Thursday, May 15, 2014

Embracing Social: How Crowdfunding is Changing the Film Industry

As the world of social has pervaded all industries, more and more organizations are experiencing the real benefits of crowdfunding, especially the film industry. Crowdfunding - funding a project through a multitude of smaller investments from a large number of people - has thrived through sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. As an undergraduate Integrated Marketing and Communications student in Northwestern University’s Medill IMC program, I have researched the impact of social on the film industry, and the changing balance of independent versus blockbuster films.

A piece by Matthew Rozsa of PolicyMic from the fall of 2013 proposes questions regarding summer blockbusters and a potential ‘Hollywood bubble’. Rozsa raises questions regarding the continued failures of blockbusters, such as The Lone Ranger, while lower-budget movies such as This is the End and The Way Way Back encounter greater success. The questions raised are rather striking to filmmakers and moviegoers: will the Hollywood bubble burst? Will independent films be the ones to take their place?

Source: Digital Trends

In an article for Film Independent from June 2013, independent filmmaker Elizabeth Ai discusses the profound shifts taking place in the modern film industry and the significance of said changes. With advancing technology, ever-expanding social media, and the growing accessibility to both of them, Ai suggests a “democratization of content creation and creation.” Crowdfunding campaigns are still relatively young, but movies such as Wish I Was Here and Veronica Mars have received serious attention and notoriety. While Ai suggests that crowdfunding is a great way for independent filmmakers to make their breakthrough, she also suggests that media consumption habits leaning towards media such as YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu make it so that theatrical releases do not even have to be the final goal.

Based on my analysis of these two articles and my study of the film industry and its relation to crowdfunding, I have developed three action items for those interested in this emerging trend.

Get Involved! – With crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, it is incredibly easy to get involved with things that you care about. Even if you don’t have a ‘groundbreaking’ idea or the necessary skills to make a movie, you can still contribute.

Stay Educated! – This is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg for shifting trends in the film industry. By keeping up to date with film news, trends, and the en flux tendencies of the industry, you can better position yourself on where and when to invest.

Take a chance! – Of course not all crowdfunded indie movies are going to make tractions, but that is really not the point. You can get involved with things that you feel passionate, or help other people by allowing them to realize their passions.

This shift in the film industry has opened the door for independent filmmakers to increase their chances of widespread recognition. 10% of Sundance, Cannes, Tribeca, and SXSW films were kick-starter projects, the same site that initiated the successful Veronica Mars crowdfund, and with kick-starter projects such as Inocente when the Oscar for Best Documentary Short in 2013, filmmakers are setting their even sights higher.

Thomas Dawson is currently finishing his undergraduate degree at Northwestern University. He has worked closely to the film industry through work experience and student groups, and is interested in becoming further involved in the film industry after graduation. Follow him on twitter @_ThomasDawson_

No comments:

Post a Comment