Posts Tagged ‘crowdfunding’

Passion First Funding Portal Announced

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

A new equity-crowdfunding film financing company, Passion First Funding Portal was announced this week at the Sundance Film Festival. It is one of the first new financing portals established from the relaxed rules by the 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (a.k.a. JOBS Act) that permit general solicitation of accredited investors; think of it as a Kickstarter/IndieGoGo-type site where “qualified” contributors get a financial return on the success of a film.  Its founder, Rich Guay is a veteran producer behind several feature length films and documentaries (Ghostdog: The Way of the Samurai, Kinsey, Dogfight, etc.).

Passion First Funding Portal is a new and exciting way for experienced filmmakers and accredited investors to meet and explore the opportunities for working together. This is all being made possible by the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, a piece of federal regulation that is intended to open up traditional capital markets to emerging businesses.”passionfirstfunding.com

Passion First is currently awaiting approval of by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and will be launched in the upcoming months. If you’d like to get more information and receive updates, go to their website: passionfirstfunding.com

Vimeo Offers Crowd-Funded Indie Filmmakers Access to $500K Marketing Fund

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Vimeo just announced at this year’s Sundance Film Festival that they are launching an Audience Development Fund ($500,000) for qualifying films that have raised a minimum of $10,000 through a crowd funding platform like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and Seed&Spark. Vimeo will give qualifying filmmakers a minimum of $10,000 in marketing services – plus a free, one-year subscription to Vimeo PRO, in exchange for an exclusive digital premiere distribution deal on Vimeo On Demand.

While crowdfunding has changed the game in getting films made, Vimeo is taking the next step supporting filmmakers to get their work seen and purchased on Vimeo and across the web,” said Greg Clayman, general manager of audience networks.”  [source: Variety]

This announcement comes shortly after the company made several improvements and updates to its video player which include “in-player purchasing” – where anyone can quickly rent or buy a Vimeo On Demand work directly from an embedded trailer.

Filmmakers who meet the funding criteria above and are interested in being considered for the Audience Development Fund can email Vimeo at this address: crowdfunding@vimeo.com.

Equity Crowdfunding, a New Financing Opportunity for Independent Filmmakers

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

Last year, President Obama signed into law the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (a.k.a. “Jobs Act”) (full doc PDF). The Act “requires the SEC to write rules and issue studies on capital formation, disclosure and registration requirements.” Starting this Fall, the most import aspect of the Act relevant for indie filmmakers is the provision on Crowdfunding.

Current SEC rules restrict start-up companies (e.g. indie film productions) from seeking investors on a broad scale via advertising to the masses. That kind of offer would be considered a “security.”

The common dream of aspiring filmmakers often began with a script and some actors, and then an effort to raise money to make the movie by asking everybody to invest in their project. Ads were placed, bulletins posted, and Internet messages were spread asking for people to invest. The aspiring filmmakers then would be told how illegal that is, shocked to learn that they were offering “securities” which had to be registered with the SEC. They learned that any offering to the public of any kind of ownership in future possible profits is a security. That’s “equity.” – filmmaker, Michael Barnard

I remember several years ago Ethan Hawke and Civilian Pictures partnered up on a film project titled, Billy Dead – where an initial public offering was planed to raise $7.9 million by offering 900,000 shares of “Billy Dead Inc.” stock at $8.75 a share. Not sure why it didn’t come to fruition, but we can speculate that the complexities of SEC rules and regulations made it impossible to get this project green-lit by any attorney or accountant on the production team. Or maybe the SEC just didn’t approve it in the end.  You can read more about this endeavor here: SFgate and Money.CNN.

Now, Title II of the Jobs Act will allow filmmakers who seek funding to advertise investment opportunities on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and crowdfunding sites. Investors must be qualified or “accredited” to participate. The Hollywood Reporter explains that aspect…

Potential investors must be “accredited,” defined as an individual (or married couple) with a net worth of $1 million excluding their primary residence or an income exceeding $200,000 in the two most recent years ($300,000 for a couple). Under those rules, about 9 million Americans qualify.

Even “unaccredited” investors ultimately can participate via Title III, which should go into effect in 2014. Individuals with a net worth or annual income of $100,000 can invest 10 percent of their income, and those with a net worth or income less than that may invest up to 5 percent or $2,000, whichever is greater. (A filmmaker will be able to raise only up to $1 million a year per film from these investors.)” – from The Hollywood Reporter – ‘Forget Kickstarter: How Obama’s New Law Could Change Hollywood Crowd-Funding’

There are some equity crowdfunding startups that will take advantage of this new opportunity. Here are a few to check out:

EarlyShares


CrowdFunder


Slated


FilmFunder

I believe that the pros out number the cons on this whole “crowdfunding equity” scheme. Let’s take a look:

CONS: [list style=”list11″ color=”black”]

  • Still going to be complicated accounting.
  • No proven model for indies.
  • Big studio productions can still dominate/overshadow the independent film offerings.

