This piece started as a pitch for you to support a Kickstarter. My friend Ted Davee only has a few days to get the last bit of money together to finish his second film, Lost Division. I gave to the last round of fundraising for it, and I’m going to give again. And if you’ve got the means, I think you should toss him a little money. I couldn’t put my finger on why I cared. Ted and I have barely spoken in ten years. He was my boss at my campus job in college, and we got beers a few times when I still lived in Portland, back before it was expensive and popular. The last time I saw him was at the Seattle screening of his first feature, How the Fire Fell. I really liked that film, but it’s definitely not for everyone. I think my date hated it. My favorite review of it on Amazon is a one-star complaint, “I have a headache.” Who even gives a 1 star movie review? That’s basically review for “devoid of any quality whatsoever.” Roger Ebert gave one star to that steaming pile of filth, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. And maybe sometimes art should give you a headache. I’m glad this boring person hated How the Fire Fell.
I don’t give to many crowdfunding campaigns. I think almost all of them are either easily handled by fans who would preorder whatever the creators put together anyway, or some kind of weird scam. I don’t like the all-or-nothing goal hitting hype of Kickstarter campaigns because I know it’s just another way to manufacture hype and urgency to make you act irrationally. It’s immediately reminiscent of every PBS or NPR fundraising drive: All the personalities you think you’ve gotten to know and trust suddenly change their tone. It’s more than a little implied that you’ve been stealing public media all this time. Maybe you should give at the totebag level, you miserable freeloading thief. Who would have ever thought begging users for voluntary support–the public radio bakesale model–would become so mainstream?
So instead, I contribute to campaigns that I believe are important to their creators. It’s not many, and sometimes it’s things I don’t personally want to read/listen/watch/buy at all, but I contribute because I see passion to create something new, or different, or meaningful. I guess I can admit that it’s partially because I hope that when I someday figure out just what the hell I care about enough to ask for help creating it, that a little of that karma will come back around. Even if what I end up trying to do isn’t actually any good.
I don’t buy much media at all. Content might be king, but the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes. The days of piling up DVDs on a shelf by the TV are over, but I think IKEA is doing fine even without all that sweet DVD-shelf money. I’d much rather put my money toward worthy causes. Like my student loans. Or cheese. Honestly, just about anything other than throwing cash onto Steven Spielberg or Jimmy Iovine’s bonfires. And they’re going to do fine without me, because they put out easy to digest processed paste, and someone else’s deep pockets pay for it.
But I don’t want to live on media McNuggets. I’m not rich, but I want to live in a world where interesting, beautiful, haunting, and complex things are created. I want to help make other people’s dreams possible. I don’t know if Ted is, according to experts and theory and precedent, a talented filmmaker. That’s for people who finish film school and write thousand-word essays on Rotten Tomatoes. But he believes in what he does, and needs help to bring something something into the world that he cares about. Check out his campaigns through Kickstarter or the Hollywood Theatre, and make your decision. The campaign ends February 9th.
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