The Scott Shaw Blog Be Positive

Seeking Financing AKA Free is Free

Kinda funny… I received this email today from Indiegogo:
Hello Scott,
Would You Like to Start Raising Money?
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Start your campaign whenever you’re ready!
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CUSTOMER HAPPINESS: Get fast answers to your questions from real people.
Over the last 90 days we have had thousands of people contribute to campaigns on our site. You could be raising money right now to turn your dream into reality.
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Sincerely, The Indiegogo Team
The letter and the fonts were all big and colorful, with links and stuff. I’ve just given you the basic basic here. But, you get the idea…
Now, first of all, I’ve never tried to raise money on Indiegogo or any other crowd funding site. I don’t have a Patreon page set up or anything like that. I have given money to a few films that were seeking financing on Indiegogo. What happened with that money or those films??? Never heard from or about them again.  Hummm???
As someone who has been in the film game for a lot of years, I understand very clearly about getting outside money to make your projects happen. Once upon a time, in the long ago and the far-far away, people used to court investors in all kinds of ways. I was at a number of those meetings. But, that was all physical, face-to-face stuff. And, I am sure that still goes on today. Everyone wants to be a part of Hollywood, right?
I’ve known people that have taken money from investors on crowd funding sites, and elsewhere, and never made the movie they promised. The one that always comes to my mind is this very established filmmaker who needed surgery but didn’t have health insurance. He put it out there he was going to make this movie with some known actors. It all sounds very good and BIG. He got the money, had the surgery, and then started the dodge; making excuses about the film left and right. Finally, and because he was such an established filmmaker, everyone was asking, “Where’s the movie?” They were all expecting something big as was promised. I guess he had no choice but to make the movie or give back the money. In any case, he shot something in one or two days on video that was very-very bad, very-very short, and he never even tried to do anything with it. I thought that was so messed up!
I’ve also known people, this one guy in particular, that gave his whole life-savings to this one filmmaker to finish the piece he was initially in as an actor.  The filmmaker’s previous movie got tons of press and went big. So, he got this guy to believe. The guy’s money gone. The movie went no where. Welcome to Hollywood.
As an instructor of filmmaking, particularly back in the
‘90s and early 2000s, I used to point my students to the industry mags where, in the back pages, there were people actually offering money for certain types of projects. Those were legit deals though. They weren’t anything in the world sketchy.
For those of you who know me, or know of me, you know, I never, personally, take money from investors to make my films. It all comes out of my own pocket. Why? Because if you take other people’s money, it all gets so complicated.
I, of course, have worked with people who got outside money. The problem then becomes, it all becomes such a mess of power tripping and egos and lies and unfulfilled desires. People expect to make millions from their investment. But, there is no money to make! The film game has forever been such a crooked industry. And, this has been the case since its inception. Then, as first the video age and then the digital age dawned, everybody became a filmmaker. It got even worse. The stories I could tell you… There is no money to be made!
So, sure, it would be great to have someone, or a lot of people, give me money to make a movie. But, the funny thing or interesting or whatever about my filmmaking career has seemed to be, people are happy to talk all kinds of shit about my films. They make docs about me and presentations about my movies. They write reviews. Talk shit about me and my films on Reddit and places like that. They do podcasts, whatever… The fact is, all they do is to take from me and my films. But, what do they give me? Nothing, nada.
I’ve had a lot of people, over the years, since sites like Indiegogo came into existence, ask me why I don’t make another one of this movie or that and finance it with crowd funding. But, the fact is, no one would contribute. Would you give me the kind of money it would take to make a Zen Film? Probably not. Sure, you may buy a copy of one of my films. Thanks!  Sure, you may watch them on YouTube. Thanks! But, that all is free or, at least, very cheap. How much would you be willing to give me to make my kind of ART happen? Probably nothing.
The brings us to the fact of the fact of this piece… Everybody wants everything for free. Each person has a million reasons why they can’t or won’t contribute. But, nonetheless, they are very willing to take. How about you? How much do you give, verses how much do you expect to get for free? When you do get something for free, do you even consider that you are getting it for free? Or, do you simply take and think nothing about what it took to create that whatever?

Free is free. Everything else costs money. What do you contribute?

Think about it…