David Fincher, who is often on the cutting edge when it comes to technology -- even directing the first movie shot and projected in 4K and recently using a Monochrome RED EPIC-M -- is now crowdfunding a new animated film called The Goon. It was only a matter of time before the big boys moseyed on down and got in on the Kickstarter action, but this isn't the first Hollywood project to crowdfund it's way into production. Bret Easton Ellis and Paul Schrader's The Canyons was successful back in June to the tune of $159,000. The difference here, though, is that the money is not going to the actual film itself, but to a fully-realized Story Reel that includes vocal performances from Paul Giamatti and Clancy Brown. Click through for the Kickstarter launch video.
Here is the concept trailer that was partially featured in the launch video:
Even though Mr. Fincher is not the lead creative on the project, he is certainly lending his input, and at the very least, his name. I had a vague recollection of The Goon before seeing this Kickstarter, but it's doubtful I would have clicked on it without knowing that David Fincher was behind it -- and really, I'm sure that's a big reason why he more or less takes over in the video. This is a project that has had great difficulty getting off the ground, so thanks to Kickstarter it finally has a chance of becoming a reality (and with almost $100,000 raised in just the first day, success is likely). One of the most difficult aspects of any campaign usually involves the rewards, and at what price level they will be most effective. None of the rewards offered actually include a copy of the film, however, since the money isn't going to the production, but to the Story Reel that will be used to secure financing. Here is a description about what they actually need the money for:
The next step of our plan is to begin the filmmaking process by producing a feature length STORY REEL based on Eric Powell's amazing script. (a story reel is a rough edit of storyboards combined with music and sound effects) This will give Hollywood a complete look at the Goon film's potential... from his early life in the carnival to busting heads in the mysterious town with no name. We all know the Goon's incredible story, the over-the-top action, hilarious comedy and genuine heart, but now it's time for Hollywood to experience it as well.
Another animated Kickstarter project from a Hollywood talent, writer/director Charlie Kaufman's stop-motion Anomalisa, was successfully crowdfunded back in September. That project, however, did include a copy of the film as one of the rewards, and the entire budget of over $400,000 (double what they were looking for) will go towards actually making and distributing the film.
Hollywood is getting less and less risky with their projects, and one way they may actually be using a site like Kickstarter down the road is not necessarily to fund the projects themselves, but raise just enough money to get the project off the ground, and in the process, let the donators serve as a test audience. If the campaign is successful, it proves to financiers that there is enough demand to fund on a larger scale.
What do you guys think? Will more big names jump on the crowdfunding bandwagon? Do you think it helps to have these kinds of names give credibility to crowdfunding, or was it doing fine on its own already?
Link: "The Goon" Movie... let's KICKSTART this sucker!!! -- Kickstarter
Honestly I think it's to cry. Name brands shouldn't be sucking at the philanthropic teat...they should be invested in by the e$tablishment as relatively safe bets. Philanthropy should be reserved for the long shots and dark horses...the people with no other option. But where there's money, there's the competitive, arrogant, and pushy...
(I don't know the principals here personally, but if they make a lot of noise in general, where there's smoke there's fire...)
October 13, 2012 at 5:55PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
What he said. Philanthropic teat... great line.
October 15, 2012 at 7:21AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
You mean, I...I...I, , , I can actually read a private filmmaking BLOG? And read it while smacking my lips at an EXCLUSIVE POSTER??? My friends will be SO JEALOUS IT KILLS THEM. Rewards! For my $150 I will be the envy of all who know me.
Many if not most kick$tarter rewards go unfulfilled. But these, even if fulfilled, are just nods to the worshipping plebs.
The e$tablishment will run out of content very quickly if we don't prop them up. I see no need to prop them up. They would love to take the rewards while letting the hoi polloi shoulder the risk. Don't let them.
October 13, 2012 at 6:04PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Aw Joe looks like you pulled out the conversation and left my post hanging. (The above was a response to Joe defending the campaign and its "rewards")
October 13, 2012 at 6:08PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
No I agree with you actually (that's why I deleted it), I just like disagreeing with you since you do it so often with everything else. :)
October 13, 2012 at 6:10PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Being disagreeable keeps the comments section humming. ;-)
October 13, 2012 at 6:14PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
This probably looks like a decently active conversation if you're just glancing at the home page.
October 13, 2012 at 6:26PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Yes, I agree with you for the most part.
October 13, 2012 at 6:09PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
just curious as to what your sources are for the statement "many if not most kickstarter rewards go unfulfilled"? There have been maybe a handful that I've read about that have had serious delays with fulfillments - Vere Sandals, which I backed, being one - but that seems like a somewhat absurd comment to be making.
October 13, 2012 at 6:39PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
I'm using anecdata on the low-profile rewards, you know, postcards, house concerts and the like, not the use of kickstarter as a shopping site, which they are ironically trying to stop.
