Posts Tagged ‘kickstarter’
Some might say it’s been a long, long while since October — with “some” referring to the swath of Kickstarter backers who’ve been waiting oh-so-patiently for a Form 1 to call their own. Formlabs has just confirmed via a company blog post that the very first Form 1 3D printer shipped out today, as the Collector’s Edition Form 1 and half of the Initial Formation tier of pledges hopped on a variety of delivery trucks. The rest of you backers can expect to begin printing “by the end of next week.” For those keeping count, the Form 1 is actually a few months behind schedule, but in all honesty, that’s pretty good considering the up-and-down nature of crowdfunded projects that manage to find the limelight.
The outfit is reminding folks that Form 1 units are shipped as they’re produced, fulfilling Kickstarter rewards and preorders by priority. Specifics on group deliveries won’t come for a few more weeks, but those in the Bay Area can swing by Maker Faire (or ICFF if you’re in the Big Apple) to catch an early glimpse. Oh, and if you’re just now hearing of this thing? You can place a $ 3,299 order right now, but you probably won’t get it until July. Them’s the breaks, kids!
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The amiable Scrubs actor’s crowdfunding project has resulted in both major fan support and some serious criticism. So, what’s the truth?
Via: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images
How did the smiley doctor from a cult favorite sitcom become the biggest lightning rod in Hollywood and on the internet?
Last month, Zach Braff launched a Kickstarter drive to finance a new feature film, Wish I Was Here; he had already written the script, about a struggling actor trying to balance fatherhood and his artistic ambition, and he would serve as director and star as well.
The film hit its $ 2 million goal in just a few days (it’s now at $ 2.6 million), but it also earned him scorn. Bloggers and industry members snarked over Twitter — Tim Heidecker wrote out a particularly cruel fake scene for the film — and independent filmmakers debated whether the influx of celebrity-driven projects would bring more attention to Kickstarter (as Braff had promised) or deplete the pool of money for those that truly needed it.
“We've been living both under the microscope and in the spotlight at the same time,” Stacey Sher, the producer on his film, told BuzzFeed, noting her surprise at the attention the campaign has garnered.
Braff took to Twitter and media appearances to quiet the storm, but it began anew on Wednesday with The Hollywood Reporter's report from Cannes that the movie had secured “traditional” financing from Worldview Media. The reaction was swift; bloggers called for the over 38,000 people that have backed Braff's film to pull back their pledges, since it seemed that he didn't really need their cash at all.
Once again, Braff had to put out a fire. The money from Worldview, as he wrote in a note on Kickstarter and Sher told BuzzFeed on Thursday, is not so much financing as it is a loan, meant to help him start production while he awaits the funds he earned on Kickstarter and from selling the rights to distribute the film to foreign countries, a process happening at Cannes right now. Worldview isn't giving him money to make the movie so much as giving him a bit of cash now in exchange for repayment — with interest — in the future.
“Normally, when you pre-sell a film in foreign, you end up going to secure a bank loan because you cannot get that money until you deliver the film,” Sher said. “So that's what is referred to as gap financing. A bank takes a service charge for that. It usually takes 10 weeks to secure a bank loan. Because of our schedule for making the film, which is, we begin principal photography in the first week of August, we don't have the time to get at traditional bank loan against our foreign pre-sale agreements… Worldview will provide that right away for us in exchange for the same kind of fees a bank would get and other things a bank wouldn't get because we don't have enough time to get a bank loan.”
This particular project has been about a year in the making, though Braff had been working on scripts since Garden State proved a surprise hit in 2004. In 2011, free of his commitment to the hit sitcom Scrubs, the New Jersey native mounted his theatrical writing debut, the Off-Broadway play All New People.
“He did his play that summer in New York, which also grew out of the frustration of him being a personal iconoclastic filmmaking voice, but it didn't really translate readily to what's going on right at this moment in mainstream Hollywood,” Sher says. He also began writing with his brother Adam the script that would become Wish I Was Here, which he finished last summer.
Braff has explained that the project, a follow-up to his sole previous directorial effort, 2004's Garden State, was too personal for him to subject it to the creative interference — or meddling — of the financiers that usually back independent films.
