• Neill Blomkamp
    89
    curious on thoughts as to how we could fund a film directly from the audience.
  • algostudio
    9
    Find 30 millions people who give 1$ O:)
  • algostudio
    9
    New project Neil?
  • Rightstuff
    2
    Commerce student here that is decently versed in crowd funding operations and investment. I would combination crowd-fund and find investors. At least on the first project. You crowd fund half, and then use that as assets against the financed side of the endeavour(Combination of capital and proven consumer interest in the project).

    Allows you to make a 30 million dollar budget on a 15 million dollar investment by basically surveying and getting market data on the actual demand prior. Also gives your more wiggle room on budget(every 1 dollar crowd sourced would be equal to 2 total). My advise would basically be market the premise of the movie directly to the consumers before even getting too far into production. If you seek investment with x number of already crowd funded supporters, x number of views and subscribers, and a plan on how to bring the end product to market...investors will be coming from all over. Not the kind of investors that would want any kind of creative control either.

    The truth is usually found somewhere in the middle of two opposing arguments. So for the first project of this caliber, I would suggest accessing both public and private forms of funding to reduce risk. You do not want just the consumer shouldering the entire cost of the first project imo.

    Sell that shit as pre-release on steam too.
  • Neill Blomkamp
    89
    thanks for this. - one of the main issues is steam, as cool as it is for oats - does not allow pre-selling anything. - which forces us into a place where we might need to build the location for PRE SALE , or funding, directly on our site....
  • Ryan Mackfall
    12
    I think off the back of this you'd be able to get pre-orders through crowdfunding on either a Rakka or a Firebase film. Look how much Kung Fury raised just with that one little video they had..... I know you need a hell of a lot of cash but I think with the resources you have there you could certainly do a lot more than most.

    I think also the in house merchandising rights could be used for perks. I'd be interested in a poster, tshirt and blu-ray if you get what I mean. I think some people would even be interested in bigger 'asset packs'. People could be using those to build their own versions of the narrative on a feature scale. I started editing with pre-shot rushes many years ago and I think a lot of young and budding filmmakers would probably relish the chance to cut up a properly shot narrative in their own way. That kinda stuff isn't readily available as far as I know either. I wonder if you could even raise the cost for education establishments to get a broad scale assets pack to help in teaching..... I'm working here and there with my old film school at the moment and they're very open minded for new ways of teaching old tricks.

    I think you guys should build your own pre-order platform/crowdfunder. Keep the autonomous structure. 20% is a lot of money to lose to a crowdfunding platform, especially when you're already getting so much publicity.
  • Ryan Mackfall
    12
    Additionally, I raised £20,000 with a band a while back for a short documentary we put out. Their fan base was considerably much smaller than yours. Food for thought.....
  • Ironclad Industries
    65
    I bet we could crowdfund a film, or at least raise a good portion of the funding, enough to get some of it done and then use that to pitch to investors
  • David Griffith
    3
    i think making your own Crowdfunding platform as ryan said above is the way to go or use Kickstarter they will only take 5%. Giving some neat rewards would be awesome aswell ( Assets, T-shirts, Posters etc etc).
    Would be important to do plenty of updates or really small BTS every now and then to keep everyone who helped fund the project up to date!
  • Ironclad Industries
    65
    agreed, I think many of us (myself included) would be willing to donate a good chunk of change just for the sake of helping the studio along and to see some BTS footage and get a souvenir like a T-shirt
  • David Griffith
    3
    Defo would be awesome! :) These shows are so cool.
  • Ironclad Industries
    65
    They are! that's exactly why I don't even care if I get much out of the fundraiser, I'm just happy to help!
  • Valerio Liberatore
    0
    Hi Neill, isn't Steam giving the opportunity to consider the product as a preorder?
    Otherwise you should use a crowdfunding platform as they mentioned before.
    OR, you can stream on Twitch sometimes, showing us something that you are doing at your studios. Twitch will give you the opportunity not only to recieve donations, but have subscribers as another income. But you should evaluate if is something adaptable to a job place. (Twitch will keep a % tho)
  • Ryan Mackfall
    12
    The thing is with investors though is that they can often require an input, so I'm unsure if that messes with what Oats is trying to do..... I think 'autonomy' is the big message from what we've seen. But maybe someone from the studio can comment on that.

