CMU School of Drama

Thursday, September 29, 2016

'Failed' Indiegogo film project was a troll all along

The Verge: Two years ago, FND Films, a Chicago-based comedy group, raised $77,900 on Indiegogo to produce a feature-length film, It’s All Good. It was the company's second time around on the crowdfunding service, after a successful $11,000 campaign to create the 40-minute short film, Punching. No real information was given about the movie, other than it being "an action-comedy starring Aaron Fronk, Vinny DeGaetano and Cooper Johnson that blends absurd humor with an intricate plot."

10 comments:

Katie Pyne said...

First of all, this is a genius concept. I feel like it's the Producers, but a 21st-century version. When I first clicked on this article, I didn't realize that they actually made a movie. I expected to come here and talk about the perils of crowd funding sites like indiegogo but I am pleasantly surprised at the outcome. It's a brilliant idea, albeit with a few moral quandaries re: lying to people and saying that the movie wasn't being made. As far as the long con goes, this is incredible. I'm so glad they pulled it off. I wonder if they're going to get sued at all. What kinds of rights do Indiegogo backers have? I also believe that the backers should get more than just a free copy of the movie, considering they were under the impression that they're money had been squandered away by the filmmakers. Also, this movie only cost $78,000? Wow. I would have thought it was a lot more than that.

Rebecca Meckler said...

I’m not sure how I feel about this stunt. On one hand, I think it’s a brilliant idea. It gets people engaged, interested, and involved in the movie. On the other hand, I think it is wrong to mess with all of those people. Though I understand that companies need stunts to gain attention, this hoax might have caused people to lose faith in crowdfunding pages. Some places count on money from crowdfunding pages and this might have discouraged people from using them. Crowdfunding platforms can bring out the best or worst in people, and we get to decide which one prevails. It can bring out the best by encouraging people to donate to places they're passionate about and it can bring out the worst by tricking people and not using the money for the purpose people donated for. The sites are built on trust and if we let the trust crumble, crowdfunding will be useless. I hope that this movie is worth the hoax and the possible negative effects that it could have caused.

Xinyi Wang said...

Crowdfunding and crowdsourcing seems like the trend now. From Kickstarter, indiegogo, to Joseph Gordon-Levitt's startup hitREC●rd, filmmaking seems like it could be more of a casual process. People from every background can contribute to it. The whole big studio model is no longer the only way to make a film. However, the inevitable issue that arises in the transformation is that it is hard to hold people accountable for their work and how they spend the money, because so many things are transacted online and long-distance. I think "It's All Good" is such a clever, humorous way to critique this unfortunate phenomenon. Companies like Kickstarter and Indiegogo definitely should create better rules to monitor the virtual platforms, but as Rebecca said earlier, crowdsourcing is mostly built on trust. The hoax of "It's All Good" is justified by its intention, but if other films trick to their supporters like this, people will lose trust on these online platforms and their business models will gradually lose its appeal.

noah hull said...

I think this was a genius marketing strategy. It definitely pissed some people off but even that will have a positive outcome. Crowdfunding projects fail or turn out to be scams all the time, that’s why this was believable in the first place. Maybe now companies like Kickstarter and Indiegogo will actually do something about it. On marketing/publicity side, this will get them noticed and get people talking about the movie but any add campaign would do that. The important thing this will do for them is make their movie memorable and stick in people’s minds, all the advertising in the world doesn’t matter if people forget about your movie the second the add ends. Also I’ve got to second what Katie said its amazing that this movie only cost 78,000 to make. Normally we hear about how movies cost hundreds of millions even up into the low billions to make, and this company is releasing some that, from the trailer at least, looks well put together and entertaining for under a hundred thousand.

Alex Fasciolo said...

Well, I can’t say that their plan worked for me as this is the first time I have ever heard of this group, or this film. But, I do think that it’s an interesting experimental strategy to create a film about a topical issue, and it certainly is could be a good way to garner media attention (if you believe any publicity is good publicity). I’d probably want to see the film given this premise, as though it certainly does shake the foundation of trust between the comedy group and potential supporters, it’s a really clever real life story. There’s a part of me that really believes that this non conventional tactic is likely more creative than the movie itself, and a better way to tell a story in a more impacting way to more people than just those who see the movie, but at the same time, these guys are totally assholes for playing a long con on so many people who only wanted to support them. I don’t know if I’ll be able to reconcile those to positions.

