There are literally thousands of funding campaigns out there in the binary jungle. It’s kind of a cool thing, in my opinion. It gives hopeful artists an opportunity to make their dreams come true. It’s a great way for the artistic society to progress. You’re no longer beholden to a system that only takes notice if you have the right connections, and even then your forced to work within a construct known as “the land of compromise.” It’s a great system for burgeoning filmmakers, musicians, indie game developers, and whoever else to bring their projects to fruition. Sure, they have to present a good campaign, but the power is in their hands, and it also weeds out those that aren’t as “serious” about their projects. It’s a form of democracy, really. If people want to see it they have to fund it. It cuts out the middle man stuff, and directly engages with it’s target audience; or someone that has extra money and is curious, I suppose.
My opinion on crowd funding sites isn’t “all roses” though. There has been a trend in the recent months where established film makers have gone to this system for “assistance.” Take Zach Braff and Spike Lee for example. Did these guys really need to go to Kickstarter to get their films produced? My opinion is a resounding “NO.” Especially, on the part of Zach Braff, because after it was successfully funded he still went the “traditional” route to secure more money- more than what his Kickstarter raised to boot – thus rendering his campaign nothing more than something to show investors to get more cash. So much for all that lofty “artistic integrity” talk, eh?
In regards to Spike Lee, well, I can imagine that he may have a harder time getting stuff funded traditionally, but the impetus for that probably has a lot to do with his public persona becoming more and more caustic over the years. Having said that, he was given the reigns on the Oldboy remake, which is kind of an odd choice. So, he’s not exactly without a certain amount of clout in the business. The problem I have with people that have “arrived” engaging in this model is that they don’t really need it, and more often than not it’s not about actually funding their project, and more about showing the potential interest for their film to a studio. It’s crass and smacks in the face of what this funding model is “supposed” to be used for. I understand that this type of system will evolve as they grow with popularity, and on a fundamental level I have no problem with established personalities using it to make their “passion” projects. It’s when they use it as a “proof of interest” model that bothers me, and makes me think that, with a little elbow grease(Oh, how quaint!), they could have gotten their thing made. It takes the focus off of the artists that really do need some assistance. You know, unentitled folks whose passions outweigh their means. Like say, Jason Trost and company.
This eye patch wearing, son of a special effects maestro is someone that has only been on my radar for the past two years or so, and has already become one of my favorite independent filmmakers working today. I think what I find the most appealing about the guy is his grass roots “Let’s shoot this fucker” attitude. It’s obvious that the guy just loves film, and there is an earnestness that’s always on display. His output thus far has an ambitious quality to them, but I never feel like he steps out of his means. It seems like he takes a look at his surroundings, what he has available to him, and then constructs scenes around those elements(I could be totally wrong here, but thats how it seems to me). It’s a smart way to figure out how to make low budget fair, and maintain quality. Like say, how Robert Rodriguez went about making his debut movie, El Mariachi. A lot of independent filmmakers that tread in similar genre territory seem to try to extend beyond what they have, and more often than not they end up with a flick full of bad CGI, and limited scope. It’s this fundamental understanding of low budget film making that sets Trost apart from many of his contemporaries. Well, that’s how it would seem. Hey, my blog, my opinion; you know what I’m saying?
Trost has had a history with modestly budgeted movies, and they are all actually pretty good. Beyond the fact that he knows how to make low budget movies, he’s a pretty decent writer to boot, and with every subsequent film he seems to get better. A solid script is, in my opinion, the most important thing to “get right” when making a movie, no matter what the budget is(Seriously, have you been to the movies at all lately?). Yeah, someone might have a “vision,” but that doesn’t denote quality of product, and a lot of times we get a “cool/interesting/good” concept packaged in a “bad” movie. I honestly don’t think he’s made a “bad” movie yet, and it all goes back to script writing fundamentals that he has a good handle on. He understands character and structure. I f he were to get a Hollywood sized budget, I’m confident we’d get something really special, interesting, and most importantly, cohesive. He’s proving himself at this point in his career, and I think he’s doing it with great aplomb.
