July 23, 2013

Spike Lee's Kickstarter Calls Out the Hollywood Studio System

Spike Lee KickstarterKickstarter has descended upon the consciousness of established filmmakers and it's here to stay. Today's high-profile project is none other than the Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint. There are a lot of qualms associated with celebrities using the crowd-funding model, and Spike Lee looks like he's trying to appeal to some kind of middle ground; calling out the studio system for its perils and explaining that he has a "different vision of what Cinema can be." Read on to get the scoop.

On his Kickstarter campaign page, Spike shares some of the issues he has about the industry:

With the current climate in The Hollywood Studio System it's not an encouraging look for Independent Filmmakers. I'm not hating, just stating the facts. Super Heroes, Comic Books, 3D Special EFX, Blowing up the Planet Nine Times and Fly through the Air while Transforming is not my Thang. To me it's not just that these Films are being made but it seems like these are the only films getting made. To The Studios it seems like every Film must be a Home run on a Global scale, a Tent Pole Enterprise, able to spin off Sequel after Sequel after Sequel after Sequel after Sequel after Sequel.

I, too, am sick of tent-poles and explosions, but is Spike offering a solution? His question to his backers is, simply "Do you wish to see Human Beings dealing with each other on a Human Level?"

As far as his film, it's seemingly an attempt return to his roots (à la She's Gotta Have It) to make a small, intimate (sanguine) character piece. On one hand, Lee is doing the right thing by utilizing new tools to make a personal film, however, his campaign is vague and has a pronounced lack of specifics. 

Instead of telling us about his project in detail, he's resting on his past work to drive the campaign. How does this make us feel as backers? Is he merely seizing an opportunity following the trend of other successful celebrity Kickstarters? He tries to put our minds at ease:

I promise on my Mother's Grave and Right Hand to the Almighty - every Red Cent, every Wooden Nickel, every Dollar will go up on the Screen and not into my pocket. I'm not taking a Fee, your generous contributions will get this Film made.

To me, the fact that he addresses his backers as "Dear Faithful" says it all. He's testing the trust that he has with his audience, the one he's built up over his long and fruitful career.

So take a look at his campaign and decide for yourself. As for the perk for a $10,000 pledge, a courtside seat next to Spike at a Knicks game, Lee adds "P.S. Knicks will be great this coming season."

What do you think about Lee's campaign? Join the discussion below.

Link:

Your Comment

120 Comments

I'm going to keep my comments to myself while I read what other people think. My watered down gut reaction is that a film of this caliber from someone of this level is an "investment". Its like the the owner of Chipolte doing a kick starter to ask people to fund his new restaurant chain, because the climate of food is more about fatty burgers and his concept for a healthy burrito wont work

Films of this level make money, alot of money. and in the end, those backers wont see anything on their investment, but the filmmaker will, wont he? the filmmaker can then sell this film, or take points equaling up to 10 times the budget if it goes good, and all of us "investors" will never see a return on that investment. Its just giving someone whos already successful doing what they have been able to do for years.

To me, and this is just my opinion, but to me Kickstarter is about helping those who need it achieve their goals when no other resource is available to them. The stay at home mom, the college student, the high school kid, those who are at the bottom trying to make something great happen. For me, its not about helping millionaires do something that they have already been established doing. The guy from dell doesn't need a kick starter to create a new computer, right?

Thats just my opinion, its neither right nor wrong. But one call to coke, or Doritos, or kellogs, and by sticking a box of cereal in a shot in his movie, spike lee can finance the whole project. Most of us don't have that option. most of us look to kick starter as our only option, the creative community helping those that need the help to do great things.

July 23, 2013

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HOLY Sh*T!....I AGREE 100% with Jeremy Earl Mayhew (original poster)

July 23, 2013

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Skeptic

Free ticket/download at least, maybe? Like early screening just for the backers.

July 23, 2013

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Natt

+PLUS INFINITY!
give this man unlimited internets

July 23, 2013

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Robert Thorpe

great comment!

July 23, 2013

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hansd

HOLY CRAP. Paying. PAYING!!! $1000 to be an extra in his f#$%g film,.

F#%$^K YOU. and THAT's the truth ruth.

July 23, 2013

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Robert Thorpe

I agree with you. The guy just made Old Boy for over $30,000,000. The guy can use some of his paycheck for it. If anything he should be giving money to the struggling filmmaking community.

July 23, 2013

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Stay at home Mom

"If anything he should be giving money to the struggling filmmaking community." ABSOLUTELY! That's one of my biggest problems with Hollywood stars using Kickstarter....Rob Thomas (VM creator) has only backed 1 film project and that was Zach Braff's!! Braff has backed a few docs & features, but by a few I mean 4 or 5! Spike: ZERO. Zero films back and zero projects backed. Now I'm sure (or hope, at least) all these guys have helped indie filmmakers in other ways throughout their careers but getting the $ to make a film is one of, if not the, hardest part. Just wish that they would spread the wealth a bit, or directly draw attention to other projects and really be part of the indie community. Also, I think a little bit of me died today when I read that Soderbergh dropped $10k for Spike.

