Kickstarter reported today that over $100 million has been pledged to film projects on the crowdfunding service. This is obviously great news for those films, especially for those who received some of the $85.7 million that was actually collected. Kickstarter and some of the news outlets who have covered the story reflect the warm-fuzzy fact that films are being supported directly by their audience (and friends and families of the filmmakers).
This kind of scale means something much more exciting may be happening than just charity. This $100 million (and surely many millions more on IndieGoGo and other crowdfunding platforms) represents money into the economy as a result of film production that would not have been there at all prior to Kickstarter. Sure, some filmmakers got some support from their families back before the internets, but at this scale, we can attribute the combination of increasing access to filmmaking, crowdfunding platforms and social media to actually creating this market. As equity-based financing moves into reality in the next year (in theory), this number may grow.
$100 million is a tiny number next to the total entertainment market (or even one Hollywood blockbuster), but considering the existing margins in independent film, it’s exciting to see that creators are finding new ways to connect to the “knowledge economy.” We need to think of ourselves as entrepreneurs, contributors and creators of value in more than just an abstract sense.