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A feature length documentary about the unofficial fan convention for aficionados of the show “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.”
2,621 backers pledged $322,022 to help bring this project to life.

Clarification

Posted by Michael Brockhoff (Creator)

As you are probably aware, there was a lot of reaction to yesterday's update. I wanted to clarify a few things.

Bonus Material
The announcement had nothing to do with discs which backers are already set to receive. If your pledge level included the bonus disc with extended interviews from Lauren, John and Tara, you will still get that disc. The main disc even includes two bonus segments, one on Galacon and one on B.U.C.K. We've even gone the extra mile to create not just the promised Blu-Ray discs, but Blu-Ray / DVD combo packs. As stated before, those masters are being sent to the replicator next week and will be ready to ship in about three weeks.

Budget / Production
I want to make it clear that we understand that perhaps we were naive in using pre-sales funds to increase the quality and scope of the film and deferring some of the traditional salaries to be paid by post-release sales to those who had not contributed already. We did so with the best of intentions. No, we did not enjoy a giant payday as some have suggested. For those who think so, I would like to point out that a very similar documentary, and some say not as good, "Comic-Con" had a 1.5 million budget. Also, consider the tremendous cost of providing backer rewards (t-shirts, art prints, shipping, meet & greet party, DVD's, etc).

We have not lost sight of the fact that this project would not have even been possible without the backers. At all times our goal was to give the people who pledged the most value for their support and we feel that is something we did achieve.

Piracy
Obviously we touched a nerve and many of you have very strong feelings on the subject. I want to make it clear that we did not call all Bronies pirates. We always anticipated some piracy, but did not know it would be as rampant. Yes, in hindsight we should have picked a different release strategy. We stand by our opinion that those who feel justified in downloading the film for free because "others already paid on their behalf" are just plain wrong. We appreciate some understanding that this is not a hobby for us. It's how we pay our bills and feed ourselves. If on its own there is no demand for the film, then so be it. But this is not a theoretical position, we are hurt by piracy and we are not in the same boat as a company like Hasbro who has multiple revenue streams like toy sales.

Future Releases
To those suggesting another Kickstarter campaign for the release of additional material. We appreciate your support and this is something we will consider. As previously stated, right now we need to put our time, energy and money into the mainstream release.

Mike & The Bronies Team

Comments

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    1. Jacob Gibson on

      (Sorry, I shouldn't have said "any" in the last sentence. That makes it sound like there might not be more but I know you'll probably want to do more.)

    2. Jacob Gibson on

      *makes a few disgusted phone calls to people* Ok, Mr. Brockhoff, get ready. In three days you'll have a large crowd at your front door to personally apologize. :)
      I bet that Lauren Faust and Tara Strong would be happy to go a on a talk show and talk about the documentary, but if you still don't like that idea I understand. I myself am surprised that so many in the fandom are behaving like this. I expected better. Hope that one day more bronies will appreciate what you've done and that any future projects of yours go smoother.

    3. Missing avatar

      Jordan Martens on

      We love you Mike & The Bronies Team!
      Thank you for all your hard work, and I'm sorry that this happened.
      I really had hope for the community...
      I wish you all well :)

    4. Mokey on

      Sorry Mike, I wasn't trying to be offensive or anything. I was mainly responding to Dominic and his comments. I agree with you about your trouble with what you identify with as a brony anymore, personally. All this negative publicity has really touched a nerve with some people, at least with myself anyway.

      It just makes me think that people who like the show have to be even more secretive about it now. I know I believe that more so now, and I'm leaning more and more to never wearing the cool shirt and hat I got from the backer rewards in public (more-so the shirt than anything). I don't think I can take that kind of ridicule on top of whatever else I have in my life atm.

      I had no idea it was affecting you that much though, I'm very sorry if I hurt ya :(. I just hate people that have no idea about the consequences of their actions.

    5. Michael Brockhoff 2-time creator on

      @Jacob Gibson (AppleJake G.) We have considered such. I had to admit though, after being subject to vile disgusting personal attacks on EQD, reddit, etc, it's not easy to be in the public spotlight defending Bronies to the world. Right now I'm struggling with identifying the balance of good kind people who call themselves Bronies vs. those who label themselves as a Brony but clearly don't share the same creed.

