Arrowstorm Entertainment, the creative team behind the Mythica series of independent fantasy movies, has published an interesting article about why they use Kickstarter to fund their movies:
1. Plummeting Worldwide Sales Revenue - this is a problem for the entire film industry, but Hollywood alleviates this problem via massive box office... Hence, they only produce gigantic franchise films that have a chance of generating $1 billion in the theaters. They routinely spend $200 million on production, and another $100 million in marketing... For indie filmmakers, who don't have the theatrical marketing dollars, theaters are still mostly a dead-end. DVD revenues are also dead in most places - piracy and changing viewing habits have killed that industry. TV channels don't play very many movies anymore, preferring series (and who can blame them with the current boom in great TV). Which leaves streaming...Arrowstorm's latest project is the second part of their epic Mythica saga: The Darkspore (starring Kevin Sorbo) and you can find more about it on their Kickstarter page here.
2. Streaming Video Doesn't Make Much Money - while streaming video is awesome for the consumer, it's not great for indie filmmakers. Yes, more people get to see our films, but we don't see very much money from that model. Netflix generally pays $10,000 to $20,000 for the right to stream an indie film. When you consider that most indie films cost hundreds of thousands - or even millions - to produce, you see how that doesn't add up to much... Ad-supported services like Hulu and CONtv actually end up making a little more money, but still, we're talking about ten cents per view!... And Youtube... forget about it. Here's a screenshot of what Youtube ads make us:
3. iTunes is Over-Crowded - iTunes is a great place to make money, but it is very hard for the consumer to find your products there because there is just so much content. Studio films with tons of marketing dollars dominate the easily visible areas. So, like theaters, without big marketing, iTunes and other digital sales venues become very difficult marketplaces for small independents.
Which leaves: YOU, the fantasy fan... without your direct support, we cannot make these films. Yes, we still make a majority of our money selling to distributors all around the world, but every year that number shrinks as their marketplaces shrink... but thankfully, the number of Kickstarter backers willing to support our projects has grown. And this is not unique to us... this is a trend across the independent film (and music, art, comics, etc) industry. Without direct fan-support, independent artists cannot survive. We know you could be like the millions of other people around the world, who just download our films for free from Bittorrent... But sleep easy tonight knowing that your support negates their actions.