glimpses behind the scenes at what creates the magic we experience of film & tv- & other!

Archive for March, 2014

Crowd Funding Is Growing!

Nerd HQ badge

If you’re looking at this blog, you probably have heard of the San Diego Comic Con. And maybe about Nerd HQ – a happening parallel to SDCC that has panels & demos & parties galore! Nerd is a fun alternative for those without an SDCC ticket for a day or for those seeking refuge from the convention hall lines.  Many stars show up at Nerd panels, which are reasonably sized events, the ~$20 ticket proceeds going to a charity.

Nerd HQ however costs money. Money which founder Zach Levy has been fronting. But he needs help. He put together an Indiegogo campaign asking for support – and got enough that there will be a Nerd HQ at SDCC2014!  Here’s the link to find out more:

I was impressed with Nerd at SDCC 2013 – lots of gaming computers, neat robots & virtual reality demos – and a darn good party!  I’m also fascinated to see how crowd funding is growing in popularity and in the amount of $ it can raise.  Look at the Kickstarter-funded movie “Laura Mars” which quickly reached its goal and went on to raise over $5 million!

Personally I prefer to back Kickstarter projects –   if the organizers can’t get it together enough to reach their goal, I get my money back.  Producers and directors I’ve talked to prefer Indiegogo – they don’t have to reach the goal in order to get whatever dollars are contributed.

Secrets of Crowdfunding

Useful guide to getting projects funded – the new way!

If you or anyone you know is considering a crowd-funding effort, I strongly recommend reading The Secrets of Crowdfunding by Sean Akers.  It is packed full of useful information about what to consider when seeking funding – and some very good project management tips. Sound weighty?  Delightfully it is an easy book to read – an hour, maybe? – a plus in the entertainment world where many confess to low attention spans!  You can find this on Amazon:

Animation Tidbits from Oscar Nominee

Jonathan LeadersWandering around Reddit uncovered some interesting snippets from Jonathan Leaders, who has worked on many animated 3D films and who’s recent film “The Croods” just got nominated for an Oscar [at the time of this Reddit event]:

“I must say, it’s not actually the oscar nomination that interests me. It’s the environment that surrounds it. The people. It’s absolutely inspiring to be part of a group that is banding together to make something big that will echo throughout almost every country in the world. But this group of people doesn’t really focus on the distribution (the fame of it- for that is all fame is, distribution). They focus on the perfection of their individual craft. And how they use their time and efforts to help others outside of work. And what sorts of large projects can also be contributed to.

“I’ve never met a group of people with so wide a reach, that you can see the culture and shape of the world changing as they move. And I don’t mean just that I have seen girls tattoo Megamind on their bodies (which I have). I mean this: The tech groups volunteer with NASA after work to mentor kids in robotics at local high schools. Or we have a toastmasters on campus where we face our fears of public speaking so we can reach out to more people. Or when we have great mentors from competing company’s, such as Pixar’s Pete Doctor who come and share their story and freely give advice. To us! their competitor! It’s that kind of open attitude and collaboration in the larger things that makes me inspired and my world gets just that much bigger. I wrote an article on more of the details of inspiring innovation for a magazine (I don’t have the link since I’m on my phone but see for a link to the article of you’re interested in innovation-creating from the campus.)

Oscar Nominee

Oscar Nominee

– from the business side animated films are hard because their cost is so high. $30 million isn’t a bad budget for a non SFX based film. But 3D animated films now are in the $160,000,000 range. That means we have to nail it. Also there’s a lot of mid-to-high level math involved in programming the 3D world. It’s emulating real world physics and how light bounces and that is based on the real math behind their respective sciences. Plus the tech changes every film! Contrast that to traditional media, where it still changes but slower.

Q What do you think of online script writing competitions? Are they legit?

-The best competitions in general are the ones showcasing the whole process. In other words, your local film festival. Find or build a team and work your way through the circuit to sundance! There’s a few steps between here and there, but just take one step. Then the next.

– Script writing in general is difficult because remember that scripts are, in effect, business plans. They should get a return on a $20m to $120m investment. (That’s not including marketing/distribution) I did not write the script but I have friends who have done script writing. What I suggest is that new script writers go to live events where they can perform short monologues and get recorded and noticed that way. Also to try to publish books and get a following because that has a lower barrier to entry. I have not heard of online competitions getting noticed out here but, again this is not my exact specialty :)”

You can follow Jonathan Leaders on twitter: @JonathanLeaders.