    6. Jacob Gibson on

      Like Jordan Olling said, I too wish there was a way to like comments here, especially the previous 3.
      @Michael Brockhoff: This may be a ridiculous idea or not possible/worth the trouble, but would it be possible for you, de Lancie, or someone else on the team to go on a late night talk show (say... Jimmy Fallon ^_^) and talk about bronies and the documentary? I think it would be a very entertaining subject for all and do wonders for advertising. I don't know how shows choose their guests or if it costs money or if there's a waiting list, etc. but that would make my year to see that. I know, I'm probably flaunting my ignorance again. Always willing to learn things though.

    7. Vargr Rækr on

      I also want to join the chorus of voices thanking you for this project. I pledged more than I could wisely afford at the time in support of this project, because I really believed in this project. Not just because of the show (although I love the show), but because the narrow minded focus on only liking things from within our supposed target demographic, or liking things that promote a genuinely good way of life are so often looked down upon, and one thing that will have to happen is to engage people in general with media production that cannot so easily be dismissed out of hand.

      This documentary is not a panacea for all evils, but it is a great start. Listening to interviews from John de Lancie, Tara Strong, and Lauren Faust over the past year (not just the ones in the documentary), I think I know what they were trying to do in promoting a community devoted to creativity and kindness.

      I really hope that the creators don't let the cruel words from those who don't understand or care about what they were trying to do to prevent them from cherishing their accomplishment.

      And I also hope that you will continue to attend conventions, engage with your fans, and consider yourselves as bronies.

      Live long, and pony!

    8. Michael Brockhoff 2-time creator on

      @James Andrew Cole Thank you for your kind words. Being subject to so many nasty and vile personal attacks has not been fun.

    9. James Andrew Cole
      Superbacker
      on

      Please don't get too caught up on the low points now, such as the small band of pirates who wouldn't pay for the film anyway and the small but loud portion of the Brony community who just like to complain and cause chaos.

      Instead focus on moving forward and spreading this film to a larger, paying audience. There are many of us Bronies out there, the silent majority, who are willing to do much more to support this project as it goes mainstream. There are hundreds of us that would pitch in large sums for a Kickstarter extension. We're waiting for this film to become available on more venues so we can pitch it to friends and family and help spread the word.

      In every great hero's story, there's a low point, where all hope is lost, and yet afterwards the hero rises stronger than ever. This is that moment for the BronyCon Team.

    10. Yohann Denis on

      like humble indie bundle with pay-what-you-want, don't think everybody give only 1$ or just the money to have bonus games !
      a lot of people (like me) gives a little more :)

      in kickstarter, the goal is calculated to have a finished product for everybody who pledge for it, the sells after is bonus for the creators

    11. Yohann Denis on

      I know a lot of people in the fandom who didn't pledge on kickstarter for this documentary because of the high price to have it !

      look at the games on kickstarter... usually, for 10$ you have the digital download and for some of them you will play for hours

      a documentary, you watch it, maybe 1h30 or 2hours once or twice like a movie

      in my opinion, you should donate this documentary to every backers and sell it in "pay-what-you-want", like this no piracy
      it's much in the fandom spirit

      simply look how much sells there are for smartphone low cost videos/apps/games

    12. Paula Clark on

      *stands behind Mokey [because he seems very brave]* I have read so much malicious and cruel justification for pirating the documentary online, that it makes me sick. The thought that one of us backers actually did this is haunting. Because I, a non-Brony and one who really didn't understand this whole Brony thing at all, but one who understands fandom looked at this as a way to support an idea that was possibly a means to right a wrong against a group with the right to have a voice and just enjoy something they love without bullying. And, usually the way that happens is for everyone to understand the fundamentals of a group. Michael, Laurent & John began this idea and John truly looked upon you as a fanbase with what can only be described as enthusiasm. As a Trekkie, I've been to conventions and while I would not go so far to say he is unhappy to be there for us; there was a definite difference in how he greeted you and spoke with you all. He was truly engaged in your fandom. I had never seen him that happy and gregarious at a Trek convention. How anyone could do this to him and the Bronies Team after watching the videos of those conventions and if they actually went and met him I have no idea. Anymore than how I can understand donating to Kickstarter for the project just to maliciously pull the rug out from under them. Now, when it is all said and done, the justification for defying a polite plea and request not to upload it because of their plans just falls short and there is no reason to continue the debate. It is done, the person or persons who did it were and are forever WRONG for this. And, it goes against IMO everything that Bronies say they their ideals are. Really, and justifying it with we have always pirated and stole, makes no difference. This was one time, in your miserable fandom you shouldn't have. This was what was supposed to free you of bullying. But you guys bully within your own fandom, and outright disregard one another, how is that Love & Tolerance? And, the criticism of these men and women who worked on the project as well, should stop, it just reeks of ignorance and childishness, that many of us who never understood your fandom have always seen. It is appalling. I really hope whomever did this and your cohorts get what you deserve sometime in your lifetime. Whatever that might be.

