In a video he published in conjunction with the campaign, Lee stated that the kind of movies he has made in the past have a harder time raising money in today's Hollywood climate. The only way to bring a filmmaker's vision to the screen, he said, is, "If you bring money to the table." (Source: bizjournals.com).
I am not going to go any further into what Spike Lee said. His videos and interviews are easily found on the Interwebs. Rather, I would like to address the shitstorm that his announcement caused, along with the controversies surrounding the crowd funding campaigns launched by several other celebrities, such as Zach Braff, and Adam Carolla.
Simply scanning Facebook, I found a dozen posts expressing outrage over the fact that these celebrities are using crowd funding. "These people are rich! Why do they need to intrude on 'our' turf? Why don't they just use their own money to fund these projects?" were common themes.
Well, in true Horror Nerd fashion, I, of course, have an opinion about this!
I can certainly understand how independent filmmakers must feel about this. After all, sites such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter were, ostensibly created to help the small, indie filmmaker raise funds to bring their dreams and vision to reality. They are a way to reach out to a wider pool of funds. Now, we have these celebrities coming in and hijacking something that was supposed to be for "us".
However, let's make no mistake. There is a significant segment of the independent film community, along with its fans, that are AGAINST crowd funding to begin with. Many people view it as nothing more than begging fans and friends for money. Some people even take their disdain a step further, and look at it as a way for any schmuck with a video camera to get a few bucks from people, and shoot their pet project in their backyard, with no true artistry or passion. A common refrain is that if these projects are so great, then why can't the filmmaker get funding? Why even reach out to the public to begin with? All valid points. Having said that, I myself have many friends who held successful crowd funding campaigns. So, it can go either way. Crowd funding can be either a blessing or a curse, and it seems to be a very personal topic among the indie film community.
First of all, when you get right down to it, it's up to the individual how they want to spend their money? If I am a "Veronica Mars" fan (which I am NOT by the way), and I want to see a movie get made, and a few bucks from my pocket will help, then why not? A project is a project, and if I want to throw a few bucks in to help it get made, then that's what I am going to do, regardless of whose project it is.
Second, let's be realistic for just a second, shall we? The people who are funding this large, celebrity backed projects are NOT the people who are going to help fund the next indie horror flick, or documentary. These people are not even on the same radar scope. Do you think some girl who is a Zach Braff fan is even remotely aware of the next indie zombie film coming down the pike? Now I know what some of you might say, "But Horror Nerd! These celebrities are distracting everyone from these smaller projects!" To which I respond, "Bullshit!" I still maintain that the people who are paying attention to these celebrities are NOT scanning Kickstarter to look for projects to fund.
Lastly, I simply don't think that it really matters one way or another. I think that opinion is split on crowd funding regardless of the project. I myself am very wary of backing projects, as I have been burned in the past. I'm not talking about a project falling through, which does happen. I'm talking about simply being ripped off, and the filmmaker/project leader disappearing with my money. Basically, it's an investment in a project which may or may not work, and I need to decide if it's worth the risk.
I have no idea how all this will shake out. All we can do in the indie film community is stick together, and try to help each other as much as we can. If we do that, n