    Great idea with twitch, a lot of people make money from that. It comes down to percentages etc and what the platforms want in return though. I think a well managed crowdfunding approach would be key with a good project manager. Indiegogo has the lowest percentage for takings if an existing platform was used, but I'd love to see everything in house just to prove a point. As a filmmaker who has taken a somewhat different approach to a directing career it excites me to think of new possibilities being showcased and proven on a much wider scale (which could be the catalyst in 'change for the better').
  • cinquantesix
    1
    Whether it's Kickstarter or Indiegogo, fees are roughly 8 % (things are a bit tricky on IG if you get funds in CAD)
    https://www.kickstarter.com/help/fees?country=CA
    https://support.indiegogo.com/hc/en-us/articles/204456408-How-much-does-Indiegogo-cost-Fees-Pricing

    Hosting a campaign on your site might be a solution, but honestly, given the fact that this would be a large scale project, I think it would be safer to use a well known platform.
  • Frankie
    14
    What about the idea to register a company for each film and offering shares. There are some restrictions regarding the investors, but a good lawyer should be able to solve this for micro-investors.
    I'm sure there are 1000s of people who would buy a few shares in the range of 100 USD. I would. ;)
  • cinquantesix
    1
    And I agree with @Ryan Mackfall. I think you could get a very successful campaign with a well managed team dedicated to it (frequent updates on the project, BTS, AMA on Reddit or live interview on Twitch, exclusive new perks during the campaign for a limited time, etc.).

    One of the most important things I guess is to be creative with your perks. Sure, like many others on this forum, I'd be glad to give 25 $ for a t-shirt or 10 $ for a poster but what about a perk like this :

    - Get your 3D portrait inside our exosuit - 250 $
    Send us a picture and our SFX artist Ian Sprigg will make a 3D portrait of you and will put it inside a 3D model of the exosuit used in the movie.
    You will get a high-res image + all the 3D files you need to print a figurine of yourself.
    This perk also includes your name in the credits (as a special THANK YOU) and the DIGITAL PACK perk (HD digital download of the movie, Art of the movie in PDF, and access to our private BTS website).

    Come on, Neill ! You know this perk is going to sell like hot cakes ! 8-)
  • Nelostic
    15
    you will create 2$ in steam for all movie =)
  • Johann
    28
    Do what George Lucas did. You become a "rebel alliance" against the whole "system", from pre-production to distribution. (In some way the Star Wars myth is an analogue for his own rebellion against the big studios and as he pointed out the irony is that Lucasfilm became the very thing he fought, but that aside look where it's taken him). I think Oats has that kind of rebellious ideology going for it already.

    Perhaps become your own distributor? Maybe you charge a $1 or more to watch a short online. There's advertising income as well, perhaps even product placement (I hate the idea, but it's better than nothing). Maybe it's a custom built content delivery system. A "Netflix 2.0" that releases shorts, series and eventually features. Of course, one has to start small or get some huge investment behind something like that to get momentum going. Maybe it's a subscription service or maybe it's free and uses an ad-based model similar to Facebook or Google.

    Obviously I'm talking long term vision here. In the meantime you could still look at this option using existing infrastructure. AFAIK YouTube does allow for your own implementation of advertising or product placement. Maybe you give your audience an option, watch some ads and you can watch the movie for free or pay for an ad-free experience. It's the way many apps work as well so people are used to the idea. Oats gets to produce these commercials as well which feeds money into the studio, equipment, salaries etc. Bread and butter are covered.

    Just throwing some additional ideas out there....
  • Johann
    28
    PS: Just discovered this, which I was previously unaware of:

    https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/3249127?hl=en

    So you could have an ad-free paid version and ad-based free version.
  • Duncan Withers
    2
    Hi Neil, Fellow South African here.

    There have been some very interesting ideas put forward. As I mentioned in previous posts, I believe you have a golden opportunity here to really make waves... Well more than you already have :-p

    There are already open source crowdfunding software platforms available if you want to roll your own solution. Even if you spend some money in licencing and/or customisation it would still be cheaper than losing a large cut to the existing big crowdfunding players. Your advantage is that you are already a "big name" in the entertainment industry. People trust you.

