9th April 2013

How To Give Art Back To The People

posted in News, `Roids |

Crowd funding: A Game Changer

By Lloyd Kaufman, President of Troma Entertainment, Inc. and Creator of The Toxic Avenger with Regina Katz

Thanks to crowd funding and Indiegogo, Lloyd and the cast of Return to Nuke ‘Em High will film Occupy Cannes at the Cannes film festival and present Return to Nuke ‘Em High. Vol. 1.

Greetings from Tromaville! The Oscars, Golden Globes, Grammys etc. were all recently awarded and congrats to all, but for Michael Herz and me, we feel that our Occupy Cannes Indiegogo results are more of an honor. About 400 of our fans donated over $40,000 so that the Troma Team can film a follow up to our 2002 documentary, All the Love You Cannes. Thanks to our fans, we will go to Cannes in May 2013 and film Occupy Cannes. (Please see: www.indiegogo.com/OccupyCannes )

Troma wouldn’t be here without our fans! We have always been very interactive with our fans and for 40 years they have always guided and helped us in our work. Having used crowd funding twice now, I’ve again been reminded that it could be a huge game changer for the artists and for the people. Crowd funding is an important and innovative new tool available to all of us. Crowd funding is not just about raising money but also about making genuine art! Crowd funding allows artists to create projects totally free of any encumbrances because the people that are supporting their work believe in the project and are not merely motivated by profits. The people on Kickstarter and Indiegogo contribute to projects out of idealism in contrast to traditional investors who are there only if they think they can make a buck.

Through crowd funding, Troma will be able to film our Occupy Cannes documentary without any pressure to compromise. When you have traditional investors there is often ingrained censorship because traditional investors are there to make a profit (unless it’s a Troma film!). Thanks to crowd funding, the Troma Team and I will have total artistic freedom regarding Occupy Cannes. No compromises will have to be made since we don’t have to make a profit.

Amanda Palmer loves her fans and they love her. She has total artistic freedom and over $1 Million to produce and market her next album.

Crowd funding can also serve as important free market research. For example, our Occupy Cannes Indiegogo campaign had about 400 contributors. These folks are so eager to see Occupy Cannes that they donated money! They have no profit incentive. Their only incentive is that they want the film to be made and they want to see it. So we know there is genuine demand in the market place for Occupy Cannes! If 400 young and poor individuals feel so passionately about Occupy Cannes that they are donating, one could conservatively interpolate from that fact that there are at least 100,000 who would buy a ticket or the DVD etc. Furthermore, if we wanted to raise more money and approach traditional, profit oriented investors, we can show them the fact that at least 400 people want to see Occupy Cannes so badly they donated money to help make it happen. This is compelling evidence to prove that there is indeed a market for our project so traditional profit seeking investors would be more likely to invest based on said evidence.

Thanks to crowd funding, the creators of Veronica Mars have total control of their art and pantloads of unencumbered cash.

If small cult movies like Occupy Cannes can raise $40,000, imagine if some of our free-thinking talented mainstream directors like James Gunn or Eli Roth could go to fans directly to raise funds for both production and distribution leaving out the “studio suits” all together. Artist Amanda Palmer raised 1.2 million dollars from her Kickstarter campaign to fund and market her new album away from greedy legacy music producers. The Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign has already doubled their goal having raised 4 million dollars with fifteen days left to go, proving that it is possible for them to have full creative control. Crowd funding is a ground-breaking new tool but it must not be taken for granted as it heavily relies on net neutrality.

Thanks to net neutrality, we all have equality in cyberspace. Disney has no more advantage than you or Troma. Net neutrality allows content over the Internet to move (Please see my previous essay about net neutrality) without restraint and at the same speed no matter what it is or who owns it. This allows us to easily locate and support independent art, which is vital to Kickstarter and Indiegogo. We must continue to fight the big conglomerates that are lobbying in Washington DC this very moment (with their Trojan horses such as the SOPA, PIPA etc.) in an attempt to get rid of net neutrality. They want to be able to create a cyberspace super highway for the super rich with the rest of us riding a bumpy, slow dirt road. If we want to continue to empower artists through the truly unique crowd funding platform and have less garbage like this —>

We all need to preserve net neutrality. Society would thereby benefit greatly with an increase in innovation and in genuine art that comes from the heart and not the pocketbook!

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