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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Is holding out the hat a viable new way of financing films?

One of my leftover links recently was to a story about how the credit crunch is impacting indie filmmakers, many of whom would run up tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in credit card debt in order to pay for their projects, often by juggling and rejuggling balances from card to card to take advantage of low- and no-APR offers.

That’s not happening anymore, obviously.

I think we’ll see more of this alternative: Filmmaker Gary King, for example, is soliciting donations for his feature musical How Do You Write a Joe Schermann Song, about the life of an aspiring Broadway songwriter. King’s Web site for the project has more details, but this gist: He hopes to get people to pledge $30,000 to pay for production by April 18, and no one gets charged unless that goal is met. There’s also a long list of rewards for various levels of donations, just like PBS used to do.
Is holding out the hat a viable new way of financing films?

I suppose the viability depends, in part, upon how successful some of the early attempts are.

What do you think?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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  • bitchen frizzy

    I think Gary King is going to be having some IRS problems. I’d also be very reluctant to give my credit card number to the third party he has doing the collection.

  • LaSargenta

    Alex Cox has sort of been doing this for a while. But, he’s got much bigger amounts that he asks for. Not sure if there’s anything about it currently on his web site.

  • Leslie Carr

    Is this a plotline from “The Producers”?

  • JoshDM

    They can always use Fundable for projects.

  • JoshDM

    And no, I didn’t click the link before I posted, but the description above reads like he’s using Fundable.

  • bitchen frizzy

    No, he’s using something called Kickstarter. The “donate” link leads to a homemade website.

  • At least he’s not employing the fundraising method illustrated in the opening sequence of Pulp Fiction. ;-)

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