July 24, 2013

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Perfectly stated.

July 23, 2013

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yes and yes

July 23, 2013

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Rob

Fucking Veronica Mars. I already went on a rant when Braff announced his campaign, now with Spike Lee, I won't even bother, the jig is up with kickstarter, now all these established, award winning directors will be looking to get their money this way since their "fans" are willing to pay them to make more movies and make more money. I just don't get it.

July 23, 2013

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Harry

RIP Kickstarter

RIP DIY cinema 2002-2013

July 23, 2013

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john jeffries

If you really think DIY cinema started in 2002 then you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

July 23, 2013

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Coty

This made me laugh very very hard.

July 23, 2013

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Kholi

I would guess he's referring to the introduction of the DVX. Definitely not the beginning of DIY cinema but certainly the beginning of truly affordable cinematic images.

July 23, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

No, I was referring to the film Funny Ha Ha, which arguably started the indie/mumblecore/DIY genre that nearly every new independent film now tries to copy

July 23, 2013

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john jeffries

Why not educate the poster instead of stopping at sarcasm.

July 24, 2013

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VinceGOrtho

Peter Jackson's first film Bad Taste (1987) is about as DIY as you can get.

July 24, 2013

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Gabe

Spike Lee spoke at my school this year in Florida International University.... he's an egotistical joke. Like the way he acts and EVERYTHING he says now in days is a joke. I won't say what he said, but if you would like to waste some time you could visit his twitter account. By the way, I'm not bashing nofilmschool, it's nothing related to them, they're my number one website.

July 23, 2013

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Nick

Well, that's kind of you :)

July 23, 2013

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Micah Van Hove
Writer
writer, director, dp

In today's TheWrap.com "Disney vets turn to Kickstarter for unique animated 'art story'".

July 23, 2013

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David F

I'm with him up to point of I'm tired of the vfx drivel at the multiplex. But after that...

Fuck Spike Lee and Zach Braff. If these guys want to make 2 million dollar indie films, they have the money in their own pockets, they just want to use YOUR money instead. They'll gladly take the profits from the risk of your money though.

No one wants to make a Spike Lee movie cause the guy hasn't made anything good in years. Step aside mr Lee you greedy, hypocritical, baked turd, your time was up years ago.

July 23, 2013

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Liron

I wish kickstarter would police their content and ensure that campaigns are used morally.

July 23, 2013

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Liron

LOL! And miss the opportunity to make 125K? Show me a corporation that took that route - ever?

July 24, 2013

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Fute

This is the same guy who filmed and promoted "She Gotta Have It" with maxed out credit cards, Mr. DIY himself. If anybody can use their experience and reputation to call in some favors to pull off a micro-budget film project, it's Spike Lee.

Why can't he now put his own money on the line for a project he believes in? If it's a vanity project with limited ROI,why should anybody else fund it?

July 23, 2013

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Marc B

That is probably what the studios are thinking, which is why Spike is going to Kickstarter.

July 25, 2013

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Dan

Oh look another beggar from Hollywood xD

July 23, 2013

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Natt

how much do court side seats at MSG cost? perhaps skip a season of the knicks and make a movie.

July 23, 2013

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thatguyyouhate

HAHA - hell yea dude!

July 23, 2013

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Haha, nice!

July 24, 2013

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Kickstarter needs to do something

July 23, 2013

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hansd

Unfortunately it was kickstarter's idea to start bringing in celebrity projects. This gives kickstarter a bigger percentile and involves zero risk by the celebrity... other than their credibility. Win-Win

July 23, 2013

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stephenkingrules

Too bad...maybe I just had a wrong understanding of the 'Kickstarter' idea...

July 24, 2013

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hansd

Will be keeping my fingers crossed that his campaign fails miserably. What an arrogant pr*ck.

July 23, 2013

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Simon

yeah, thought the exact same thing.

July 24, 2013

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hansd

The only thing I agree with him on is that VFX driven films are the only movies really getting any attention in cinemas. I'm not saying I want less of those films so much as I'm saying I want more lower budget films.

July 23, 2013

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Coty

Thousands upon thousands of features are made every year. What percent are Hollywood mega budget productions? Lower budget films exist, you just have to find them online.

July 24, 2013

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But we want to see them in the theater, where they were meant to be shown.

July 24, 2013

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Nick

Then buy a theater and show independent films. They have to look out for their own business to make sure they can stay afloat, which is why they play what they do. Also to say that a theater is where they are "meant" to be shown means you're living in the past. Films are everywhere now. Theaters, on tv, computers, cell phones, you need to consider ALL of these platforms. Most successful filmmakers are....

July 25, 2013

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I think if people want to give a filmmaker money they should be able to. I also like that the artists will make more money off this than their "investors" will. There are perks people! If you don't want to give these artists money, don't donate! Filmmakers (even the very famous ones) are always wheeling and dealing for money on their passion projects, this is just the first time the public has been approached with such a sleek platform.

