Please help us to inspire the world to live their dreams, by visiting and sharing the campaign
If you’ve heard the sweet sounds of Mathias Piano Man, playing on his open topped upright then you know how amazing and joyful it is. Please help us fund the making of music videos for 2 of his tracks.
What we’re doing
We were so inspired by the music and dedication of Mathias Piano Man that we decided to exhibit him to the world. We want YOU to experience the joy and other-worldliness that we had when we first encountered the Piano Man.
So, we’re creating 2 music videos. The first is Erlinda; a short narrative music video based on the inspiring life choice of Mathias to give up the pursuit of a career in business for a joy-filled life of music and travel. (read the story synopsis)
The song used for the second music video will be decided by YOU the funders. Donate $5 or more and you get to vote for your favourite Mathias Piano Man song. YOU get to decide which song from our top 6 you’d like to see Mathias and his piano in and we’ll make a professional music video!
Please watch the campaign video and head over to the Indie Gogo site to check out the rewards you can get for yourself
Good For Nothing opens in NZ cinemas today!
What an achievement! And what a fantastic story, director Mike Wallis and leading lady Inge Rademeyer putting their life savings into making an epic movie set in the back country of the wild west, complete with cowboys and indians gunfights and galloping horses. The quintessential cowboy character with a modern day problem makes for a very quirky and funny film!
Dubbed the world’s first ‘Pavlova Western’ – shot entirely in New Zealand – Good for Nothing is a unique Western about an odd romance between a savage outlaw and a strong-willed English lady. See http://www.goodfornothingmovie.com/ for more information.
Follow their story https://www.facebook.com/goodfornothingmovie
There are so many brilliant reviews and teasers, too many to link to all of them but here are a selection of my favourite!
Behind the Scenes – the Making Of Video
NZSO Flash mob - video
Preview and Buy the Soundtrack by the amazing John Psathas on Itunes
Behind the scenes
NZ Theatrical Release nationwide on May 3 2012 – find out where it’s playing in a cinema near you http://www.goodfornothingmovie.com/in-theatres-new-zealand/
It got US Theatrical Release on Mar 9 2012 – the first self-funded NZ film ever to get US distribution
Official Selection Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2011
Official Selection Newport Beach Film Festival 2011
In the last few weeks we’ve been researching the funding method of crowdfunding and blogging our findings.
We’ve been looking into where it came from, where its going and whether or not its a viable and sustainable method for filmmaker funding.
These are our conclusions for using crowdfunding to fund films:
- A film costs a lot of money to produce and market and using crowdfunding to fund the whole thing is somewhat unrealistic and has only been done successfully on a couple of occasions
- Using crowdfunding as an investment model, rather than a donation model would perhaps be more viable and sustainable, in the way The Age of Stupid has done it.
- Overseeing your own funding (and distribution) requires a lot more personal effort and creates a lot more paperwork.
- Crowdfunding has been around for quite a while now, but in the last year or so has reached it’s tipping point and many crowdfunding sites have become well-known with crowdfunding becoming the new fad.
- Crowdfunding is becoming a little over-done, and I’m actually quite sick of people talking about it.
- Getting 300 funders seems to be the average for a crowdfunding campaign using a site like Kickstarter or PledgeMe
- It seems like there are so many crowdfunding campaigns out there for such a variety of projects types. Really how can they all be successful? Are all these people really capable of producing what they say they will do? Is there no vetting process? It would be quite easy to make a bogus campaign and pretty much steal people’s money
- In order to be really successful you need to create an amazing campaign that goes viral or you need to be making a film about something that many people think is really worth seeing. Like if you wanted to make a film about political activism then that would be perfect because political activists are very passionate about what they believe and if you were their allie then they’d back you.
So should we go ahead and use crowdfunding as a funding model?
- It seems using an investment model is more sustainable in the way that The Age of Stupid was funded, with close friends and family and like-minded people putting the money up.
- The public are more likely to get on board if they know who you are and have seen what you can, so perhaps using crowdfunding for distribution is a good way to start; ie once we have a product.
- If you can convince/provide a good argument why this film needs to be made eg. ‘we’re saving the world’, bringing environmental or political or spiritual awareness or Hollywood is producing rubbish so we’re gonna make something better than what they’re making and we’re going to do it independently from those who just care about making money, then people will just give you their money.
- You need to stand out from the rest of them, cos there’s so many… Create a campaign that has the ability to go viral.
- And find your audience. Find the blogs and sites where your potential fanbase hangs out. If it’s genre specific, that makes it a little bit easier.
- Once you have an audience, make sure you’re nice to them. Keep them updated and send them cool stuff. If they like you, they’re more likely to give you more money and tell their friends good things about you.
I think crowdfunding is still an option for us. We just have to be very careful to use this tool well. And use it better than how other people use it. It will require a lot of upfront effort, but if we aim to build an international audience the potential of it could be huge.
