When It Comes To Contributing To Crowdfunding Campaigns, Don't Forget The Little Guy...

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by Tambay A. Obenson
August 15, 2013 11:53 AM
7 Comments
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While I'm certainly glad to see this incredible groundswell of support for Spike Lee's Kickstarter campaign, despite initial criticism (he's only about $100,000 away from reaching his $1.25 million goal, with 6 days to go), I just thought I'd remind everyone who contributed to his campaign in any way (whether directly monetarily, or otherwise) not to forget the "little guys," the filmmakers/content creators who really are resource-strapped, and don't have the celebrity reach that people like Spike Lee, Zach Braff, the Veronica Mars crew, Shemar Moore and other celebs who've successfully raised hundreds of thousands, and even millions of dollars via crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, this year.

We post about 2 to 3 Kickstarter campaigns every week on this site. I receive tons of them on a regular basis, and obviously can't post every single one, even though there are some of you who believe that we somehow have an "obligation" to do so. If we posted every single crowdfunding campaign that we receive, I'd say every 3rd or 4th post on this site would be a crowdfunding item, which would only serve to overwhelm, and deter readers. So we are selective on what we choose to post, and when we get behind a project we like, we ride it as hard as we possibly can, helping to ensure that it gets the funds that it needs. Sometimes they're successful, other times not.

But the point I want you to take away from this is that, it would great to see a similar kind of groundswell of support for those non-celebrity projects that we do post on S&A - the majority of them asking for a tiny fraction of what the celeb campaigns are asking for; usually in the $10,000 to $20,000 range, and not much more; Campaigns that really shouldn't have a lot of difficulty attracting contributions, given their size, but often go right down to their final hours before reaching their goals. And as I said previously, a lot of them aren't even successful, despite their/our efforts.

So if you contributed to any of the above mentioned campaigns in any way - whether you gave money, or shared any of the campaigns within your online and offline social networks, encouraging others to give, or you gave coverage to any of them on your blogs, etc, etc, etc - I strongly encourage you to do the same for those non-celeb campaigns that could really use your help. The financially-strapped artist next door, whose talent you admire/appreciate, and who really doesn't have as many options as the above-mentioned do. Help them out too, if you aren't already doing so. Be just as decisive and unrelenting in your support. It's not only good for them, but great for independent black cinema in general.

That's all... Like I said, just a reminder... as you were.


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7 Comments

  • D. Gould | August 16, 2013 3:22 PMReply

    I was *blown away* when I discovered a feature-length indie prequel to Lord of the Rings on the Internet. "Born of Hope" by director Kate Madison rivals big budget productions and actually seems to have been overlooked. With an absurdly low budget, the cinematography, acting, direction SFX and especially sound design are phenomenal. The story-telling is well done too. I can't wait to see what she does with her new project Ren, now on Kickstarter. So here's a really interesting non-celebrity Kickstarter project with quite an impressive track record. Only 3 days left to hit the target, though.

  • Tahir | August 15, 2013 10:19 PMReply

    that's why i bang witchu tambay

  • JEFTCG | August 15, 2013 8:19 PMReply

    I'm aware of the crowd-funding posts, but S&A should choose a "non-celebrity" Kickstarter campaign to showcase, once a day, if you are truly interested in helping the little guy. (And to counter the inordinate amount of coverage you give to Spike Lee.) (And/or Tyler Perry.) Not entirely certain why you think too many crowd-funding posts would "overwhelm" readers.

  • August Wasoba | August 15, 2013 7:08 PMReply

    Good looking out. I took S&A's advice and checked out Comics Undressed and I liked what I saw, had to go ahead donate to the cause as a black comic book nerd.

  • Mircea | August 15, 2013 2:46 PMReply

    I haven't donated for a celebrity yet. I backed 33 campaigns and all of them were campaigns of little guys (I backed not only films but tech campaigns as well).

  • Miles Maker | August 15, 2013 12:20 PMReply

    Great post, but let's keep this in perspective:

    Money doesn't just fall from the sky just because you launch a campaign--it's hard committed consistent persistent WORK with a strategy to rise above the noise. Everybody's crowdfunding now, so what are YOU doing to make your presence known and attract eyeballs and the potential for donors outside your 6 degrees of social influence? Crowdfunding is like that tree in the forest; nobody donates when nobody knows your campaign exists.

    The responsibility falls on the 'little guy' to make his/her campaign known in a broad sense of awareness, which means posting on Facebook and tweeting incessantly is NOT enough to extend your project beyond your intimate circle of friends and supporters, and despite your idea that Shadow and Act is the 'be all' of the Black cinephile community (it's absolutely NOT) so being featured here isn't going to raise you much (sorry S&A but we've seen the results--or should I say lack thereof).

    Know this:
    The 'big guys' use fame, word of mouth (which their haters also contribute to) and the media to reach hundreds of thousands of potential donors. Now consider which of these you can tap into. If you're a 'little guy' you're probably not famous but you can seek famous endorsements like Spike did; influencers with hundreds of thousands of fans & followers who respect their opinion.

    Here's something else to consider:
    Unbeknownst to many 'little guys' almost every major crowdfunding campaign has a publicist attached to the project to generate media attention through the placement of stories related to the filmmaker, the subject/theme of the project and anything/anyone attached--including attaching the project to current conversations in the media. The cost of a relatively good publicist is in the range of $3K for a month, but isn't that worth the expenditure to raise $20K, $50K or even more? There are so many crowdfunding campaigns going now it's very difficult to get media attention simply by informing the press you've launched one. Publicity is a craft, so collaborate with a craftsman.

    Yes let's all help the 'little guy' but 'little guys' need to help us help you.

  • Sweeta | August 15, 2013 12:11 PMReply

    Thanks for this, Tambay.

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