October 13, 2012 at 8:35PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Money to the millionaires!
October 13, 2012 at 6:53PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
So hollywood wants us to fund there cookie cutter cliche movies on kickstarter now. i hope this is not the begining.These crowdfunding sites should be made to new undiscovered talent.I dont rember what contest/site or watever it was but the rules stated that if you has anyrhing published your not eligible. they should put it into place over there too. And oh yea theses assholes want people to fund there 400 thousand dollar trailer. not movie.. just a trailer! so basically they want people to give money in order for them to get more money from studios hahaha.Steping stones we r not. besides aint the goon a rip off of hellboy anyway ..seen it already man...
October 13, 2012 at 7:55PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
I say put restriction on big names like David Fischer whose net worth is 65 million. The man can afford to give half million away or knows some with that cash. By him doing this he is taken money away from small fish already in a very big pond. It's just kind of dick move.
October 13, 2012 at 9:08PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
A part of me got a little upset when I first heard about this, but really, who cares? The only people that are going to back it are people that are his fans and/or people that really like this story. Kickstarter should be open to all stories and all storytellers. No one is forcing you to back the project just like no one forces you to go watch his studio funded films in theater.
I, for one, won't be backing it OR watching it if it ever gets picked up, so what do I care?
October 13, 2012 at 9:20PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
It's a nice guy thing to be passive and advise people to just vote with their wallets, but there's a bigger issue here, and that's the integrity of our financing systems. Kickstarter just introduced a lot of policy changes trying to stave off abuse of their concept, which is supposed to be helping the little startup or creative realize their dreams when no one else would invest in them. If Kickstarter is corrupted, what is left for us?
If the above report is true, and Fincher is worth $65M, he is only on kickstarter for one reason: the prospect of earned publicity, which Joe just (guiltily) handed him. If he really is an HNWI, he should have raised his money at a private $5,000/plate dinner in Malibu, where he could tell his mogul buddies how "47% of Americans don't appreciate hardcore animation, and never will."
October 13, 2012 at 9:40PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
They were already at $90,000 when I posted, the money that might come from me posting is a drop in the bucket. Also, net worth has nothing to do with anything, the guy doesn't have $65 million sitting in the bank. They are probably looking for $50-$100 million or more to make this movie, as that would be the minimum for a Hollywood produced computer animated movie. Your $5,000 a plate dinner idea would cover Fincher's fee maybe, that's about it.
October 14, 2012 at 8:03AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
It's a crowd funding site. How else would you suggest people "vote". Don't give the guy your money. Pretty simple if you ask me.
October 14, 2012 at 9:48AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Are you going to say it's fine for Taylor Swift to compete on American Idol, people just shouldn't vote for her?
October 14, 2012 at 1:25PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Well, seeing as how my life doesn't revolve around American Idol and their rules, I'm pretty sure I could survive.
October 14, 2012 at 2:07PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
That's a bad analogy. Only one person can win American Idol. Every project on Kickstarter could end up funded.
October 14, 2012 at 5:31PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
That will take an unlimited amount of money. Shall we assume you will make sure that's available?
I should note that high-profile opportunities are not equal access. Have you ever tried to invest in the next Spielberg film, or in a Venture Capital firm? There are minimum net worth requirements for such high-profile investments, which protect the less wealthy investor from the risk but also exclude them from opportunity. I see nothing unfair about excluding high-profile projects from competing in a forum for low-profile projects in turn.
We are the ones who determine what we need from a service such as Kickstarter. I am frankly stunned that you guys, who face it are absolute nobodies compared to Fincher, and who could well have their careers made or broken by the funding available through internet philanthropy, are arguing that big names should be able to go ahead and co-opt your lifeline for their vanity projects that are having trouble getting traditional investment. Kickstarter should ban this, and anyone else who really doesn't need the money, or we should find a competitor that will. Because you are simply not going to be able to compete with relative sure bets in that format. Yet you want to labor under the illusion that you would? They'll snuff you out and make you think it was your fault. Perfect.
October 14, 2012 at 8:19PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
It's setting a double standard though. You can't ban projects from Kickstarter because they have access to alternative funding sources. We ALL do. Where do you draw the line? What about someone with a rich uncle? What about if I put $50,000 of my own money down and start a project to make another $50,000? Should these people be banned because they might be able to fund their project a different way? I personally don't think so.
October 14, 2012 at 9:02PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Kickstarter reviews and approves all campaigns, and the "judges" that do so can be instructed to exclude the already rich and famous who will have an overwhelmingly unfair advantage competing for attention and funding vs. those kickstarter was created to assist. That's really not so hard in practice, Wikipedia judges fame in their inclusion policy, and the Kickstarter judges can go ahead and read Wikipedia to see if the campaign is selling association with fame like this (which has an unfairly easier task of raising traditional investment) or relying on the merits of the concept which it should. Means-testing is something done every day in a broad variety of situations in our economy.