Big celebrity backed kickstarters like this are here to stay and I am all for them. They are not stealing your independent film budget! It seems that many indie film makers upset because they think the success of these projects means the failure of their own. Not true. Many people join kickstarter just to finance things they are already fans of. And suddenly you have a new audience of film financiers on kickstarter. If anything the success of these big projects will help you as more people join!

Sorry guys, there is no easy way into the entertainment industry. When Ridley Scott decided to direct feature films he had to form his own production company because there was "absolutely no way into Hollywood". It's much more accessible now but it will NEVER be an even playing field and kickstarter has no obligation to make it so.

Ryan Koo leveraged the popularity of this very blog to finance his first feature. I am guessing you are all fine with that as you are posting on his blog. Celebrities are doing the same thing leveraging their own fan base. Veronica Mars and Zach Braff's movie have been some of the more successful kickstarters of all time, which means they make Kickstarter more money. Financially it would be a very bad idea to not support these projects. Kickstarter is a business, and I think they should make money for providing their service. If people don't want to back something, it won't get backed. It is one of the most democratic financing options ever available to a filmmaker!

July 23, 2013

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Dan

excellent point.

July 23, 2013

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jay

Kickstarter, as I understand it, is there to help people START something. Lee has been a successful filmmaker for 30 years. He doesn't start something, he just wants to continue what he does for free, outsourcing any risks and if it's successful, keep the profit.

July 24, 2013

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hansd

You should check out the What Is Kickstarter Page to see what they define themselves as.

http://www.kickstarter.com/hello?ref=nav

July 25, 2013

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Dan

technically koo leveraged the site to raise $100k, its yet to be seen if there is a film made or whether the money will be used to raise more money. but the essence of that campaign was false.

July 24, 2013

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jay

I have mixed feelings about people who already have access to capital using kickstarter. As has being the case in the film industry for ages is that some projects get heaps of money whilst many don't get any that are just as deserving if not more so.

However there are a couple of reasons why it is good or at least understandable why established filmmakers are using kick-starter.

One being that a study was done that showed many people who backed big name ppl on kickstarter had never used crowdfunding before and a percentage went on to back other projects who may otherwise not have. So they do bring awareness of the platform to audiences outside of creatives.

Secondly many established directors and producers still struggle to get funding for their films from studios and in doing so often have to give up a lot of control over content and distribution.

Also I think it can be positive for films to be made where they have to show they have public support instead of studios just pushing large budget films on people that many don't want to see

July 23, 2013

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zeb

As long as people are paying money to see these tentpole films then the studios are going to keep making them. Marvel has something like 10 movies in production because of the public's insatiable appetite for comic book movies. Did we really need a ANOTHER X-Men spinoff or a Spiderman re-boot, or a Fast and Furious 6? Apparently yes because they are huge money makers. The general public is to blame not the studios. Unless the masses suddenly develop a discerning taste for cinema, the crap the studios are pumping out right now will continue ad nauseam.

July 23, 2013

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Gavin

No, what we need is "Superman + Batman". See what they did there? Very clever!

July 23, 2013

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This whole trend will make a lot more sense to me (moral sense as well), once actual crowd-INVESTING is feasible online (both legally, though I hear this is on the horizon, and logistically) through something like Kickstarter, but that actually allows small pieces of equity in the final film.
I would have no problem with a famous, maybe rich indie film maker asking for a little of my money to make a film the studio won't let him make, assuming that if the profits come in upon release, I get a small bit of return on my investment.
This way - you CAN patronize your favorite artists and encourage more creative unique art, but not just be taken advantage of.

July 23, 2013

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That has actually been illegal in the united states since the great depression era for anyone not cleared by the SEC. That is changing, and these investing platforms are coming, but it is a new world out there. Kickstarter is not meant to pioneering the investing frontier.

July 23, 2013

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Dan

As a side note - the Kickstarter is a direct model but the financing of films through the outside investors have been done forever. It's just that the old intermediaries - studios and agencies - have gotten their dibs and the cut first historically while culling the projects for both quality and quantity in the process. The next logical step would be for similar entities - agencies would likely be involved here as well - to set up a similar system but with the alternative distribution channels that skips the current studios+theaters setup. In other words, private hedge funds or high net worth individuals could become investors for a multitude of lower budget films that are VOD oriented. The allure of Hollywood and connection to fame can not be underestimated. (which is why Kickstarter exists to begin with)

July 23, 2013

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DLD

I completely agree. I think this is what Slated.com will do better than kickstarter ever will in connecting money to the famous people of Hollywood. It is interesting that Slated is all for people getting their initial financing on kickstarter (because it is also great marketing) but their real financing through slated which targets films under the $15M budgets. I know people think Kickstarter is the real deal, but it is just the tip of the iceberg for film financing and distribution. Warner Bros still owns Veronica Mars and it is by no means an 'indie' film.

