Spike Lee's Kickstarter Calls Out the Hollywood Studio System
Kickstarter 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.