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Celebrity Campaigns Ignite Kickstarter Crowdfunding

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 19, 2013 at 5:07PM

It looks like all of Spike Lee's noisy tub-thumping for his recent successful Kickstarter campaign was not only good for him and his new movie but for the site itself. 47% of his backers had never visited the site before, reports the site's Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler and Charles Adler in a blog post entitled "The Truth About Spike Lee and Kickstarter" in which they defend celebrity crowdfunding campaigns.
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Spike Lee during his Bloomberg interview
Spike Lee during his Bloomberg interview

It looks like all of Spike Lee's noisy tub-thumping for his recent successful Kickstarter campaign was not only good for him and his new movie but for the site itself. 47% of his backers had never visited the site before reports the site's Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler and Charles Adler in a blog post entitled "The Truth About Spike Lee and Kickstarter" in which they defend celebrity crowdfunding campaigns. Lee and Zach Braff ignited controversy with their well-hyped Kickstarter fundraising at the same that their fans happily forked over the cash for them to make their movies. 

See the Kickstarter post below:

Last week, “The Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint” reached its funding goal thanks to more than 5,000 backers. While filmmakers like Steven Soderbergh cheered Spike Lee’s project, outlets like CNBC and Bloomberg accused him of abusing Kickstarter and taking money from other creators. As we’ve shown before here and here, arguments like these are not grounded in fact. Kickstarter is not a zero-sum game where projects compete for pledges. All projects benefit from the network effect of a growing Kickstarter ecosystem.

Artists like Spike Lee don’t hurt other projects. They help them!

Spike Lee brought three decades of fans to Kickstarter when he launched his project. He introduced many of them to this new way of funding creative works, and to the thousands of other projects that are funding on Kickstarter. Of Spike’s backers, 47% had never backed a Kickstarter project before.

The Veronica Mars and Zach Braff film projects were similarly criticized for hurting other projects, but in reality were a windfall for creators. Those projects brought thousands of new people to Kickstarter who have since pledged more than $1 million to 6,000 other projects (film projects have received most of those pledges).

In the past 90 days alone, more than $21 million has been pledged to filmmakers on Kickstarter not named Rob Thomas, Zach Braff, or Spike Lee. Even without counting these projects, it’s been the biggest three months for film ever on Kickstarter!

Almost five million people have backed a project on Kickstarter, and more than a million have backed two or more projects. These repeat backers are responsible for 59% of the total money pledged to Kickstarter projects — a whopping $444 million. On average, 2,130 people a day have become new repeat backers this year. This is huge! Future creators will benefit from more and more people using Kickstarter.


The rest of the Kickstarter post is here. 

This article is related to: Kickstarter , Spike Lee, Paul Schrader, The Canyons


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.