DOX - "A Pioneering Experience"

Paul Devlin talks about the BLAST! ArtistShare project - what worked, what didn't work, and the future of independent film financing.

Published in DOX Magazine.

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"Although ArtistShare is a fan-based funding platform developed for the music industry, a documentary filmmaker decided to break new ground by trying it out to fund his latest documentary. He shares his experiences in the following."

The business of making films is changing fast, and independent artists must adapt quickly to a landscape in constant flux. New technology is erasing traditional funding models as quickly as it is creating new ones. One need only look to the recent collapse of the music industry to wonder how quickly and how drastically the film industry will be similarly transformed.

But does watching the music industry fall off the cliff first give the film industry an opportunity to soften our own inevitable fall? Can we learn from their mistakes and adapt their responses to our own unique challenges? I took a chance that a new innovative funding model for music artists called ArtistShare could also be adapted to fund a factual film. The risk, of course, is that pioneers are often identified by the arrows in their back.

My goal to completely finance my film BLAST! by adapting Artist- Share’s fan-based funding platform was not achieved, but the model does show promise. I offer up the following analysis of the successes and failures we experienced so that other filmmakers can develop this model further.

Replacing Record-company Funding

New technology has gradually transformed the music business from a retail industry into a service industry. Internet downloading has permanently undercut CD sales, record companies are collapsing and live shows now eclipse traditional retail revenue for major artists.

Clearly the record-company funding model for emerging and mid- level artists is disappearing. So how will new music be created and distributed, and how will these artists get paid in this new landscape? In response to the changing landscape of the music industry, Artist- Share’s CEO Brian Camelio developed a new funding model to allow fans to fund their favourite artists. Similar models have emerged in the meantime, but ArtistShare claims to be the first.

ArtistShare provides a web-based template through which musicians can offer their fans an opportunity to purchase tiered participation in the creation of their new work. For example a “Gold Participant” may pay a large amount of money to get an Executive Producer credit on the CD, access to recording sessions, a personal performance from the artist, and more. High-end offers emphasise access and exclusivity.....

Read the full article here!

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