Monday, December 27, 2010

The Magic of Crowdfunding

Last week-end I came across "Nasty Old People" - a full length, Creative Commons licensed film written and directed by Hanna Sköld.  Sköld took out a bank loan to fund the making of the movie, and then distributed it through Pirate Bay.  She was just able to pay off this loan because of crowdfunding that she did through her blog.  Inspired by the willingness of "pirates" to donate to her fundraiser, Sköld has decided to fund the production of another CC film the very same way.  It's called "Granny's Dancing on the Table" and it's set to release in 2012.

Excited by Sköld's commitment to the Creative Commons way, I tried to find any information about her that I could.  I wanted to know more about her creative process, and how the CC concept shaped that process.  Luckily, an organized group of entrepreneurs wanted to know the same thing, so they invited her to Good Morning 2020 to speak about her bold decision to CC license "Nasty Old People".  Here she spoke very candidly about not having the perfect mathematical equation to prove that giving content away for free is a monetarily sound move.  But in spite of this lack of data, she emphatically supported the "movement of sharing" (Sköld: Good Morning 2020).  She's a believer in the CC idea and free access to content because she has seen it work first hand.  More to the point, she's a believer because of the personal connections she made with her audience.  She experienced the power of active consumerism - the enthusiasm and loyalty of fans that's generated when art becomes a "process that facilitates a meeting between people" (Sköld: Good Morning 2020).  This experience was so powerful, in fact, Sköld has taken this process to a deeper level, choosing to write "Granny's Dancing on the Table" in an interactive format where she poses specific existential questions to her fans and then incorporates their responses into the story's plot and character development.  

Sköld seems to think that not only the interpersonal magic of crowdfunding a CC licensed film, but also its economic viability is rooted in a "space where people feel needed" (Sköld: Good Morning 2020).  In general, we're all searching for a way to become a part of something that's bigger than ourselves.  Judging from Sköld's success, crowdfunding is fast becoming the way for many.  Novacut's excited about this new way, and Sköld's willingness to allow us to help her create a space through which she and her fans can communicate.  We're excited for her to launch with us in April 2011, as well as for her mentorship in the creation of an interactive platform that "facilitates a meeting between people."


  1. It's nice to see the thoughts of actual content creators such as you or Sköld.

    I personally held a belief that tools should be free content should be anything the creator wants(anything profitable).

    In Sköld's case, by taking out the load, she had been responsible for all the risk related to distribution and content profitability by herself.

    Although I don't approve of many aspects of traditional media production & distribution(Hollywood & big studios), I think they atleast insulate individual content creators from the risk.

    It would be interesting how technology and innovations such as novacut and crowdsourcing change the dynamics.

    2011 is going to be a fun year!

  2. Symbol, I totally agree with you. Independently funding a movie - that's an incredibly scary leap of faith. I think this is why Kickstarter is so popular with indie artists. But with Kickstarter, there's a disconnect between funding a movie and distribution; indie artists are still struggling to find distribution venues for their work. So like you so astutely pointed out, this is why Novacut (a crowdfunding/distribution combo) has the potential to take independent entertainment making to a more productive place.

  3. In my assistance to help create some of the most forward thinking projects with collaborative partners, I find the pioneering crowdfunding models like and are added incentive. Even if funds were not an issue, I would still want to utilize these models because of what they represent. Granted, give the re-invention of about every convention eventually, these sites were inevitable creations...but kudo's to them for leading the march. Now, with Novacut, content creators could march right into a people-powered platform of Network proportions.....that will really rattle the cages of the rusty conventional corporate gate keepers. Speedy techno-heroes and savvy-minded visionaries arise, there's not so much villains to slay, but leadership to become. Next mission: Crowdfunded marketing....oh, isn't that a viral idea worth spreading? Who's in?