I have been doing some careful research and discussing this with a few close friends who work in the crew side of film and TV, we all have our issues with the crowd funding scene and certain terms that are used. Think buzzwords and bad marketing skills.
No one, and I mean no one, has looked at the logistics of creating a film or TV show, from the top down its all speculative and based solely around the idea that eventually this will make money and so afraid to say no, people are jumping on board with their eyes wide shut.
I am a believer in supporting indie film and have done pretty much that since the start of my career however I do want people to think business.
I worked out the details for this blog based on an a speculative film with a (proposed sale value) from DVD, digital sales and other resource sales such as cinema release (booking an independent cinema for a single showing usually). A verbally confirmed rather than a physical proposal that can be reviewed, IE a business plan that shows a solid marketing strategy, you are TOLD that this will be the value.
OK if you estimate your over all sales and finances based on a estimate of £1 million in sales. Doing the film on a zero budget, so you receive no travel or material costs, which as a make up artist for film is £45 a day; not including the day rate. Instead you Assign 20% to the crew and cast and forgo the attempt at raising the necessary capital relying on peoples desire to be in the film/TV industry. Lets look at a breakdown of the financial aspect:
With 20 people in the crew and 20 in the cast, estimation based on my own experience of indie projects.
OK the film makes 1 million after costs, 20% is then paid to the cast and crew from the profit. Sounds good right, now here’s the maths 200 thousand split between 40 people works out at 0.5% per head or £1000. Filming takes a total of 30 days, so that comes down to: £33.33* per day which is less than minimum wage. Not so great now considering the union rates. Which rarely if ever are offered.
So you take that film on deferred payment thinking you will cash in first off make sure you get a contract if you insist on going ahead and second make sure this is a legit project. It wouldn’t be the first time I have seen films made under one name with a “contract” and the producer has vanished, only to resurface with a new business and a new film to make while the cast and crew are left wondering what happened.
in reality you are working at a loss assuming the film makes any financial return.
IF you get on board with a crowd project do the maths. You are an investor in the project and need to be aware of every single detail of the finance, the marketing strategy, the sales plan etc.