Filmmaker David Brundige got sick of chasing millionaires around begging for money, so he decided to crowd-source the funding of his first feature. I asked him to write up a little about his plans…
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There are two awful parts of filmmaking: 1) selling your film before it is made to get it produced, and 2) selling your film after it’s made to pay back your investors.
To make my first feature film, I decided to combine those two chores into one and try to sell my film’s DVD ahead of time in order to pay for the meager $25,000 budget. Selling a DVD of my unmade film on blind faith to people I don’t know would most definitely be a tough sell, so that’s why I tailored my film’s website to people who already knew me, and know that I’ve been trying to make my first feature film for the past five-plus years. After all, what was the purpose of accumulating 571 Facebook friends if not to microfinance a buddy’s first feature so he can shut up about wanting to make a movie and do it already?
On my website, plainly titled www.davidsfirstmovie.com, I set up two types of payment methods via Paypal. The first is a straight purchase of the DVD for $25 and the second is a donation button for those who can afford to give more. At $25 a pop, it would take 1,000 sales to reach my goal, so I knew that I would be relying on more able-walleted friends to help push me over the edge. So far, that theory has worked out. One-third of those who have given have given over $25, with many giving $50 or more. To sweeten the deal, I even made a list of bonuses for donors who give more, including an automatic “thanks” in the credits to everyone who purchases a DVD.
Still, the problem lies in sheer numbers. I wish this could be a full success story, but even so, there are certain successes to be heralded. With three weeks until my start date, the number of friends who have donated (almost one hundred so far) has been encouraging enough that I would feel embarrassed not to go out and make this movie now, even though my target budget has not been met. Because donations and purchases keep trickling in, I’m confident that if I charge the movie to my credit card like so many filmmakers have done, I’ll slowly get paid back as I continue the campaign. Additionally, I’ve attached an up-and-coming comedic actor named Jake Johnson who co-stars with Michael Cera in this summer’s Paper Heart, and has recently sold a new show to HBO with Knocked Up‘s Charlyne Yi.
Anyway, please check out my website at www.davidsfirstmovie.com and support the cause. I hope that other filmmakers will be able to use this financing model in years to come.
All my best,
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The movie is about two musician friends whose plan to record an album gets derailed when one falls in love with a Jamaican nurse who is the caretaker for an old man — the man whose baseball card collection they were planning to sell to get the money to finance the album. It’s a comedy, and meant to be a love letter to the neighborhood that inspired it, Park Slope, Brooklyn.
David’s short film “Otto” is really terrific, but it doesn’t seem to be available online. You can see his work on this site, which has a selection of spec commercials.
Do check out www.davidsfirstmovie.com. I think it’s a very well-designed website for what David is attempting.