The Futurist

Riding the crowdfunding wave

21 August 2012

Nick Crowther

This post is one of a series highlighting sessions within the Digital Cultures lens of Kumuwuki/Big Wave, the 2012 Regional Arts Australia National Conference.

Crowdfunding Wave

Crowdfunding is the idea of going to the public to raise funds for a project rather than going for the traditional options of sponsorship, grants, etc. Some artists use crowdfunding as a replacement for traditional pathways, and others use crowdfunding in conjunction with other grants and sponsorship they have already received.

More than 450 major crowdfunding platforms exist worldwide, including SellaBand, IndieGogo, and KickStarter, who has had over $215 million pledged to successful projects. In Australia we have Pozible, where over one million dollars has been pledged to projects over the 18 months since the platform launched.

Pozible is the platform that Adelaide based film company Epic Films used to raise funds for Wastelander Panda, mounting a successful crowdfunding campaign which raised over $25,000 and attracted the highest ever number of supporters for a film project on that platform.

One of Kumuwuki/Big Wave’s keynote presenters Fee Plumley has also had success through Pozible. Her latest project, reallybigroadtrip, was at least partially financed through a successful Pozible campaign in July.

People often apologise for only giving a small contribution, but every single contribution helps whether it’s financial or otherwise. I have been talking about how the internet would inevitably create these self-supportive digital marketplaces like etsy for years. I honestly had no idea of the real power and potential of this until trying it out for myself, though. Astonishing.

Fee Plumley - reallybigroadtrip

The success of crowdfunding is proven by the fact that in 2011 almost $1.5 billion was pledged to projects on various crowdfunding platforms across the world. The people seem to be relishing the opportunity to take to the streets to get their projects off the ground. But is there still a place for the traditional routes of funding? Fee seems to think so…

We need smart crowdfunding campaigns run in combination with traditional funding sources; one should certainly not replace the other. The Australia Council roadshow has been so useful for increasing understanding and confidence and new initiatives might well be forthcoming. The ScreenWest program has been such a massive boost to match funds for WA creators and the ArtsHub promo deal will really amplify campaigns across a large national audience.

Fee Plumley - reallybigroadtrip

Many see crowdfunding as a sure thing for their projects, but with all of crowdfunding’s success stories the fact is that projects on Pozible still have only a 40% success rate. So what is it that determines a project’s outcome? Clearly an innovative project is important, something that potential donors will be captivated by, but it also comes down to the project creator’s actions during the campaign.

We held a 24 hour ‘Pandathon’ in which the crew stayed up for 24 hours, promoting Wastelander Panda on social media and hosting live chats via webstreaming with anyone who was interested in talking to us about the project, as well as public appearances with Arcayus, our Wastelander Panda, at the Garden of Unearthly Delights during the Adelaide Fringe, and at the Adelaide screening of Tropfest.

We were lucky to have a fantastic group of fans who helped us promote the campaign by sharing our videos and images, but we worked really hard to make sure that our content was engaging and worthy of being shared with people’s friends.

Kirsty Stark - Epic Films

Riding the crowd funding wave is a panel session chaired by Caroline Vu, the NSW Manager of Artsupport Australia. During the session Caroline and the panelists, Rebecca HarrisFee Plumley and Michelle Cotterill, will be discussing their experience with crowdfunding, sharing “the good, bad and the ugly”.

Riding the crowd funding wave is part of the Digital Culture lens at the 2012 National Regional Arts Conference. Freerange Future is proudly co-presenting the Digital Culture lens of Kumuwuki/Big Wave.

To read more about this session and it’s presenters visit Riding the crowdfunding wave’s session page.

Visit the website for more information on Kumuwuki/Big Wave.

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