Up to $557 million has been pledged to fund creative projects on Kickstarter.com since 2009.
Veronica Mars writer Rob Thomas and lead actress Kristen Bell used the website and managed to raise $2 million in pledges to help create a movie based on the teen drama television series.
But it’s not just big name Hollywood stars that are using Kickstarter.com, or other web-based funding websites like Ingiegogo.com, to raise money to help put ideas into motion.
Many Ryerson students are required to create final projects that can be costly and time-consuming. Web-based fundraising can be an easy way for them to help fund these projects and keep students from racking up more debt.
Justine McCloskey, a fourth-year film studies student, saw how successful her peers were when it came to raising money for their projects using Indiegogo last year, so she thought she’d try it out for herself.
“I thought it would be best, because I’m in debt, to try and find another way of getting fundraising or getting money,” she says. “Any amount of money counts, so I was curious to see how effective it was.”
Downloading and digital streaming has made it increasingly difficult for artists today to pre-determine where money will come from in funding projects. Websites — or fundraising campaigns — such as these, put the onus on the viewer to decide what is worth his or her money. This gives the customer the ability to directly support people and projects that they deem to be a worthy cause. This method is very attractive for struggling artists or students. They can gain potential supporters for artistic endeavours and, depending on the amount donated, the customer will receive something artistic in return — from a copy of the album or DVD the person hopes to make, to an autograph from a celebrity involved in the project.
They all managed to raise some money, ranging anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
According to Kickstarter’s website, 38,000 projects have been funded over the past four years with the help of the website, and many are being funded right now.
Indiegogo’s website says tens of thousands of people use it every day and, by joining, users can boost their global exposure.
Unfortunately for McCloskey, her fundraising efforts haven’t been too fruitful. Her film, called Radiant Hours, had a goal of raising $4,000. So far, she has managed to raise only $450.
“I don’t have a lot of connections to any people who are established or have money,” says McCloskey.
“It’s difficult when you’re just posting to Facebook and everybody’s your age and in the same situation.”
Though these campaigns give customers the ability to support many self-starting artists, it also means there will be plenty of projects to support and therefore many projects will go without support in tandem.
Along with not having the right connections, McCloskey says she should have started earlier, which would have given her more time to raise more awareness about her project. She also believes that people don’t fully understand web-based funding and how it works, which she says might have also hindered her success.
However, McCloskey takes her first attempt with web-based funding as a learning experience, and she’s willing to try it again. She has seen the benefit, and thinks that with more of a plan, it could be more successful.
“It’s definitely gotten us somewhere,” she says. “I’d use it again, I’d just give it more time, and I’d definitely create more of a buildup.”