Oftentimes it is difficult for independent artists to finance their projects, whether it be a documentary, fiction film, production, or musical album. The absence of an agent, while ripe with benefits, still leaves these artists on their own to salvage enough money to gather the resources and supplies they need. Independent journalism is no different, as these journalists must find ways to finance any expenses that come as a result of pursuing a story.
Independent filmmaking can sometimes see a cross between journalism and film, as it did with independent filmmaker Robert Greenwald, who produced the documentaries “Outfoxed” and “Uncovered.” To fundraise for his upcoming work, “Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers,” Greenwald tapped into a previously unexplored source: crowdfunding. By reaching out to a bevy of people, Greenwald was able to raise the funds he needed through many individual donations.
This is a method that is increasing in popularity today, especially with budding college filmmakers. At many colleges that have cinematography programs, production and filmmaking classes require students to produce short films, oftentimes at their own expense. Rarely do programs or colleges help its student filmmakers shoulder the heavy costs of creating a movie or documentary, aside from very few grants and scholarships.
Because of this, these young filmmakers have tapped into a growing source for raising money — crowdfunding sites. Websites such as Indiegogo and GoFundMe are two of the most popular crowdfunding outlets, and give any person the opportunity to create their own fundraising campaign for virtually any purpose. College students are frequently utilizing these resources to raise funding for film projects — they create a campaign, set a monetary fundraising goal, and proceed to share it to their networks via social media outlets. Through constant Facebook and Twitter posts that reach a number of people, students are able to spread the word easily and efficiently to achieve their goals.
This utilization of the Internet for fundraising is an ingenious way to tap into the power of social networking. Millennials today are using their knowledge of the Web and their social media savvy for their own professional and educational benefits. While it is hard to tell just how successful these crowdfunding campaigns are, it is nevertheless important to acknowledge the creative ways young people are maximizing the resources they have at their fingertips.