The Kickstarter Blog

Introducing #Tags

  1. $100 Million Pledged to Independent Film

    Today we’re thrilled to announce that more than $100 million has been pledged to film projects on Kickstarter. This is a big milestone for independent filmmakers and this new way of filmmaking. How big? Let’s take a look.

    Film & Video statistics (April 28, 2009 — January 1, 2013)

    • Total pledged: $102.7 million 
    • Total collected: $85.7 million
    • Total backers: 891,979 
    • Funded projects: 8,567

    In the past three years, nearly 900,000 people have pledged their support to an independent filmmaker on Kickstarter, pledging more than $100 million to features, documentaries, shorts, webseries, and other film and video projects. Nearly $60 million has been pledged in the past 12 months alone.

    Here’s how those funds have been distributed:

    Film Subcategory Pledged Funded Projects
    Documentary $42.64 million 2,394
    Narrative Film $31.74 million 2,331
    Short Film $16.68 million 3,000
    Webseries $6.83 million 619
    Animation $4.87 million 223

    Documentaries have had the most dollars pledged, but every category has received millions of dollars from thousands of backers. More than 3,000 short films and nearly 5,000 feature-length films have been successfully funded since 2009.

    Kickstarter’s impact on film

    In Hollywood, $100 million might be the marketing budget for a single blockbuster, but independent filmmakers are more resourceful. This $100 million helped to create more than 8,000 films, many of which have gone on to great acclaim and success.

    • At least 86 Kickstarter-funded films have been released theatrically, screening in more than 1,500 North American theaters according to Rentrak. Another 14 films have theatrical premieres slated for 2013.
    • According to Rotten Tomatoes, three of the 20 best-reviewed films of 2012 are Kickstarter-funded (The Waiting Room, Brooklyn Castle, and Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry). Another Kickstarter-funded film, Pariah, was among the best-reviewed of 2011.
    • UPDATE: Five films have been nominated for Oscars in the past two years: Sun Come Up and Incident in New Baghdad in 2012, and InocenteKings Point, and Buzkashi Boys in 2013. A sixth, Barber of Birmingham, launched a project after being Oscar-nominated. Three other films were shortlisted for Oscar nominations in 2013: The Waiting Room, Detropia, and Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.
    • Kickstarter-funded films comprised 10% of Sundance’s slate in 2012 and 2013. In total, 49 Kickstarter-funded films have been official selections at the prestigious festival.
    • Kickstarter-funded films comprised 10% of the 2012 slates at the SXSW Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival. In total, 57 Kickstarter-funded films have premiered at SXSW and 21 at Tribeca.
    • At least 16 Kickstarter-funded films have been picked up for national broadcast through HBO, PBS, Showtime, and other networks.
    • Kickstarter-funded films have won at least 21 awards at the Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, Cannes, and Berlinale festivals.
    • Eight Kickstarter-funded films are nominated for Independent Spirit Awards this year.

    This would be a very impressive track record for an established studio or production company. To see these results come from outside the system in such a short time is even more inspiring. Filmmakers and audiences have come together on Kickstarter to make the movies they want to see while protecting the filmmaker's vision for their work.

    Congratulations to the Kickstarter film community for their hard work and deserved success, and thanks to their backers for their generous support. We look forward to funding and watching your films in the years to come!

  2. Is lateness failure?

    Kickstarter projects are great at a lot of things, but meeting deadlines isn’t one of them. This isn’t just a Kickstarter thing. All creative projects, whether they’re on Kickstarter or not, often take longer than expected. What’s unique about Kickstarter is that everyone gets to see how things are made and exactly how long it takes to make them.

    A research project from a Wharton professor earlier this year sparked a conversation about how long Kickstarter projects take to be completed. The research found that just 25% of surveyed projects delivered rewards by their Estimated Delivery Date. In other words, many projects were late. (The professor also found that only 3.6% of surveyed projects failed to deliver. This got much less attention.)

    Occasionally art is known for how long it took to be created. Sometimes for better (the Sistine Chapel) and sometimes for worse (Guns ‘N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy). But with few exceptions, the amount of time a creative work takes to be made has little relevance to its audience. If anything, the longer the period of creation the higher esteem the work is held.

    The focus on lateness within Kickstarter brings three problems. 

    First, it incentivizes creators to take shortcuts to hit their deadlines. As legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto recently said, "A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.” 

    Second, it ignores what makes Kickstarter so unique: getting to watch a project come to life. The opportunity to see how something is made and to have a hand in its creation is a special thing. If a creator turns the creative process into a story they share with backers, delays don't have to be bad news.

    Third, it presumes that Kickstarter is a store. Sure, it's unacceptable for a store to ship something late. But Kickstarter is not a store. The Estimated Delivery Date is the creator’s best guess at how things will go, and it’s made at a very early stage in the project’s life.

    We at Kickstarter know quite a bit about lateness ourselves, funnily enough. Our original plans had Kickstarter launching in April 2008, but a variety of obstacles delayed the launch an entire year. Does this delay make Kickstarter a failed project? We hope not. Ultimately the creative process takes as long as it has to take.

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