In less than 6 days the Stop Kony 2012 campaign has hit the global internet like a mad tornado kicking up dust all over the place and creating a storm of emotions. It’s all over Facebook, Vimeo, Twitter, EVERYONE’s blogging about it, celebrities are talking about it, politicians are talking about it, it’s all over the news, on the telly, on the web, some support and advocate for what the Invisible Children (IC) organisation are doing, some will jump on any emotional hype train that comes along, some are criticizing the aims and motivations of IC. There’s been so many blogs and articles and news stories written about the Kony campaign both for and against. You can read some of them here, here, here, here and here. I think the main conclusion is ‘it’s complicated…’ If you haven’t seen the documentary then please watch it!
Most of the contention seems to be around 1. money and how IC are spending their donations and 2. Kony is not actually in Uganda any more and that wasn’t made clear enough in the film.
Well anyway here’s my two cents worth of an opinion to be added to the many other opinions out there on the world-wide-web:
Kony has left a wake of destruction, physical, emotional and psychological in Northern Uganda. And just because he hasn’t been in Uganda for the last 6 years and his army is smaller now doesn’t mean this is still not an important issue. Yes lets help rebuild the broken people in Northern Uganda, but what about the people Kony is now terrorising in the Congo and Southern Sudan? He still needs to be caught and bought to justice! Even though Uganda is relatively safe now, there have been over 2200 abductions in the last 2 years in her neighbouring countries. There’s been over 80 LRA incidents in the last week in these African countries and you can see them on the LRA crisis tracker that IC have set up. An amazing radio system that gives these remote villages communications to warn each other of LRA activity in their areas, and this website allows the rest of the world to see when these things are reported in real time.
I think what IC are doing is incredible, despite the criticism that they’re just making media and not actually helping the people affected, (which isn’t true – 1 of their 3 mandates is to provide on the ground relief, rehab and development assistance). IC have provided a statement concerning all the criticism they’ve received. Make your opinion based on having all the facts and read their side of the story here.
Unlike other NGO’s IC have stated their mandates as being more than just aid relief and development. They clearly and transparently state the 3 ways they aim to fulfill the mandate of their organisation.
Invisible Children’s mission is to stop LRA violence and support the war-affected communities in East and Central Africa. These are the three ways we achieve this mission; each is essential:
- 1) Make the world aware of the LRA. This includes making documentary films and touring them around the world so that they are seen for free by millions of people.
- 2) Channel energy from viewers of IC films into large-scale advocacy campaigns to stop the LRA and protect civilians.
- 3) Operate programs on the ground in LRA-affected areas that provide protection, rehabilitation and development assistance.
As you will see, we spend roughly one third of our money on each of these three goals. This three-prong approach is what makes Invisible Children unique. Some organizations focus exclusively on documenting human rights abuses, some focus exclusively on international advocacy or awareness, and some focus exclusively on on-the-ground development. We do all three. At the same time. This comprehensive model is intentional and has proven to be very effective.
I disagree with the criticism that says the Invisible Children organization as a charity are not spending the donations they receive in the way that a charity should. That most charitable aid organizations and NGO’s spend over 90% on programming and aid relief, but of the $8mil Invisible Children received this year they only spent 31% on programming because the films they make should count as fundraising not programming. What Invisible Children have set out to do is provide awareness to the world on a very important issue. In order to break through the complacency and apathy of the people of the world, they needed to create momentum, a certain hype and make it easy for people to get involved. They’ve developed a website and some great media, its easy to show your support by way of pledging and sending messages to governments and policy makers, they’re providing posters and stickers and orchestrating a worldwide plastering of posters simultaneously, which will inevitably create publicity creating further awareness! And its only cost them $8 million this year. Only $8mil a year to get the US government to finally take action! Thats less than half of what a party would spend on a presidential campaign. And the people made it happen!
People give to those causes, they rally together and give to charities and aid organizations to help those affected by famine and natural disasters and African children vulnerable to 3rd world diseases and lacking clean drinking water because it pulls at their heart-strings and they’re not sure how else they can help. When people believe in a cause, especially when it affects their core being in an issue of humanity; if we see human suffering, especially the innocent and helpless, the little children of the world there’s no way that doesn’t break our heart and the thing inside of us that thinks what if that happened here, what if we were living in a country where no-one advocated for us.
Kony 2012 provides all that and more, as a campaign it provides normal people like you and I something specific and tangible we can do and a fixed time period to do it in. Bring awareness to the world, share it on your social networks, simply click a few buttons to send messages to the culture and policy makers, take part in the worldwide ‘posterbombing’ taking place on April 20, donate money to help the Ugandan military prepare, train, find and arrest Joseph Kony.
