Who is responsible when a crowd funded project stalls? Who looks out for you as a backer when your investment comes to nothing? Local award-winning filmmaker, Jason van Genderen is on a mission to find out… And, he needs your help.
This is not Jason’s first rodeo, he’s won awards at Tropfest NY and Sundance in London. When he’s not winning awards, he’s working with his team at Treehouse Creative telling stories for local, national and international clients. Check out their showreel below.
Jason is now on a mission to lift the lid on the darker side of crowd funding. To do this, he’s turned to crowd funding himself in hope to produce a feature documentary film called, Kickstaller.
What is crowd funding?
Crowdfunding is a method of raising capital through the collective effort of friends, family, customers, and individual investors. It’s a magic formula where finance meets the collaborative economy. In place of funding start-ups via conventional business loans or grants, crowd funding connects the entrepreneur with a global pool of social media followers that each chip in a modest amount, but on a large scale. It has worked amazingly well for some. Australia’s Flow Hive actively crowd funded their project from a Byron Bay backyard shed. Who would have guessed a father and son duo adding taps to a beehive would find $70,000… in just 8 minutes! Captivating the world’s media, this innovation ended up being crowd funded to the tune of $12.2 million, simply with the power of people.
Q & A With Jason van Genderen
NL: Have you ever used crowd funding for one of your own projects?
JAS: Yes I have, with mixed results! It’s certainly no easy journey from either side of the project… and I’ll be revealing a warts & all insight into my own crowd funding experiences as well as part of the documentary.
NL: Have you ever been burnt by crowd funding you’ve supported?
JAS: Unfortunately yes, and I guess that was the tipping point for me looking into this story as a whole. One project I backed in September last year (a tablet version of a Macbook) cost me over $6,500 and over a year on I’m still no closer to either seeing my pre-purchased Mac tablet or a refund. It was this experience that got me questioning the process of crowd funding and seeing what regulations protected backers… and I was stunned to find that there were none, really. Your credit card provider, your bank, Paypal, all of them powerless to retrieve your missing monies. And the crowd funding platforms themselves provide no security or insurances either, despite them collecting between 8 to 10% of your pledged monies in commissions. In a $34 billion dollar industry (in 2015 alone), that equals quite some cash!
NL: What will you use the money you generate from crowd funding your project for?
JAS: The funds we’re trying to raise will be used for hard costs in securing the stories for the documentary. We need to travel to the USA and hunt down some slippery people who won’t want to be interviewed, and we need to do this relatively soon after the project is funded to maintain the currency in the story. The remaining funds will be needed for post-production services, music licensing, appointing a publicist to help spread the film far and wide and film festival entry fees. It’s important to note that none of my crew (including myself) will draw any wages from what we crowd fund, our physical time filming and editing will be at our own cost.
NL: Why do you want to make this film?
JAS: Kickstaller needs to be made because crowd funding is such a dynamic, vibrant, explosive space right now BUT it’s also a misunderstood, dangerous and unprotected space too. The World Bank estimates crowd funding will be worth $90 billion annually by 2020, some recent predictions say it’ll hit that easily by 2017. If this truly is representative of a whole new global enterprise that we’ll all be using soon to buy albums, attend events, buy fashion, electronics and pre-purchase entertainment and games… wouldn’t you want to know your money will be safe and your purchase is protected by some form of consumer rights? Even if you have never engaged with a crowd funding project yet, the chances are you won’t be able to avoid the medium within 12 to 18 months. When you do, you don’t want to get burned.
NL: Can you tell us a little about Shane Emmett & Josephine Gleeson and their role in the production of Kickstaller?
JAS: Sure! Shane and I have collaborated on numerous short films which have blazed new pathways through international film festivals, such as Tropfest NY, Edinburgh International Film Fest and Sundance London. Shane has agreed to join me in this – our very first feature length documentary together – and I simply couldn’t have a better filmic wingman by my side. Similarly Josephine Gleeson is not only an accomplished entertainer herself, but having studied law she’s the perfect fit for the in-depth investigations we need to dig into to find those elusive characters trying to hide from the truths we’ll expose. The fact they’ve donated their time and wisdom to Kickstaller means the documentary will rock, I’m sure of it!
How can you help fund Kickstaller
At the time of publishing this post, Kickstaller had raised $18,767 of its $25,000 target. Jason has until Sunday December 6 to reach his target and he needs your help.
If you’re keen, head to Kickstaller’s Kickstarter crowd funding page and become a backer.