Alexa James-Cardenas (ajamesca@andrew.cmu.edu) said...

Clap. Clap. Clap. If you couldn’t tell that was a slow clap, because man did they troll a lot of people. Like Alex said, I can’t say I was fully personally effect by this, because I have never heard of the group until now, but I do feel a lot of amusement from it. With that being said, and as other commenters have written, it was a great and interesting market strategy. Overall, I think it really says something about online Fundraising projects, and how easy it is for someone to take a lot of people’s money with a promise of something of interest. I haven’t given any money to a ‘failed’ online fundraising project, but I do understand the vexation of someone promising something that you knew was awesome, and not fulfilling their promise (I’m looking at you Joker Blogs. If you haven’t watched Joker Blogs, it is basically the continuation of Heath Ledger’s Joker. You can watch it on YouTube, or don’t, because it leaves off on a painful cliff hanger…but I digress). There is always a risk in giving money to a project with no true reassurance that your money is being used for the actual product. So here’s a suggestion for when there is a project that you want to contribute in, but don’t know a hundred percent sure it’s stability: think about how much money your willing to lose if it is suddenly goes missing from your pocket. 1 dollar, 5, 20? At what point would you get pissed and at one point are you just like “Oh well”. That is how much you should contribute. And if you get pissed off with even one dollar, don’t give any, because at that point it is not even worth it.

Ben McCormack said...

While the concept beckons to an absurd satire about the crowdfunding beast, I totally understand the plight and frustration of those who funded this project. As anyone knows, it's disheartening to give money to a cause and see it squandered with outcomes being infertile. That's money that was hard earned and a cause you believed in, so why shouldn't you be upset?!

Why?! Because donating money should actually be looked at with some risk. If any venture is seeking donations then there is a certain inherent volatility in their financial business model. Your donation should not be seen as a guarantee of an outcome but as an investment in an already underfunded venture. This difference in perception would be imperative to those currently unhappy with the results of their crowdfunding donation.

Regardless of perception and intention, there is one question that remains for me- how legally sound is this project? Are there any loopholes that the film company may have exploited? Or are there any loopholes that the upset benefactors can use against the company?

Cassidy Pearsall said...

That's pretty funny, but also, the trailer looks pretty bad. They're all really bad actors based on that, which I guess is because it's an independent comedy but... Blah. I guess I would find this more cool like, if I was one of the backers and I was more emotionally invested, but at this point I am just kinda bleh about the whole meta thing. How the hell did they even raise this much money? Who would donate to this, is my real question? I guess I just never really pay attention to crowdfunding stuff anymore, but this just seems kind of disappointing for so long of a wait.

I think if you donate to a crowdfunding campaign that's not Kickstarter, you're not seeing a good turn over for yourself, which is fine if you are donating like, ten bucks. But if you donate a few hundred to a project, are you going to get a few hundred dollars worth of rewards? Usually not. I have seen a lot of campaign where if you donate over a hundred dollars, it's like "You get to hang out with the cast!" Uhm, so? None of you are famous. Give me a percentage of the profits, guy.

Chris Calder said...

There is only one word for this and that is sheer brilliance. There aren’t many people that can pull a stunt like this and have an entire community of moviegoers fall into the trap. Granted I think people had every right to be pissed off when the initial video was relieved. But after releasing the trailer I see how this movie wouldn’t be a major success. I was in one of my classes the other day where one of the professors said: “take risks”. This is certainly one of the biggest risks I have seen in a long time. It is ideas like this that make art extraordinary. Even the people that were pissed, and probably still are, will 100% go see this movie and I can pretty much guaranty you that I will be purchasing a ticket when the movie hits the box off. If I were to make an assumption it would be that this is what will put FND on the map.

Evan Smith said...

It gets frustrating when you’ve donated money to a cause or effort or even a startup to not see it go anywhere. I’m sure that’s what the several hundreds or thousands of people felt and perhaps even more than that. It doesn’t take much to get someone riled up these days, especially when it comes to a loss of finances, because everyone cares about money. They want to get their monies worth not get gypped. Although the final outcome of what they did end up producing is hysterical in its own right, is that what they had planned to do all along, or did they just decide to make a short movie because of the current situation they were in. That’s what you don’t do in that industry; make empty promises. One way or another it won’t end up the way you expect. Sometimes it is better to invest in other things besides an okay film gig.

Pics from CMU Drama