Crowd funding campaigns we love

Here at The Fitzroy, we’re huge fans of crowd funding and not just because it helped us get the Fitzroy off the ground. We truly believe it is a great way to create and share new ideas and projects.

So in the spirit of the season, we thought we’d share a few of the projects that have caught our eye recently.

Frogman Returns

Who doesn’t love superheroes and frogs!

“He’s green, he’s wet, he ain’t your pet… he’s FROGMAN, and he’s back in this ‘darker and grittier’ comic book sequel.”

twitter: @Mattfitch81

Obvious Child: a 2014 Sundance World Premiere!

Obvious Child looks like a very funny and touching film, premiering at Sundance.

twitter: @ObviousChildMov

Life Itself

If, like us, you love cinema, you really should check out this feature documentary based on the late great Roger Ebert’s memoirs.

twitter: @EbertMovie

Ralph’s Life Charity Music CD

A great cause and a great idea! Help produce a double CD of unsigned UK Indie bands and artistes, to raise both funds and awareness for mental health in the UK.

twitter: @Fruitbatwalton

I hope you like them as much as we do and you can give them a tweet or facebook mention and help spread the word. If you have any projects that you think deserve sharing too – please post them in the comments below.

Disclaimer time: We’re not personally involved in any of these projects, some are by complete strangers, some by friends (both online and real world). Some we have financially backed, others we support by helping spread the word. All of them we just think are pretty awesome.

Indie Films Working Together?

In the previous blog ‘Sharing the Love’ we shared a few crowd-funding projects that had caught our attention and at one point I wrote this:

‘These filmmakers are using Kickstarter to help get their film onto cinema screen. If indie films can’t help each other do that, then what hope do we have trying to compete with the Hollywood marketing machine?’

I wrote it quite glibly but then it got me to thinking…. why can’t independent films work together and promote each others’ films? Why can’t we share audiences?

There is an ongoing debate at Fitzroy HQ about how indie films can stand out and compete with big budget Hollywood fare and multimillion dollar marketing budgets.

Outlets for independent film are becoming smaller and smaller. Just in the last month here in the UK, two of the largest high-street outlets, Blockbuster and HMV, have gone into administration. The Picturehouse cinema chain has also been bought out by Cineworld – they say they won’t be changing the programming to more mainstream but I find that hard to believe.

Meanwhile, the rise of online distribution means small independent films are going to find it harder to stand out. Online distribution is a huge opportunity for small films but lets be honest, i-tunes, Netflix, blinkbox, etc are not a ‘browsing experience’. You are presented with maybe 20 to 40 featured films.

The sad fact is that nowadays, unless you have already heard of an indie film, you’re probably not going to stumble across one and take a punt.

So how do indie films fight back? How do they reach a bigger audience?

One possible answer is to share audiences and cross-promote indie films.

Crowd funding and social networking really is changing how indie films are financed and for me the next natural progression is that it will change how films are promoted and distributed.

Each crowd funded film achieves two things; a budget and, possibly more importantly, an audience. These films are being made and backed by film fans, so the chances are that those backers are also going to be interested in other projects. I know I am always on the hunt for new exciting, moving, interesting films to watch and share. It’s part of being a film fan.

Heck, this isn’t a revelation; Hollywood and the studios have been doing this for decades. They promote themselves as an industry and cross-promote other films. Trailers before the start of the film are the obvious example of this. ‘If you like this film then get ready for this film’. Imagine a world where indie films and indie filmmakers do this for themselves and others.

I’m not saying this is what we should do or that it’s a magic bullet to reaching an audience. There’s definitely a lot of problems in it as an idea. But it’s an interesting idea. If low budget films are to grow and thrive then we should embrace marketing and supporting each others’ work.

One thing we have learnt from our Kickstarter campaign is the power of the internet and working together is immense. Truly anything is possible. Even taking on the ‘big boys’.

