Liz Rosenthal (CEO Power to the Pixel), Timo Vuorensola (director of IRON SKY) and Jigar Mehta (creator of 18daysinegypt.com and co-founder of GroupStre.am) discussed the engagement of audience in the film making process from financing to marketing.
The audience - your investor
Timo Vuorensola (director of the cult-film IRON SKY) explained the audience involvement in his film production. The Finnish-German-Australian Co-production had a total budget of € 7.5 Mio. The biggest part of the budget of about € 6.3 Mio was secured through traditional film funding. A relatively small amount of € 300,000 was raised through crowd funding platforms such as
startnext and through wreckamovie.com, a platform for collaborative film making created by Timo Vuroensola. Eventually about € 680,000 were raised through crowd investment in several EU countries. This makes IRON SKY a pioneer in crowd investment.
“Future audiences want to participate in the film production”, states Timo Vuorensola, director of IRON SKY.
The film makers were able to raise about € 680,000 through crowd investment, reaching 76 % of their goal of € 900,000.
How did the crowd investment work?
Timo Vuorensola got inspired to use crowd investment through Franny Armstrongs' documentary The Age of Stupid from 2009. About 350 people and groups invested £450.000 for the production and the same amount again for the distribution. All the investors own a percentage of the profits and received their first payment in January 2010. This is the largest amount raised for a single project in this way so far. The team of IRON SKY was able to raise about € 680.000 through crowd investment.
Although in comparison to the funding provided by traditional film funds, the amount raised through crowd funding seems relatively small, it played an important role in the production of IRON SKY. Timo Vuerensola emphasized the importance of these micro investments to start the cash flow of the film and the start of the production.
Timo Vueresola explained that crowd investment regulations differ from country to country. People living in the EU, Norway or Lichtenstein were able to participate. From each country up to 99 individuals were able to fund the film starting with an amount of €1,000.
The audience – creative assistant and advocate
The audience also participated in the creative production of IRON SKY. They delivered ideas for the story, the marketing and were also engaged in the shooting process (e.g. shooting scenes with crowds). Timo Vuorensolas' team created an online community, which followed and supported the film making process from the start of the idea for the film. The Finish director emphasized, that the relationship between him and the crowd is a 'dictatorship'. He would always make the creative decisions and this must be clear for the crowd. A legal agreement between the audience and the film maker was essential to make the relationship clear from the start.
Timo Vuorensola also emphasized the power of the audience concerning the marketing of the film especially in word of mouth and viral marketing. “I think, that the success of IRON SKY is partial because of the engagement of the audience”, stated the Finnish director.
18daysinegypt.com - invite the audience to tell the story together
The journalist and film maker Jigar Mehta and the technologist Yasmin Elayat created the crowd sourced documentary
18daysinegypt.com. They created a platform for users to put media fragments about the Egyptian revolution such as a photo on facebook or a youtube video in a context. The user can add information to the piece of media such as the date and location of its creation and create his own story slide-show. Every piece of media is gathered in a timeline and in an interactive map. Jigar Mehta wants to make storytelling an experience for itself. The American film maker called 18daysinegypt.com a “living documentary”, as Egyptians keep connecting media fragments and keep documenting the changes in Egypt, the documentary grows further in real time. 18daysinegypt.com is currently curated by six young Egyptian Journalists. They interact with users, encourage them to share their stories and warn and inform them on privacy issues and possible consequences for them.
The interactive documentary was launched in middle of January 2012 and is still in development. The creators are asking themselves questions concerning the user experience. How is a user - outside of the Egyptian revolution - going to experience the documentary? The user could be overwhelmed easily – how can this be prevented? How can a personalised experience be presented?
18daysinegypt Call action video.
Groupste.am – a new form on collaborative storytelling?
Jigar Mehtas' team is working on groupstre.am - an online framework to tell stories. This platform can be used for film makers, communities or individuals to document events such as revolutions but also small events such as a birthday parties. Jigar Mehta described 18daysinegypt.com as a playground to test the groupstre.am technology. The service is going to be launched later in 2012. This platform could give power to people to document injustice. A member of the audience stated the possibility for people to document corruption in Mexico. How should future audiences be engaged in the film making process? What is your opinion on these new forms of collaborations?
Jigar Mehta video interview
Useful further information and links:
Liz Rosenthal on Social Media in the HEYMR Video interview
video interview with general director of Arte France cinema Michel Reilhac on Social Media
video interview with Caspar Sonnen New Media Coordinator @IDFA & Curator of @DocLab.
Further information on IRON SKY's financial concept
Stream of “The Indie Filmmaker's Guide to Cross Media II: Engaging 21st Century Audiences across Multiple Platforms”
How to Crowd-fund your film – Spanner Film Guide
hypercities.com, a collaborative research and educational platform created by UCLA
groupstre.am technology is used in the crowdsourced documentary 18daysinegypt.com
storify.com, helps its users tell stories by curating social media - launched April 2011
You want to know more on crossmedia? Have a look on our article on Filmmaker's Guide to Cross-Media I: Storytelling in the 21st Century!