July 23, 2013

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Dan

wow. theres a whole lot of complaining here. and its about nothing.

i like zack braff, and i want to see the movie. i dont like spike lee, i dont want to see the movie. simple as that. dont be mad because ive heard of zack braff and ive never heard of you. the value of kickstarter isnt just that indie artists can get support by circumventing the industry they are struggling to be part of. the value is that ANYONE can fund their project with the support of the people who want to see those projects come to be. spike lee isnt taking money away from indies. the point isnt and shouldnt be that he can already pay for the movie. its that he can offer rewards to and get support from people who support him. hell, its more admirable that they make the appeal to the people who want to love the work, and not the people who just want to profit from the work.

kickstarter has made financing projects easier for everyone, and anyone who sees how this makes things easier for them is bound to develop toward including it. its called evolution. read the selfish gene.

the ONLY question is: do you have something that PEOPLE are interested in? spike does. zack does. veronica does. do you?

the people who collectively pay millions of dollars to support them dont agree with you. they dont know who you are, and with this attitude, dont care who you are. because like it or not, when an audience sees a work they love, their understanding of the person who made it becomes an expansion of thier understanding of the narrative. its why we find klimt, love it, and want more klimt. and if all you have to offer people for why you didnt deliver a movie they think is good, is an complaint about someone else, you become the villain your own narrative. and everyone will want you to lose to spike lee.

good luck to you all, villains. i hope you come back around.

July 23, 2013

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jay

Agree! There is a lot of bitterness and jealousy about the success of others on the foundation of 'moral high ground'. I saw a lot of the same responses when The Black List partnered with the WGA. In my mind the fact that bigger players are joining these services legitimizes and strengthens them and brings technology into an industry that is as techno-phobic as it gets. Christopher Nolan doesn't even have a cell phone.

It is a very hipster attitude where its only cool if it is underground and you are part of the club. "Sure I financed my short film through Kickstarter. But I did it before it got mainstream and sold out to those Hollywood sloths. I podcasted about it on this vinyl..."

July 23, 2013

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Dan

For good reason - people only have so much to donate and Lee could make this movie without kickstarter. He's abusing the system. How hard do you think it is for him to raise 500k to make a film? Or at least do it on another site where you become an investor. Woody Allen seems to have no problem raising 3 mil every year for his films. What can Woody teach other Hollywood directors?

July 23, 2013

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people dont give their money without a reason. they dont just have money floating around. they give it to where they think its valuable to them. just because they have 10 bucks that has gone to spike, doesnt mean that you wouldve gotten it. it means to them that this is the best place they couldve put it.

spike isnt abusing the system. the system is people get to support projects they want. the system is a business, and a business is about solving peoples problems. some people want money from people who have it. who gets to decide who gets the money? the people who have it, who want something from the people who get it. its not that complicated.

its not about highbrow. its not about underground. its not about comic books. its about presenting to the people who want it an opportunity to get it.

the system isn't, "give the little guy a chance". the system is, "f*ck having to wait to get permission to shoot some footage from some nutsack who cares only about her/his bottom line. F*ck people who make story decisions by evaluating the risk to the financial investment."

the little guy benifits from the system where they can say "F*ck waiting for someone elses opinion". just like they benifit from being able to get thier movies around national theatrical release to the commuter screens of anyone with an internet connection. what i mean is that the little guy has the chance to become the big guy, because of the system that says, "ANYONE can do it!"

not, "well, some people get to do it, but only with the right qualifications". (i.e., impoverished indies)

because thats the same argument we as indies were struggling against just 3 or 4 years ago.

we get to do it because anyone can do it. when you take away the anyone aspect, you drown us all and yourself too.

once again becoming the villain everyone wants to fail.

July 23, 2013

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jay

While I do agree with you Jay I can't help but think that you would be very difficult to work with on set. :P

July 24, 2013

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Dan

you are incorrect.

July 24, 2013

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jay

you are incorrect

July 24, 2013

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jay

I got the same feeling.

July 24, 2013

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VinceGOrtho

In lieu of using Kickstarter to fund your films when you can easily do so without it how about they do something else? The argument against this is that it's unnecessary for these celebrities and leaves a bad taste in the mouths of those who truly need it. The argument for the use of Kickstarter by celebrities is that it brings awareness to Kickstarter. I will submit to you that they can bring awareness to projects without using the platform for personal gain. If a celebrity filmmaker endorses a project others will check it out. This brings more attention to the website and the projects in need of funding. It becomes a campaign vouched for by someone with status.

The idea that wealthy millionaires need to ask average joes for a small fraction of what they have in the bank to finance their films is kind of ridiculous. This can be done without Kickstarter.

Some of you may say that if they don't use Kickstarter they won't be able to do films Hollywood doesn't approve of and make money. I think that is bull. They can fund the film themselves, shoot economically, and sell on VOD platforms. Their celebrity status will have people going to purchase the film and they will make their money back.

July 24, 2013

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The reason these celebrities are millionaires in the first place is because of their average joe fans who buy tickets to their movies. With Kickstarter the fans are now part of the whole movie making process. It's not just special features on a DVD that people pay more for, they are now behind the scenes as the movie is being made!