I should also note that I have nothing against someone starting a competitor to kickstarter that shamelessly caters to the projects of the rich and famous. It would very likely deal in far larger grosses than kickstarter and become a PR vehicle (letting them say "by popular demand!!!! it's,,,,meeee!"). However due to the reduced risk levels I think in that format people would soon start to want return on investment as opposed to pure philanthropy. Kickstarter as the standard bearer of this concept should be reserved for philanthropy and philanthropy should be reserved for those who have a genuine need.
October 15, 2012 at 2:25AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
October 14, 2012 at 6:22PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
I'm with Peter. I'm stunned by this. I appreciate Luke's egalitarian position, but there are precedents in funding everywhere, from sport grants to community support, where the opportunity is reserved for those who most need a leg up.
If Kickstarter and other sites becomes a pathway for established names to generate easy development money for pet projects, I just cannot see any other conclusion but this having a decidedly negative impact on those who need crowd funding the most.
Man child, or the Amazing spiderman? It's not the kind of competition we need imho. And seems so contrary to the entire spirit of crowd funding.
For those already standing high, it shows character to lend a helping hand, much as it does to stick it out for a handout you don't need.
October 15, 2012 at 7:51AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
They should be ashamed, millionaires asking for handouts.
Oh, wait a minute. That's par for the course, in our country lately. Think bailouts for banks, Goldman, etc.
I'm sure they justify it by saying that by being on Kickstarter they're bringing publicity to the undiscovered talents within.
October 14, 2012 at 8:21AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
I'm a huge fan of Fincher and I've been following development of Goon for what seems like years now. I dig the style and I think it has the potential to be an excellent movie - if for no other reason than being an alternate animated story to the Pixar, Disney and whatever Madagascar or Ice Age sequel is being pumped out.
HOWEVER... This crowdfunding campaign stinks and I wouldn't give them a penny. Yes, Fincher has money. He doesn't have the money to fund production but he certainly has the money to fund this Story Reel. If he's not prepared to put his money where his mouth is then that makes me question the potential of the project especially since everyone is Hollywood has obviously passed on the film. If it's not selling as a script, a bunch of concept art and even the above posted promo reel then it's certainly not going to get green-lit as a Story Reel.
October 14, 2012 at 12:50PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
kickstarter should be very happy. the percentage accrued from bigbux investors can make the 40 kickstarter youngies* PHAT! goon potentially can fetch $20k in percentage fees! that much profit could have raptors such as google foraging for possible acquisition.
* aka employees
October 14, 2012 at 1:11PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
It was only a matter of time before Kickstarter was ruined.
October 14, 2012 at 1:16PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
I know of people who spent tens of thousands of their very own money for trailers and proof-of -concepts, average people, not rich assholes who are in the industry for decades. I love quite a lot of Fincher`s movies, almost everything before Panic Room, including the music videos etc., but this is the lamest thing he did since Ben Button...
October 14, 2012 at 3:02PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Ultimately, this is a corporate raiding of a soup kitchen. This is like taking a trip to your local farmer's markets only to discover that McDonalds has set up the biggest, brightest stand and they're offering you a 'taste' (not even the whole burger!) of their latest organic beef burger that they want to sell nationally but can't tell if it will be successful enough. I'm a Fincher fan, but if the guy can't get enough private (re:commercial) backing to fund his animated passion project at this point in his career then he's doing something wrong. Not only that, he's got his hand out just to fund a trailer, to 'potentially' get this film made? I get that there's more to the campaign than just securing the funding (such as securing a proven audience to soothe the nervous conscience of investors in the real production), but surely there's a better model that doesn't come at the expense of hard working indies.
October 15, 2012 at 6:39PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
What bothers me is that this is a campaign to raise money for a story reel...that they can use to get funding from a studio to make the movie. How do the backers win on that? Personally, I feel like if people kick in on a kickstarter campaign, it should be to create (or finish) something complete.
October 18, 2012 at 10:37PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Corporate Welfare - what's new? Nice execution of the idea. Content - Total Garbage
October 19, 2012 at 11:50AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
KICKSTARTER just did for indie film what SUNDANCE has been doing for years....pushing aside the very people it was created for from the get go! If I had Finchers money and I truly belived in the project...then I would fund it myself. No middleman to split profits with. Take that profit and make another movie with it. Money wise....he is set for the rest of his life....anythig else he makes from here on out is just gross excess. Take that money and create something with it or better yet donate all the profits to a charity.
The bottom line is......movies can be made cheaper now than ever before but yet they cost more to see than ever before. So not only are you charging me more money to see it.....you know want me to pay for the production as well?????????
I am a David Fincher fan but I have lost a lot of respect for him now that I read this article.
This is a DOUCHE BAG MOVE at best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tyler Durden would kick his ass up and down Paper Street if David asked him to donate part of his waiter tips for this project!
October 26, 2012 at 12:36AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM