The Economics of Donation
by Pat Longstreth
First, I just want to give a very personal thanks to all the people who have pledged generous donations. We appreciate your vote of confidence. It means a lot.
We’ve been collecting pledges for two weeks now and I have been most surprised by the number of large donations we’ve received. When the co-founder of Kickstarter, Charles Adler, spoke at SCAD a few months ago, he stressed the importance of $5 donations. But for us it has been much different. Our average donation right now is $62.73. Many old friends and colleagues told me, “love the project, Pat. I’m gonna donate for sure.” In all of these cases I was expecting maybe $10 or $20. But I’ve been blown away by the number of $50, $75, and $100 donations.
Several people have pointed out in the last few days that it looks like our project is losing steam and we’re not going make it. “Did you set the goal too high?” a few friends have asked. Well, who knows if we set the goal too high? I don’t know. In my tiny head I tried to comprehend the potential value of a mutant jellyfish viral marketing campaign. I thought, “$10,000 means $50 from 200 people… or something like that.” Sure, what the hell. Let’s go for it.
The real reason we set the goal at $10,000 is that that happens to be exactly what we need to finish the film (and yes, I know it might seem suspicious that it happens to be a perfectly round number. Blame the deca system). I’ve already spent about $6,000 of my own money. It will be nice to get paid back some of that. The rest will be used to finish another 6 or 7 days of shooting, printing t-shirts and DVDs, film fest submissions, pitching it to investors, etc.
But I’m not scared. I have a strong feeling that an angel investor will swoop in at the last minute and top off the fundraiser (let’s just say that giving Kickstarter 5% and Amazon another 3% is better than letting $4,015 disappear into thin air). This film will get finished whether or not you donate. However, the more money we get, the sooner it gets finished.
None of the footage you’ve seen so far would exist without incredible amounts of sweat and free labor. My time is worth money and I have spent a lot of it creating this website, making graphics for a social marketing campaign, toiling away long nights on the visual effects, writing, and editing. Rob and I together have spent an unmeasurable number of hours researching, writing, casting, rehearsing, location scouting, prop gathering, and more. In addition to that we’ve received an incredible amount of volunteer help and pro-bono work from our very talented cast, crew, and post-production team. And we can’t forget the cost of equipment rental that we’ve received from SCAD and Meddin Studios. In total, I estimate that this film, in a real studio environment, would cost upwards of $200,000.
So we’re trying to do it for $10,000. Seems like a fun challenge to me!
I can think of thousands of causes that need money more than we do. There are homeless people in Haiti and Japan, dehydrated starving children in Sudan, MRSA research, girl scouts, and breast cancer for which we must raise awareness. But charity starts at home, so if you know us and you want to watch us succeed in this quirky little experiment, then please donate $5 (and then tell all your friends to donate $5 too).