Sher read it this past winter and signed on to produce along with her business partner, Michael Shamberg. She was surprised, she says, that they weren't finding the money to mount what was not a sequel to Garden State but at least, as she calls it, “an emotional kindred spirit.” Today, Hollywood places a much higher value on tentpole action movies, the big summer blockbusters like Iron Man and Transformers that can return megabucks around the world if successful; they swing for the fences, hoping for a grand slam instead of stringing together solid singles and doubles.
And so, Braff and Sher took stock of what they thought producing the film would require, financially, and saw an uncertain road ahead.
“Foreign sales is a very quirky market, and what is valued and what isn't valued explains the kind of packages we get in the multiplex sometimes, where people go, 'How did that cast come together?'” she says. “Well, it's a function of how you pre-sell foreign and the eccentricities and complications of independent film finance. And basically we just decided to take a risk.”
In March, Rob Thomas launched the Veronica Mars movie Kickstarter campaign, breaking crowdsourcing records with a nearly $ 6 million haul. It became clear that Kickstarter could be used to finance a multimillion-dollar movie, though without the built-in fan base of the cult CW hit, there was some uncertainty whether Wish I Was Here could be one of them. There has also been an element of critical derision of Garden State, a sort of backlash to what was seen as a defining indie film that is now both loved and tweaked for its quirks, which made things even more uncertain.
They decided to take the leap, anyway, and made the crowdfunding site one of three avenues they'd take to reaching the $ 5-6 million budget. The other two would be whatever they could earn in foreign distributor fees, and then Braff's own money, which Sher calls “a very large contribution.”
“I'm not taking a fee on the film, people aren't taking fees, and those that have to take fees are working for scale,” Sher says, defending her star against charges that, as a millionaire making a continuous income via Scrubs syndication, he's lining his pockets' with fan money. “That's one of the things that has been odd about some of the stuff that's been written.”
In his note last night, Braff explained the financing situation and then offered fans a chance to take back their money.
“Let's be frank. There are people out there who don't want this to work. There are people out there rooting for me and you (if you're a backer) to fail,” he wrote. “There are bloggers writing hateful things about me. I can take it. I'm kind of used to it. I hope you can. But if you feel misinformed or you no longer like this, you can cancel your support anytime in the next 8 days.”
Before he wrote that note, it was announced earlier Wednesday that Mandy Patinkin and Josh Gad had been cast in the film, something that Sher says was a product of the unique approach they have taken to making the project.
“Worldview has no creative control over the film. None of our partners have creative control over the film,” she says. “When people say Zach found full financing, that's just not true. If we wanted to give everything away, the fact that his film could be taken away from him, that he wouldn't have control over who he cast, then we would have taken the traditional model… Because of our 38,000 backers to date, we can cast Josh Gad for a part that somebody would have wanted a much larger star for based on foreign value.”
Most stories based on the THR report have been updated with the clarification Braff provided last night, with criticism at least slightly muted for now.
The SEC is currently evaluating Slated, an online exchange with which investors can put money into a film project and receive financial returns, not just the prizes — T-shirts, digital downloads, set visits — that can be offered to Kickstarter contributors. That could quiet the criticism that projects like Braff's receive, though Slate's launch date is still in question.
There remains a debate to be had over whether it's helpful or right for mainstream filmmakers to be using what was initially meant to be a platform for truly independent artists to make their projects outside the mainstream system. Perhaps more importantly, whether the enthusiasm for these seemingly unlikely projects will change traditional financiers' minds about funding them also remains to be seen.
Mad Genius Controllers believes it can make Sony’s idea of a break-apart DualShock controller a reality with its new splittable motion controller prototype. The Mad Genius Motion Capture System mimics an Xbox 360 controller in its current form, but is able to bring motion control and tracking to any game on Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, and PC using its camera-less sensor technology.
Having crushed its $ 400k funding target on Kickstarter last year, Stainless Steel games has finally delivered the goods for Android users. An improved re-release, Carmageddon: Reincarnation, is now available on Google Play for $ 1.99. Show sufficient disregard for pedestrians and you might even get there in time to download it free.
The promise of OpenMobile’s Application Compatibility Layer is inciting: seamlessly run Android apps on another operating system as if it was meant to be there. Unfortunately for fans of Palm’s last hurrah, the project’s webOS port died with the HP Touchpad. That won’t stop dedicated fans, however — Phoenix International Communications plans to resurrect webOS ACL. Taking the project to Kickstarter, the team has showed an early build of the project on an HP Touchpad, seamlessly running Android apps in cards alongside native webOS applications. Phoenix hopes that a functional ACL will reduce Touchpad owner’s reliance on dual-booting Android, giving them the freedom to enjoy webOS without sacrificing functionality. The team is promising a relatively short development time, thanks to OpenMobile’s early work, and hopes to deliver a consumer ready build in July. But first the Kickstarter campaign will need to meet its $ 35,000 goal. Interested in pitching in? Check out the Kickstarter link at the source.
