Crowdfunding’s impact on film financing has been significant and swift. Hundreds or thousands of micro-financiers can now fund projects of niche interest without huge risk, creating financial openings for “the little guy” who doesn’t have an in with a major studio.
But what about the “big” little guy?
Adam Carolla, king of podcasting and libertarian provocateur, finds himself in the crosshairs of media pundits who would have him eschew the $1.3 million he raised on Fund Anything and finance Road Hard, his new movie, himself.
Carolla follows the trailblazing success of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign, which soared into crowdfunding history by raising $2 million in one day. The campaign ended with $5.7 million but an asterisk by its record—at least according to critics. Should rich celebrities like Kristen Bell—later Zach Braff and now Adam Carolla—use crowdfunding to finance pet projects?
Absolutely. Here’s why:
1. Critics don’t understand crowdfunding
If Carolla was asking for handouts his scheme would be hard to defend, but his detractors confuse charity with good business. Carolla’s campaign, like most, offers rewards for donations—usually commensurate with the amount donated. Drop $27 and you get a DVD…and a t-shirt, special access to the Road Hard website, and a PDF of the screenplay. Compare that to buying a DVD at Best Buy. Crowdfunding is pre-selling! And it’s usually a good deal for the consumer.
2. Fans want unique opportunities
Hardcore fans who want more of a celeb are willing to pay for their time. And fandom usually pays off in spades with crowdfunding. For $150 Carolla’s Los Angeles fans could attend a live podcast and press conference, sample unlimited Mangria (Carolla’s signature sangria with vodka), munch on Amalfi’s pizza, and hang out with the Ace Man for a few hours. That’s a potentially once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you can’t buy at a movie theater.
3. Support people who promote your values
Carolla is an outspoken advocate for freedom and against government waste. When like-minded people donate to his campaign, they know the kind of guy they’re supporting. Can you say that about buying a ticket to Elysium? Crowdfunding allows donors to seek out and fund projects they value or support people who share their opinions. This is nothing short of a revolution in film financing.