December 6, 2016 at 4:49PM

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How do fan films make money?

Hi guys,
I've seen places like Batinthesun on YouTube do Super Power Beat Downs, and watching those they certainly look professional, and I can only imagine that they aren't cheap to make. So how is this a viable business model? Even if they actually get the rights to the characters (which I honestly don't know if they do), they are just putting stuff up on YouTube for free. Obviously you could probably crowdfund to actually make the thing, but how do you form a business out of taking other people's characters and making them battle or whatever? I guess what I'm really asking is, would it be possible for someone like me who has almost no money to make a fan film based off of Star Wars, Marvel comics and the like, and turn that into money? How would one go about trying that? Or is it just impossible for anyone without a lot of disposable income to make such a thing?
Thanks,
David

3 Comments

They generally don't make money, like most independently produced videos. People make them because they love it. You'd be surprised at how inexpensively some of those are made; almost entirely done with volunteer work, borrowed equipment etc. Many of them simply use the music etc. without permission, but I was involved in a fan video where the guy who came up with the idea simply sent an E-mail to get permission. A lot of them are fine with you using elements of their "franchise" because it helps their sales in the long term. Others want you to pay for the right. I know a group of people that made a Star Wars fan video and paid something like $500 for the music (You Tube took down their video any way even though they provided the necessary creds) but that was funded by donations. Most of the sound effects were done by a friend with a borrowed Mini Moog.

December 8, 2016 at 7:25AM

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Interesting. Thanks!

David Jordan

December 8, 2016 at 12:17PM

In the case of SW, I'm pretty sure one of the conditions from Disney in making a fan film, is that you can't make money off it... the "hand out" is that you are allowed to make it in the first place without risking copyright infringement.

But that shouldn't stop you from making a crowdfunded project in the SW universe. You just can't see the crowd funding as a means to "earn" some dollars by doing so. The money has to go into the production.
And then find some skilled people who love SW as much as you.

It's not impossible. Just wont make you rich.... in money. But if you do well, people will notice you and that could open doors along the way.

December 8, 2017 at 5:59AM

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Torben Greve
Cinematographer
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Fan films of that caliber are often made by people who are not only fans of the original content, but also of the movie making process. They enjoy both so much that they make it looking for nothing in return other than the lessons learned from making it, and the fun of it all. I made a Marvel fan film titled "Captain Canada: The Winter Mountie" and I am working on another now just because I love Marvel and I love films. Captain Canada is on youtube and it was a blast to make. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4AqRRWir-s

December 8, 2017 at 3:03PM

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