    Personally I suggest doing something like this (based on previous peoples ideas):

    Crowd-fund say 50% of your productions and approach more traditional investors to try match or better the crowdfunding. The crowdfunding contributors will obviously have their own reasons for supporting you however I see these as being possible perks or incentives:

    * The arm fuzzy feeling of knowing they are helping shape the future of "Hollywood"/ entertainment.
    * Some digital assets (Full and down-scaled) they can play with them in there own learning or non-profit re-mixes.
    * Greater access to behind the scenes (BTS) information (realtime streams/documentary/ etc).
    * Access to various in-house merchandising.
    * Official props and/or replicas of assets.
    * Give-away/competitions to contributors. The prizes may range from autographed swag to a chance to meet yourself and/or actors and/or production staff. Possibility of being an extra in a production etc.

    I also still believe that you should consider selling BTS/tutorial type videos like what the Stan Winston School of Character Arts does... and you never know what talent is out there that you can use for your next productions.*****

    Anyway, if you set up your own crowdfunding platform it allows you more freedom to also make use of the other tools like Patreon an Googles paid content offerings.

    Oh, last thing, seriously consider accepting cryptocurrency like Bitcoin as well.

    *****
    On a slightly different note, I had an idea which may definitely shake things up.
    Consider drawing on the wider talent pool within your fanbase worldwide. As you are aware, a lot of time (and therefore money) is spent on creating or buying digital assets for background items.
    If you can crowdsource the creation of some of the more mundane digital assets, it would free up your talented artists for the more challenging digital assets within your production.
    So let's say for arguments sake you were wanting to have a bunch of everyday assets like products in a grocery store for a scene. If you can bounty a bunch of things you need made, fans could submit models of their own creation which can be textured or modified by your team as necessary for the scene.
    This is similar to what they did for Iron Sky ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1034314/?ref_=tttr_tr_tt )

    I know a lot of people would love to contribute this way (and have the possibility of being credited).

    As you are familiar with 3D printing, you will most likely be familiar with Thingiverse ( https://www.thingiverse.com/ ). Now imagine a Thingiverse type setup for digital assets which you can use for your production, and in future these same assets being available to other filmmakers either for free or for a small subscription fee to cover hosting costs. Not only would this help you , it would help the many emerging filmmakers out there. This is a future project of mine, but I figure you are more likely to make it happen in a meaningful way for greater adoption.


    Anyway, have an awesome weekend.

    Duncan Withers
  • Azure
    2
    Possibly look into Patreon? Give backers monthly updates or mini docs in exchange for regular funding? Or use it to fund a shorter web series? I've not backed extensively on Patreon but when I have it's been for web series where backers get episodes in advice to the general free watching public.
    I think if it is a full film you have in mind KS is probably your best bet as I suspect you'll need to be sure of the money before you begin. Having the Oats shorts is def a good start as you have concepts ready to go.
  • cryotank
    41
    , your ideas are very good.

    As you said there are already a few open source crowd funding systems. They certainly could be used as a starting platform in a three tier distributed archicture.

    The backend systems would be integrated with different external payment systems like credit cards, paypal, crypto coins or some other. Unfortunately all will require subscription and processing fee.

    In Brazil there's a bar code receipt that you download and print to be paied in the bank (or through online baking). Many people prefers it due to security reasons but unfortunately is not used in many countries.
  • David Griffith
    3
    Patreon, now thats a good idea. Dont really know the ins and outs of it tho!
  • Duncan Withers
    2
    This sounds similar to a system here called "Zapper" (https://www.zapper.com/). The idea is that instead of pulling out your credit/debit card all the time, you load the card details into the app and just scan a barcode on your bill when you are ready to pay.

    In any case, all payment systems will cost money to use, however having options means more people are likely to participate. I personally like the idea of cryptocurency, credit cards, paypal etc for direct contribution then whatever crowdfunding platform is usedfor more project based contributions.
  • cryotank
    41


    It's a payment slip. You access the web site, order a product or service, register personal information, name, email, delivery address, etc.. Then a pdf file with a bar coded slip is sent automatically by email. The client prints the bill and does the payment going in a bank or online home banking.

    After processing, the money is sent to the seller's account, who delivers the order, usually in a matter of 24 hours at most. Many people who don't want to use credit card data in online transactions use this method that also is a lot cheaper (low banking fee).

    But certainly for an international business to be used by people in several countries, a partnership with different payment companies is better and easier, like you said: credit cards, paypal, cryptocurrencies, etc..

    BTW I went to South Africa years ago! Great country, excellent food and very nice people! I still remember the delicious Kingklip Fish, Calamari, shrimps, followed with chenin blanc ! Thinking in another vacations there in the future.

    BTW Zapper seems very good !
  • Creactivity
    22
    ↪Azure
    Patreon, now thats a good idea. Dont really know the ins and outs of it tho!
    David Griffith

    agree also is a good idea to use kickstart for funding
  • skyward
    21
    following on from @Rightstuff - I'm sure you know about the PC space sim Star Citizen - it managed to crowdfund $50m in under two years (camapign started Nov 2012), and is upto $150m now. Admittedly, backers can download WIP versions of the game, and more.

    The interesting bit is that they only generated the first $2m on Kickstarter, switching to their own site after that. I guess the key to emulating that model with a movie would be to planning a constant stream of content during production (and without giving too much away about the movie) - could get tricky for a two-year cycle.

    Personally, I'd prefer to see your movies in the cinema on first viewing - but I have disposable income, so I'd happily pay £20 up front for a digital copy of a movie I won't get until two years later. Plus extra for associated merch. So if you can find 100,000 like minded souls that's your first £2m/$2.6m (minus fees), before continuing funding on your own site / speaking to other investors.

    I'd also potentially pay extra direct to Oats for a concept art book, soundtrack and maybe a tee - and more inclined to do so because I'm involved in production from the beginning and want to champion the campaign. Everyone loves to be an influencer, especially online.

    Hope that's of some use!
  • skyward
    21
    More on Star Citizen's strategy here: http://www.cnbc.com/2014/09/23/the-man-who-made-50-million-ditching-kickstarter.html

    Interesting that he talks about keeping payments and the community in one place (his own site) meant that community interaction continued way after the campaign was finished on Kickstarter.
  • Christopher Moonlight
    16
    Do you follow (or maybe you know) Adi Shankar? He's got a lot to say on the subject.



    I'm sure you've asked Alec Gillis about his experience with Harbinger Down. I took a lot away from that, information wise.
  • Christopher Moonlight
    16
    I should add that I realize his commentary doesn't relate directly to funding from the audience directly, but there's still some food for thought. What you're really asking of course is how do you market in such a way that people want to give you their hard earned money. Many people who publish art books or graphic novels use crowdfunding to pre-sell. I think if you if you look at your marketing as pre-selling instead of just funding, it may change your perspective in a helpful way. (Of course, you may already know this. I'm speaking as someone who is ignorant of your experience or cash of resources.)
  • Rustin L Odom
    24
    Additional content. Your starting point / backbone is short films and you're right to offer those for free, but you expand the stories through novels, comic books, games and other premium content. It's really a test to see how intriguing and unique the stories really are. If the stories are really that sticky, fans will pay for the additional content. Then... Once the top stories are clear, feature films from investors / distribution.
  • OmegaScar
    0
    TL;DR - How much do you think you need to fund a film? Is there a return on investment and if so, how long? I'm pretty confident that with these questions answered, I can donate £10,000. I know it doesn't sound a lot but its my life savings and you've got to start somewhere, right?
  • Andy Lefton
    13
    A lot of great info here and appreciate everyone chiming in with their input. I'm in the midst of a "WTF, and what's proper protocol" stage on getting some funding for my next short. I was able to pull off my last short completely out of pocket, got the awards, etc...but it took me 5 years and it was completely 3D.

    This time, it's my first live-action with an actor and a CG character, it's quite ambitious....now bordering on obsessed to get it completed. The goal is to keep this in the cinematic realm with high-end VFX. I'm sure I can handle a good majority of the CG aspect, but I need to fund AND find things like a good DP, permits, yada yada.

    I just don't know how confident I feel on platforms like Kickstarter, etc. Of course it's legit, I maybe need to look into it deeper and see what it's capable of. Ok, hope I didn't steal any thunder here, just thinking out loud with insomnia ;)

    Cheers
    www.andylefton.com
  • Sacredsilence
    3


    Steam allows Early Access right?
    If you early access the extra content (behind the scenes, 360 stuff, be it what) should be able to purchase right?

    Put some kind of interactivity in there and it should be good to be labled as early access game right?
    Which in it's turn should enable some kind of prepurchase variant?

