The Price on Kickstarter: A Rallying Cry
It’s been an emotional roller-coaster over the last two weeks as I’ve worked comfortably behind the scenes to spread the word about our animated film project The Price. The outpouring of support has been liberating for me as a maker and producer, and it has been especially satisfying to watch people rally around Christopher and his vision for this beautiful story by Neil Gaiman. I’m excited about what the success of this project, and others like it, could mean for independent artists the world over. The arts and technology landscape is changing so dramatically, Christopher and I both feel we’re peering off the edge of a vast precipice, staring in to an uncertain but limitless future. As my friend Richard Smyth once told me, we are, right now, in the middle of our own renaissance, our own “printing press” revolution, and with this project in particular, I can feel it.
From the first time I viewed the animatic (on an iPod when Christopher was in town visiting 3 years ago), to where we are today, I can’t help but get a little worked up and excited. Today we made the home page again. I was pretty chuffed to see that at 9am this morning.
But this post isn’t about why the project is so great – Christopher’s art speaks for itself – this is a rallying cry about why this project, and others like it, will define truly independent media and art.
There are a lot of reasons this project is important in the history of crowd funded films, and I’ll list a few of them here for your viewing pleasure:
1) For a talented but unknown filmmaker to raise $150,000 for an animated short film via an army of strangers is practically unheard of in Hollywood. Kickstarter and other fundraising sites, are empowering artists and fans everywhere to choose for themselves the art they want to consume. One commenter and backer, Rudolf Momjian Pettersen, put it perfectly:
Art, technology and creativity will no longer be hostage to a few large companies. The “small” people will be able to get their ideas and products through with the support of other “small” people. No more monopoly!
2) Christopher’s version of The Price has and will continue to foster a robust and compassionate community. Humans crave community, attention, affection, and sharing. Despite what the news tells us, we like to be inspired and moved. We like to come together for common goals, and if kickstarter doesn’t allow this to happen in a most unique and marvelous way, I’m not sure what does. Hollywood builds and creates audience, and it does it well> But rarely does it build community. I told Christopher on the phone tonight that there are a lot of things that came together to make this project a success, but I believe that his passion, humility, and the merits of his art have made this project successful from the beginning – people LOVE the idea because they know Christopher LOVES the idea and is totally passionate about Neil’s beautiful story.
3) Christopher’s animated film of The Price is doing exactly what art is intended to do: Inspire. Over the last 4 weeks, we have witnessed an unprecidented outpouring of support for this project. People have written to Christopher to tell him of their experience with this story, or how they went out and mowed lawns to make this project happen, or how what he is doing inspired them to quit their job and go after what they always wanted to do. Pledges from $10 – $10,000 have poured in and each are every bit as meaningful to making this project a reality. As a documentary filmmaker, I’m fascinated by the story behind the pledge!
I keep refreshing the kickstarter project page for The Price, and just about every time I do we get closer to our goal of $150,000 – the most anyone has asked for on kickstarter. As Dylan once sang,”the times, they are a changin’” and I really believe this is the start of a new wave of innovation in technology and the arts. Keep a watch over the next 24 hours, and into the coming months. As a producer, I have my sights set on helping Christopher realize his creative vision, but we’ll be working hard to maintain the production blog which we believe is the best way to build and foster this new community of fans. Lets hope that first “official” post is just a day away, and that The Price is just one of many projects that buck against the Hollywood trend!
I’ll catch you on the flip side of $150k – and then we can set our sights on where we’ll gather next … Cannes? Sundance? Tribecca? The Academy? We’ve dreamed this far, and I’m looking forward to the next destination. And Christopher, thanks for taking us along with you on this wonderful journey.