David Fincher Turns to Kickstarter to Fund His Animated 'The Goon'
We've been talking about an animated film adaptation of Eric Powell's comic series The Goon since 2009, and with a heavy hitter like David Fincher on board as a producer, we figured we would have seen the finished product by now. But despite a presence at Comic-Con 2010 and a quick teaser showing off an early look at the animation style, they haven't been able to get funding from a studio to get this off the ground. So now Fincher, VFX whiz Tim Miller, and Blur Studios director Jeff Fowler are turning to Kickstarter (via Indiewire) to try to raise $400,000 from excited fans to create a full story reel for the movie. More below!
Here's the pitch video for The Goon from Fincher and Blur Studios via their Kickstarter page:
Looks pretty rad to me. Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption) and Paul Giamatti are voicing the main characters, and they fit in really well with Powell's dank, grungy universe. They also have some of the coolest rewards that I've ever seen offered in a Kickstarter movie campaign, with everything from access to their production blog to keep an eye on the project's progress to a meet and greet with David Fincher himself and the rest of the production team after touring Blur Studios in Los Angeles.
But here's the heart of the debate. As the writer of FS.net's weekly Kickstart This column, I have read a lot of complaints in the comments about how established filmmakers shouldn't be using Kickstarter to raise money for their projects. There seems to be a school of thought out there that Kickstarter is only for the little guys, people who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford to create their artwork without the help of a community pledging their support. I'm torn on the subject, because I see why people would think that. It's the whole "why would millionaires turn to Kickstarter to raise money?" And "why wouldn't they fund it themselves?" argument. But allow me to offer a quick defense on their behalf.
From what I've seen, these established filmmakers have only been turning to Kickstarter to make things that otherwise couldn't or wouldn't be made outside of the studio system. They've tried the normal channels and because of Hollywood's one-track way of thinking, they've been shut down in various ways, or they know from the start that their work would be too much for the suits to process. Charlie Kaufman's stop-motion Anomalisa is a good example of one of these projects trying to get off the ground.
Who are we to say that these filmmakers use crowdfunding to allow these passion projects to exist? If Len Wiseman was on Kickstarter begging for money for his upcoming adaptation of The Mummy, that would be a different story entirely. But in the case of The Goon, we have a foul-mouthed, violent animated character that no studio would touch without a great presentation of exactly what it will look like and why it will work, and I don't blame Fincher and his team for trying to drum up some grassroots support for the project along the way. That way, you can quantify something for the suits during the presentation and say, "Look, we had this many people donate," or "this many people check out the page" as a way to prove audience interest.
We'll toss it to you: Should prominent filmmakers use Kickstarter to fund their films? Sound off!