    13. Mokey on

      @Dominic

      Well I didn't really gather that from your post.

      What I got from it was a belief in Marxism, having friends that got the download for free but will pay for a future project, advising the team to be honest and open in the future, a well wishing for it to get sold, and a small innuendo that you MAY (I stress may) have uploaded the video for reasons unbeknownst to all.

      My point was that the time for your friends, and any who pirated it, to support the doc is over, the window of opportunity to help make the project better than it already is is gone. People who work for a project want to be able to have a roof over their head, feed themselves and sleep somewhere warmly, and to do that, they need to get paid by the consumer who buys their product.

      Without that revenue, people starve, pure and simple

      I really don't understand what else I'm supposed to take it as then.

    14. Matthew Senecal on

      Filmmakers naive? Perish the thought.

      Really though, all utilizing kickstarter does is move your sales from the back end to the front end. To expect much more than that pretty much defines naive.

      As far as piracy is concerned, MLP airs at 0700 Pacific, 0900 Central, and 1000 Eastern, and Hasbro doesn't really offer an alternative until the end of the season (typically). Given that bronies aren't really the kinds of people to see these hours, at least if not especially on a Saturday, a legitimate avenue for the brony community to even be a thing doesn't really exist.

      Really, anything with Tara Strong and John de Lancie is worth watching for their ungodly talents alone, but it seems to me that your being shocked and/or surprised at this turn of events means that the filmmakers did not really grasp the fundamentals of the fandom.

      I expect to be disappointed, but hopefully not.

    15. Wilfried "Evenprime" Pasquazzo on

      @Yohann Denis: KickStarter is not an online shop. You don't buy a product, you donate money to a person or organization to help them create something. To motivate people to give more money, you get a little "Thank You" that usually is worth less than the amount you donated, because the difference goes into creating the product/realizing the project itself.

      Also, people who gave 30$ for the documentary did get more than just a digital download. They got their name listed in the "Thank You" section at the end of the movie, which to many people, is something very valuable.

      The project had over 2600 backers, more than 2000 of them willing to pay 30$+ to get the digital download. Even if they could have had another 10.000 backers with a 1$ for the digital download perk, they would only have 10.000$ more budget than before (that's 3% more budget). But at the same time would have had to provide bandwidth, infrastructure and support for 4 times the people. And of course there would be 10.000 additional people who will definitely not buy the documentary for its release price of 13$, because they already own it.

      One of the "Humble Indie Bundle" (it's a "pay what you want"-System where you get some games as digital downloads) organizers stated once that people should please just pirate the games of some torrent site, if they plan on spending less than 1$. Because for such little payment they would actually lose money, due to fees and costs for servers and bandwidth.

    16. Missing avatar

      Dominic Smith on

      @Monkey "@Dominic So basically you're saying that your friends would pay money for another brony project like this in the future because they watched a pirated version now?"

      Um...I didn't say anything about another brony project...at all. O_o. I specifically said that donations from a future kickstater should go towards paying the people that worked on this film and had their pay deferred in order that more money be put into it's production and any money left over could be used to produce the disks containing the extra material.

    17. Mokey on

      @Dominic

      So basically you're saying that your friends would pay money for another brony project like this in the future because they watched a pirated version now?

      Hate to break it to ya, but this documentary was already made. There is no next time, the film was shot, the work was put in (actually cut short), and people need their cut of the pie to compensate them for that work. But as it stands, thanks to uploaders, they may never get that, hence the team is basically up a creek, especially Michael.

      Since something like this has already been made, credibility must be established by the team if it is to succeed again. That cannot happen if pirated copies ruin the hard work they put into it. That's part of the business in a nutshell.

