The Future of Film Funding will be, Crowded

Up until now raising money for a film project without lots of big name connections or wealthy family members has been a little like being a one legged man in an ass kicking contest.

For the majority of filmmakers it was impractical to try and raise the money needed to finance a project in small chunks, because most didn’t personally know hundreds of people who could invest, and even fewer knew someone who could just invest a large sum like $250,000.

However, there is good news on the horizon for those whose creative ambitions outpace their bank accounts.

Crowdfunding not only presents a feasible avenue for raising a substantial amount of working capital to get a project off the ground, but there is also the potential of using crowdfunding success to attract the rest of the investment elsewhere.

Imagine two people pitching you to invest in their films. Both have compelling stories, both have an obvious passion for their project, both are handsome but not too handsome, how is a cash flushed cinephile (such as yourself…) to choose? Well imagine the second film had already raised $45,000 online from 3,300 people. Which project would you bet on?

This type of clear, quantifiable proof of demand could serve to de-risk projects, eventually making crowdfunding a necessary prerequisite for everything from independent films to massive studio projects. Rather than soliciting the lazy opinions of people walking down the street in Vegas, isn’t the financial support of thousands online a much better indicator of overall audience demand?

In fact, as this level of common sense washes over an industry that too often resists or even fights vehemently against change, we could see online platforms similar to Angel List emerge and play a similar role in movie funding as it plays for tech startup funding. Rather than outdated beliefs like having a “name attached”, projects could show audience demand or other investors to make a case that their project has a defined audience with a clear line to profitability.

The impact of such platforms on the startup funding world cannot be understated. Good ideas with zero connections from small cities have been able to secure multimillion dollar funding rounds from dozens to hundreds of investors around the world that under traditional circumstances they wouldn’t have even known existed, much less had the ability to contact them.

The potential for film funding is even more revolutionary, after all how many people in the world are that excited about tech? I have a tech startup, and even still, 15 minutes into hearing pitches about “solutions” to problems no one actually has, I find myself deliberately wondering whether faking a seizure or pulling the fire alarm would be the most effective excuse for an exit.

People love films, literally all people. We are positively media addicts, surrendering entire weekends to binging on Netflix. Our lifelong obsession has given most a strong sense of media savvy. So it only makes sense that many more would be interested in investing in a film project they truly believe in. The demand and enthusiasm are already in place, we just need outdated belief systems to catch up to the new reality. Crowdfunding is an important first step in this evolution, much like tech it will be less about who you know and more about what you can show.

Aiden Livingston

Written by

Author, CEO of ThermoAI, Techstars AI ‘18, contributor to VentureBeat's AI section.

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