Commercial and music video director Joseph Kahn and producer Adi Shankar of the recent Power/Rangers bootleg fan film recently sat down with Collider (you can see the timeline and questions at that link) to talk about that short, the history behind it, and the state of the movie industry and film violence:
You may have already seen the insane Power/Rangers bootleg, but if you haven't, here is the NSFW version along with the BTS (be sure to check out our previous post for even more behind the scenes and how they shot it):
Both of them have a lot of interesting things to stay in the Collider video, and Kahn touched upon some of the same things he talked about in the /Film podcast that's on the previous Power/Rangers post. I think it's important that we live in a society where we can comment on properties owned by other entities. If everything we're using is original material, fan films should be allowed under the same Fair Use arguments that allow people to create video essays (and plenty of those get taken offline every day). Part of the reason that's important is that these properties are nothing without the public who consume them. Parody is actually protected under the law, but these fan films are in a bit of a grey area. I think there are so many fine lines it's pointless to pick and choose, and we should have better laws regarding intellectual property that actually reflect the internet culture we live in.
Getting to the title of this article, Kahn's quote about rich people using crowdfunding is an important conversation to have. On one hand, just because you have a significant net worth does not necessarily mean you have money in the bank to spend on a movie. But on the other, if you really care about the art, and you are going to put your heart into something, some of the wealthier people should be smart enough to be able to afford some of these projects without help from anyone else. Certainly they are utilizing the same system that small indie projects are taking advantage of, but instead of buying that Ferrari, the money could definitely be spent elsewhere. In the end, it's up to individual people to spend money where they want to spend it.
And that's what is admirable about Kahn and his approach. He spent a lot of his own money on the Power/Rangers bootleg, and therefore was able to have total creative control. He doesn't mince words and is pretty clear about his monetary situation, but he really tries to pick projects that appeal to him. I know I've spent considerable amounts of my own money on personal projects, as have plenty of you, and I think the film is treated a little differently when your own dough is at stake.
The one positive I could see about utilizing these platforms if you are wealthy already is that they can help build a fan base. In that case, the barrier of entry should be lower — you should be able to watch the piece sooner than anyone else, at least digitally, and it shouldn't cost more than a movie ticket. I'm sure there are plenty of producers that look at these platforms as free money, but to keep crowdfunding healthy and viable for true indie projects, we need to be having these conversations.
What do you think? Should celebrities refrain from Kickstarter or Indiegogo and spend only their own money on projects they really care about?