By now I suppose you know about Zach Braff’s Kickstarter campaign, in which he managed to raise funds to finance one of his projects (and exceed the goal) in less than a week.
Now, this campaign got a lot of media attention, mostly because Zach Braff is rich and famous, and so he got criticized for not paying the $2 million dollars he needed for his movie out of his own pockets. Then some folks said people were just “contributing,” and if the movie was to become incredibly successful, neither one of them would receive a cut of the profits. Others were basically accusing him of taking people’s money, or something like that, as if people are selling their kidneys on E-bay just to contribute to his campaign.
Anyway, my opinion is that Zach Braff realized the immense potential a community of followers has. And he did what he did, because he could. When you have over a million followers on Twitter, it also means that you have a core of die hard fans who will do almost anything you want them to. It sounds cruel or whatever, but it’s the truth.
Being an artist means that you develop a certain type of relationship with your fans. It’s uni-directional, in the sense that they never really get to know you, but they feel they do. You don’t know them, but they want you to. It’s possibly the strangest of all relationships that form between two human beings.
That’s one of the mistakes anyone who thinks Braff is doing something wrong makes.
Secondly, most artists want for their fans to validate their projects. It’s the best reason for having an online presence, actually. So, for him, it’s maybe not because he doesn’t have the money, he just wants to make sure he doesn’t waste the money. Over thirty thousand backers means at least thirty thousand people interested in seeing that movie made.
That’s something I didn’t read in any article.
Most people think money is such a trivial thing, that it somehow has the ability to taint any dream. Well, sadly we don’t live in a world of pretty concepts, and as much as we enjoy writing about virtue, bravery, kindness, and holding on to ideals no matter what, as much as we like to believe happiness to be a state of mind, the truth is that a hungry artist is a grumpy artist.
The only thing worth talking about is the fact that any artist who raises money for any endeavor whatsoever is kind of turning appreciation into money. People like what you do, admire you, and they’re willing to pay for this. It’s a sad reality, one I’m not really glad about, but also one I am grateful for, because without it I would have never gotten this far.
Maybe this is the immoral side of being a modern artist, but I do like to believe that, as Oscar Wilde said, art is neither moral or immoral. Art is either good or bad, and as an artist you have to get the work done, by any means necessary.
When I first decided to run a crowd-funding campaign, I did it with the fear of not reaching my goal. Of failing. And failing is one of those things you never quite get good at. But I tried it out of desperation and frustration, out of fear of losing precious time, simply because I couldn’t afford to finance my projects.
Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit when I say that I was almost afraid to write because I couldn’t afford to pay in order to get my books out, for readers to read.
This is Cristian Mihai’s sad reality, one I cannot avoid, and contrary to what some people might think, one I do not enjoy, but I do have to rely on people’s generosity in order to pay the bills.
For instance, right now, when you can contribute here, and maybe get something in return. Any contribution is welcome, as long as you don’t sell an arm and a leg to help me.