By Christopher Moshier
March 9, 2007 - 13:01
With most film makers – dare I throw the word independent in there – I am most certain they would have no problem turning to their peers and/or fans for funding. But as a fan of film – just someone who wants to sit down and watch something that would interest them – would the casual viewer pay to get that film made? That is basically what brings us to Andy Doan’s film modeling concept, Fundable Films. FF is an online community of film makers and film fans combining their passions, their resources, and (YES!) their cash to see film projects completed that may never see fruition otherwise.
Here is how the concept reads:
Resources for independent producers of entertainment.
This is an online community-based service that allows independent producers of media to seek out support and funding from the public. Producers can upload storyboards, scripts, concept art, or trailers to their profile in order to inform site users about their various projects. Depending on the producer's needs and situation they could seek support for a project in one of four ways: Pure Promotion (free), Prey for Angels (donations), Ask for a loan (like Prosper.com), Sale of equity (shares). At each level of involvement producers would be allowed to sell merchandise and hard copies (DVDs/CDs) of their works to the public. The application makes money by collecting service fees.
Supporters of specific projects would be given access to members only information. Producers could keep members in the loop by producing production blogs or vidcast/podcasts.
- Andy Doan
The Comic Book Bin talks with Andy Doan about this concept. But before you read the interview check out the two videos provided to further explore the idea.
COMIC BOOK BIN (through Christopher Moshier): How about a little "fan boy" background on yourself, Andy.
ANDY DOAN: My name is Andy Doan, I live in St Thomas Ontario Canada. I work full time as a shipping clerk at a local auto parts factory, but in my spare time I do a bit of web design and programing for small businesses.
I have been an avid fan of TV, movies, books and comics for as long as I can remember. I grew up with G.I. Joe, Transformers, Spiderman and Stars Wars. Currently, I own a 7000 book comic collection and my monthly subscription is up to 30 books a month. I used to be a big Marvel guy but as I get older I find myself more and more drawn into the DC universe. I try to watch at least one great SciFi movie per week. Lately I've been watching a lot of public domain black and white films.
CBB: Your Fundable Films idea was the first winner through a concept called "Idea Warz" sponsored by the Cambrian House. How did this come about?
AD: I found Idea Warz via BoingBoing.net. From the time that I won Idea Warz till now has mostly been filled with me accepting the fact that my dream will become a reality. I've had to move it from an idealistic concept into the real world of business models. We've had to determine who we're making the site for and figure out what we will be able to offer in it's initial release.
One of the most important things that has happened since October in the increase of momentum. After a successful market test a few months ago we've continued to gain interest and supporters. We'll be ramping up the enthusiasm a little more as we move closer to the end of March and the beta release.
CBB: There are so many sites online dealing with the entertainment industry that wants talents money in hopes of that site supposedly helping them in there said career – I could probably list a lot of them, but would never want to give them a plug. Just GOOGLE away and you can find them easy enough from sites dealing with voice acting to screenwriting to having your little pic and bio up on some site for $300 a year yearning to be discovered. How does Fundable Films differ?
AD: The biggest difference with us is that we will not be attempting to get in the way of passionate creative people. As a creative person you will not be pitching your idea to us or a seasoned Hollywood producers for that matter. Your concepts go straight to our community of movie supporters. You will not be judged on the layout of your script or strength of your connections to "important" people. Your project will gain support if members of the public want to see it made.
CBB: How does your idea differs from TriggerStreet.com.
AD: TriggerStreet.com is a great resource for young film makers looking for peer to peer objective criticism. This is great for people who want to hone their craft from the inside out. FundableFilms will allow film makers to get feedback from the other direction. Film makers will be able to receive feedback from the people who will be eventually watching and buying the end product.
Also FundableFilms will be offering the funding resources as well as easy access to our distribution channels.
CBB: Can you give me a number on how many people have signed up already?
AD: After a two week podcast campaign we've signed up over 60 paying users to the site. These numbers are substantial considering the tiny amount of promotion we did and the enthusiasm of our early adopters.
CBB: As I understand the concept are Jack and Jill investing their own money into projects they are interested in actually seeing. Is this idea buying stock in said idea? Just like the stock market, are people taking a risk that the property will make money so they see a return on their investment?
AD: As you likely know independent films are not known for their ability to make people rich. We would be doing the film fans and film makers a disservice if we attempted to sell FundableFilms as a rock solid investment opportunity. One of the things we will be focusing on is helping every user have a rewarding experience while participating in interesting projects. A supporter may walk away from a project with little or no return on his initial contribution, but if he he made meaningful connections with other like minded individuals he might not care. Another user might find value in the fact that she supported a controversial film that may never have otherwise seen the light of day. It's in our best interest to ensure each project is more about the journey than the designation.
