By Matt Austin
There’s only been a few times in my life when I’ve asked for money I
knew I couldn’t repay:
– Michael Baum, at recess, (Grade 5) to buy a bag of my favourite chips: Sour Cream & Bacon.
– My father, to buy my first car. He matched me ‘dollar for dollar’ and brought back a Suzuki Sidekick, previously owned by a very princessy woman who had stickered it with pink racing stripes. It looked like a Barbie-mobile. Needless to say, it was a while before I could show up at high school in the car.
– My wife, to buy a new iMac when mine told me to BLEEP off, instead of the usual start-up chime.
I have made over a half dozen films. I have never received a grant.
Up until I was awarded the 2011 NSI Drama Prize, making my short film, One Day You Will Paint a Sunset, would have been a fantasy. Now, it’s a reality but one that exists in a world where corners would need to be cut and visions sacrificed to make it work within the budget we have. I don’t want to do either, so I turned to IndieGoGo.
IndieGoGo is an incredible site that uses this new fangled thing called crowd funding. (NSI wrote about it back in 2009.)
Crowd funding is the collective cooperation of someone’s network who pool their money and other resources together for a cause. With sites like Facebook and Twitter, this was first sorta seen when dough needed to be raised for disaster relief or for charities. Artists took notice of how effective this was and started websites that could offer different perks to those who wanted to help support a project.
I first became privy to this when I received a message from a friend who is in an awesome thrash metal band named Diemonds. They needed money to record another album. Based on the different amounts you wished to contribute, you could get a zip of their latest recordings, rare t-shirts, record prints, artwork etc. At its simplest, they were basically asking for people to pre-buy the album, to MAKE the album.
And now I’m following suit. Metaphorically and literally.
I’m reaching out to my network and beyond to ask for donations towards my NSI Drama Prize film.
Every penny counts in this campaign, and if you don’t raise the goal you set, you don’t receive ANY of the contributions which royally sucks. To help entice people, I think I have some unique incentives.
You know that lucky t-shirt you love so much. Throw the project some moola and I’ll feature it in my NSI Drama Prize film, One Day You Will Paint a Sunset.
My NSI Drama Prize film features a very enchanting and whimsical children’s book. Toss the film some coinage and a limited edition copy will bring your kids joy for years to come.
Fancy yourself a manga or sci-fi geek or just like one-of-a-kind paraphernalia? Borrowed in perpuituity from my days as a Power Ranger (yes, I really was a Power Ranger), I have the red Power Ranger spandex suit as worn in the 15th anniversary special.
Image: Power Ranger Central
About the National Screen Institute – Canada:
The National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI) is a non-profit organization with headquarters in Winnipeg. We are Canada’s national film, television and digital media training school for writers, directors and producers. Training is anchored in the philosophy that the best way to learn is by doing.
Contact us or see a map of where we’re located
Our market-driven training programs have led to employment and successful careers for graduates by giving them a competitive edge. According to the 2008 NSI alumni survey, 96% of respondents are working in the film and TV industry.
- Training programs are led by experts in film, television and digital media – they deliver workshops and seminars and mentor participants.
- Participants do not pay tuition fees or relocate.
- Training is intensive. Participants train in one centre for a short period and then return home to work with local mentors on their projects under the leadership of the program manager.
Find out about all the training programs provided by the National Screen Institute.
After more than 24 years of training and with over 620 alumni, NSI continues to develop and deliver training to meet the industry’s needs. We produce works that:
- appeal to Canadians
- help advance careers that will grow the Canadian industry and contribute to the regional and national economies stimulating employment for the long term.
NSI leads in the design and delivery of programs that provide training to Canada’s visible minority and Aboriginal screen professionals.
NSI also commits to showcasing Canadian short films and providing professional development resources online.
Visit the NSI site here.