There are a lot of indy films out there that are in one stage of the process or another. Talented artists and film makers are everywhere, but many do not have access to funding that could bring their work into the light from with in the shadows.
“Unidentified” is one such film that has a crowd funding goal of $2,500 in order to finish its feature-length journey about a young man’s “Blair Witch” style documented journey of abduction. Several scenes have been shot, but the film needs finishing funds in order to get out there and be seen. In 1999 “The Blair Witch Project” was probably one of the earliest, if not the first, to use the internet to market itself and quite successfully. That film cost about $40,000 to make and made much, much more at the box office due to a very successful urban legend campaign.
It was shot in a guerrilla style way, and today, probably would not have been given a second look. The reason is that practically every grassroots indy film since has attempted to capitalize on the idea of making itself an internet sensation through one form of social media or another. That business model has become so saturated that only those who win the luck of the draw, and happen to be given the time of day by the right people will succeed.
Indy film has had many different ways of trying to break through the fortified walls of Hollywood over the years. Another success was Robert Rodriguez back in the early 1990’s with a film titled “El Mariachi.” It had quite a small budget as well, and it was done guerrilla style, but in my opinion, it was a much better film technically over all, and they went the film festival route which is another business model that grassroots independent filmmakers still attempt to use even today.
Now neither of the two examples used crowd funding because it didn’t exist in the 1990’s, but today almost every filmmaker I know attempts to use this platform as a way to raise funds as opposed to the old-fashioned model of hitting the pavement and seeking investors. There are actually laws with the SEC that prevent films from raising funds by individuals who invest less than a specific amount of money.
The point is, that funding a film is no easy task because funding a film in any capacity is a high risk investment. I have personally invested in independent film before. In fact, I actually received about two-thirds of my investment back through overseas sales of the film that I had invested in. Which is pretty good considering when investing in a film one might as well be prepared to lose it all. Most films are not profitable which is why Hollywood films are mostly formulaic.
Every once in a while Hollywood will take a risk on something original, but not without some kind of named star backing or starring on-screen in the film. The world of independent film is full of landmines and unexpected obstacles as is film making in Hollywood itself. The only difference is Hollywood is a name brand; whereas, grass-roots indy films are considered not worth the time or money. But I tell you that is a misconception. I’ve seen many grass-roots indy films made that are amazing stories and the no name talent are fabulous in them.
As for “Unidentified,” at the current moment this article is being written, the funding is nowhere near its goal of $2,500. Considering that most Hollywood films cost millions of dollars, and even known indy films have budgets of hundreds of thousands of dollars I would say the investment is quite small to finish this film.<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/87640323″>UNIDENTIFIED – Teaser #2 “Shaina”</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/christopherdonnelly”>Chris Donnelly</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Originally, the title of the film was “Chariots of the Gods,” but it caused quite a stir and detracted attention from the project itself. People were more concerned about arguing over its title than actually helping or offering small investments toward its completion. It’s funny how the grass-roots community works. We all market to ourselves, and forget to step outside of our little corner of the world into the worlds of others who may actually be interested in giving to an artistic cause for the sake of art. Grass-roots independent film artists even harshly criticize one another for going out and marketing. The question is: How else are people supposed to find out that you and your work exist?
If you are interested in helping to crowd fund “Unidentified,” and want see what all the fuss is about go to the link below, donate, and share. Just so you know, I challenge all of you to beat out the crowd funding campaign of a $4,000 bowl of crowd funded potato salad. If it costs $4,000 to raise enough money to cook a bowl of potato salad then surely you can donate enough to reach a goal of only $2,500 to finish the film “Unidentified.”