When the lead designers of the cult struck Planescape: Torment couldn’t get the rights they had to make a sequel, they decided to make the following finest thing. A spiritual successor called Torment: Tides of Numenera finished a Kickstarter project today, ending with even more cash pledged than for any various other video game to date. With $ 4,188,927 in financing, developer inXile Home entertainment more than quadrupled its required objective to produce the isometric RPG. It’s the business’s second appeal to Kickstarter. The first project, nearly a year ago, funded the RPG Wasteland 2, which is still in development.
Like Planescape: Torment, the brand-new game is based off of a fantasy setting for a tabletop RPG, and it takes a lot of cues from the …
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When the lead designers of the cult hit Planescape: Torment couldn’t acquire the rights they needed to make a sequel, they decided to make the next best thing. A spiritual successor called Torment: Tides of Numenera finished a Kickstarter campaign this week, ending with more money pledged than for any other video game to date. With $ 4,188,927 in funding, developer inXile Entertainment more than quadrupled its required goal to produce the isometric RPG. It’s the company’s second appeal to Kickstarter. The first campaign, nearly a year ago, funded the RPG Wasteland 2, which is still in development.
Like Planescape: Torment, the new game is based off of a fantasy setting for a tabletop RPG, and it takes a lot of cues from the…
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Forget having kids. Forget mind-transfers. Real immortality lies in naming a video transition after yourself. No, seriously. To make eternity happen, you simply need to donate $ 500 to Jonathan Thomas’s Kickstarter project and in return he’ll let you create and name a transition effect in a new cross-platform version of his free, open source video editing program, called OpenShot. Currently Linux-only, it supports regular timeline-based video editing with layers and compositing, transitions, effects, titles and support for a wide range of AV formats courtesy of the usual open source codec libraries. If it reaches its $ 20k goal, Thomas will start work Windows and Mac OS editions alongside Linux, anticipating a beta release before the end of the year. Smaller donations will receive more minor possessions in the afterlife, such as your name in the credits. Bigger pledges — of up to $ 10,000 — will flip things around slightly and require Jonathan Thomas to sell you his soul. Go get it, Pharoah!
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Crowdfunding has been a way of life for indie film for years, but with fractions of the $ 3.7 million (and counting) banked by Veronica Mars . Could indie films ever measure up?
Image by UPN; Jess Pinkham
It’s been a week since Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell broke the internet with their Kickstarter campaign for a feature film version of Veronica Mars. In less than 24 hours, the film reached its $ 2 million goal, securing an unprecedented deal with Warner Bros. Digital for distribution, marketing, and promotion. Over the subsequent week, some 56,700 backers have donated a running total of $ 3.7 million to the effort — a rough average of $ 65.50 per donation — blasting past the previous Kickstarter record for a feature film project several times over. In just seven days, this plucky teenage gumshoe has managed to rewrite the rules for crowdfunding a movie production budget, causing many professionals in Hollywood to give sites like Kickstarter a serious new look.
The day the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign started, television producer Shawn Ryan tweeted, “Very interested to see how this Veronica Mars kickstarter goes. Could be a model for a Terriers wrap up film.” Zachary Levi told Entertainment Weekly he was already contemplating a Kickstarter campaign for a Chuck feature film. Showrunner Bryan Fuller said to The Hollywood Reporter that he's now seriously considering discussing with Warner Bros. how he could revive Pushing Daisies as a feature film, despite his reservations about the budget he would need. (On the other hand, Joss Whedon told BuzzFeed that, for now, a crowdfunded Firefly film is “a total non-Kickstarter for me.”)
With the bright media spotlight so suddenly fixed on crowdfunding, it may surprise observers new to the phenomenon to learn that, before Ms. Mars and her Neptune, California, crew showed up to the party, Kickstarter had already successfully raised nearly $ 100 million for independent films. About 10% of the films at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012 and 2013 were funded via Kickstarter, as was the 2012 Oscar winner for Best Documentary Short, Inocente. For four years now, crowdfunding sites like Seed & Spark, Fractured Atlas, Indiegogo, and Kickstarter have been helping cash-strapped indie filmmakers build their production budgets, finish the final edits, and screen the finished films at festivals.
