Monday, 6 August 2012

Bigger and Badder; A Crowdfunding Success Story

The advent of crowdfunding has offered a financial lifeline to many industries during this turbulent economic crisis. In particular, at a time when the major Hollywood studios are geared towards mainly remakes and sequels, independent film making has also received a helping hand from crowdfunding. Thanks to a successful campaign, the creative force behind British horror film Bigger and Badder are close to seeing their dream project become a reality. 


Bigger and Badder (previously featured on the Gazette) is the brainchild of writer and director Richard Wantuch. The film tells the story of Pete, a package boy under the employ of the nefarious Trevor Deacon. When his first delivery goes disastrously array Pete has to answer to his boss and soon learns that there is more to him than meets the eye. Pete must convince his boss as to the events of that night or learn just how big and bad Trevor can be. The film is essentially billed as Brighton Rock meets The Howling blending the best of British gangster movies with a good dash of Gothic horror. 

When producers Paul Banner and Laura Carter joined the project it was already in the early stages of development. The crew were made up largely of freelancers and volunteers happily working for free. However there was the still the issue regarding the costs of the special effects and make up. Richard Wantuch proposed the idea of using crowdfunding to help with those costs to the producers who readily agreed. After extensive research into the various platforms available, Exeter based Crowdfunder was chosen. Paul Banner explains;
We felt Crowdfunder was the right platform to raise our required funds. Although seemingly lower key than Kickstarter, IndieGoGo etc. its ease of use and user support made it the logical choice.
The campaign was launched on Crowdfunder at the beginning of December with the goal of raising £500 within thirty days. Rewards that were offered in exchange for a donation included copies of the film (DVD & Blu-Ray), limited edition merchandise, acknowledgement in the credits, and credit as an Associate Producer credit. For a one off donation of £250 as well as the rewards, a one off original cast of "Wilbur" the film's lynconthropic star was offered. After a tireless promotion drive via the Crowdfunder platform it proved a successful campaign with £525 raised in total, more than sufficient to meet the costs. 
I was confident we had a product people would want to invest in, we had the resources and the contacts in place to keep our investors rewards from breaking the bank and most importantly I felt that if we worked hard enough on our profile, pitch and promotion we could raise the funds to bring the film to life. 
The sum raised might seem meagre even for a short film however the project is very much a labour of love for Wantuch and his crew of volunteers. Producer Paul Banner brought his experience of working on projects with virtually a zero budget to the fold keeping location costs at bay taking advantage of some of Birmingham's more grimy areas. The city itself is awash with talented individuals who were willing to volunteer their skills for the experience of working on a filming project. In addition to skills, props and equipment were loaned and donated. Keeping the project within its tight budget was vital for the team as a sign of respect to the crowdfunders and it was felt that to seek further funding would undermine that respect. 



Whilst other projects are either still in search of further funds due to unexpected costs or were unsuccessful, it seems like the team behind Bigger and Badder were able to keep within the parameters of their pitch. For the team crowdfunding proved to be an invaluable experience and has done more than just provide key finances to make the project possible.
It democratises the whole process with the added bonus of creating an audience before you've even rolled the cameras.
Bigger and Badder is currently in the final stages of post production. Once the film is finished and screened before the cast and crew, priority will be given to distributing the rewards to the donors. The aim is to then arrange for screenings at various film festivals whether they be international events or based in the UK. There are also plans to find a suitable platform for on line distribution and exhibition.  

Acknowledgements; Thanks to producer Paul Banner for his help and insight.

Image Credits; Plaural Films All Rights Reserved

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