Like I said at the beginning, these are just my initial thoughts and I offer no practical advice on how indie films do this or if it’s even practical. I’m just using this blog as a sounding board. If you have any thoughts, comments ideas please share in the comments.

If you’ve made it this far why not check out the previous blog of projects we love. NB we are not formally linked with any of these projects apart from loving what they are doing.

Lights.. Camera.. Campaign!

Well this is exciting. Normally I write these blogs looking back at something, but today we’re looking forward!

This time tomorrow, we will be shooting the video for our crowd funding campaign…

…and to be honest I’m bricking it.

As I mentioned in last week’s casting blog, I am useless in front of the camera. Not only do I hate public speaking or even being the centre of attention, I have been blessed with what can only be described as one of the dullest monotone voices known to man. Truly, I’m not exaggerating. Imagine the voice of Death’s bored younger brother and you’ll get the picture. Even when I’m excited or sincere, it just comes out like I don’t give a damn.

But this blog isn’t about my insecurities (as much as I wish it were). It’s about our upcoming crowd funding campaign. As you may, or may not know, we are planning to fund The Fitzroy through crowd funding.

This is incredibly exciting. First and foremost, I would describe myself as a film geek. Crowd funding means that as film fans we can have a say in the kinds of films that get made. No more complaining that they don’t make them like they used to. Also, it allows us to share the experience and have a direct influence on the actual film.

The flip side is that as a filmmaker it allows me to discover if there is an audience out there for The Fitzroy, receive feedback on what is and isn’t working and share the experience. It’s win-win!

But a lot of people are trying to do crowd funding. So we need to stand out, and one of the ways of doing that is shouting about the film and creating a pitch video that will ‘sell’ the film. Unfortunately this means I have to get over my insecurities, and go in front of the camera. But that’s a small price to pay.

So this time tomorrow we will be knee-deep in tripods and make-up at the actual location we would like to shoot the film.

We’ll try and tweet as much as possible from the shoot and give you a sneak peak at the location (it’s awesome!).

Time to go learn my lines!

MONEY MONEY MONEY

Hello and welcome…

Today’s blog, as the title rather suggests, is all about money.

Films are expensive. Very expensive. Heck, they cost so much, Hollywood often uses the budget as a marketing tool: ‘Come see the latest, biggest, MOST EXPENSIVE movie ever!’

But we’re not talking about that end of the scale. We’re at the other end.

The first ‘micro budget’ feature

It seems that nowadays there are as many ways to raise financing as there are types of film.

There are lottery grants, development funding, competitions, private funding and production companies. But these are limited in number, often have to fulfill a criteria and competition is fierce.

First-time directors have always had to think differently when it comes to finding the bucks to get the cameras rolling. Whether it’s Robert Rodriguez subjecting himself to medical experiments, Sam Raimi drilling local dentists for funds, or the guy who mortgaged his house and maxed out his credit cards.

It’s a myriad of possibilities, each with its unique benefits and pitfalls. But over the past two years, a new financing model has swept across the internet.

Crowd funding

The internet and sites like kickstarter.com and indigogo.com have allowed filmmakers to connect directly to huge audiences. They can set up their stalls and pitch to the end consumer before they even go into production.

If people like the sound of the project, they can throw £10, £25, £100 into the hat in exchange for a dvd, poster, premier tickets, etc. If enough people do the same then the project goes ahead and the film is made.

I mean, how great is that? For the filmmaker, you know if your film is wanted before it’s made and for the audience, they get to directly influence what types of films are made (this is by far my favourite thing about crowd financing) and have a direct involvement in making them.

It’s win-win and cuts out the middle man!

And that is the main route we are looking to take to finance The Fitzroy. I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of hard work and a roller coaster of a ride. But for me, the chance to connect with an audience before the film has even shot one frame is a wonderful thing.

p.s. for some more rather extreme methods of financing a film, check out this cracked.com list. Amazed at how the film version of Animal Farm was financed.

Tune in next time… for what is often voted the 3rd most stressful activity in life.