Crowdfunding in film (and a lesson in film production…)

Crowdfunding has had an impact on several industries, not least the film industry. These changes aren’t just happening in Australia, but the majority of countries around the world. The rise of crowdfunding has only been made possible because of continual advances to digital communications, and in turn the way humans interact. Social media has made it easier for film makers to open a dialogue with their audience, having open discussions which would have been unthinkable a decade ago. As traditional top-down structures of communication have become more decentralised, so too have avenues of funding available to film makers. Furthermore, audiences now have more power as their money now influences not only which films come out, but which ones get made in the first place.

Although this was one of the first professional videos I had created, the experience was a mostly positive one. I found that in comparison to writing an essay, making a video gave me more creative freedom when expressing my ideas. Not only can it be enjoyable searching creative commons material to see what others had produced, but images found also helped complement arguments made in my video. And while words are strong in themselves, messages are arguably more powerful when communicated audibly and visually.
In hindsight I underestimated the time and preparation required to record and edit this video. It turned out to be rather time-consuming for a relatively short video (8 minutes). Before filming began, I had ensure lighting was perfect in the room. As there was no professional lighting, filming couldn’t be done if it was overcast or night time because I was reliant on natural light. No room in the house had a light bright enough to create good quality film.

Furthermore, there are many things that can interrupt filming which are out of your control. Although my phone was switched off, there were still other sounds present that stopped filming immediately e.g. cars driving past, dogs barking or rain on the roof.

It can also take a bit of rehearsal to get the perfect take. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until after much filming had taken place when I realised I hadn’t been looking directly at the camera. An iPhone was used to capture all the videos, and I’d been watching myself on the screen rather than looking down the lens. Some watching this video could get the impression I was reading off notes, when in fact much time and practice had gone into getting the words right.
When it came to editing, there were many clips of audio, video (and images) to keep track of. I found appropriately naming (or numbering) all files to be an effective way of keeping them organised. I also kept a backup of all files used, as it is inconvenient losing a file and having to record it again. When piecing the clips together I soon realised there were far too many to fit into such a short video. My argument had to be restructured, and several pieces of important information were eventually cut. There were several other topics I could have included in the video if time permitted, such as: The ‘Veronica Mars’ film controversy (and how the crowdfunding system is still far from perfect), laws regarding crowdfunding, how backers can feel exploited if they’ve pledged money towards a highly successful film, why crowdfunded films may be a cheaper alternative to traditionally funded films, and how much should film makers compromise creativity to please the backers who have supported them.

Then finally with everything put together, I needed to ensure the entire video ran smoothly. If a word or sentence is edited in or out, other clips may need to be edited or re-recorded so the entire argument still makes sense.

Overall, the creation of this film taught me a lesson about trial and error, and how mistakes can lead to problem solving and knowledge. As digital media constantly changes, so too will filming equipment and the programs we edit videos with. The only way we can adapt and use this new technology more effectively is by learning and doing.

References

  • BBVA Innovation Center, 2015, ‘Crowdfunding at the Oscars and in the cinema industry,’ 12 March, http://bit.ly/2rHfY54
  • Ferrer-Roca, N, ‘Business innovation in the film industry value chain: a New Zealand case study,’ International Perspectives on Business Innovation and Disruption in the Creative Industries: Film, Video & Photography, 2014, Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, UK, retrieved 15 May 2017, http://bit.ly/2qNoQpU
  • Galuszka, P & Bystrov, V 2014, ‘The rise of fanvestors: A study of a crowdfunding community,’ First Monday, 5 May, retrieved 15 May 2017, http://bit.ly/2qb4CV4
  • ‘How To Fund Your Film Project In Australia,’ JMC Academy, Creative Industries, 28 July 2017, retrieved 17 May 2017, http://bit.ly/2qLBg3z
  • Kickstarter, retrieved 16 May 2017, https://www.kickstarter.com
  • King, G 2017, ‘A Companion to American Indie Film,’ John Wiley & Sons Inc, retrieved 15 May 2017, http://bit.ly/2q81DOc
  • Law360, 2013 ’How Crowdfunding Could Impact Film Financing,’ New York, May 6, retrieved 17 May 2017, http://bit.ly/2rJPYFr
  • Laycock, R 2016, ‘The audience’s worth: Crowdfunding as a source of film finance,’ Metro Magazine: Media & Education Magazine – Issue 188, Informit, retrieved 15 May 2017, http://bit.ly/2rswmcl
  • Mai, T 2013, ‘The Netflix effect, crowdfunding and the future of film and entertainment marketing,’ Marketing Mag, retrieved 17 May 2017, http://bit.ly/2qbhHhh
  • Moody, R 2014, ‘Fan-Funded Film: How Audience Participation Is Shaping The Future of Motion Pictures,’ The University of Maine, retrieved 17 May 2017, http://bit.ly/2rJM2o8
  • Screen Australia, ‘Funding & Support,’ 2016, retrieved 17 May 2017, http://bit.ly/2qGi2f9
  • Simula, H & Ahola, T 2014, ‘A network perspective on idea and innovation crowdsourcing in industrial firms’, Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 43, Issue 3, April 2014, pp. 400 – 408, retrieved 15 May 2017, http://bit.ly/2q8aIq8
  • Sorenson, I 2015, ‘Go Crowdfund Yourself! Some Unintended Consequences of Crowdfunding for Documentary Film and Industry in the UK,’ ePrints, University of Glascow UK, 27 April, retrieved 16 May 2017, http://bit.ly/2rHB9nU

Images