I don’t think that giving financially should be written off as simply ‘white people trying to assuage their guilt’. It’s not as simple as that. Sometimes giving our money is actually the one thing we can do. When you’re on the other side of the world and you don’t have any political or social power, what can you really do to help ‘save the world’? I can only do what I can, help spread the word, cover the night, talk to those who don’t yet know about the situation, pray that the right people with the right power will become aware of this situation and that their conscious would be moved to do something about it, and give my money to those who are in a position to actually do something.
In my last few blog posts I’ve been looking into the crowdfunding model as a method of funding for filmmakers and whether it’s sustainable in the long term. My early conclusions are if you can find your audience and if enough people believe in you and in the issue then it has the potential to be a huge success.
Even though IC is not being advertised as an organization that is crowdfunded, it pretty much is that, as is any charitable organisation. IC clearly state that they’re a media based organisation and that filmmaking and other media is a huge part of their aim in creating awareness, so if people give them their money then really what do they expect its going towards. I say ‘go for it’ make more films. They certainly have achieved what they set out to do and that’s create awareness. The whole world is talking about it in less than a week! It’s all over the internet, everyone’s talking about, whether for or against at least there’s more awareness than there was last week. Invisible Children are already running a number of on the ground programs for redevelopment and hopefully all the awareness the Kony 2012 campaign has created will get more people thinking about the practical ways they can help.
The makers of The Age of Stupid claim to have invented crowdfunding and were the first to use it sucessfully on a large scale for funding their documentary about climate change.
Directed by Franny Armstrong and produced by Lizzie Gillett, the pair started in 2004 and worked together for 5 years campaigning to raise funds for the filming and later the distribution, organising all the legalities and logistics for filming in 6 countries, orchestrating the UK and Global premieres, which involved 1000 volunteers, setting up a cinema in a tent that was completely run on solar power and was screened in 63 countries to over 1 million people worldwide, simultaneously via satellite (which got them a guinness world record). They raised £1,000,000 by establishing a crowdfunding model, in which they pitched their ideas to like-minded environmentalists who became their funders and built an ongoing personal relationship with them. Their funders played a huge role in providing accountability and motivation to the filmmakers, the funders were invited into their home to discuss issues that arose in the film and also to provide feedback as a focus group without actually having any editorial input rights. The funders also played a huge part in advocating for the success of the film through word-of-mouth marketing and promotion throughout their own workplaces and in some cases very large mailing lists. The crowd-funding model they used was where the funders became investors rather than just donators. To invest in the film cost £500 in the pre-production phase and the investor receives 0.05% of the profits once a year for 10 years. In the post-production and distribution phase the investment cost £5000 and £10,000 while still recieving 0.05% of the profit.
Because of the success of The Age of Stupid, Franny and Lizzie have gone on to establish their own production company Spanner Films and have developed their own method of online distribution called Indie Screenings, which means they retain the majority of revenue from the sale of licences and individuals watching their film. When the public asked what they could do as a practical response to the issues raised by The Age of Stupid, they founded the campaign 10:10, which aims to see the reduction of carbon admissions 10% at a time.
I think that that there is huge power in a crowdfunding model when used in this way. When you have a project that addresses a very real issue, that many people are passionate about because it has a very real and imminent effect on our existence and humanity. When you have an audience that is just has passionate as you are and believes that the world needs to hear what you have to say, enough that they are willing to part with their money in order to see it happen, then you have a project that has a great chance at being successful using a crowdfunding model.
The great thing about more affordable and easily accessible media devices means that almost anyone can make a film if they want to now. And with social media and viral networking we can show the whole world the films we are making. But to make something of quality takes a little more skill and a lot of business nous, especially if you don’t have an investor and/or a sales agent and distributor. ’cracking’ into the industry is tough!
It’s expensive to make a film. Even a ‘low budget’ film is expensive! You might get your mates to help you out and ask people to worked for deferred payment, but you still have to pay for camera, lighting and rigging hire, props and set making, makeup and costumes, location fees, studio hire, accommodation for all cast and crew when you go on location, travel costs, truck hire to move gear around, travel and petrol costs and most importantly catering for all cast and crew. Some would say these costs don’t add to as much as the cost of post-production; editing, sound, ADR, musical score, licenses for music, colouring, any green screen special effects, animation, printing to 35mm, DVD pressing and providing all the deliverables you need for various festivals and cinemas.
And once you’ve overcome the massive hurdle of actually finishing your film, you reach another wall… How to show the world what you’ve made. The easiest and most cost-effective way to show the world your film is get into a distinguished festival. But getting into a festival is far from easy… Thousands of people enter these festivals every year, the selectors don’t have time to watch them all, if nobody knows your name there’s no reason they would choose to watch yours over someone they know or who was recommended to them. They all want your world premiere. How do you decide who to give it to? Which festival will you apply to first? It costs money to apply, and once you get in its costs a lot of time and money to market your film. The festival won’t market your film, so it’s up to you to make the most of the platform you’ve been given and get the word out there.