Most importantly, they've also connected filmmakers with their audiences in a profound way. “Almost as important as getting you funds, those sites build a community around your project,” says writer-director Jonathan Lisecki, who raised roughly $ 30,000 for his delightful romantic comedy Gayby via Kickstarter and Fractured Atlas. “It creates a level of excitement and anticipation for your film, at least from the people who feel like they are a part of it.”
And for many in the indie world, it's not nearly clear yet how Veronica Mars' runaway success with crowdfunding will affect this still-developing economic ecosystem.
Ava DuVernay on the set of Middle of Nowhere.
“When I look at [Veronica Mars on Kickstarter], I can only think, Oh, good for them, but it has nothing to do with me,” says Ava DuVernay, writer-director of the 2012 indie darling Middle of Nowhere. “That’s a show that had huge national exposure on television for however many seasons it was on, week after week. It's a venture that will eventually be supported by a corporate structure. It's wonderful that it happened for them, but for me, as an independent filmmaker who literally makes films for less than a half million dollars — my last film [budget] was $ 200,000 — what's happening there is outside the context of true independent filmmaking.”
Echoes Lisecki, “There are hundreds and hundreds of films each year that are asking for, like, 25 grand, 30 grand, 50 grand. I'm not quite sure how many people could pull off $ 1 million.” To wit: Big Gay Love, starring Lisecki and Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Nicholas Brendon, just reached its modest $ 20,000 Kickstarter goal after 27 days of trying. Veronica Mars cleared that bar in a matter of minutes.
The Mars model isn't a complete outlier, however. Producer Josh Penn — who worked with nonprofits to fund the Oscar-nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild but has turned to Kickstarter to help finance two documentaries — is more sanguine about what Veronica Mars means for crowdfunding. “It shows that crowdfunding can work all scales of projects,” he says. “It really opens up the possibilities of what can be made. These [crowdfunding] tools were being used for much, much smaller projects only. I love the idea that there's a way to do something totally independently just because people believe it should be made. … It's a whole new model for filmmaking.”
For Penn, one of the caveats to Veronica Mars' success — that it had a huge built-in audience itching to support it — only proves that established indie filmmakers should consider their own fans when planning their next films. “If we had gone out three years ago and said, 'We want to make Beasts of the Southern Wild on Kickstarter,' we would not have been able to fund the entire movie,” he says. “If we went out now and said, 'We want to make Beasts of the Southern Wild 2' — which we don't want to make, for the record — I think maybe we could. It would be an interesting experiment to see if we could be able to garner enough support to fund an entire film like that.”
At the very least, indie filmmakers can be more ambitious with their fundraising goals — but only to a point. “The lesson for independent filmmakers here is not that you can go out and raise $ 3 million,” says Josh Welsh, co-president of Film Independent, a non-for-profit organization that helps indie filmmakers (and puts on the annual Indie Spirit Awards). “Filmmakers need to have a sense of reality to what's really feasible to accomplish. At the same time, they should not be too modest in their aspirations. I encounter both of these [issues] with filmmakers.”
Welsh says that a smart, focused, energized crowdfunding campaign has the very real potential to make upwards of six figures. “If your total budget is $ 500,000 and you're able to raise $ 200,000 on Kickstarter, that's incredible,” he says. “Non-refundable money — [where] you don't have to pay an investor back — is a huge asset to your film. To me, the space where you're seeing the most impact of Kickstarter right now is in low-budget, quality filmmaking.”
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The standard plant of 3D printers are all well and good, however what about those times when you should print something actually, truly big? Gigabot’s hoping to fill in that gaping void with a construct envelope of 24 x 24 x 24 inches– 30 times the volume of a common customer device, by its estimations. The device is a beast, normally– and metal one, at that. It’s so huge, in truth, that it can support a full-sized laptop sitting atop a connected arm.
The project is the brainchild of re:3 D, an Austin-based start-up, which has counted on Kickstarter to help bring the Gigabot into the globe– and from the looks of it, the company should hit its $ 40,000 objective, no trouble. You could pick one of these up for a $ 2,500 pledge, which gets you everything thing you have to construct one at estate. Video of the printer in action after the break.
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