Kickstarter Stole My Idea

Okay, so that's not strictly true, it's just a bombastic title. I can still kick (no pun intended) myself for not realising a similar idea for people power. So I thought I would spell it out here (for posterity and to sooth my wounds).

The year was 2003 and I had stopped off in San Jose to stay with my parents for a while on on my way back from nine months of travelling. While I was there, late into the night and early hours as the rest of the family slept (I could sleep late) and my mum's venerable Dell was free, I taught myself how to build websites with CSS instead of tables (which is what I'd previously used). I also taught myself some Javascript, some PHP and MySQL and I started to build some of my numerous websites (at one point I had so many a friend commented I could have started my own internet).

Many of those sites are now gone, but one of those early registered domains still exists in my portfolio. Fund a Film was an idea spawned from reading an article about a woman who had asked her site visitors to donate money to help her get out of debt (it may even have been Save Karyn). I figured that if people were prepared to donate (at that point) $13,000 to a stranger to help her out of a whole she created, why wouldn't they do it for a chance to be part of making a movie?

I started building the site, I already had the film idea, I figured it could be shot ultra-low budget for £50,000 (purely a guess, I had no real experience). So all I needed was 50,000 people prepared to donate £1. Or 50 who were prepared to spend £1,000. More likely it would be some combination of the two and many between.  Donors were offered a series of incentives depending on how much they donated, from credits to set visits to DVDs to a role as an extra. It's similar to what Kickstarter projects do now. I'm not sure if I thought that up or borrowed it from somewhere (which I suspect).

Not only could you donate money, if you were in the industry you could donate experience and services too.  I even had the option to buy merchandise where the profits would go to the film too, so you could show support and raise money. All with online ordering through the site I should add. There's even mention of an eBay shop on the website files tucked away on my hard drive. The donations were tracked on some sort of donation thermometer (Kickstarter uses more of a progress bar).

Maybe it's time to let the idea go, with the likes of Kickstarter and others doing such a great job. I'm not surprised that Film & Video had the second highest number of successful projects (after music) and by far the most money pledged in 2011. All I'm waiting for now is the first crowd-funded blockbuster. It's nice to realise you're idea was good even if you didn't manage to capitalise on it.

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