Just Crowdfund the $&*# Movie!: Everyone’s A Critic


Welcome to Just Crowdfund the $&*# Movie!, where indie moviemaker Jayce Bartok talks about the dos and don’ts of crowdfunding from the trenches of his own crowdfunding campaign. Have a question for Jayce about his movie, Tiny Dancer, or just crowdfunding in general? Ask away at .

There’s nothing quite like pouring your heart and soul into your film only to have someone invite you to lunch so they can tell you it’s misguided, badly acted, visually uninteresting and confusing. It’s not a good time, and it’s compounded exponentially when you are making said film with hard-earned donations collected one dollar at a time. It’s like someone saying your child is stupid.

I had one such lunch a week ago with a “friend” who had just returned from the Toronto International Film Festival, where he premiered his directorial debut. I was eager to hear what this person had to say about the 20 minutes of Tiny Dancer Tiffany and I have put together so far. Needless to say, it was a soul crushing experience. The lunch ended with my high-on-life “friend” saying: “I’m just being brutally honest because I’m your friend.”

Now, we’ve put Tiny Dancer out to almost everyone we know, with varying degrees of “I love it,” “It looks great,” “Hmm? Didn’t understand that,” and “Wow, very interesting” received in response, so I had enough sense of a self-preservation to say “I guess it’s not for you, then.” I licked my wounds and tried to escape, but as I got on the train I was wracked with my “friend’s” criticisms. They seemed to focus on all the weak spots, the moments when we were experimenting. With laser beam focus, this “friend” burned through our film. But he did so without any love of the game, appreciation for what we are doing or connection with our piece.

How do we DIY moviemakers deal with the massive amount of criticism we face about our work? It’s like we need a special shield, because even from the beginning there is a stigma to what we are doing. “You know he couldn’t get that film made any other way—‘cause it sucks—so he made it himself.” How do we process criticism without losing hope and going to home to cry, smash our hard drives, take down our fundraising campaigns and leave Facebook with our tails between our legs?

We have to look deep inside ourselves and say, as my friend Jack Roberts told me over the weekend, “Stick to your vision. It’s the only way your voice will be heard!” Now, I’m not saying to throw all advice to the wind and make a bad film. I’m saying that making a film yourself is hard (see: Crowdfunding), so don’t be swayed. Make your film your way. Who cares if everybody doesn’t like it, as long as you like it. Really like it. I really like what we are doing, and for better or worse, we are doing it. Check out this video from our fundraising party a few weeks back, and judge for yourselves.

We are at the halfway point of our IndieGoGo campaign and have raised $3,500 of our $9,000 goal. If you like my blog, toss in a few bucks at www.indiegogo.com/finishingtinydancer.

Thanks in advance!

Jayce Bartok is an actor and moviemaker who runs Vinyl Foote Productions from Brooklyn with his wife Tiffany. Currently, you can see him on USA’s “White Collar” and in the upcoming feature film Predisposed, opposite Melissa Leo. Follow The Independent Collective at twitter.com/ticnyc to stay updated on the Tiny Dancer crowdfunding campaign.

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