Sunday, February 05, 2006

Guerilla Financing -- Can it work?

Just came across this article on Newsvine about two film students in Wales attempting to finance their movie $5 at a time by selling Executive Producer credits. $40 gets you a single pixel grid square on their website for advertisement. I once tried to do something similar on eBay, mostly on a lark, and failed. Of course I was selling one credit instead of two hundred thousand, so the investment would have been a more serious commitment.

Their effort raises two questions for me: one, will it work; two, is it practical?

On the first question, I think the answer is probably yes. They're getting international press coverage for their efforts, and even I'm considering supporting them just because they're so ballsy. A letter on their website, however, ends with the mantra "The Future of Film Funding Starts Here," and on that point I disagree. It's the old moonrace problem. This model may work for them because it is original. Anyone who attempts to duplicate the approach, however, is bound to be unsuccessful because of the been-there-done-that factor. The only way I could see this catching on is if an independent filmmaker attached major talent to a picture and raised the funds from that.

On the pragmatic side, what they're attempting to do goes against everything festival programmers will tell you about film credits. I have no idea how many people worked on LORD OF THE RINGS or THE MATRIX, but I have my doubts whether I've ever sat through 200,000 credits at the end of the film. And that doesn't even include the people who actually work on the damn thing. The filmmakers could cheat by making the credits extra small and fast scrolling, but I think that's bound to disappoint the investors who buy into this model for the novelty of actually reading their names on the big screen.

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