Innovative ideas don’t grow on trees, and as we’re all aware, neither does money. And while ingenuity sews the seeds that can blossom into veritable forests of cash, without a hefty initial capital investment, the mind’s creative landscape may as well be as barren as Death Valley.
And the Internet comes to the rescue.
Crowd-funding websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have provided an outlet for the little-guys to finance their projects – that would otherwise remain dead in the water – through monetary donations from their peers. The working model of crowd-funding platforms revolves around projects that have a definitive start and finish, which bars venture capitalists or individuals seeking the start-up money for a business or other long-term undertaking from participating.
Too many unique and profitable ideas are killed in their inception because of a lack of preliminary cash flow, and that’s what makes crowd-funding so important. Monetary growth is catalyzed by bright-ideas, so encouraging imaginative folks to pursue their visions only benefits the global-economy. As the classic tale of starting a Fortune 500 company with $200 in a garage-apartment has always been more of a ‘feel good’ cliché, crowd-funded campaigns provide subsidies to individuals with realistic, pioneering ideas.
It’s not all sunshine and roses, however.
A few celebrities and other financial-elites have recognized the advantages of crowdsourced projects and have begun testing the waters, ruffling the feathers of the crowd-funding faithful and their Hollywood contemporaries alike. Actor/director/writer extraordinaire Zach Braff drew widespread criticism for employing a Kickstarter campaign to fund his passion project, Wish I Was Here, a film that has been repeatedly shot-down by many traditional financiers.
The immediate argument is that deep-pocketed celebs have no business begging for change from the public, especially when bypassing conventional production channels means greater personal returns. Director Kevin Smith echoed this sentiment when discussing funding for Clerks III, citing the unfair advantage established directors have over the art-school indie-filmmaker struggling to get his project off the ground.
There’s no doubt that websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo are terrific outlets for the brilliant-minded but financially shorthanded members of our society, and has the potential to fast-track projects that would otherwise remain unexplored. The primary challenge that the online crowd-funding model faces is ensuring that donations make their way to the appropriate individuals, and if this is achieved, this financing strategy will continue to flourish.