Your point that celebrities using kickstarter "leaves a bad taste in the mouths of those who truly need it" may be true, but what about the fans who made Spike Lee a millionaire? They WANT to donate to him. They like his art. They want more of it. So what if another indie filmmaker "needs" more money for his personal project? This is for Spike's fans or as Spike calls them the "Faithful".

July 25, 2013

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Dan

Seems like Mr. Lee is joining us DIY filmmakers in the soup kitchen to feed his empty tummy.

"Hi everyone, I'm Spike Lee. Fuck you. Give me your money." /rolls a Spike Lee joint and blows it in our face.

July 23, 2013

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Brock

While I'm totally fine with hollywood directors using kickstarter, I'm not cool with Spike Lee asking for 20$ for a one time stream of his movie.

July 23, 2013

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Solution: Don't give him kickstarter money and see the movie on betamax when it comes out.

July 23, 2013

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Dan

Some of you guys need to elaborate on your loathing of this 30 year veteran in filmmaking. Some of these comments left up to interpretation don't look pretty.

July 23, 2013

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ryan

Chances are Lee is bringing huge marketing muscle to Kickstarter. And more members equals mo' money, mo' money, mo' money (both for KS and their future projects).
.
As to the $200M blockbusters, they're probably have reached their ceiling. Not because of their artistic failures per se but because the box office can't support that high of an investment crammed into a short time frame (summer and major holidays), If the summer - mid-May through the Labor Day - 16 week average North American gross is ~ $250M-$300M per week, then it's just not mathematically/economically feasible to open 4-6 films each week that cost $400M combined. Something will have to give.
,
Additionally, there are forces of cyclical nature. At some point, these super-hero comic books will play themselves out and the bomb-to-hit ratio will shoot up. In other words, the market will correct itself.
'
Besides, the key here is not the cost of producing content but the revenue. Once the VOD/streaming market becomes more accepted, the power of Hollywood studios will be augmented by the power of the streaming sites. After consolidation takes place, there'd be more room for everyone. Including Spike Lee.

July 23, 2013

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DLD

I am pretty sure Star Wars 7-15+ will not tank. Neither will Avatar 2, 3, 4 or Avengers 2, Ironman 4, Fast and Furious 7,8,9...

We are not even close to the ceiling, and the international film market is INCREASING every year. That growth has to stop before we hit a ceiling. Hollywood is making more money than ever before and the recent tentpole flops (Lone Ranger, Pacific Rim, White House Down) are just a warning that people want more super hero movies with characters they already know. If anything the market wants more of the same!

The music industry was blown apart when technology made your home computer into a professional recording studio and the internet became a viable and economic distribution method. We are getting there with film but are not there quite yet. It is coming though and technology is what will do it.

July 23, 2013

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Dan

Don't be so sure. "Batman and Robin" bombed, relatively speaking, under Joel Schumacher before the franchise was resurrected by Chris Nolan. Up the competition with other comic book franchises coming out every other week and more of them will tank. Like I said, there's only so much the market will bear. The movie execs are hoping that, in a deluge of high budget action films, it's their Malibu neighbor who will suffer the ignominious fate. At some point, it won't be one failure out of four but one out of two and then someone will blink. And it won't be for the first time ever.

July 24, 2013

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DLD

He's that hard up for funding?

July 23, 2013

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moebius22

I'm sorry, but why the hell can't a feature film be made for under $175,000?

July 23, 2013

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It can, it just needs to a story that can be told in that framework, which is A LOT of stories.

July 24, 2013

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Micah Van Hove
Writer
writer, director, dp

Only a FOOL uses his/her own money to make a movie. The Hollywood studios don't use their own money.

Movie making is all about using _other peoples money._ This maximizes the Up-Side and minimizes the Down-Side!

July 23, 2013

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c.d.embrey

Let the crowd talk with their wallets - he gets backers cool. If not, fund something else.

Free market.

July 24, 2013

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David

Wow.

A simple word search reveals that the word "money" has been used 34 times in this thread.

While the word "audience" has been used THREE times.

Kickstarter (and others) aren't just about money, they're also about building an audience. What better way is there to build an audience than to say, "Hey! I've got this awesome project that I'm passionate about that I think you'll like for these reasons, and you can HELP me to make it by donating a small amount of money."

That's fucking brilliant. Get them to make a small donation now, keep them engaged throughout the process, and when the project is finished it's almost assured they're going to want to see it.

I have my gripes with Mr. Lee's campaign, as many people do, but to almost exclusively talk about the "money" issue is shortsighted. Celebrity Kickstarter campaigns won't take any money away from your film if you're being smart about building your own audience.

July 24, 2013

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No. The dude's worth an estimated forty million dollars. If its truly a passion project he'd foot the bill his own damn self.

July 24, 2013

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Wayne

I think the point Ryan was making is that even though Lee could fund this project himself, by using this platform he's building an audience and greater awareness of the project before he even goes into production, so by the time the film's ready for release, he won't need to spend quite as much time/money/effort promoting the film since people will know that it's Spike Lee's Kickstarted joint.

