Ready Set Fund

Ready, Set, Fund: Be a Patron, Support the Apocalypse

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slate from I Am Jack's Apocalypse

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects.

We all have the habit of saying "Kickstarter campaign" as a generic term for crowdfunding, but of course that's not the only site that hosts these types of project. I don't just mean Indiegogo either. In the past, this column has highlighted Austin projects from United States Artists (Computer Chess being the one I remember) and Seed&Spark. (I particularly like United States Artists because it's curated -- no one is raising money for potato salad there.)

This month, I found a new platform (via Bryan Poyser, thanks!) called Patreon. Patreon has a slightly different model, focusing on campaigns for projects with recurring needs, like web series, blogs and podcasts. The donors -- called "patrons" -- support these projects through recurring gifts that correspond with each episode in a series, for example. Instead of giving $25 (or $250 if you're flush), you might give $5 per podcast, or $1 per blog post.

Recurring gifts are a big staple of traditional nonprofit campaigns, so finding a way to do that with artistic crowdfunding is pretty smart. It keeps donors invested in the project, and I think it will strengthen projects in the long term with a steady source of income.

Ready, Set, Fund: Queens, Teens and Lazer Team

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Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects.

With summer in full swing, we've happened upon several Indiegogo and Kickstarter campaigns of films gearing up to shoot over these next few months. Headlining these campaigns is the Lazer Team project, the first feature film to be made by Austin production group Rooster Teeth (Red vs. Blue). A bit elusive in the plot description, the story is described as a live-action sci-fi comedy that takes place in the aftermath of receiving an alien signal on Earth.

The Indiegogo campaign raised an impressive $650,000+ on its first launch day, and has now crossed the $1.5 million mark. I'm sure it's due to not only a large fan base, but the impressive incentives offered. Already sold out of the highest two, perks include 20-second voicemails from your favorite Rooster Teeth personality ($400 donation), a Virtual LAN Party with the RT team ($2,000 donation), and even a walk-on role in the film ($6,000 donation). You can watch the video below for more information. The campaign ends on July 6.

Ready, Set, Fund: Crunch Time

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'The Sauce' Movie Still

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects.

A number of local movie projects are nearing the end of their fundraising campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The countdown begins with The Sauce, a feature about a ruthless, egomaniacal stock trader who decides to start his own firm. The only thing stopping him (besides those pesky executives) may be himself. This indie comedy will be set and shot in Austin and has reached its goal, but generous backers can give additional funds through its Kickstarter campaign until May 29.

Other Austin and Texas movie-related projects seeking funds:

  • On June 1, the clock stops on the Kickstarter campaign for The Lizzie Project. This documentary, directed and produced by Austinite Sara Bordo, follows Texas State University alumna Lizzie Velasquez on her journey to help inspire a more positive online world. Lizzie, who is one of three people in the world diagnosed with an unnamed syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, experienced cyber bullying as a teenager. She has since gone on to be a motivational speaker and author.

Ready, Set, Fund: Texas Women Making Movies

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carlyn hudson

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects. 

This column has long been well nurtured and championed by Debbie, but moving forward you'll see other Slackerwood contributors pitching in to highlight various crowdfunding activities going on in the local film community. It's my pleasure to present this month's slate, which includes a few excellent projects spearheaded by women. 

First up is a film-in-the-making called The Big Spoon. Currently seeking funds on Kickstarter, this "unromantic comedy" is planned to film in Austin this summer and will pull together several familiar names for its cast and crew. The project is also specifically dedicated to supporting the work of women in film and features a largely female production team.

The Big Spoon is co-written and (will be) directed by Carlyn Hudson (pictured above left), a University of Texas alum and short film director who co-produced Andrew Bujalski's Computer Chess as well as Richard Linklater's Hulu project Up to Speed. Hudson was also a segment director for Slacker 2011, and if you've ever attended Cinema East you'll recognize her as one of the series programmer/producers. 

Ready, Set, Fund: Pre-SXSW Film Crowdfunding Updates

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Rat Pack Rat Still

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects.

Several local film projects that ran successful crowdfunding campaigns are making their regional premiere at this year's SXSW Film Festival including the experimental documentary Yakona from San Marcos-based filmmakers Anlo Sepulveda and Paul Collins, Thank You A Lot from Matt Muir and Chris Ohlson, Jeffrey Radice's No No: A Dockumentary, and Todd Rohal's Rat Pack Rat (pictured above). Yakona also received two Austin Film Society Grants (formerly known as the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund), as did local filmmaker Kat Candler for her feature-length version of Hellion, which also makes its Texas debut at SXSW.

The SXSW Film Conference will feature several sessions that should be of interest to filmmakers who want to learn more about achieving funding for their projects.

"Meet the Insiders: Funding and Special Organizations" will feature several speakers from the nonprofit film world and they'll speak about "what NOT to do in your proposals to grants, fiscal sponsors, film labs, and other programs." Independent Film Project Producer and Program Manager Rose Vincelli Gustine will moderate this panel, which includes industry experts such as Sundance Film Fund Director Rahdi Taylor, Independent Lens Senior Series Producer Lois Vossen and Chicken and Egg Pictures Operation and Programs Manager Iyabo Boyd.

Ready, Set, Fund: 'The Father,' 'Arvind' and More

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the father

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects. 

Debbie (that lucky gal) is busy covering Sundance and Slamdance this month, so in her place I'll be taking a look at some of the Austin-related crowdfunding projects currently reaching for their goals. 

