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?