New Jersey Stage

Saturday, August 23, 2014

INSIDE MUSIC: Crowdfunding the Arts

By Rosemary Conte

Zak Danger Brown, Columbus, Ohio, an Internet jokester, ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10 to make a bowl of potato salad. Four days into the month-long campaign, he had raised $32,000. It ended at $44,000! Another Kickstarter campaign was for promoting rape-based card game that has players rape their way through an all-girls school. It raised $30,000 before it was cancelled by Kickstarter for being too sexy.

Reading this, a serious singer/songwriter, author, or painter might think that if stupid and depraved can attract great sums of money, surely an attempt to drop something beautiful upon the masses could do as well. But---as the song says, "It ain't necessarily so."
I've supported and followed some Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns, and have done some research. I've found that the crowdfunding craze has grown a pioneer mentality. Campaigners are eager to share lessons they've learned, to help others succeed. An Internet search will find such pioneers as well as many crowdfunding sites that feature tutorials and offer strategies for a successful campaign.

Filmmaker Jack Ballo is running an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for licensing of music, and distribution of his indie documentary, Destiny's Bridge, about homelessness and a solution for it. He's raised $10,000 in 30 days and has opted to extend it for another 30. Jack has worked 16 hour days for months, preparing and executing his campaign. When he looks at it in terms of time and money spent, he feels he's worked for something like 25 cents an hour---and he misses his wife. (Not every artist will have Jack's endurance.)

In case you want to try this "Next Big Thing", you'll find a book with that name. And among the huge number of other books about it CF, there is, of course, "Crowdfunding for Dummies."