Zach Prichard. Jonathan Frazer. Paul Levering. Asif Siddiky. Paul Owens. Christopher Salmon.
Collectively, these individuals have raised over $700,000 for film projects on Kickstarter. They represent three of the top ten most funded film projects, and unless you're a diehard Kickstarter fan, you've probably never heard of any of them. On the surface, their success defies logic. Dig deeper, and you begin to see a pattern.
Their campaigns were driven almost entirely by fans. Minecraft: The Story of Mojang tapped into the enormous Minecraft community to raise over $200,000. Feature film Save Blue Like Jazz gathered together all the individuals whose lives had been changed by Don Miller's best-selling book. And an animated version of Neil Gaiman's The Price rallied Gaiman fans across the world to ensure that an unknown filmmaker in Utah could work on a passion project.
Don't get me wrong. These were all phenomenal film projects with amazing talent at the helm. But being incredibly talented is only one piece of the puzzle. The other is finding your audience. These creators didn't just know their audience well — they were a part of that audience themselves.
Zach and Jonathan loved Blue Like Jazz so much that they couldn't stand to let the film adaptation go down in flames because a film investor decided to back out. Paul, Asif, and the rest of the team at 2 Player Productions were all avid gamers and Minecraft fans who wanted to make a documentary that would do justice to the passion and creativity of their community. Christopher Salmon's admiration for Neil Gaiman's writing inspired him to spend countless hours working on an animated film for no other reason than to find new ways for fans to enjoy Gaiman's story.
Fans have long been given a bad rap for being obsessively single-minded in their passion and oblivious to the "real" world. But as we've seen, fans aren't just single-minded in their pursuits. They're downright powerful. When they transform that passion into action on Kickstarter, they're unstoppable. Bringing fans together is something Kickstarter projects were made for. It happens swiftly, and with the full force of an audience so passionate that it can barely hold itself back.