[/list]
PROS:
[list style=”list7″ color=”red”]

  • Having a stake in your success will make fans more involved/engaged in the promotion of your film via social media and word-of-mouth.
  • Profit incentive is better than that typical Kickstarter rewards – specially for indie films without any “name” stars.
  • Makes indie filmmakers rely more on the pitch video to sell their vision.
  • Opens up indie financing opportunities in a big way – you can do a lot with a $1 million dollar budget.
  • No proven models for indies – so you can be a pioneer of this!

[/list]

Time will tell if this will work and propel a whole new batch of independent filmmakers whose vision can come to realization through the help/investment of financiers who believe in the art (and commerce) of film.

What If Seed&Spark Is Successful?

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

There’s been a lot already written about Seed&Spark. My first thoughts on S&S are that it’s a very interesting take on the whole crowdfunding landscape with an angle on a ‘fair trade’ filmmaking movement. The “wedding registry” wish-list is also a unique set up that gives an alternative to a cash donation. That makes a lot of sense since filmmakers will have an endless list of expenses that will use that cash. Any donation of meals, locations, loaning equipment, etc. will go a long way for a tight indie budget. Some contributors may find it easier to provide a needed service or product – rather than straight up money – times are tough. Additionally, Seed&Spark will offer a distribution outlet (80/20 split) – with 100% of the rights maintained by the filmmaker. Plus, they have a bonus (a.k.a. “Spark”) that incentivizes and rewards their consumers/moviegoers/fans to join and watch as many films as possible. Great ideas all around – right? Absolutely!

Then I had some additional thoughts on this… comes in as more of a question: what if this type of service succeeds, really succeeds and becomes the go-to standard for all indie filmmakers? Let’s think about this for a moment… it would be great, wouldn’t it? I have been looking at a lot of different filmmaking services and websites since I started working on my first feature, Nothing Without You. Through that process – I started Filmlinker. I usually gravitated to whichever service was applicable to that stage of production we were in – i.e. screenwriting, financing, pre-pro, production, festivals, distribution, etc. Back to my question – what if this type of service succeeds and becomes the go-to standard for all indie filmmakers? I think it would cover ALL the stages – from start to finish of what independent filmmakers are looking for – making a film, getting it to an audience and sustaining a creative career. Remember when YouTube first launched (before Google bought it)? YouTube now supports several video creators.

Crowdfunfing sites like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter have facilitated the financing possibilities. The current filmmaking technologies have brought production costs way down. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) has allowed filmmakers to communicate directly with and grow their fan base. There’s a plethora of self-distribution choices (VHX, Vimeo On-Demand, IndieFlix, Distribber, etc.) and many more that seem to launch everyday. All good – but Seed&Spark is combining all these services into one.

Let’s root and support this type of initiative. The future can be now.

Mobcaster is Crowdfunding Indie TV

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Mobcaster is another crowd-funding site, but specializes exclusively on indie produced television content. It has it’s own online TV channel (Mobcaster TV) – which will broadcast the funded shows’ series and will share ad revenue (50/50 net split) with the show’s creators.

Mobcaster sells advertising around the series broadcast on Mobcaster TV and all Showrunners of such shows are entitled to half of our net advertising revenue. Because Mobcaster TV is dedicated to audience supported (and funded!) TV, Showrunners will have the opportunity for greater revenue participation than nearly anywhere else online!” – from mobcaster.com/faq 

Mobcaster’s biggest success to-date is a show called The Weatherman (watch the pilot episode here). It not only surpassed its $72,500 goal, but it will get a distribution deal with TiVo’s digital streaming service.

I watched The Weatherman pilot episode and it was really funny, well written and produced (by Dark Heart Productions). They are setting the bar pretty high for all the other proposed shows that will try to get funded through Mobcaster.

If you have an idea for a TV show – go ahead and pitch it (free of cost) to the Mobcaster audience. Follow their steps: Pitch -> Fund -> Produce -> Broadcast.

Funding Your Film Through the Fan Based Social Marketplace

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

In a previous post, “Let the Public Finance Your Film,” I looked at several examples of filmmakers utilizing the social landscape of the internet for funding their film. Their approach was to reach out and create a fan base that would lend financial support for their project. Kevin Kelly [bio] recently commented on the financial power of a fan base in his article titled, “1,000 True Fans.” Kelly states that “anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.” The expansion of that idea has created other websites that provide a platform for project funding and promotion.

The latest example is IndieGoGo. This is the hottest endeavor to utilize the social market place in helping filmmakers find funding for their projects. It was just launched in January ’08 and Filmmaker Magazine reported that the site announced its first film to reach its funding goal (The Lilliput by filmmaker Minna Zielonka-Packer raised $10,000 through the site). IndieGoGo allows filmmakers to incorporate what they call a “DIWO – Do It With Others” approach. Here’s how they describe it:

IndieGoGo enables this “filmocracy” by providing filmmakers an open platform to pitch their projects to the world, and giving the fans a vehicle to experience and influence the once inaccessible world of filmmaking. Filmmakers get new resources to build and engage a loyal fan base to assist in making their projects happen. Filmmakers can raise money and awareness, find cast and crew, and gain credibility through the help of their number one resource: their fans.” [excerpt from IndieGoGo-About Us]

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