Well, on to the point, I guess. Hey, it was going to happen sooner or later. Listen, I’m not one for brevity, and I like to write. So sue me…
A World Without Superheroes is the sequel to All Superheroes Must Die(Formerly VS.). The original is an independently produced superhero flick that was made for $20,000. It’s the only time in one of his flicks that while watching I noticed the limitations of their budget, but having said that it still works. The way it deals with how superheroes must feel about what they do, in terms of responsibility and self sacrifice, is loud and clear. A lot of people seem to dog on this movie in really bull shit nit picky ways that entirely focuses on the “production value” side of things and allow that to cause them to completely miss the point of the story is telling. It’s subversive, and even a little clever, and again shows an understanding of how to make movies on a smaller budget. It’s certainly not a movie for everybody. I mean, what movie is? Even the ones that pander to every possible demographic(Looking at you, Transformers.) aren’t for everybody. Some people just don’t “get it,” I suppose. I know that sounds really “pretentious” of me, but it is what it is. It’s an incredibly sincere flick, and is a total labor of love on the part of the filmmakers and crew. They made it because they wanted to, and that’s saying something, folks. Also, James Remar plays the villain. No, I’m not going to qualify that statement. Instead, I’ll just repeat it. James Remar plays the villain.
I really love what is said in their Indiegogo campaign. They feel like the way the current superhero genre is going at the movies of late is getting tired and old hat. Rather than sitting behind a keyboard and railing against the current state of the genre on some caustic message board, they’re going to make an attempt at doing something about it themselves. Now, that’s an attitude that I not only like, but also immensely respect. Especially when it comes to movies of this nature. The discussion landscape for this type of stuff is filled with so many whiners that this “put up or shut up” philosophy is a refreshing approach.
There’s nothing insincere about what is being pitched here. It’s upfront, and purports a level of transparency that isn’t always found on these types of things when it comes to funding a movie. Jason Trost has made himself easy to get in contact with, through Facebook and Twitter, for those that are on the fence, or maybe just want to shoot a few questions his way.
I really like the approach that they’re taking with this movie, and if the “proof of concept” trailer indicates the tone and pathos that the finished project is going for, then I’m definitely in. The fact that this movie is going to be low budget actually might pose some interesting opportunities for the film, as it won’t be focused on dealing with “spectacle” over character. Big budgeted superhero flicks are a a dime a dozen these days, why not do something different? He’s shown that he has a knack for using limitations to his advantage, and gives his films a real “grass roots” feel.
The “perks” for funding this thing are pretty great too. They range from having your name in the credits, t-shirts, DVD/BLU-RAYS to actually having Jason Trost play a bit part in yoiur own movie. Now if that doesn’t say sincere dedication, I don’t know what does.
Also, just as a side note, Trost’s line reading in the trailer reminded me of what a good actor he’s becoming. I mean that sincerely. With every outing the guy gets better. What is it that people say about practice?
It’s important to support truly independent artists, and the way technology has advanced in the last decade has made it easy, and even a little fun. We get to engage with the artists we like/love, and get a little peek inside of their creative process. Unfortunately, I’m unable to contribute at this time. So, I decided to write this article as my “show of support,” for now anyways. I did actually just procure a decent job, and in the coming weeks I plan on throwing some cash their way. I’m going for the $50 BLU-RAY package myself. I’d give more, but I’m not exactly Daddy Warbucks over here. If I was I’d be getting my own scripts into production, but in the interim I’ll just support those that can get it done, have proven themselves, and I like and appreciate.
Just in case you missed it at the top, here’s another link to their Indiegogo campaign. Seriously, don’t take my word for it. Go check it out yourselves. There’s 52 days left, so you’ve got some time to mull it over. I really hope it gets funded. It does my heart good to see talented, and proven people get a shot at doing something good. Anyways, that’s it for me today. I like what’s been done. I like what’s being said. Let’s fund this thing, suckas!