    E.g. The bunker
  • Frankie
    14

    @Neill, as Duncan said - have a look at the IronSky IP. They know a thing or two and the fans love to be involved. :)
  • iceaxe
    1
    I fully support Neil's vision here and believe he is one of the rare film leaders in scifi today. And to be absolutely clear Neil, I thought Ridley Scott's Prometheus 1 and 2 (especially Covenant) are approaching the same crap territory that Lucas fell into with his prequels.

    Keep fighting and know that we love what you're doing!
  • Kelly
    19
    Are you guys based in the US? I've been talking to someone else here about the fact there's far more funding here in Europe for shorts, and that budgets can be a lot higher, as not raised via Kickstarter etc.
  • Kelly
    19
    Understand you've said you want to fund directly from the audience. But have you tried preselling the shorts to European television? Primarily France? This is how I've part funded my films. But I'm imagining you've already looked down those roots...?
  • Andy Lefton
    13
    Hi Kelly. Yes, I'm located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Where are you located?

    Thanks for the info, definitely something to look into. I'm a co founder of a media coop here in Minneapolis, so getting a crew isn't that difficult and can cut some financial corners, but ultimately good work will require a good budget. Time to put my nose to the grind stone :)

    Cheers
  • Zef Rowsom
    12
    KICKSTARTER:

    Add a lot of Tier Bonuses -- here are some spitball ideas for bonuses:

    Pledge $20 -- Get a digital download
    Pledge $50 -- Get a signed copy of the Blu Ray and Digital Download
    Pledge $100 -- Signed Blu Ray, Digital Download, Signed Limited Edition Poster
    Pledge $250 -- Previous Bonuses + Your name in the credits
    Pledge $500 -- Previous Bonuses + A Skype Video Chat
    Pledge $1000 -- Previous Bonuses + Set Visit (airfare not included)
    Pledge $5000 -- Previous Bonuses + Signed District 9 Thing
    Pledge $10,000 -- Previous Bonuses + Nude Photos Of Sharlto Copley
  • Zef Rowsom
    12
    (That last one is a joke :P)
  • Kelly
    19
    I'm based in the UK but doing co-productions with France....there's a lot of money in France! It really surprised me once I started doing it because there is less money in the UK.
  • AZechariah
    12
    (That last one is a joke :P)Zef Rowsom

    Goddammit
  • Andy Lefton
    13
    Very cool, I'll be in the UK in couple weeks to start our bands tour :)
    Interesting to hear how funding is a bit more attainable on that side...something I'll do a some research on. BTW, saw your website and you've got some nice work!
  • Kelly
    19
    Ahhh thank you :) The next one will be supercool, making a WW1 supernatural thriller, very excited :D
    Did you post an animation a few days back....sorry, just making sure it's the same person? If so I will sit down and watch when I've finished my day of work.....
  • Andy Lefton
    13

    WW1 supernatural thriller, eh? You have my attention!

    I may have posted something, I'm usually doing some shameless plugs here and there :) Maybe grab a virtual coffee and pick your brain on funding approaches, etc for your film. I'm in the midst of creating concept art and boards for a short I've been mulling over the last few years. So hope to gain some knowledge on some of these subjects in the near future. Being behind the desk, animating, VFX'ing is great, but I do enjoy the directing aspect as well, and hope to get more out on the field.
  • Kelly
    19
    Yep, WW1 supernatural thriller with a horror edge :D Super excited as a woman to be directing a war film as well :D
    Virtual coffee sounds great! Currently drinking one now....as always....
  • Adam
    2
    Release teasers, trailers and occasional full-length on YouTube, build a subscriber list. > Release the full length videos on Vimeo as a rental. Link to vimeo in youtube description.(Vimeo keeps 10%).

    OR Release teasers, trailers and occasional full-length on YouTube, build a subscriber list.>Create a paid membership website where full videos can only be seen by paying members.

    or both of the above.
  • paolo
    5
    Neill, how about talking into Valve to add pre-sales to Steam? Maybe just as GumRoad does it: customers are charged only when the product is released. Then you leverage on private capital: given your name and background I could imagine it won't be hard to raise quite a multiplier of whatever was pre-sold. Then when the movie is out customers are charged.

    https://help.gumroad.com/11163-products-and-customizations/preorders
  • zeer0h
    2
    +1 for Kickstarter.

    It's certainly not a platform without flaws but it's safe, people are already familiar with it, and the various tiers can actually be a super creative way of rewarding those who support it at the higher levels. If it worked for Jodorowsky, it will also surely work for you Mr. Blomkamp. :)
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