First, speaking of Sundance and crowdfunding, this year 20 Kickstarter-funded features, shorts and documentaries will be featured at the festival. According to Kickstarter, this is the third year in a row that over 10 percent of the festival lineup has been made up of Kickstarted projects and several, including this year's Academy award-nominated The Square, have gone on to much success. And that doesn't count any projects that used other crowdfunding site, like Indiegogo.

Debbie will be discussing a few local crowdfunded Sundance players, including official 2014 selection No No: A Dockumentary, in the coming days.

Now, here's a look at a few Austin and Texas projects currently seeking funds for completion:

  • The Father -- This "throwback '80s sci-fi film" directed by Austinite Stephen Belyeu (Dig) tells the story of an extraterrestrial father and son who have crash-landed on Earth (pictured above). Filmmakers are seeking funding specifically to assist with creating the practical special effects for the movie, and hope to reach their goal in time to shoot during the short-lived Texas winter. (Kickstarter, ends Jan. 26)

Ready, Set, Fund: 'Crowd Speak' for Successful Crowdfunding

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Still Photo from Foreign Puzzle

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and related fundraising endeavors for Austin and Texas independent film projects.

Of all the contributions that I've made over the last 4.5 years to Slackerwood, I find this monthly feature, which can be quite rewarding for filmmakers through the promotion of their funding campaigns, to also be personally rewarding. I enjoy following the progress of many of our featured film projects from creation to production to screening at prestigious film festivals including Sundance, SXSW and Austin Film Festival.

Over the last two years, this column has expanded beyond just film projects with the inclusion of television and web media as well as tools to help filmmakers. For example, one of this month's featured fundraising campaigns is for WriterDuet collaborative screenwriting software. WriterDuet is currently available for free online, but this fundraising campaign, which is funding through Thursday, December 19 on Kickstarter, will fund the creation of a desktop version.

We also receive a considerable amount of feedback each month from filmmakers regarding their fundraising efforts. This month's column thus features two new sections: Projects that we've featured in a past column, and tips from the industry to help with fundraising efforts.

Ready, Set, Fund: Producing for a Cause

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Reel Change Film FrenzyReady, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and related fundraising endeavors for Austin and Texas independent film projects.

Local nonprofit festival Lights. Camera. Help. is changing it up a bit for the 2014 Reel Change Film Frenzy through a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to support their ten filmmaking teams in sharing stories about local nonprofit organizations. Backers can become a producer of their very own cause-driven film by donating as little as $10. The goal is to raise $10,000 to be split between the teams to cover their costs.

At higher levels, backers are eligible to receive tickets to the Reel Change Film Frenzy screening at the Alamo Drafthouse, a cameo appearance in one of the films, or video coaching sessions by Lights. Camera. Help. educators. Even if the campaign does not reach its goal, the filmmakers have agreed to split evenly any funding received through January 4.

Stuntwoman Patty Dillon has taken on a new role in the film industry as a documentary filmmaker with There Will Be No Stay, the personally intimate story of the men faced with the unbearable act of taking another person's life on behalf of the criminal justice system. Austin-based Arcanum Pictures (Grow Up, Tony Phillips) producers Paul Gandersman and Peter Hall support this salient documentary, which was filmed across the nation from South Dakota to Texas and North Carolina.

The film, which provides a rare glimpse into a difficult profession, is currently funding through Wednesday, December 11 on Kickstarter, for funds to cover post-production including final film and sound editing as well as music licensing and film festival application fees.

Watch the thought-provoking preview of There Will Be No Stay after the jump.

Ready, Set, Fund: Air Sex, Gay Retirees and Girlie Pop Culture

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The Bounceback Still Photo

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and related fundraising endeavors for Austin and Texas independent film projects.

Two local movies that were well received at their SXSW 2013 premieres are now crowdfunding for distribution: The Bounceback and Before You Know It. Local filmmaker Bryan Poyser has a Kickstarter funding campaign through Sunday, November 17, for his romantic comedy (with air sex!) The Bounceback -- check out Don's review as well as Elizabeth's interview with Poyser.

PJ Raval -- director of photography for The Bounceback -- is also seeking funding for his feature-length documentary Before You Know It through October 30. This insightful and thought-provoking film reveals the discrimination, neglect and exclusion faced by lesbian, gay and bisexual senior citizens. Raval tells the story through several inspirational individuals who have found the strength to form communities where they and others can be comfortable and accepted.

Check out the pitch video for the Before You Know It campaign, which includes some of the film's subjects, after the jump.

Ready, Set, Fund: Of Monsters and Men

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Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and related fundraising endeavors for Austin and Texas independent film projects.

Tinker Bell just didn't cut it for me as a kid. I was more about the depictions of changelings that I read about in the half-price Scandinavian mythology books my family members thought made "nice" Christmas gifts. Needless to say, when I read about the Indiegogo campaign for the independent "unreliable documentary" Preternatural I got excited -- and wished I had $35,000 to give its filmmakers. 

Austin-based brothers Sean and Tim Cunningham (part of the team behind 2012's Austin-shot indie Sick Boy) have racked up more than 60 feature film credits (nine of those received VFX Academy Award-nominations), and they now aim to put terror back into fairy folklore. No more of this post-Victorian, Disneyfied ludicousness; with Preternatural, about modern-day monsters living amongst us in plain sight, we're talking "eat your face type of creatures" like changelings (typically the offspring of fairies that's been substituted for a human child), trolls, ogres, shifters and "much, much worse."

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