Student Spotlight: Kickstart

BY: ERIKA JOHNSON & SASHA MILENA

The new DIY generation has emerged and is proving that ideas can become reality using modern methods. When Cal State Long Beach senior film production major Anthony J. Croupe had the vision to create a short film, he turned to Kickstarter to fund his project. Kickstarter is a crowd-funding website for creative projects. Project creators choose the amount of money they want raised and a deadline. If the goal is not met by the deadline, the funds are not collected. It’s an all or nothing, make-it-or-break-it, free-for-all opportunity.

Croupe is a part of Rev’d Up Productions, group completely comprised of CSULB film students. They formed after coming up with the concept of “The Reverend,” a short film in the style of film noir.

The group of film students wrote a script and drew a storyboard, but needed money to produce the short film. Croupe said the submission process to Kickstarter was lengthy and demanding.

“It’s a lot more work than people think,” Croupe said.

The team put together a short promotional video that showed how the money would be used for their project. To create the video, the students had to shoot interviews and stock footage, as well as write a lengthy explanation about the project before being approved by the Kickstarter committee.

“You really have to put your pride and ego aside when you do it because at the root of it, you are begging for money,” Croupe said.

Originally, the group set a goal of $800, but when the campaign ended, they had exceeded their goal with $892. Croupe said many of their friends and families donated on the Kickstarter page, but there were a few contributors they did not know. The Kickstarter page allows the project manager to see who has donated and where they are from. Croupe said they received a significant contribution from a mystery person living in Canada.

All projects on Kickstarter are required to have rewards for the contributors, such as products, benefits and experiences. The types of rewards are determined by the project creator and depend mostly on the amount that is contributed. Rev’d Up Productions gave contributors signed DVDs, autographed movie posters, special thanks in the credits, a signed copy of the script or even a chance to be in the film.

The students used social media sites to promote their project. The group knew Kickstarter was a risk but they were willing to take it on.

“We’re going ahead [with the film] whether we make the money or not,” Croupe said. “If we go broke making the project, so be it.”

Rev’d Up Productions was able to reach their goal and began filming immediately after the funds were collected. Croupe calls “The Reverend” a dark film about redemption.

“‘The Reverend’ is a nitty gritty film noir world where the church has the power and the government is subsided under the church,” Croupe said. “Instead of detectives and cops, we have reverends.”

The film will be submitted to the school film showcase where it will have a chance to be screened on campus. The film will not be put online because some of the material is inappropriate for immature audiences.

Rev’d Up Productions is currently editing the short film and expects to be done by next month.

“It is probably the best thing we’ve shot so far,” Croupe said.