We are also working on ways to allow film supporters to hedge their bets (to use gambling terms). Film Makers can offer products in exchange for contributions. For example the minimum contribution might come with a free copy of the finished product on DVD. There will also be the possibility of incentive programs, minimum gets a DVD 2x minimum contribution gets a movie poster and DVD. We are currently working on partnerships to make these offers possible, and of course these offers will not be mandatory with every project.
CBB: OK! I signed up with my $30 through PayPal which I actually did because I want to explore the process of your idea. What do I get for my $30?
AD: Basically the $30 pre-order deal gets you $50 within the beta launch. We have broken down our minimum investments into what we have been calling RP (Royalty Points). Each RP is worth $50. So if you find a project that you would like to support and you hand your RP over the owner of that project you have in effect contributed $50 towards his total requested amount. Of course you can buy and contribute as many RPs as you want. We're just saying the minimum involvment level is $50.
No beta news yet. It's coming....soon
CBB: Is the site geared toward more grounded stories where the budget wouldn’t be very high rather than higher end concepts?
AD: Well we're not going to attempt to impose restrictions on anyone, for content or scale. The only restriction is going to be the size of our budding community. I believe smaller budget films have a better chance within the first 6 months or so until our community grows to a reasonable size.
CBB: Is it possible for Fan Film makers to also contribute their ideas?
AD: There is no reason why fan film projects wouldn't fit. Contributors would have to realize that there is no possiblilty of profit but I don't think that will bother hard core fans.
I wonder if this would allow fan film makers to distribute their works? Let's say Sally pays Jim a $50 RP to make his Swampthing movie. Jim could give Sally a copy of the DVD in the deal because he's not really selling it right? The DVD would only be available to those who contributed to the project. Now I think we've found a loop hole! I'll have to look into that one!
CBB: What advise would you give to a filmmaker who decides to sign up and use your site?
AD: There is no experiences yet so I'll keep my advise short. Be reasonable, approachable, and let your passion for the project pass through to the user. The Film Makers who create the best user experiences will ultimately be more successful within the program.
CBB: Do you care to share your personal opinions on the Hollywood structure as it is today?
AD: Oh Man! This is a big question! Here's Hollywood: Insane actors that get too much press, greedy middle men who want to lock down your TV and computer, and boring old story conventions that allow entire movies to be written by filling out a standardized questionnaire. There's no denying that Hollywood has given us (movie fans) a lot of wonderful media over the years. Let's just say it wouldn't hurt them if they trimmed the fat a bit.
Here's what I have been saying for the last little while. Why make one Ghost Rider movie for $110 million when you could have made 110 smaller movies for $1 million each?
CBB: How do you think Fundable Films will be received? What kind of buzz have you generated to date?
AD: Like I mentioned before so far we have gotten a great response. Over 200 indie film makers have filled out the survey on our site and given us valuable feedback. Many have contacted us just to say "Hurry up, I need you now!". On the other side we have gotten just as much feedback from the film fans. I think a lot of people are looking for a way to get more involved with the media they watch.
Right now you can get your hands dirty and get in on the discussion and development of FundableFilms. We are a 100% crowd sourced application and our efforts are hosted on the Cambrian House business enablement platform and everybody is welcome to participate. Visit Cambrian House for more information.
CBB: Beyond Fundable Films where do you want to take your career?
AD: My dream career would be a place where I'm surrounded by creative people and we're all working together on an exciting project. So in other words I'm living my dream right now. As a kid I always thought that I would be a writer or director in in the movie industry. There's still time for that to happen but in the meanwhile I'm very happy with my current position.
Although I'm a huge SciFi movie fan what I'm really hoping see from our site is the production of tonnes of niche documentaries on controversial subjects and educational films. Don't get me wrong, I love a good story, but if you really want to grab my attention you have to show me something I've never seen before.
CBB: Anything else you would like to add?
AD: There's not much to say at this point. Stay tuned for the Beta Launch! I'll be willing to provide a lot more information as we get closer to the end of the month. In the meanwhile please take advantage of out pre-order special, you can get a $50 RP for $30.
So that's the idea behind Andy Doan’s Fundable Films. How it actually develops in the real entertainment world is yet to be seen, but as mentioned I purchased my own little part of the community so we'll keep you updated on how the idea progresses. STAY TUNED!