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 .
Tiffany and I woke up yesterday morning from some sort of fever dream. The Tiny Dancer Producer’s Dinner is in less than one week… and is anyone coming? We jumped to our computers and found that, finally, we had started to get RSVPs, people actually saying they will invest and attend our event to (hopefully) raise the last half of Tiny Dancer’s budget. For the first time in quite a few weeks we started to breathe easily. Maybe we are actually going to do this? We both agreed that wherever we land budget-wise after June 4th we are going to go ahead and shoot the film. Big promise; you read it here first!
Just as we were going about processing credit card payments, Tiff sent me this breakdown of the JOBS Act on Ted Hope’s awesome site Hope For Film. I studied and scoured the article, hoping we aren’t in some way violating the Acts to come. It looks like we are OK, but what is interesting about the piece is that, as much as I and many others have been singing the praises of the coming JOBS Act, there are some drawbacks to it. Obviously, the pros outweigh the cons–I mean, being able to crowdfund investments from strangers with the click of a button is pretty thrilling for moviemakers. But the Act does present some hurdles, like having to do much more due diligence about whether or not a potential investor is accredited, providing important information to the SEC and investors 21 days before an actual closing and dealing with the extensive legal legwork (signing up, submitting, registering, etc.) surrounding the proposed online portal where all of the fundraising will take place.
Wherever this all leads, I am confident it will allow more micro-budgeted indie films to be made in a more professional, bigger-budget fashion. However, I am beginning to see that it will be best suited to moviemakers who have either already dabbled in crowdfunding (so get out there and do it) or have an innate knowledge of securities regulations (so go buy some books). I am still very curious as to how Kickstarter, Indiegogo and the other platforms will fare in all of this. It doesn’t sound like you will be able to crowdfund investments using them, but who knows where all this will take us just yet?
I guess in writing this I am realizing that Tiff and I aren’t exactly crowdfunding investments in our latest push for the film. We are really reaching out to the “friends, family and supporters” who have expressed interest in investing. That gives a lot of latitude in terms of securities regulations as compared to soliciting strangers. I can only imagine what it will be like when, about 10 months from now, you’ll be able to throw up your campaign and get investments from people across the country. Will it be the same phenomenon? Will presenting investments instead of goodwill “here you go” money create the same buzz and “it takes a village” mentality?
In my limited research, I think it will. Yes, there will be certain people who will be alienated by the investing angle, but most will find it exciting to be part of a film in an actual equity way. The real change will be that moviemakers in the crowdfunding space will need to think about returns for their investors (and all that entails). And what will Kickstarter, Indiegogo and company do when faced with a community of users that expect a return on their “click”?
We’ll be taking next week off to have our event, so stay tuned for details about what went down when I return!
Jayce Bartok is an actor/producer/writer/director who runs Vinyl Foote Productions from Brooklyn with his wife Tiffany. He wrote, co-produced and starred in The Cake Eaters and can currently be seen in USA’s “White Collar” and in the upcoming feature films Predisposed, opposite Melissa Leo, and Price Check, both of which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. To stay updated on his Tiny Dancer progress, follow @JayceBartok and @TICNYC on Twitter.