Jamillah is the UK Editor for The Next Web. She's based in London. You can hear her on BBC Radio 5Live's Outriders. Follow on Twitter @jemi Jamillah is the UK Editor for The Next Web. She's based in London. You can hear her on BBC Radio 5Live's Outriders. Follow on Twitter @jemimah_knight or drop a line to [email protected]
“Capital C. How the crowd liberates itself” is a new documentary in the works about how crowdfunding is “no longer the nerdy pipe dream of a bunch of Internet geeks”. So naturally the project is on Kickstarter.
The basis of the film is how crowdfunding has grown from a source of revenue for startup tech companies and projects to a much more widely used way of any business or idea to get off the ground.
The production is looking for $80,000 to create the feature-length documentary which will include interviews with academics, politicians, bankers and the people who run crowdfunding platforms. Different levels of contribution will get different editions of the film when it is released. Backers who put in more money will get ‘producer’s’ or ‘ultimate’ editions.
Timon Birkhofer presents the project in a video, he’s the producer in a team of six hoping to bring the film to Kickstarter backers in 2013. He says that he first considered alternative methods of funding when he co-wrote a children’s book and didn’t agree with the offers and contract terms from publishers. “We were looking for other ways to get the project realised. I found out about Kickstarter and started to look through it. We thought there must already be a documentary about crowdfunding, but there wasn’t. So we thought let’s just do it!”
Crowd funding is not a new process, campaigns are becoming more familiar to early adopters but it has yet to hit critical mass with the general public. Birkhofer says that it still has a way to go in different countries, “Since Double Fine had a hit with their game funding and made a real boost for Kickstarter, you see a lot of campaigns and the marketing effect that used to be there will decrease in the future. I live in Germany, in the US it’s really popular but here it has not really taken off yet. We’re going to find out what happens and how that changes things as we make this documentary.”
Birkhofer notes that the project range in the crowdfunding arena is ripe for some change. “It will be interesting to see how the JOBS act in the US will affect this,” he notes. “At the moment there are a lot of consumer products on there but it will be fascinating to see who will come up with the next great idea on how to use it.”
Asking too much?
Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites have seen a recent backlash from those who don’t like being asked to contribute or see new projects appear in their social timelines. Though that may be a valid complaint for some, there is a limit to what works well and what you can ask for in this way. Birkhofer says that the amount of money requested has a lot to do with the success of a project, “The larger the amount of money needed, the harder it is to solve it with crowdfunding. But I can see a crowdfunding campaign becoming a benchmark. Like in he music industry, record companies ask how many fans you have on Facebook or clicks on Youtube, that could be something that a future venture capitalist might ask; ‘How much money did you raise through crowdfunding?'”
So what does Birkhofer make of his own crowdfunding experience so far? “Before you hit the launch button, you think you can sit back and relax but it’s the exact opposite. You hit the button and suddenly everyone is calling and texting you, you have a tonne of questions to answer and you keep hitting refresh on the page. I have 58 very exciting days ahead of me.”
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