Fans, Friends And Followers. , New York, 2009
Random House, New York, 2009.
Over the past year in DOX Magazine, several filmmakers have shared their experiences with new ways of building audiences and finding funds using the Internet (see box). In particular Paul Devlin (Nnov-2008) evaluated his experience with ArtistShare, a website originally aimed at helping musicians to fund their music through their audiences. Devlin concluded that the model had potential but that it would be necessary to identify suitable films and filmmakers and to take the time to develop a fan-base.
The magic words here are crowdsourcing and crowdfunding. According to Wikipedia, crowdsourcing is “taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people or community in the form of an open call.” The strategy relies on Web 2.0 technologies. Crowdfunding, on the other hand, is on the other side “an approach to raising the capital required for a new project or enterprise by appealing to large numbers of ordinary people for small donations.” The combination of the two seems to be the core of business model 2.0.
Recently, US journalist Scott Kirsner published Fans, Friends and Followers: Building an Audience and a Creative Career in the Digital Age (FFF), a guide to this new business model. It discusses how to build an online audience that will both be your funder, co-operator, and your audience. It also addresses ways to include fans and stakeholders in your project creatively. The book includes tips and tricks, interviews with artists who tried such strategies, and a wide range of references and URLs to further information and online tools.
The release of FFF is a good moment to take a European pulse: how do European filmmakers build their audiences online? Are they including them in their projects and are they generating funds from them? Four European filmmakers, tracked through sites IndieGoGo and Wreck a-Movie (see box), share their experiences and views on the main elements of Kirsner’s book: searching for your crowd, getting funds, involving your crowd in your project, and keeping in touch.:
Elena Rossini is working on The Illusionists, a feature-length documentary about how women’s insecuritiesy about their bodies are manipulated and exploited for profit. Ernst Gossner is working on Global Warning – The Thaw of War, about the threat, dangers, and likelihood of WWIII. Steven Dhoedt is filming Inside the Metaverse, a documentary exploring the rise of online virtual technologies and their impact on present global society. And David Baker has made a fiction film, Mission X, about a documentary film student caught up in a revenge attack by a gang of mercenaries.