Crowdfunding 201: 2013 Predictions

on Thursday, Dec. 27th

I have a decent record with predictions. Oh sure, I thought the Patriots should have traded Tom Brady after that first Super Bowl, but I also ran around telling everyone who would listen just how good Wes Welker was going to be. You win some, you lose some.

But who doesn’t like to make predictions? If I get every single one of them wrong, I laugh them off. But if I get them right? Bragging rights galore. Like that time I nailed the end of LOST.

So here we go…

One Million Dollars

Right now, the high-water mark for films on Kickstarter is Goon with a total of $441,900, so the safe assumption would be that someone would raise $750K, but I think a million is closer than that. I’ll go further. Someone hits a million dollars in October.


2013 will be the year famous people unlock Kickstarter. And, man, is that going to stir up some shit. If a big enough name gets into crowdfunding, say Kevin Smith, then forget what I said about a million dollars. They’ll blow by that, easy.

But you’re going to start to see a real movement by famous people to get their projects made their own way. And you’ll see a bunch of “indie” people complaining about how they’re infringing on their territory. It’s a terrible way to look at it. We’ve only scratched the surface of what crowdfunding is capable of. The more light shown on this part of the world, the better. People have a tendency to get hooked on backing stuff on Kickstarter once they try it, so everything that gets more people in the door is beneficial for everyone. A rising tide and all that.

Will that make it harder for people to get attention for their ideas? Yeah. That might not necessarily be a bad thing. You may just have to work harder. But you’ll be able to raise more.

Speaking of the rising tide…

Right now the average successful campaign on Kickstarter raises an average of $8,621. That should crack $10,000 next year.

Do you see a theme? This isn’t a fad. The train isn’t slowing down.


One of these movies that raised a significant amount (say, over $75K) isn’t going to deliver. Movies are an inherently risky proposition that fall apart all the time, even if they’ve got a massive studio bank-rolling them. Really, we’re lucky it hasn’t happened yet. Actually, I have a guess as to which one it’ll be, but obviously I’ll keep that to myself.

But it’ll be held up as a cautionary tale and the chattering class will fall all over themselves to explain how it ever could have happened and Oh-My-God what a tragedy. You know what? It’s inevitable.

The Best Reviewed Movie of the Year will…

…not be crowdfunded. You thought that’s where I was going with that, right? It’ll be Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight, which will premiere at Sundance. Why? Well, Before Sunset was the third-best reviewed film of 2004. I’ve heard this one might be better. By the way, I’ll be in Park City covering some crowdfunding angles. Stay tuned.

And may 2013 be way better than 2012.

Lucas McNelly is the filmmaker behind A YEAR WITHOUT RENT, UP COUNTRY, BLANC DE BLANC, and GRAVIDA. He consults on Kickstarter campaigns for a living. He hasn’t lived anywhere in a long time.

Creative Commons Image by Silvio Tanaka

Gumroad Rentals H

Rent Video Straight From Social Media Via Gumroad

The people who brought the “Buy Now” button to Twitter are going all-in on film distribution.


Siegel's NOME meditation machine.

Hacking Consciousness: Silicon Valley’s Next Frontier

Is there something that lies beyond the quantified self movement?

Detail from the cover of Snow Crash.'

Bright, Bold Future: Magic Leap Has Hired The Godfather of The Metaverse

There’s a rapturous term thrown around by VR enthusiasts: “The Metaverse.” It is a term that comes from the seminal Neal Stephenson science fiction novel Snow Crash, where it described a kind of embodied virtual reality.


In the looming battle of AR and VR the prize is your mind.

Let’s talk about augmented reality versus virtual reality shall we?

Corey McCall with the video game controller that measures the level of excitement in the player. Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service

These Game Controllers Will (One Day) Read Your Mind

A version of this story airs on NPR/WBUR’s Here & Now.