    18. Missing avatar

      Dominic Smith on

      Thanks for the update and since I've not yet gotten around to it, thank you for the hard work you put into this amazing documentary. :)

      Most things have already been said so I'll just a few points.

      Regarding the piracy, as probably the ONLY backer in the project who is a revolutionary Marxist I can hardly be blamed for having a disdain for property law ;) I see the entire crisis in the music, movie and television industry resulting from piracy as nothing more than the confirmation of Marx's predictions that as the methods of production, distribution and technology develop they will inevitably come into conflict with the outmoded capitalist property forms and it posses important questions for the future.

      That said, I didn't personally upload the documentary out of some pathetic, self indulgent act of individual rebellion against the system, that's an anarchist mentality in my opinion where I am for debates in society as a whole taking place over time to genuinely address this issue and go forward in a way that can ensure individuals and groups are supported in their creative endeavours.

      Moving on then about how we respond to the current situation, I personally would like to stress in advance that should you do another kickstarter I will pledge more than my previous $75+ backing and also, other bronies I have spoken to who have acquired illegal copies and watched it, having been genuinely impressed, have told me that unlike last time where they were unsure about the whole thing, they would be prepared to donate this time.

      I think that if you do a kickstarter though, you should not be afraid to be honest, explain in the backing vid how people involved in the project have made personal sacrifices regarding their pay and that the kickstarter is first and foremost for them, the 'target' covering those costs and then any additional money raised will go towards the extra material, you can also add a 'trailer' of that extra material at the end so people can see a glimpse of what they will be getting.

      Regarding future distribution, the quality of the documentary speaks for itself and while it is it available on the internet, it's only really people that go consciously looking for it that will find it, there are still the hundreds of millions of Americans (not to mention millions more internationally) who have never even heard of a brony and certainly would not go looking for a documentary about them, so it being sold to be shown on a major US and then foreign channel should still be an option and I wish you guys luck getting it sold so the real, indented audience, can see it!

    19. Yohann Denis on

      (sorry for my bad english)

      I think it was be better if the digital download started with 1$ pledge and a lot more of people would pledged for the documentary...

      because in my opinion, the fandom is like it is because of the free or pay-what-you-want materials they make

      this documentary is simply overpriced ...
      30$ digital
      50$ BR/DVD

      are you kidding ? you just try to take the maximum of fan's bucks...

      with these prices it's normal that there are piracy...

    20. Michael Wells on

      I was extremely upset to hear that it was pirated. I thought that if there was ONE fandom that could pull it off, it would be us. But no. I wish there was something I could do.

      It seems that all I can do is just... say that I'm sorry.

    21. Michelle K. T. Illg on

      The piracy was definitely disgraceful and inexcusable...even if inevitable, and now it's known for the future that further steps would need to be taken to prevent it. I'm sure that some who don't belong to the fandom but still had an interest of some kind in seeing the film had something to do with it...but even if actual bronies were involved, it should be obvious that most of us care about the fair marketing of the movie, and view such actions as shameful and terribly inconsiderate. I like the idea of a second Kickstarter. Looking forward, I again wish you the best in the continued, hopefully greatly improved marketing of this fine documentary. Hopefully it will meet with great success, and ultimately pay off.

    22. Kyle Haeberle on

      I hope this muffles the nasty rumors going around. Also nice to hear you plan on doing another kickstarter/donation-drive at a later date. Also I would like to send sympathy to John De Lancie. His Twitter made it sound like we kicked his dog. And that is a sad thought seeing as to how much he has helped us.

    23. Missing avatar

      Brad Harrison on

      Thanks for the clarification on the previous update; and I certainly hope there is another Kickstarter for the bonus materials in the future. To add my two bits to the topic, if you do update the website, and chance of adding some documentary swag? I absolutely love the shirt design, and it might be quite a good seller if you added it as an option to your website?

      The 100$ backers would still have all their names forming the design (and the 2d run buyers would not) which would keep the "uniqueness" of the tier for those who were awesome enough to support the 100$ level qwithout diminishing their contribution.

      Web-based shirt sellers like Zazzle, RedBubble or Spreadshirt would proably be willing to do this, offer it in a variety of sizes, colors and formats, and you would not have to buy/carry the stock yourselves.

      Just a thought!

