I’ve been meaning to write about this for months, and the recent MTV2 campaign for its ‘Savage County’ horror flick (plus a twitter exchange with @Simonpulman) finally prompted this brief post.
It’s getting crowded in the creative communities.
The struggle for creatives to fight obscurity, piracy, and shrinking funding sources has caused them to explore alternative approaches. One of these is the idea that audiences are valuable resources beyond their ability to simply hand over money in exchange for a finished creative work.
In short, creatives are turning to their audiences for help in a variety of ways, and they’re doing so well before they offer their work for sale.
Several companies and websites provide services to address these needs, and so far I’ve seen three distinct categories emerge:
Crowdsourcing – “Who will help me make my project?”
Crowdfunding – “Who will fund my project?”
- Indie GoGo
- Sokap (note, its only current project is The Biracy Project)
- My Bandstock
Crowdfinding – “Who will buy my project?”
Together, these crowd-based tools can greatly help creatives struggling to realize their vision.
To be clear, I’m not advocating the use of any particular service. In fact, creatives can do all of these crowd-based activities on their own.
What I’m suggesting is that creatives should make a conscious decision about whether and how each of these crowd-based activities should be incorporated into the overall creative project. Got your own money? Crowdfunding can be dropped from the mix. Need a little help with some market research to project whether how much money you can make? Spend some time on crowdfinding.
I’ve been working lately with Sheri Candler, a marketer in the indie film area who brings a healthy perspective about the realities of commercial success for indie filmmakers. I admire her for taking something of a ‘tough love’ approach to her projects and for advocating early audience engagement.
Her recommendations equate to more work and time for filmmakers, but they bring a better understanding of the landscape in which a film is being made.
And on a closing note, my twitter exchange with Simon Pulman highlighted the fact that crowdfinding isn’t just for indie creatives. MTV2’s campaign to generate both marketing buzz and engagement metrics (should) help them determine when/where/how to release the movie in order to maximize revenues. But as Simon pointed out, authenticity and a sense that votes will actually matter are key drivers.
I see a spectrum of possibilities for how these campaigns can be rolled out, from simple voting to a more active, interactive experience for potential audiences.
I’m sure there are more crowd-based services out there – please let me know of ones you like/have used.