July 24, 2013

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plus he doesn't have to pay back a single penny

July 24, 2013

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hansd

Indeed Joe, this Kickstarter campaign is exploding all over the internet and building a huge amount of awareness for the campaign. It's like a giant advertisement for what he's doing. YES, he does have the money to finance the film, but the better question is does he have the money to buy the publicity equal to what this campaign is garnering. Surely not.

In response to Wayne, I'm mostly talking about the thread and commenters, not Spike Lee. It appears that you missed my point almost entirely.

July 24, 2013

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So let me get this straight, I missed your point because you were stating an obvious fact about crowd-funding in a thread centered around the controversy of wealthy celebrities using Kickstarter? I apologize. Your post had a certain... air about it, shall we say, and that, coupled with my outrage at the well established Mr. Lee using Kickstarter, led me to post brashly. I should have taken the time and carefully considered that your post was only loosely connected to this article at all.

July 25, 2013

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Wayne

Spare me the "free market" drivel. Anti-trust laws exist for a reason. I'm not against people spending their money however they damn well please, but let's not pretend those with Kickstarter accounts (even if they came in though a celebrity campaign) have infinite money. And those who come to Kickstarter for celebrities already show a predisposition for celebrity campaigns; I'm not buying the "pie gets bigger" argument, though I'm sure that is what Kickstarter and Spike would like you to believe. Someone backing Spike is less likely to back another indie project; and vice-versa. No one has infinite money.

Spike Lee is a millionaire, but he wants to use YOUR money because he is experienced enough to know that his script won't sell enough seats to break even. It doesn't mean it's a bad script, it just means it doesn't cater to the average moviegoer (a good thing IMO). He knows off the bat his industry friends aren't willing to burn money and well, neither is he. But you know who might be willing? His fans; or so he hopes.

Personally I will not give this man a cent. I can only think of one "celebrity" project I would back: Firefly Season 2.

Ryan, I wrote "money" 5 times in the above post. In my humble experience, Kickstarter, filmmaking, and well, the entire world revolves around money. I refuse to pretend filmmaking is about audiences or art, however much I would like it to be so. Make that 7 times ;)

July 24, 2013

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Jorge

In lieu of using Kickstarter to fund your films when you can easily do so without it how about they do something else? The argument against this is that it's unnecessary for these celebrities and leaves a bad taste in the mouths of those who truly need it. The argument for the use of Kickstarter by celebrities is that it brings awareness to Kickstarter. I will submit to you that they can bring awareness to projects without using the platform for personal gain. If a celebrity filmmaker endorses a project others will check it out. This brings more attention to the website and the projects in need of funding. It becomes a campaign vouched for by someone with status.

The idea that wealthy millionaires need to ask average joes for a small fraction of what they have in the bank to finance their films is kind of ridiculous. This can be done without Kickstarter.

Some of you may say that if they don't use Kickstarter they won't be able to do films Hollywood doesn't approve of and make money. I think that is bull. They can fund the film themselves, shoot economically, and sell on VOD platforms. Their celebrity status will have people going to purchase the film and they will make their money back.

July 24, 2013

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Maybe he should refrain from buying season courtside Knick tickets one year and put that money into the film.

July 24, 2013

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Yes.

July 24, 2013

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Cameron Savage

Celebrities using kickstarter just isn't right. It's not bad, but... it's just not right.

July 25, 2013

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DualCore

The problem with celebrity Kickstarters is that KS only works because it's an open market that is dominated by independent creators who can get their message to a large audience. Once it gets flooded with big money corporate entities, Indies will, again, not be noticed. Just like they're not noticed in any other online marketing platform.

What happens when the Design category of Kickstarter has three hundred IKEA products being launched? Or when Nabisco takes up a third of the Food category? Do you think the mom+pop gourmet baklava bakery will have a chance in hell then? This is what is going to happen to the Film/Video section. How many pages of multi-million dollar studio projects is someone going to browse through before they happen upon your ping-pong documentary? Go through the Top 100 Actors list and imagine each of them launching a KS campaign for their pet project every studio has turned down.

It was nice while it lasted.

July 24, 2013

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Ed Z.

And I wasn't even able to try it once. Damn.

July 24, 2013

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This stupid trial refuses to die.

July 24, 2013

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moebius22

My issue with Kickstarter isn't the people seeking free money despite already having huge resources, it's the fucking smucks that donate money to a commercial enterprise and receive nothing back.

If my $10 donation gets me a streaming copy of the film then that might be considered a fair deal.

July 24, 2013

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Ant

The fact is he has a name, a track record, huge connections and actual money. Why can't he make whatever pet project he wants without stealing our thunder? He should be mentoring young filmmakers, not competing with them for attention and financing.

July 24, 2013

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ronn

That's because Spike doesn't have the clout that he use to have. Over the years he's made a lot of enemies and has burned bridges within the studios ( especially Warner Brothers). Sure, He's had sucess sure and has made a lot lf money and will allways have his supporters, but he'll never be what he was 20+ years ago.

