New York filmmaker Spike Lee is jumping aboard the crowdfunding bandwagon and pleading with fans to help him make his next Spike Lee Joint. The venerable director’s Kickstarter page is asking for $1.25 million in the next 29 days, but the page does little to impart what exactly fans are supporting.
In a short video set at his Brooklyn-based office, Lee explains how his recent discovery of successful crowdfunding campaigns by Zach Braff (for a Garden State sequel) and Rob Thomas (for aVeronica Mars film based on the cancelled TV show) inspired him to try his hand at a Kickstarter campaign. But what he fails to do is reveal anything about the impending film other than its focus on the addiction to blood. Like vampires?
No, it’s not Blacula, as his Kickstarter campaign headline informs, but what exactly is it about? While the concept of famous filmmakers using fan-funding continues to be a point of contention for some, previous celebrity campaigns have at least included a glimpse of what to expect in return for donations. Veronica Mars‘ creator Rob Thomas and actor Kristen Bell often updated their Kickstarter page, providing a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions as well as blog posts and incentives for supporters. Braff, who also was challenged for using Kickstarter as a means of making a film, defended his decision on his page while also explaining why Garden State needs a sequel.
But all Lee’s campaign explains is his storied career in film. That’s undeniable, but it wouldn’t hurt to inform backers of what exactly they’re funding. This underscores the argument of what Kickstarter means to smaller projects, ultimately detracting from the concept of a funding model that focuses on a good idea rather than a brand. There is no good idea here, merely a name. While Lee’s new Joint is sure to be brilliant, giving possible supporters a taste of what exactly that is would help.