PopTalk: Breaking Down the Dollars and Cents of Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer both indie and major filmmakers an array of opportunities to see their visions realized. But does it come with strings attached?

The appeal of “crowdfunded” art, facilitated by websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, is easy to comprehend. Crowdfunding allows artists to free themselves from the strictures that come from corporate and studio funding; if they can pitch their vision for their artwork to enough people willing to chip in, they can have total artistic control over the end product. That claim was made by director Zach Braff when he set up a Kickstarter campaign for his most recent film, Wish I Was Here. The crowdfunding model, so this pitch goes, democratizes the creation of art, allowing consumers of art to have a monetary stake in the creation of the art they want.

In the latest installment of PopTalk, Evan Sawdey and Brice Ezell examine the crowdsourcing phenomenon, putting the methodologies and externalities of this model of fundraising under close scrutiny. Whether one is a little-known indie filmmaker or a major artist looking to go the independent route, crowdsourcing does have benefits — but it isn’t without its risks, either.

Brice Ezell and Evan Sawdey are both writers at PopMatters, where Evan also serves as Interviews Editor.