Kickstarter. What’s the big deal anyway? Why shouldn’t Sylvester Stallone and Spike Lee resort to Kickstarter to finish, or start their latest projects? What’s wrong with that? Why should we care?
We are living in a golden age of entertainment thanks to fair choice. If something stinks, you can turn the channel, turn on your computer or read a book. The entertainment industry knows it; the audience is in control, they are not.
In short, you frighten them. This is the triumph of the free market.
There once was a time when entertainment outlets were few and any old crap could hit the television. We were forced to watch it. Nostalgia aside, try sitting through a few episodes of Scooby-Doo and compare it to today’s entertainment. To quote our crime fighting canine pal, “ruh-oh”.
When I was a kid, I got Different Strokes an my kids get the Simpsons. I got He-Man and GI Joe — shows designed to sell action figures — my kids get Spongebob, the Regular Show and Adventure Time.
I’m so jealous.
At the risk of sounding like I’m about to kick you off my lawn, you can thank MTV, the internet and YouTube for all of this. With these radical innovations, suddenly you didn’t have to choose between the brown shoe and the black shoe. You could choose a green shoe, or maybe a sandal and even going barefoot if you wanted. It’s called consumer choice and consumer choice resulted in savage competition. Savage competition resulted in better products and market discipline.
Simply put, the people who invest in movies want a return on their dollar. At the very least, they want their dollar back. And if you cannot provide that by producing a product of sufficient quality that people, when faced with great choice will choose that product over all others, you’ll never again get another dime.
So people like Sylvester Stallone and sadly, Spike Lee, who have a track record of losing money and making terrible movies (at least lately), are having trouble raising money. They’re terrible and because of that, they cannot compete.
Crowd-sourcing is supposed to enable new voices to be heard. The artist in question does not have to pay the money back. It’s an exception to free market enterprise; it’s a gift, not an investment. Not that the traditional crowd-sourcing doesn’t still have skin in the game. At the very least an artist want to make a good product so that maybe they get to make another.
That’s who crowd-sourcing is supposed to be for.
Who isn’t it for? The has-been hack who could afford to write a check if he truly believed in his product.
If the Stallone’s and Spike Lee’s of the world truly put an effort in, if they were really trying to make a good product, they wouldn’t need crowd-sourcing. They’d convince the traditional structure to invest in their product based on their proven record of success. But they can’t do that because their current product is so bad no rational investor will touch it. So they’re left, palms up, to turn to the irrational portion of the market, the sect that will give out money without the expectation of return.
This is very dangerous because these fat, lazy, greedy so and so ‘artists’ are only compelled to make good product by the harsh discipline of the market. Remove that and they’ll turn out any sort of garbage they like. Freed from the requirement to repay an investor, whatever they take in is profit pure and simple.
It’s fraud. It’s stealing. It’s wrong. And shame on any respectable ‘artist’ who wants to try and double charge moviegoers for a product that the market is suggesting shouldn’t exist anyways.