Last year, I wrote about Ryan Gielen, a NYC-based Indie film director and producer. What interested me was how Ryan made much the soundtrack of his film The Graduates available for free download.
This strategy built buzz and helped propel The Graduates to the #1 position on Hulu and iTunes and made it a successful indie film of 2009.
The film is about four freshmen trapped in their dorm during the biggest snowstorm of the year. They have enough booze and hormones to entertain themselves for a week, but one newcomer is hellbent on pushing the freshmen to the edge of sanity.
Dorm has a modest budget and the producers are using Kickstarter, a site for crowdsourced funding, for seed money. Donations of various levels entitle you to swag (such as DVDs of the finished film and even a producer credit. Check out the funding request here.
"We haven't used Kickstarter before," Ryan told me. "But we've heard one or two successful fundraising stories, so we figured we'd give it a try. They don't seem to have a truly active community, it seems to work as simply donation collecting website with a clean interface, but it's completely up to the artist to drive traffic and donations. Everyone we've met on there is supportive, but the pool seems very small."
I asked Ryan how this approach differs from traditional film finance?
"Traditional film finance requires either known actors, directors or producers to entice money from a studio," he told me. "Traditional independent film financing is usually accomplished through either very small studios financing passion projects, backed by independent wealth, or a group of family, friends and business associates lending small amounts of money to help patch together a budget."
"So Kickstarter is a cleaned-up, web friendly version of traditional indie financing. The big goal is to create a place where indies can congregate and support one another, and indies can direct their large network of online friends and contacts to donate small amounts. It's a great idea, but the reality requires a tremendous amount of hustle from the artists, which is a good thing, because it forces artists to become more like businesspeople, or to adopt a more biz-focused mindset..."
So if you ever wanted to get a movie credit, here is your chance. For a relatively modest financial contributions, you can become an Associate Producer or Executive Producer of the film.