Hollywood Strikes Again
Hot on the heels of Kickstarters for Zach Braff’s Garden State followup, Veronica Mars‘ big screen comeback, and with just days (actually, now hours) left on the clock for James Franco’s art film Indiegogo project, another Hollywood name has turned to the crowd to fund his next project, and this one is actually pretty big. That’s right, acclaimed director Spike Lee is asking you to fund his next flick.
I don’t… even have a sarcastic remark to make here. Nope, from this lofty perch I’m just gonna watch that shark we jumped shake it’s lumpy fist with impotent rage.
Spike Lee, director of classic films like Malcom X and Summer of Sam has launched a project to fund “The Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint.” I dunno what else to say, really. This is a man who sits court side at every New York Knicks home game, who has been directing critically acclaimed films since the 70’s. And he needs your help.
I’ve enumerated why I find this endlessly frustrating, and my opinion hasn’t changed. I’m not even going to rehash those arguments, because they’re already out there. Lets just take a moment to look at the project. Back already? Yeah, that was pretty fast–because there isn’t much to it. In fact, most of Lee’s effort has seemingly gone to justifying why it’s okay for him to go after them juicy crowd funds. In fact, I’m not clear on what he’s funding, besides that it’s “Funny, sexy, and bloody (and it’s not Blacula).” That’s probably a sign that the Kickstarter crew should have thought twice about this one going live… but here we are.
Spike has made a number of statements to answer critics (these now comprise the majority of his project’s main page), and they consist mostly of claims that he’s been Kickstarting all along in a pre-Kickstarter world, and that his classic films might not have been made without the support of the likes of Prince and Oprah… The connection that he fails to make is it’s one thing to ask your rich buddies for money. It’s another thing to double dip your audience.
I think Valleywag’s Sam Biddle says it most succinctly:
So, this is how it all works now: wealthy, famous people ask people who aren’t to give them an interest-free loan in order to fund a thing that will make them even more rich and famous. The internet says says, and stumbles over itself to help, because of Kickstarter’s intoxicating ability to pry money from clouded minds. And that’s the truth, Ruth.
This will be the last Hollywood/crowd funding crossover that I bother to blog about. I might, you know, snark a bit, but I’m not going to dedicate whole posts to the issue, unless Spielberg or Cameron launch a project–then it’s on! Frankly, I think the writing is on the wall: crowd funding has been found out. We’re going to see more and more creatives with name recognition and serious cachet turning to the crowd to fund their work. I just hold out hope that in doing so, they don’t diminish the institution in the process.