"Exhibiting You" - Story


Where Independent Happens

By: Danae Ringelmann
Submitted: 12/04/2008

I was fresh out of college working in investment banking in New York City when the idea hatched. I had ventured out to a mysterious networking event entitled "Where Hollywood Meets Wall Street," pulled by fascination with independent film and the hopes that I could find a connection between my new profession and personal passion.

I knew no one, but somehow my introverted nature didn't stand in the way of meeting handfuls of wonderful inspiration filmmakers that night. All I had was a name tag that said "JPMorgan." Who knew networking could be so easy?

It wasn't until two days later when I understood why I was the most popular girl at the party. I had scripts sitting on my desks, one of which came from of the very nice filmmakers I met that night who was 50 years my senior.

Shock hit; then confusion set in. There was a tinge of excitement, but then anger overwhelmed me. I was a 22 year old naive finance newbie with numbers to crunch. He was a 72 year old filmmaking veteran with a 50 year track record. There was nothing right about that situation and all I could think about was how the world could've let itself get this upside down.

I spent the next six years talking to filmmakers and hearing the same complaint endlessly - how impossible fundraising was. I co-produced an off-Broadway play and quickly learned myself the difficulty in raising financing. Pertubed by the reality that every other industry had an efficient and risk-mitigated way of deploying capital to its players, except independent film, I left Wall Street and headed to business school at UC Berkeley with one goal - to launch a company that would democratize film finance.

After two years of business school, which brought endless resources and most importantly my two co-founders, IndieGoGo was born. Less than a year later, over 900 films are building their audience and raising money through their fans on IndieGoGo.

Founded on the principles of opportunity, transparency, choice, and action, IndieGoGo launched in 2008 to address the fundraising challenges and market inefficiencies affecting independent filmmaking today. IndieGoGo enables this "filmocracy" by providing filmmakers an open platform to pitch their projects to the world, and giving the fans a vehicle to experience and influence the once inaccessible world of filmmaking.

Filmmakers get new resources to build and engage a loyal fan base to assist in making their projects happen. Filmmakers can raise money and awareness, find cast and crew, and gain credibility through the help of their number one resource: their fans.

Fans get the opportunity to discover and impact the films of tomorrow while getting insider access and VIP perks for their contributions. But beyond the VIP perks, fans get an everyday opportunity to support the people, films, or causes they believe in.

We have filmmakers like Michealene Christini Risley raising a good portion of the budget for her documentary "Tapestries of Hope" which exposes the myth about virgin sex curing HIV--a myth driving a rape crisis in Zimbabwe. Through IndieGoGo her fans taken the opportunity to take actions (contribute, promote, endorse, provide feedback) which have helped Michealene bring her film to life.

The future of independent filmmaking and film finance rests in the direct relationship between filmmakers and their fans. It excites me that IndieGoGo is helping to carve out that path to the future.

IndieGoGo is not a photo, nor a film, nor a piece of art to hang on the wall... but a Web site created from scratch, built by passionate film lovers to provide filmmakers the tools to help them make a living making their art. Birthing IndieGoGo was a creative process for sure.

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