If you’ve ever visited Kickstarter you’re bound to have seen an array of different projects that eager artists, tech nerds or musicians would like funded. From the mundane, to the creative, to the downright bizzare KickStarter has a project to suit anybody and everybody’s tastes.
Although a wide variety of projects receive completed funding everyday it seems that it is the creative projects, namely those involved in the entertainment industry such as film and music, as well as video games that receive the highest share of ‘pledges’.
No longer do struggling artists have to go through traditional channels (television and film production companies, record labels and design studios), if they have a great project and are lucky enough their goals can be funded by the public who then become their fans and consumers.
A New Avenue for the Entertainment Industry
Take for example the two most profitable entertainment projects that have ever featured on KickStarter: Double Fine Adventure Computer Game and the Veronica Mars Movie Project.
What makes these projects stand out is that, surprisingly, both the creators are not unknown, in fact they are people who have been involved with big budget studios and worked in their respective entertainment fields for years.
However when it came to getting their newest projects funded they ran into obstacles.
Tim Schafer the creator of Double Fine Adventure and other famous computer games such as Phsychonauts cites his reason for obtaining crowd funding from KickStarter as primarily due to issues of production and publishing rights. He states that gaining traditional methods of funding from external sources such as publishers and investment firms “comes with significant strings attached that can pull the game in the wrong directions or cancel its production altogether”. By putting the project on a platform such as KickStarter Schafer claims that the process is “demoncratize[d]” as it allows consumers to “support the games they want to see developed and give the developers the freedom… without anyone else compromising their vision”. It seems that his fans also agreed, pledging a total of $3,336,371 – far surpassing his goal of $400,000.
Rob Thomas, the creator of the TV series veronica Mars, has noted that his reasons for taking the project to KickStarter were to convince Warner Bros Studios that there was still enough public interest in the cancelled television series to make a commercially viable film. “There was a moment, a few years ago, when we thought we had a real shot at making it happen. I developed a pitch… Warner Bros wasn’t convinced there was enough interest to warrant a major studio-sized movie about Veronica and the project never got off the ground”. Surprisingly when Thomas approached Warner Bros, who owns the rights to the franchise, again they agreed to let Thomas and the star of the series Kristen Bell put the project on KickStarter to see what happened. Since the project was posted on 13th March 2013, 55,735 people has already backed the project with a whopping $3,656,821.
What does this mean for Entertainment Production?
It seems in both instances that an artistic vision compromised, or projects that were deemed to high-risk to invest in were the reasons for these already established creators to put their projects on KickStarter.
And in both these cases it worked, in fact much better than anyone thought they would as both projects surpassed their financial goals.
Does this mean that traditional methods of video game and film production are becoming obsolete?
This is unlikely, however the success of these projects on Kickstarter does signal a significant shift in the way that graphic designers, directors, artist and musicians can go about getting their projects funded and published.
No longer do they have to rely soley on the investments of big business and traditional Hollywood-type production companies who play mostly to the commercial markets and thus only invest in what they think will reap great financial returns.
It also shows the combined power of the masses, the consumer and general public rising up against the corporate giants and funding what they want to see which hopefully will see more indie or less commercial projects given the chance they deserve.