? Lots of questions. I know, I know. I’ve heard a lot of them. Well now, finally, we’re going to give you lots of answers. Because we do have answers for all your questions. In fact, if I don’t answer yours right here, then just email me, and I will. Onward …
Our totally indie spirit. That’s what I want to talk about here. The philosophy, psychology and metaphysics behind the what, the why and the how of our filmmaking journey. One we would like you to join us in. One we invite you to join us in.
Allow me to wax poetic a bit. Waxing on … Rules. Walls. Structures. Paths. Labyrinths. They are all part of our lives.
We are born into a universe of rules. The physical rules of physics. The world’s rules of accepted conduct. Our parent’s rules of their accepted conduct. And we integrate it all as we move through our life, creating from that our own set of rules. Or maybe as few as we can get away with. For freedom seems to be an allusive concept at best, no matter how much we may hunger for it. Yes an idea, a dream, a concept. Hardly a real reality.
As we travel through our life paths we encounter life’s walls, keeping us inside the structures of those rules. Can we find our way through this labyrinth? Do we need to? Is there really freedom beyond these rules, walls, structures, paths, labyrinths? Or is that an illusion too? Or are we even seeking freedom? I say we do, whether we are conscious of it or not.
So, what the hell does this have to do with film or filmmaking? Film transports us, gives us the illusion of freedom. It is part of our search. The movie theater, the house theater, the mobile theater, all replacements for the church, the synagogue, the mosque. It may be sold as entertainment, as story content, even as a distraction from the ‘real’ reality of our life, but it is a temporary substitute for virtual freedom. One marketed to you by your latest favorite sponsor, the corporate structure of attention deficit propaganda, offering plastic fruit with no semblance of nutrition. All the while, subliminally pretending to search for the reason of our existence, and temporarily offering fake freedom as a clue to a nonexistent path. Had enough? So have I. Waxing off …
I think each and every one of us is important. We each have a reason and purpose for being here. I do not know your reason or your purpose. I have been searching very diligently for mine, and I while I may have uncovered a few clues here and there I don’t know that they apply to you. I do know I am a storyteller, a seeker, a filmmaker, a traveler, a spiritual being, a maverick, a meditator, a jokester, and on and on, in no particular order. We are all many things, to ourselves, to many others. I have found the medium of film to be where I can combine and integrate as many parts of my being as I can more than another thing that I have ever done. So, in a way, it is a type of temporary freedom I have found as I continue to live out my days in this unstable, often confusing world. I would and could only hope you find something similar on your path. Now I want to share with you why we are taking the path we are with this particular film.
As we all know it takes money to make a film, usually more than it should. It also takes people, motivation, knowhow, time, persistence, patience, energy, etc. (and course a script) to make a film. The point being it takes quite a number of things to fall into place (or forced into place?) to create the magic of film. But in the end, the moola, the coin, the funds, truly are what get the whole thing up and rolling into a true production scenario. And that’s where we are right now, going after the moola.
As we considered the different financing pieces or scenarios out there; traditional big pocket investors, co-ventures, lending possibilities, various production incentives, pre-sales, self-funding, and then finally crowdfunding, we felt crowdfunding offered a newer, fresher, more non-traditional path that appealed to our indie sensibilities. However, that doesn’t mean we have totally rejected the other possibilities. In fact, some of them may go hand in hand with our current campaign. But for this writing I just want to focus on our crowdfunding campaign.
The main question people obviously ask is, why aren’t you using Kickstarter or Indiegogo, or any other funding web portal? Of course we certainly considered them, looking at them both very carefully, but we actually think of ourselves as filmmaker/entrepreneurs. Not only do indie filmmakers now have to make their film, they have to go out and get the money, market it and distribute it, because it is so rare these days for any deep pockets, big time studio distributor to sweep an indie up after production and shoot it out to 3,000 screens. We would love it if that happened, but we aren’t holding our breath. So then, we became out of necessity filmmaker/entrepreneurs, and have decided to completely embrace that and be … “Totally Indie.”
So, in conjunction with our “Totally Indie” attitude there are four main reasons we decided to go our own route: a) all money goes to production with no associated fees, b) a much longer campaign time, c) control of the whole process and d) we wanted to give something back to our backers. Meaning, we will make this film, one way or another.
No fees. Everyone is probably aware that the crowdfunding portals/platforms all have fees involved with doing what they do for people with crowdfunding projects, usually in the 5-10% range. No problem, as they have to keep their enterprises running, and hopefully that covers their costs. More power to them, because definitely they provide a very important service. And no doubt about it, lots of indie films would not get made if they were not around. But we decided we wanted those types of fees to go directly towards the film’s production costs and not in the hands of any third party. Yes, we are skinflints in search of our project moola.
Longer campaign. We totally understand the psychology of the short, fast-paced, immediacy of having a campaign that runs at a full sprint. Exactly like being in the heat of battle during film production. But we wanted more time to present, script, discuss, and sell what we were trying to do with our project. Maybe even create an ongoing conversation about the film’s intriguing themes. In other words create a relationship with our fans and funders. Yes, you guessed it, we want to wine and dine you, not settle for an empty quickie.
Control whole process. Yes, maybe we could be control freaks. Aren’t most filmmakers? Control may be an illusion, but we will attempt to make it as real as possible. We have a vision and we want to stick to it, as uncompromising as we can be. Being ‘Totally Indie’ across the board is all us. From script to strategy, to finding the moola, to casting, to prepping, to production, to marketing, to distribution, we are going to make sure our ‘Baby’ goes out into the world kicking up its heels ‘totally indie.’
Back our funders. That means you, we hope. There are two ways our funders will be able to profit from their participation. First, we want to open up the ongoing creative process to get your input; as we cast the film, prep the film, show you takes during production, make decisions on takes in post-production, help with trailer versions and posters version, etc. Second, we want to institute a program in which you could get back your original donation and possibly even make more money for yourself. An affiliate program will be put in place for everyone who helps us fund this. The percentage you can make on this will depend upon the level of your donation. All these details are on the funding website.
Remember, we are Totally Indie. Are you? Check us out at www.LaunchOurFilm.com and find out.
Onward & Upward!