    24. Missing avatar

      Agustin Bosso on

      Just a few things more:
      This is the actual status fo the only torrent I found of the documentary:
      Seeders: 274 - Leechers: 17
      I know there are lots of sources to download the pirate version, but Im not sure if the piracy is so rampant, the number is not that big.
      Look I've found other issues that can be improved to improve sales, I want to help, and I know how.

      If you are interested, contact me.

    25. Missing avatar

      Tylendal on

      I was so happy to see this latest message. The previous one had left me feeling very disillusioned about the fandom, feeling like the fandom had let the producers down. I'm glad to hear this most recent message on a more positive note. I look forward to sales slowly increasing in the future as more people become aware of it.

      Good luck with the future of the documentary. I have never once regretted supporting it.

    26. Missing avatar

      Agustin Bosso on

      Also sorry for all the the mistakes on the text, I typed really fast XD

    27. Missing avatar

      Agustin Bosso on

      Hugs man! To you, John and all the people involved.
      Im sorry about what im going to say, but I think you did some things wrong.
      The fact that we bronies are really supportive fans doesn't mean that we are not humans with the same behaviours and patterns than anyone else. The process of buying something involves a lot of psychological and thats why marketing exists.

      There are big mistakes in you current sales strategy:
      - The website http://www.bronydoc.com/Brony/MAIN.html , says nothing, not even the title is significant, that doesn't invite me to buy anything. The button to buy is practically hidden on the black background, the design is not attractive. You can even learn from the kickstarter page usability, they are very good on how to guide the user to participate and become a backer.

      - There is no facebook page, or at least I searched "bronydoc" "brony documental" "brony documentary" and there is nothing on facebook, you need the basic websocial-based marketing tools, and are free and easy to maintain, in that way you can make people aware of the documentary, of whats happening and maybe even interest non-brony customers.

      - You dont have an official twitter account! This is very important to keep in touch with the customers and help the word of mouth marketing! BTW I created the @bronydoc account so no one else can steal it and I will be glad to give to you the password on a private email.

      - Google ads, facebook ads, are cheap and well segmented ways to make adversiting, or you can even talk with Sethisto from Equestria Daily or any other brony popular website and ask them to add a small banner to buy the documentary.

      - Add value to the product, most of times people uses the piracy not beacuse is cheaper but because is easier and faster to search the illegal version of a digital download, but is very hard to make easier a complete payment process on the internet. So add something: Pleople usually wants to pay more but get better things, t-shirts, the physicall dvd or anything. If you dont believe me, see the backers list and the distribution of sales. If you can't right now sell pshysical items, be creative! Make a raffle with all the buyers and the winner won a chat wiht John or Tara, there lots of possibilities! An example, I don't say it works for you, but is an example about how to make mony on a copyable world: Amanda Palmer and her virtual crowdsurfing: http://www.amandapalmer.net/blog/virtual-crowdsurfing/

      - Read the Cluetrain Manifesto, probably the best analysis of the internet consumer http://www.cluetrain.com/#manifesto

      I think there are some other things to improve, but this 6 steps I think is a good first start.

      Sorry if im rude, thats not my intention, I just want to help.

      If you need help with the website I can help for free, I was web developer for many years and I'm still on good form. Now I'm product manager on a startup on Barcelona, and we are doing great sales, we sell software, we learned and we fail thousands of times trying to understand how the internet sales are different than the "physical world" sales. Count on me if there is something, even the littlest thing I can do to help.

    28. Missing avatar

      John Thomson on

      @Edward Grenz: This. I won't clutter the comments with anything else.

    29. Avohkah Tamer on

      Thanks for this much-needed followup post, Mike. It's good to know you've heard the questions and concerns bronies have voiced across the internet, and you addressed them honestly. I'm hopeful this will help calm people down somewhat.

    30. Edward Grenz on

      *Hugs* to you guys. I want to once again say thanks for all you and the team have done for us. I think the majority of us are saddened by this Piracy thing, and are upset for you guys too. I backed the project because I felt you would do us justice, and I really thing you did. I appreciate all of you have done, and I hope I will get to support you all again in the future. I hope you guys don't lose too much heart over this.

    31. Missing avatar

      Kevin Sewell on

      Thank you for posting this, I think its fair to say this will calm down some people.

    32. Timmo Warner on

      I hope this calms a few people down. I know some people misunderstood what was being cancelled.

      As for the people who think they deserve to see the entire movie for free, I can't even begin to comprehend what they're thinking.