July 24, 2013

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nobonez

I so agree with you! First of all Spike Lee really is Pro Black as he loves to use that approach..I'm a Black Man myself his 40acres and a mule trust me if he was given that lets see how many Afro Americans he would invite to live on his acres how many people he would let crop with the mule.

The answer is none because the majority of Black actors and actress in hollywood. Spike has overlooked to work on many of his projects. He's a hypocrite in every sense. Not once have we seen a report about Spike being bankrupt so he should have his own money.

He's so flamboyant to point all all the movies he made as if we didn't know how to google that. He's using the same tactics of deceptions that has been used for many years including trickory. His intention is solely arrogance entirely.

July 25, 2013

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Well some many celebrity Kickstarters, his is not off to a great start. Frankly speaking, he can pay for this on his own. he's beyond wealthy. Channing Tatum teamed up with SS to co-finance Magic Mike and made out just fine. I really do believe Kickstarter is going to be ruined by names taking it over, leaving the smaller folks out of the loop yet again.

July 24, 2013

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Matt Stevens

The first and only thing I wanted to look at when loading the kickstarter page was how many projects Spike Lee has backed himself. I figured, if he truly loves independent film and thinks kickstarter is a good way to do so, he will have a strong track record. And if I can see that he is supporting others with his immense success, then maybe I'll chip in for his.

"0 projects backed."

Screw you, Spike. Fund your own damn film.

July 24, 2013

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Brian

Great, great point. I hope that everyone sees that you pointed this out.

July 24, 2013

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Jonah

Would love to see this point added to the main article!

July 24, 2013

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Ant

@Brian wow, very very good point, it would be interesting to see how many celebrities backed other independant kickstarter campaigns, most probably dont give a damnn.

I am a black man and i personally feel like " FCUK SPIKE LEE and any other celebrity regardless of race that is trying to get a kickstarter campaign funded.

I Believe and this is just my opinion, i believe that kickstarter campaigns should be left for the little guys, the people who do not have the connections, agents, resources, or other associations that other celebrities have at their feet.

What spike lee needs to do is pocket some of the CASH from side line NEW YORK KNICKS tickets , he evven travels to miami for sideline tickets. Honestly the knicks aint going nowhere no time soon, or better yet SPIKE LEE should do another VODKA campaign if he is short on cash.

July 24, 2013

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jay clout

To play devil's advocate - he did just recently join Kickstarter. And it's clear from his pitch video he has yet to master its finer details.

July 24, 2013

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@Joe he may have just joined kickstarter as a non backer to deliver his film, but nothing has stopped him from joining in the past as just a backer or lover of great films. Honestly maybe he should have did his research or joined earlier and backed other projects prior to begging for money.

At the end of the day " IT is what it is", he has tons of money, he owns several SONY F3'S that he bought from ALBECINE, not to mention he has all the connections/clout to get access to complete his documentary on his own, which he could eventually shop around once the film is complete.

Spike asking for 1 million plus on kickstarter for a film is a complete joke

July 24, 2013

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jay clout

I think it is only a joke if he doesn't get the 1.25 Million...

And in Spike's own words,

“Going into this I was well aware that there would be Haters. They were Hating that an established Filmmaker (Worth 40 Million – A LIE) would be on Kickstarter. But I have every right as anybody else. I’m an Independent Filmmaker and I wanted to try this.”

I may or may not be donating to him but I believe he has every right to use Kickstarter to get donations where the subscribers decide.

July 25, 2013

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Dan

I don't disagree with you, I just won't be giving him any of my money.

July 25, 2013

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Brian

Yes Case closed with your statement. There should be no more discussions about Spike. he's never donated a "Wooden Nickel" as he stated what he would use. I'm sure he would when it's not at his expense. Again he's a Hypocrite and he's no different than some crooked hollywood suits. He's just in Black skin. He's a hater and when he started hating on Tyler Perry this is when I knew I was done with his crap.

By the way do you see Tyler Perry jumping on Kick Starter? NO because he uses his own money and other resources. Spike is basically on his last leg. The majority of his latest films flopped in the box office. Basicall he should just follow his own title " DO THE RIGHT THING" and get out the movie industry you fraud.

July 25, 2013

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Ethically wrong. Kickstarter is for those who don't have the funds. It's an indie platform. Spike has the dosh (money), the guy's stinking rich, he just wants to gamble with other peoples money, money that could go towards funding indie films.

And if he succeeds, profits from his venture, then where's the profits going ?.. to top up his already overflowing bank account. How about this... make your film then reinvest all the profits into other indie kick-starter projects.

Take a little - give a lot.

July 24, 2013

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Baz

Kickstarter is the world's largest funding platform for creative projects. It says nothing about morality of who gets to be creative and who does not. "Anyone can launch a project on Kickstarter as long as it meets our guidelines." Spike Lee meets their guidelines.

July 24, 2013

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Dan

Indie doesn't automatically = good. Let's get that out of the way up front. In fact, I'm even more pissed off when I see a bad indie film because indie filmmakers talk the most shit about quality and good storytelling.

