Webster senior film students use Indiegogo to fund movies


Jonathon Musgrave had the synopsis of his senior overview film posted on a public donation website, http://indiegogo.com, for about an hour on Sunday, Jan. 27. After he refreshed his Web page, Musgrave was startled by what he saw: an anonymous donor gave his movie an added boost of $1,000.

“I was in shock,” said Musgrave, senior film major. “I was actually on the page when it happened. All the sudden it spiked up to $1,000. I didn’t think it was real.”

Students have posted their donation banks through a website called “Indiegogo,” a site similar to http://kickstarter.com. Through both sites, the public donates to people looking for project funding. The only difference is that projects on Indiegogo get to keep a portion of the donations even if the project doesn’t reach its goal. On Kickstarter, if a project does not meet its goal, the project does not receive any funding.

Some professors in Webster’s film department have strongly encouraged students to start online donation campaigns to raise money. Professors Bart Baker and Juraj Bohus help students with production and guidance in completing their films. Baker is in charge of pre-production for the students’ films.

Baker recommended Indiegogo to Keith Lutker, senior film production major. Lutker said Indiegogo has more perks than Kickstarter, like the requirement to only pay back 9 percent if the donation campaign does not meet its goal. If a project does meet its goal, the fee is 4 percent for every dollar raised.

Lutker’s goal was $2,500 and his campaign reached $1,140 between mid-December and Jan. 30. He used the donations for food, equipment and travel expenses.

“It was uplifting and nice to see people cared about what I am going to school for,” Lutker said.

Senior Sean Tiffin also said professors have advised him to use online donation sites.

“Making movies independently — for a career or a hobby — is easier and cheaper now than it’s ever been,” Tiffin said. “Working independently on a small budget will save a lot of money. Webster’s really encouraged that DIY element.”

With the concept of public donations, students can give back to the people who help them complete their films through a variety of gifts. These gifts range from dinner dates to a role in the movie to anything the donor wants. Musgrave’s anonymous donor has not yet come forward or stated what he or she wants for the return gift.

“The cool thing about this website and these big donations is that they make you really want to deliver on what you’re promising,” Musgrave said. “Someone believed in it that much.”

Though each film posts a goal amount to receive, most films will only meet about half of the goal, Tiffin said.

“When I have a lot of boundaries, that’s when I work most creatively with what I do have,” Tiffin said.

Andrew Shafer, senior film production major, funded his film, “Bad Romance,” through Indiegogo. Apart from the site, Shafer said broadcasting a film via social networking sites and blogs is key if a film is going to gain a following.

To read about Sean Tiffin’s film, “Adam Howard is Dead,” click HERE.

To read about Nathan Huber’s film, “Night Drop,” click HERE.

To read about Andrew Shafer’s film, “Bad Romance,” click HERE.

To read about Keith Lutker’s film, “A Mechanic’s Reponse,” click HERE.

To read about Jonathon Musgrave’s film, “Goldie & Tom,” click HERE.

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