So if you don’t have a sales agent who can talk you up to the right people, or you would actually prefer to stay away from people like that who take your money, then how do you get yourself and your film out there? How do you get an audience? How do you create a splash in the international film industry?
Someone who’s doing this is Jessica Mae Stover. Currently in pre-production for the original sci-fi/fantasy film Artemis Eternal, Stover is cutting out the middleman, allying audience and artist while breaking ground on a new formula for film finance, production and exhibition. She is generating an online following as well as hitting the streets and the media, creating advocates who are helping to fund and promote this film and the philosophy of creating a completely independent film free from studio intervention. These advocates are called Wingmen, ordinary people like you and I who are sick of Hollywood producing fancy, expensive but awfully written films and just want to see a film that brilliantly written and produced with some really talented actors for a change. So they backing a director who’s in it for the love of the craft and not simply as a money-making exercise.
Watch the video they made
Jess says, Artemis Eternal is a professional sci-fi fantasy short intended for film festivals and traveling screenings. The film is the premier crowd-funded, professionally-led, studio-quality film with absolutely no studio intervention, and the way production is approached tackles issues of media consolidation, independence and a lack of diversity in cinema as well as eliminating the middle-man and connecting artist to audience in a direct, meaningful way.
She’s creating her audience now, marketing her film now before its even made, based on philosophies of a way of working, wanting to disrupt the industry system, make films that are better and out of conglomerate control.
Artemis Eternal is an example of how to get your name, your film, your ideas out into the international sphere, using the internet and the all-powerful word of mouth. Marketing your product before its even made, and when it is made your audience is already there waiting and at least festival directors might have heard about you before. Search through the website and you’ll find all sorts of interesting links and industry information as well as a generous look at the production process for Artemis Eternal.
The internet is such a revolutionary phenomenon. It has brought the world to our doorstep. Living at the ends of the earth and being so far away from the physical world doesn’t matter anymore.
Because of this internet revolution, growing online communities, social media and viral videos it means that the ‘little people’, independent filmmakers, musicians and writers can now share their creativity with the world without having to employ a middle man. Some talented and fortunate ones as well as some very untalented yet fortunate ones have managed to make a name for themselves on the world wide web. The Production Company Collective are currently conducting research to find what are the effective ways to find a supportive online audience.
Over the next few weeks we’re going to be blogging about some independent creators who are using the internet phenomenon to fund and distribute their own work, defying the middle-man and large corporations. Because something is seriously wrong when you work so hard pouring your heart and soul into a project only to have a distribution company take all your profit, stomp on your heart and leave you right back where you started; with dreams and creative ambitions but no money to fund them, living day to day and praying that someone with see the value in what you’re doing.
So how can we be innovative in the way we distribute and exhibit our films? How do we still get an audience while cutting out the middleman?
First up are the producers from The Tunnel. The Tunnel is a horror mockumentary set in the tunnels under Sydney…
I met the Australian producers of The Tunnel, Endo Tedeschi and Julian Harvey, at last years New Zealand Film Commission Escalator Low Budget Filmmaking conference and workshop. They spoke to us about how they wrote awesome business plans and financial projections and went to all the tradition funders and investors only to be turned down again and again, after which they came up with their own funding and distribution methodology.
Their innovative funding method, which they call the 135K Project, had them set up their website and sell frames for $1. The idea was that a 90 minute film has 135,000 frames, so $135,000 was their budget. They started principal photography when they only had $12,000.
In this way their film was crowdfunded before the film existed so that it could exist. They created a huge internet following and audience base, keeping this audience up to date with trailers and the production process, developing excitement for the project as it was in development, right from pre-production to post.
The Tunnel was released worldwide on the 19 May 2011 on pay to view television, and also could be downloaded for free on Utorrent, DVD’s with extra behind the scenes footage can be bought direct from their website. Since then The Tunnel has done really well on the festival circuit, getting a lot of awards and fantastic reviews, and its been picked up by some independent distributors. The poster below is for the North American theatrical and DVD release by Blackrock Films and House Lights Media. To follow The Tunnel Movie progress check out their facebook page
I think what The Tunnel guys have done is so awesome and innovative, completely free from studio intervention! It was their fans who funded the making of this motion picture, their fans who blogged about it and helped to create ‘buzz’ and their fans advocated for it by sending nasty petition emails threatening boycott etc to IMDB because IMDB wouldn’t give them a listing due to not having a ‘recognised’ distributor.
The Tunnel is a testament that independent funding and distribution is possible with a bit of ingenuity, hard work and the power of the internet. The final product they’ve created is so great also! Professional and high quality horror/mockumentary, so much better than what you think a horror/mockumentary will be like. Fantastic original story executed on a low-budget.