Kickstarter is based on DONATIONS. To my knowledge, no one who contributes gets any part of the profits. The same would be true if I funded your low budget, "more deserving" project. To say Spike Lee is taking money away from smaller campaigns is ludicrous. That's like saying Beyonce is taking money away from my techno band because they promote her album on the iTunes home page. Some people are swayed by celebrity status. Most people give money to things that interest them. Be interesting.

The number of talented people in the world doesn't change with the falling price of gear or easier access to funds. By definition, the majority of filmmakers are average. It's impossible for everyone to be above average, yet, if you took a poll on NFS, I'm sure you'd find most people think they are. Like him or not, Spike Lee is a better filmmaker than most people. You should be more afraid of that.

I won't be donating to his film. I probably won't be donating to your oft-told coming-of-age tale either.

July 24, 2013

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Brian

Spike Lee is a great filmmaker, but anti-Hollywood Studio System? Really?......

He is remaking OLDBOY..........That is all.

July 24, 2013

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Darian

People should really read the WHAT IS KICKSTARTER PAGE before bemoaning the death of crowdfunding. A few key points:

ANYONE can launch a project on Kickstarter as long as it meets our guidelines.

Backers are supporting projects to help them come to life, not to profit financially.

We’re a for-profit company based in New York City’s Lower East Side. If a project is successfully funded, we apply a 5% fee to the funds collected.

July 24, 2013

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Dan

Celebrities finding funding for projects on Kickstarter isn't harming anyone. If anything, it's bringing more people to Kickstarter to find your project and help fund it. If you're complaining, you're either jealous or lack confidence.

July 24, 2013

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steve

I think celebrities should personally match what they receive in KS funds. Example. If they need 500k, they should put in 250k.

July 25, 2013

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yeah, he can beg for money to make movies about how racist white people are

July 25, 2013

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Gandulf

Yeah, he's been singing the same old song for 25 years. To Spike lee all whites are racist... such a douchebag

July 25, 2013

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Yeah... I'm not white so I don't know how you guys feel when he says stuff about the white race, but I do know he's a racist and it's sick to see people backing him. It's wrong and he's a celebrity, so he shouldn't be pretending to hate Hollywood

July 25, 2013

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Josh

Another day, another millionaire filmmaker begging for free money... some shameful shit right there. Spike Lee would be the last filmmaker I'd give money to.

July 25, 2013

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There are 300 million plus people in the US, another 250 million on North America and 730 million in Europe. That's 1.3 BILLION people between North America and Europe alone. If just ONE HALF of ONE percent contributed $.50 to a campaign, that's $32,000,000. No one is stealing anyone's thunder by starting a Kickstarter campaign. There is plenty of people, resources and donations out there if you structure your campaign correctly.

July 25, 2013

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For $10,000 you get to go 1 NY Knicks game with him! Wow, such a great deal. Can't help but to think if he sold his court side seats, he could afford to make his movie...

July 25, 2013

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Kent

Great point Kent if Spike sold his seasons courtside seat he would be able to fund his own film.
People are idiots and so nieve to support this junky.

July 25, 2013

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Man, I feel a lot of different ways about this. I personally don't think any professionals should be allowed on Kickstarter or Indie Go-Go, NONE. They have broken thru the Hollywood barrier, they know people, ask THEM for money, you get our money what the thing is done. But then, despite some issues I've had with current works of Spike, NOT participating in his fund speaks to a larger socio-ethnic problem of African Americans not supporting each other. And I know some of you are going to be like," Awwww here we go with the race...." STOP. It is a sad but real truth. Veronica Mars....really? Hey, I get it, donation, their money, their choice. But really, It doesn't matter whether it was a good show or not, people should think about the fact that not did they take care of Hollywood imposed bills, (and believe me if they only knew the types of things the producers will spend that money on that are not necessarily a necessity) but then those will be the same folks that spend for over priced movie tickets just to see it! And we worry about govt. overspending? Then again, I admit that sometimes I look at other projects on those websites and I'm like, "Nope, nope, no, no, no." I rarely see anything I want support so is it wrong to go with a professional production with a proven track record "the SAFE bet, so to speak"? Damn. I really hate the idea of Spike doing OLDBOY, but I've got to support him because its supporting an established Filmmaker of color, better a Spike Lee Joint than a Veronica Mars movie! Its the right thing to do, Black Power, sho-nuff ya dig.....LOL! See what I mean? Pro's, do us a favor and just stay away.

July 25, 2013

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Ok Moor

Lie the rest of us I have mixed feelings about celeb KickStarter campaigns. I had a look at Spike Lee's.

What surprised me above everything is he hasn't backed a single previous campaign! That's a pretty poor show.

July 25, 2013

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Like the rest of us, I have mixed feelings about celeb KickStarter campaigns. I had a look at Spike Lee's.

What surprised me above everything is he hasn't backed a single previous campaign! That's a pretty poor show.

July 25, 2013

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Spike Lee is popular enough to find any Indy investor he probably wants. $1.2M is not a lot of money relatively speaking. But It's FREE, easy, no hassle money from fans. That's what makes KS suddenly alluring to "celebrities."

July 27, 2013

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Dan

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